A micrometer gives you a chance to measure down to 0.00005″ (0.001mm) resolution, providing you a much better resolution rather than using a caliper.
There are several types of micrometers available. They are designed to fulfill market needs. But the most commonly used is the outside model with flat anvil.
If you are going to buy a new micrometer, you are at the right stop. In this post, we are covering 12 micrometers (both mechanical and digital models) that we found on the market worth to share with you. Most of them come with flat anvil as well. We also cover the ultimate guide to buying a micrometer.
Skip to the end of the article to take a look at the best micrometers that we recommend and the reasons why to buy them.
In case you are a beginner buying a micrometer, we suggest you learn some basic things about micrometers such as the body parts (anvil, sleeve, thimble, ratchet, etc). It’s important to give you an idea of the micrometer reviewed.
Top 12 Best Micrometers
1. Mitutoyo 293-340-30 Digital Micrometer [Best Overall]
The best micrometer so far that we highly recommend is Mitutoyo 293-340-30. It’s a great pick for everyone who wants a high degree of measurement accuracy, smooth thimble operation, heavy solid feel, and long last use.
For accuracy, it gives you 0.00005″ (0.001mm) resolution with an incredible ±0.00005″ (0.001mm) precision. You can’t go wrong with this precision. If you’re going to take a highly accurate measurement, this is what you’re looking for.
In addition to its accuracy, you could also request the NIST certificate when it’s meant to use for professional jobs such as in manufacturing industries. But it charges you an extra cost. If you are going to use it for personal purposes, it should be okay without it. A certificate calibration from Mitutoyo that comes with should be enough.
Moreover, it’s designed to able to resist dust and water. The product even meets IP65 rating. The IP65 rating means it’s been tested with dust and water jet test and successfully pass out. As interference can mislead the reading, this is absolutely one thing that determines its accuracy.
An accurate measurement using a micrometer takes the pressure into account. This one uses a rachet. The ratchet functions to give pressure to the object being measured with the right amount of force. Spin the thimble and stop when it’s almost reaching the object. Tighten with the ratchet. The ratchet will slip itself when it’s tight.
There are an LCD screen and 4 buttons (origin, zero/ABS, hold, and in/mm). They are powered by a single SR44 battery. Normally, it can last for 1.2 years. In case it’s off, you could still use it. The manual scale is available in inch reading.
Overall, it’s no doubt for us to recommend this one. It’s accurate, precise, smooth, heavy, solid, and long last. You could also hand it down to your son someday. It’s almost perfect except it lacks the data transfer feature. If you are looking for this with a data transfer feature, go to Mitutoyo 293-334-30.
- Dead accurate and precise
- NICT certificate requestable
- IP65 rating
- Smooth thimble
- Expensive, but it should be okay
2. Vinca DMCA 0105 Digital Micrometer [Best Budget]
Similar to Mitutoyo, it comes with a manual scale that allows you to keep measuring in case it’s suddenly out of power. However, the manual scale is in inch only. You have to buy a new LR44 battery to turn it on again and convert it to mm.
Other points that we like from this tool is its big screen (1.25″ x 0.5″) and buttons that support functions such as unit conversion, tolerance setting, data hold, and relative/absolute mode. These functions will give you a great experience when operating it.
For accuracy, it comes with 0.00005″/0.001mm resolution which is excellent. However, compared to Mitutoyo 293-348-30, the precision is slightly lower, only provides ±0.002mm. Despite lower, it is actually reasonable due to the price.
So far, according to most customers, this tool measures consistently. However, we don’t see any comment said it’s as smooth as Mitutoyo. If you are on the budget and looking for the best one beside Mitutoyo, this is a recommended choice to pick.
- Manual scale available
- Big LCD screen and a lot of buttons
- Lower accuracy
3. Rexbeti Digital Micrometer
This is an adequate digital micrometer that you could buy. It allows you to measure down to 0.00005″ (0.001mm) with ±0.0001″ (0.00254mm) accuracy. The resolution is great and the accuracy is not too bad.
