The best height gauge is important and a very helpful tool for machinists. It is used for measuring the height of small parts, comparing the heights, and marking them. You can use it to measure the difference in height of 2 points as well.
A high spec electronic height gauge is able to carry out various measuring tasks such as center-line distances, internal/external diameters, and step heights. For your information, an electronic height gauge is precise up to .001″ & claims consistency of .0001″.
You can choose the vernier or dial or digital model. The vernier model makes use of vernier scale to provide the measurement reading, while the digital one displays the reading on an LCD screen. The use of a digital height gauge is surely very intuitive and easy. In comparison, you need to learn how to read a vernier scale (like reading a vernier caliper) when using the vernier height gauge. The dial scale is pretty intuitive and straightforward as well.
A height gauge measures the height from a certain reference, commonly the base itself. Therefore, it requires a flat and level surface to stand on. It should be a carbide surface plate so that you can eliminate any possible error during the measurement.
The main parts of a height gauge include a rigid base, a beam with the main scale, a slider with the display reading (vernier scale or digital LCD), a lock nut, a measuring and scribing stylus, a stylus clam, and some fine adjustment screws. The typical measuring range of height gauges is about 6″ but you can find the longer ones.
It comes with a carbide scribing stylus that can mark the height of that object. In some situations, you can clamp a dial test indicator to the height gauge for measurements of squareness, flatness, straightness, roundness, etc.
Top 10 Best Height Gauges in 2023
1. Taylor Toolworks DHG Digital Height Gauge [Best Overall]
If you are looking for a durable height gauge with a very rigid base, this one can be a good choice. It has a solid and substantial cast base and a hardened stainless steel base. This high gauge is digital and offers a range of 6 inches or 0 -150mm. The accuracy of the height gauge is 0.001 inches per 6 inches.
Using the buttons on the display unit, you can quickly convert from inches to metric scale and vice versa. Another very good feature of this tool is that it switches off after 5 minutes of inactivity, which saves its battery. You get a 3-volt CR2032 battery that can last up to a year.
- Durable structure
- Auto turn-off feature
- Stainless steel beam
- You have to reset to zero every time before using
2. Mitutoyo 570-312CAL Absolute Digimatic Height Gauge [Accurate Model with Certificate of Traceability to NIST]
If you are looking for a height gauge for professional purposes, its accuracy must be valid. That said, you have to buy an instrument that has a certificate of traceability to NIST (if you live in the USA) to ensure its accuracy can be traced to the world-agreed standard of length. In this case, Mitutoyo 570-312CAL is present to answer your need.
For the specification, this Mitutoyo digital instrument offers you a range of 12″ which is taller than the usual models, a resolution of .0005″ which is good and an accuracy of .0015″. It has a high-quality display unit that displays the measurements in both inches and mm. You get a hand-operated feed wheel on the gauge that allows you to make fine adjustments manually.
The scriber of this height gauge is a carbide tipper and, as a result, lasts longer. In the package, you get a certificate of traceability to NIST, and it meets the standard of ISO/IEC.
- Certified by Mitutoyo’s American Association for Laboratory
- Long battery life
- Easy to use
- A bit pricey
3. Mitutoyo 506-207 Vernier Height Gauge [Metric Model]
You don’t need the fancy one and familiar with a vernier scale, we recommend Mitutoyo 506-207. We can assure that Mitutoyo is a well-known brand for making top-quality machinist and engineer’s tools.
The Mitutoyo 506-207 offers you a range of 0-200mm with maximum permissible error is ±0.03 mm. This premium vernier model has very fine graduations. It comes with a hand-operated slider on it for making fine adjustments.
Furthermore, this height gauge is very lightweight, which makes it easy to carry. You get a carbide tip scriber that allows excellent height marking and lasts a long time.
- Satin chrome finish for no glare
- Allows fine adjustments
- Metric graduation; limited users
4. Mitutoyo 570-227 LCD Absolute Digimatic Height Gauge [Metric Model]
The next best height gauge is also from Mitutoyo, but it is the digital version. The measuring range of this Mitutoyo 570-227 LCD is also 200 mm, and it offers you an maximum permissible error of ±0.03 mm. The display unit of this gauge has high contrast and sharp figures, making viewing much easier.
In the package, you get an SR44 battery that powers the display unit of the height gauge. The SPC statistical process control output can transfer the results to a mini Mitutoyo processor or a computer.
- Easy to use
- Comes with a carbide scriber
- Fine and uniform slider adjustment
- Metric only
5. Fowler 54-175-006-0 Z-Height-E Jr. Electronic Height Gauge
Nicely, since it’s digital, you are instantly easy to change the reading either to an inch or metric through the button. The hold function allows you to freeze the reading.