There are three buttons. The O/ABS (Origin/Absolute) button functions to zeroing the micrometer at any point. Unit/Set functions to convert the reading either to mm or inch. And the last button, On/Off functions to turn on and off. Easily save battery power by turn it off when not needed.
As you could see, it’s ratchet thimble. It allows you to be possible using it without the stand. So, it’s suitable to carry around. Like other micrometers, it’s made with carbide-tipped on the anvil face for more durable and wear resistance. It also reduces errors.
Under $50 as we write this, you get several great functionalities on the buttons which is nice. When it comes to accuracy, the brand claims that they can reach to ±0.002 mm of accuracy. This is a great option if you don’t need a significant accurate digital micrometer.
- Easy to use ratchet thimble
- No manual reading
4. Mitutoyo 293-348-30 Digital Micrometer
This one, Mitutoyo 293-348-30, is one of the best options of Mitutoyo micrometer products you have to really consider. It feels heavy and solid in the palm of your hand and the thimble spins smoothly. More importantly, it gives a dead accuracy as you expect.
It provides a resolution of 0.00005″ (0.001mm). This number may not surprise you but with an accuracy of ±0.00005″, this gives you a high precision measurement. As it’s made by Mitutoyo, it’s easy to trust their claim.
In comparison with Mitutoyo 293-340-30, this Mitutoyo 293-348-30 doesn’t come with a ratchet. The thimble acts double, as a thimble and a ratchet. It will slip itself when it’s tight, allows you to operate with a single hand even though your hand is small.
Another great thing is the IP65 rating. Small dust can possibly enter and water as well can immerse in the electronic board. As it is the heart of the system that processes the measurement to the display, tiny interference can give a false reading. This rating means the device is assured able to resist dust and water for a couple of several minutes before they really enter into.
- Feels heavy and smooth operation
- Single hand operation is enable
- Water and dust protection
5. Mitutoyo 103-177 Mechanical Micrometer
Despite a mechanical model, it’s worth considering. There are some advantages of a mechanical micrometer over the digital one. One of them is no battery power needed. In this ranking, we decide to enlist Mitutoyo 103-177.
It comes with a 0.001″ resolution and a nice ±0.0001″ accuracy [Source]. It means when it measures the thickness of an object, and the reading shows 0.500″, it means the actual measurement result is in the range of 0.4999″ to 0.5001″.
If you make a comparison, this mic is the lowest resolution on this list. The reason why we share this with you is because of its price. You may be looking for the affordable, but won’t compromise with the quality, this is for you.
Its measuring range is from 0 to 1 inch. The face is coated with carbide. As this is a mechanical micrometer, the graduation on the sleeve and thimble is vernier and the unit reading is in inch. It suits for you who live in the US.
When it comes to Mitutoyo micrometer products, you’ll find their products get excellent reviews. If you are looking for an affordable micrometer product, but demanding quality and accurate measurements (±0.0001″ accuracy), this is it.
- No battery needed
- Mid-price point
- only provides 0.001″ resolution
6. Anytime Tools AT201872 Micrometer
However, in our opinion, we recommend this for occasional use. In other words, this is a wise choice to pick for hobbyists that don’t use it for heavy-duty use.
The resolution is good even excellent when compared to other mechanical micrometers. It serves up to 0.0001″ resolution. Therefore, you’ll find the vernier scale laser-etched on the sleeve.
- Good resolution
- Great for hobbyst
- Light use
7. Anytime Tools Mechanical Micrometer Set 0-6″ for Machinist
Machinist is one of the users that require micrometers a lot. They use it to measure the piston, camshaft, etc which vary in size. Therefore, it’s required to purchase the set rather than a single one. The set is expected to come in different measuring ranges.
Herewith, this Anytime Tools micrometer set comes in 6 different measuring ranges to serve measurement up to 6″. The ranges are 0-1″, 1-2″, 2-3″, 3-4″, 4-5″, 5-6″. So, if your piston is about 3.75″, you could use the micrometer that has a range from 3″ to 4″.
That said, this set contains 6 micrometers. Don’t worry about its accuracy. The resolution is 0.0001″. You could calibrate it immediately when arrived using the calibration bars that come with the micrometer set.
However, in our view, this one is not ideal for everyday and heavy-duty use. It’d be nice for occasional and light use. Overall, this is a great choice for beginners in their home shop.
- Great for machinists
- Up to 6″, serve wider ranges
- Good measuring range
- Recommended for light use
8. Mitutoyo 103-907-40 Mechanical Micrometer Set for Machinist
The best micrometer for machinist should be highly durable, accurate, and able for heavy-duty use. This one is fulfilling those requirements and gives you a set of 6 micrometers with different measuring ranges.
Respectively, the ranges are 0-1″, 1-2″, 2-3″, 3-4″, 4-5″, and 5-6″. It comes with a wooden box case which is inside, there is a box of 5 calibration bars as well as the 6 wrenches.
The smallest range micrometer (0-1″) comes with friction thimble which means the thimble and the ratchet are assembled in a single part to serve two functions together. This should allow you to be able to use it single-handed. The rest are designed with a separated ratchet.
For resolution, each of them has a spec of 0.0001″ graduation which is excellent for the mechanical model. Overall, this micrometer is accurate and smooth, highly recommended for professional purposes. You can’t go wrong with it for your machinery jobs.
- Up to 6″ measurement range
- A complete set, containing 6 micrometers
9. Mitutoyo 293-130 Super 0.000005”/ 0.1μm High-Resolution
Instead of buying a laser micrometer or bench micrometer that can cost you about thousands of dollars just to get a one-tenth micron resolution, you are better off buying this Mitutoyo 293-130 MDH-25MB with more affordable price. In addition, it is also portable.
This is extremely an amazing micrometer that is able to measure down to 0.1 µm ( 0.1 µm = 0.0001 mm = 0.000005″ ) resolution. It’s 10 times higher than the usual 0.001 mm resolution of most digital micrometers in these days.
Moreover, it is able to provide ±0.00002″ accuracy to serve greater precision. For highly professionals or lab purposes, this can be purchased with the SPC cable to allow you to transfer and store the reading directly to other supported devices such as computers.
- High precision
- Data measurement can be transferred to a computer
- Expensive compared to most micrometers
10. Microtech Affordable 0.1μm Resolution Micrometer
It’s from Microtech, a brand name from Ukraine. It comes with the same resolution yet the price is about three times more competitive than Mitutoyo.
Even, it’s equipped with a USB and wireless data output feature. The large touchscreen displays the reading and some buttons. It has an internal memory that is able to store some measurement results.
Another function such as “max min” to permit you get an alert when a reading excess a given value. Othe functions are also available that you could check in this video. To get more details, visit this page.
- Down to 0.1μm (0.0001mm) resolution
- Big screen
11. Igaging 35-025-40 with SPC Data Transfer Feature
To perform that data transmission, you could use a 35-025-USB Mini USB Data Connect kit to connect this micrometer to a computer.
The resolution is good, 0.001mm. However, the accuracy is not too good, ±0.004064mm (±0.00016″). If you are not using this for highly accuracy purposes, then this should suit the job.
There are four functions simplified into two buttons:
- On/Off & Set (first button)
- ABS & Mm/in (second button)
This may be not easy for everyone to operate the buttons, but you’ll get them used to. As you could read on the manual, there are two types of pressing the buttons: “press-&-release” and “press-&-hold”.
Press-&-release the first button will turn the mic on or off. While press-&-release the second button will activate the absolute and relative measuring mode. Press-&-hold the first button will set the datum for the absolute mode. While press-&-hold the second button will convert the reading either to mm or inch.
Powered by a CR2032 battery, you don’t need to worry to replace it in case of runout because the battery is easy to get. In addition, like the other Igaging micrometer products, they come with a unit of ball anvil that can be used for tubing wall measurement.
- Transferrable data
- Good resolution
- Not too precise
12. Accusize Industrial Tools S916-C750 Micrometer with 5 Anvils
For accuracy, it’s graduated in 0.0001″ resolution and ± 0.00016” for its precision. Like other vernier micrometers, this resolution should be more than sufficient to cover various different measurements.