This height gauge is very durable and has a satin chrome finish that prevents it from rusting and makes it glare free. Furthermore, you get a carbide-tipped scriber and relative and absolute measuring functions.
- Hand operated slider
- Hold key to freeze the reading
- 2 Batteries included
- Hard to read display
6. Wixey WR200 Digital Height Gauge with Fractions [For Woodworking]
The Wixey WR200 height gauge offers you an accuracy of .001″. You get a display unit on this tool that displays large digits that are very easy to read. You can get the measurements in both inch, fractions, and millimeters. Due to fraction reading, this one is suitable for woodworking projects.
Another incredible feature of this instrument is that it comes with a magnetic base that allows you to position it easily. The manufacturer also offers a one-year replacement warranty with it.
- Affordable price
- Sturdy structure
- Comes with a one-year warranty
- Great for woodworking
- Offer a comparatively lesser range
7. Wixey WR25 3″ Mini Digital Height Gauge [for Hand Routers, Router Tables, and Table Saws]
The Wixey WR25 3″ Mini Digital Height Gauge is very different compared to the traditional height gauges. It is a small self-standing gauge with magnetic feet. On the gauge, you get a low profile for back fence adjustments. It allows both horizontal and vertical measurements. It is ideal for hand routers, router tables, and table saws.
You get a CR2032 battery in the package to power the display unit. You get a locking rule in it as well to repeat measurements.
- Can also measure bore and slot depth
- High accuracy
- Easy repeatability feature
- Offer a comparatively lesser range
8. Starrett 3751AZ-6/150 Electronic Height Gauge
Surely, like many digital measuring instruments, the reading can be set to be an inch or mm. You can also set the zero point at any point you want.
This premium quality height gauge comes with a high contrast display unit. It works powered by CR2032 battery. Aside from that, you get a steel scriber for marking. You will also get a fine adjustment thumb roll feature as well.
- Easy to read
- Hold slide position feature
- Auto turn-off feature
- Scribe is not carbide tipped
9. Shars Digital Electronic Height Gauge
The Shares Digital Electronic Height Gauge comes with a range of 12″. You get a high-contrast display screen to easily view the measurements. You get a carbide scriber for marking the measurements. The accuracy of this height gauge is .0016″, while its resolution is .0005″. It is precisely ground and hardened with stainless steel.
- Fine adjustment
- Includes carbide scriber
- High accuracy
- Hard to view readings
10. Fowler 54-192-340-0 V3 Digital Height Gauge
Last but not least, we have the Fowler 54-192-340-0 V3, which features an electronically adjustable measuring force to help you measure the height easily. You can measure height, diameter, central line, and perpendicularity with this height gauge. You get a vast range of accessories with this heavy duty instrument, which makes it very versatile.
The base of this gauge is made from cast iron which gives it extra stability. Taking readings with this gauge is very easy as the display unit is user-friendly.
When buying this model, you are buying the Trimos V3 series, ruby ball for measuring insert, charger, etc.
- User-friendly interface
- High Accuracy
What Is a Height Gauge?
A digital height gauge uses high-quality, hardened stainless steel as the material. It consists of a solid cast iron base that is robust to ensure its rigidity and stability.
Then, there’s a beam that extends from the base up including a printed scale in imperial & metric formats.
Usually, imperial digital scale ranges from 0 – 12” whereas the metric scale ranges from 0 – 300 mm. Even more, they can measure up to 80”.
Generally, an electronic gauging slider is equestrian on the beam. Besides that, it features a few buttons for Power ON/OFF, HOLD, TOL, SET, MM/INCH, ON/OFF/ZERO, and ABS.
In addition, the slider has a carbide scriber tip on the jaw. Furthermore, the slider and the attached scriber are able to slide up/down along the scale. You can also lock both in place.
Then, use a fine-tune thumb-wheel to make the final adjustments and lock it in place with a second locking screw.
You can also find a port of data output where you can send the data to a printer or computer via a special cable.
What are the Height Gauge Parts?
Even though there are different types of height gauge, they commonly have similar parts. Generally, a height gauge has 5 main parts.
The base of a height gauge comes with high proportions. It aims to ensure the gauge stability and rigidity.
For your information, the base underside is relieved leaving a surface around the outside edge of at least 7mm wide.
Besides that, you’ll find air gap across the surface for connecting the received part.
In addition, it offers 0.005mm accuracy as measured over the total span of the considered surface.
The cross-section aims to ensure rigidity during the use.
Then, the rigidity must be such that an upward force of 1kg at the scriber tip when the measuring jaw is in the highest position.
So, there’s no change in the jaw parallelism with the base of over 0.005mm/10mm of the scriber working surface projection.
The guiding edge must be really flat withing the tolerances of 0.02 to 0.08 mm to measure a range of 250 to 1,000 mm respectively.
Besides that, the faces must be flat, too, withing the tolerances of 0.4 – 0.12 mm for gauge heights of 250 – 1000 mm respectively.
In addition, the faces must be square to base within 0.04 mm or 100 mm.
3. Measuring Jaw and Scriber
Measuring jaw and scriber belong to height gauge parts, too.
The measuring jaw projection from the beam edge must be at least equal to the base projection from the beam.
For any slider position, the measuring jaw’s upper and lower gauging surfaces must be flat and parallel to the base within 0.008mm.
Besides that, the scriber projection beyond the jaw must be at least 25 mm.
Then, a height gauge may come with an offset scriber and the beam positioned. So, when the scriber is coplanar with the base, the vernier is at 0 position.
All graduations on the vernier and the scale must be engraved clearly.
Besides that, the graduation thickness, both on vernier and scale must be identical and in between 0.05 mm and 0.1 mm.
Then, the perpendicular distance between the graduations on vernier and the graduations on scale must have a dull finish and the graduation lines blackened in.
Even more, there is a magnifying lens to facilitate to take readings.
One more thing, it must have a good sliding that fits along the bema full working length.
For your information, a proper fitting aims to give the slider precise adjustment and the appropriate clamp.
So, you can clamp the slider to the beam effectively after the you make the final adjustment.
Things To Consider Before Buying A Height Gauge
When it comes to choosing the best height gauge for yourself, there are some really important features that you need to consider before buying.
You will find two main types of height gauges, i.e., the digital ones that come with an LCD to display the readings and the analog ones which you can use to manually take all the readings. If you are someone who needs a tool that is more convenient and gives you very quick results, then the digital ones are a good choice. You will also see featured electronic height gauges that offer electronically adjustable measuring forces to make the task even easier.
The range of height gauges may vary a lot, but generally, it’s between 200 mm to 300 mm. But you will also find height gauges that have ranges less than 100 mm, which might limit you from measuring the height of objects that are slightly bigger. Alternatively, there are height gauges that offer a range up to 500 mm. So, always keep in mind that you have to check the range before buying depending on its use.
Clear and crisp graduation will surely aid in making your task of taking readings much more manageable. Fine and prominent graduation is also an indicator that the height gauge is premium quality. So, go for the one that has clearer graduations.
The quality of your results entirely depends on the accuracy of the height gauge. A minor error can lead to more significant faults. You should always check the accuracy of the gauge before buying it. Make sure that the gauge has an accuracy of at least 0.03 mm.
How to Use Height Gauge
1. Preparation of How to Use Height Gauge
When it comes to how to use height gauge, it requires preparation. First of all, you will have to clean the working platform & put the height gauge on it.
Secondly, what you need to do is to dry the surface of the digital height gauge’s protective sticker. You can use a dry smooth cloth to dry it.
After that, you should fix the digital height gauge’s measuring jaw. Of course, you will not find any difficulty to do this.
For the next step, clean the height gauge’s measuring jaw. Make sure that its measuring jaw is free from stains and dust.
Then, you must loosen the height gauge’s locking screw. You just need to rotate the tip of the screw to loosen it.
Now, move the slider in order to check whether the LCD display and all the buttons properly work. So, you can use it accurately.
Finally, clean the measuring surface of the measured item. To do this, you can use a clean cloth. Alternatively, you can also use soak it with cleaning oil.
2. How to Use Height Gauge to Take the Measurements
When it comes to taking the measurements, there are a few steps to follow. Usually, the measurement point is the working platform’s surface.
Here, you have to make the measuring jaw & platform surface touches gently, where the measuring force is around 3-5N.
Besides that, the value on the LCD must be 0. If it is not 0, you can make it 0 by pressing ON/OFF/ZERO button.
The next step is to hold the rod against the surface plate. You also need to adjust its moveable jaw to the nearest inch or centimeter.
Now, you can get the reading directly from the large LCD screen. That’s how to use height gauge for taking the measurements.
3. Tips How to Use Height Gauge
Everyone can use a height gauge easily. If you want to use this equipment, make sure that you pay attention to the following tips.
When using a height gauge, keep clean the column that guides the slider. If you find accumulated dirt or dust on it, sliding will be difficult and leads to errors.
When scribing, lock the slider in position securely with the provided clamping arrangements. You should confirm the setting after clamping as clamping on a height gauge can alter the setting.
If so, you have to make allowance during setup. It aims to allow for this effect.
Then, keep in mind that parallelism between the base reference surface and the scriber measuring face must be 0.01 mm or better.
When installing the scriber or other parts, don’t forget to remove any burrs or dust on the mounting surface! Make sure that you install the parts securely in placed during measurement.
If possible, you can move the height gauge’s main scale as needed to set the 0 point and tighten the fixing nuts securely.
4. Caution About How to Use Height Gauge
Still about how to use height gauge, you cannot neglect errors due to parallax effects. When reading a value, you have always to look straight at the graduations.
Usually, parallax errors happen when you view the object’s position from different points that thus impacts your measurements accuracy.
After you use the height gauge, make sure that you wipe oil or water away completely. Before storage, you may need to apply an anti-corrosion oil coating and then let it dry.
If you will not use a digital height gauge for over 3 months, you should remove the battery and cover it with a protective cover if any.
During storage, don’t forget to avoid direct sunlight, high humidity, and high temperatures!
Both during in use or storage, you need to maintain temperature between 5 to 40 degrees Celsius. Besides that, you must also prevent hydrous liquid from contacting the protective sticker.
In addition, you should never apply voltage to a part of the depth gauge or engrave with an electric pen because it can cause damage.
Height Gauge Types
Before we discuss height gauge accessories further, it is important to know that height gauges are available in 4 basic types.
1. Vernier Model
A vernier height gauge uses a main scale & a vernier scale to provide the better resolution.
Generally, a vernier height gauge comes in different measuring sizes, ranging from 6 inches – 6 feet. For the models, it has metric (mm) or imperial (inch)scales or both.
2. Dial Model
Usually, a dial height gauge has smaller measuring size ranges. Typically, it is less than 300 mm or 12 inches.
It features a mechanical dial that comes with a needle pointer allowing for easy reading. Due to its size, a dial height gauge is very portable. You can even store it in a toolbox.
3. Mechanical Counter Model
It combines a needle and dial as you can find on the dial height gauge with a dual-digit counter to the efficiency and speed of the measurement process.
Then, the counter allows readings to 1/10” while you can read 1/1.000” on the dial.
Moreover, the additional counter has the benefit as it allows you to set & maintain an absolute & floating zero if required.
The example product of this model is Generic height gauge.
4. Electronic or Digital Model
Sometimes, people call it a digital height gauge. It substitutes a digital display for the analog dial and mechanical counter on other gauge types.
Generally, an electronic height gauge allows you to choose from different measuring units such as millimeters vs inches.
Besides that, higher-end models offer some additional features & capabilities improving the measuring capability & accuracy.
Height Gauge Accessories
There are many height gauge accessories you can purchase and use. Below are some of the popular accessories for a height gauge.
1. Control Panel
A height gauge control panel has a screen that comes with a keyboard and/or touchscreen. You can use it to program & control your height gauge.
2. Adjustment and Manual Control Accessories
Besides that, you can install components & accessories on a compatible vernier or digital height gauge to add a manual fine adjustment to a manual-travel gauge.
An external printer connects to a height gauge via common ports of connection like USB. Besides, it allows you to produce a hard copy of measurements. In this case, you don’t need to connect to a PC or laptop with SPV software.
4. Dust Cover
A height gauge dust cover protects your height gauge from debris, dust & other liquid or particulate contaminations. In addition, it allows for a height gauge to be left in its operating position when you are not using it.
5. Power Supply
This AC adapter or power supply draws electricity from a standard wall outlet to ensure uninterrupted power over long periods of operation.
Belongs to the most important height gauge accessories, a battery pack charger allows a height gauge battery pack to charge when it is not in use.
7. Scribers and Probe Inserts
These scribers and inserts make contact with the workpiece you are measuring. Besides that, a height gauge scriber etches lines on the piece with a layout dye or directly.
For your information, probe kits come with different contact point sizes and shapes as well as holders.
In addition, you can use inserts to hold scribers and other optional components such as a dial test indicator.
You can use these replacement parts to replace lost or worn-out parts or to customize indicators.
8. Probe Holder
You can mount a probe holder to your height gauge to make it compatible with other components such as scriber designs, particular stylus tips, or indicators.
9. Contact Sensor
It also belongs to accessories for a height gauge. You can apply it for any height gauge on a granite surface plate. Besides, it is for electroconductive parts that has a sufficient contact surface. While making measurements, this contact sensor will eliminate errors that happen due to non-contact of the slider with a workpiece.
10. Center Master
This center master allows quick center-to-center distance measurements between holes.
Measuring the heights of small objects and parts of a machine can be tricky sometimes. And if you do not have the right tool for it, you can end up with much more frustration. That’s why you should choose the right height gauge. We hope that you have now decided which tool suits your job, but if you are still not sure about it, we have some suggestions for you.
As the best overall option, we will recommend the Taytools digital height gauge, as it is a premium height gauge with a rigid base and offers high accuracy. You get a sturdy hardened stainless steel scriber on it. If you want to buy a digital height gauge, then you should get the Mitutoyo 570-312CAL, which comes with a high-contrast digital display and a hand-operated slider.