This one comes in a 1-inch measuring range from 0 to 1″. Fortunately, there are other 5 individual micrometers like this with different measuring ranges. You could purchase them both individually or in a set based on the requirements of your jobs.
- Great for machinist
- Comes in different measuring range up to 6″.
- Limited use
Ultimate Guide Buying A Micrometer
1. Take the Correct Type
There are three types of micrometers: outside, inside, and depth micrometers. Each of them is designed for different tasks. These are the dimension they can measure:
- Outside Micrometer: thickness, outside length, outside width, and outside diameter,
- Inside Micrometer: inside length, inside width, and inside diameter,
- Depth Micrometer: depth.
The very first step you have to take is to define the dimension you are going to measure. Since micrometer is not like the caliper, a kind dimension can only be measured by a certain micrometer.
2. Select The Correct Anvil
Select the appropriate anvil for the application you are facing. Besides the most commonly used flat anvil, there are lots of shapes available. For example, dealing with the thickness of a wall neck cartridge (tube wall thickness) is impossible with a typical outside micrometer. A kind of anvil that is designed standing perpendicularly toward the spindle is great to apply.
Moreover, a special anvil is needed to measure a piece of paper. The measuring faces have to be designed not pressing the paper too tight. In addition, the spindle must move without rotating.
3. Measurement Range
Unlike the calipers that provide greater measuring range, micrometers provide shorter. The most commonly used is a 1-inch range. However, there are actually other ranges typically for machinery jobs: 0-1″, 1-2″, 2-3″, 3-4″, 4-5″, 5-6″ and even up to 12″.
You could perform with another measuring tool first such as ruler or tape measure to roughly estimate the length, afterward, use the micrometer to measure further. For example, the reading with ruler shows it’s more than 2″, to measure accurately and precisely, use the 2-3″ ranged micrometer.
4. The Resolution, Accuracy, and Precision
In metrology; the science of measurement, there are three components of measurement: Resolution, Accuracy, and Precision.
- Resolution is the smallest value/number of a particular measuring tool that can read. The smaller it is, the greater it is. A typical standard of micrometer today has to provide more than 0.01 mm resolution. Else, you are better off buying caliper.
- Accuracy is the condition of uniformity between the measurement result of your tool and the actual value. The version of 1 inch of your micrometer has to exactly the same with the 1 inch that is established by international. In addition, the term of accuracy also refers to how small the uncertainty of a measurement. There will be an error that you cannot detect. That error is called uncertainty. The smaller it is, the better.
- Precision is how consistent your micrometer generates value from several repeated measurements. You repeat the measurement up to 20 times and the reading shows value “5” all the time, it’s consistent.
The combination of these three components builds a high quality accurate measuring tool.
5. Traceable to NIST
It’s easy to claim that a micrometer is accurate. Accurate is in accordance with the international standard reference.
But how can you tell that it’s accurate? One possible way is by having measurement traceability to an established standard reference.
It’s impossible to have your micrometer calibrated directly to international standards. The possible way is by means of a recognized metrology laboratory that is calibrated to the international standard. In this case, NIST fulfills that condition.
NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) is a national institute in the United States that functions to run measurement standard development and other related works.
When buying a micrometer, there may be a chance to request the NIST certificate. This is the way to calibrate your micrometer before it’s delivered to your house. This may cost you extra money.
However, a great micrometer commonly comes with a calibration certificate from the company labs. For example Mitutoyo. When you buy a Mitutoyo mic, you could see the certificate that comes with it. It’s not from NIST but from Mitutoyo. The certificate from Mitutoyo should be excellent for conditions that don’t require NIST certificate.
6. IP Rating (Water and Dust Resistance)
IP rating stands for Ingress Protection. It’s the rating to state how protected an object from dust and water ingress.
Not all micrometers meet the IP rating test. However, a typical digital micrometer should meet this qualification. An IP rated micrometer is important when it comes to measuring in a harsh environment. Water can suddenly splash. The micrometer also can possibly drop into a water vessel.
Moreover, a hidden error can happen because of the entrance of dust. As the dust enters, even a small interference can make a significant inaccuracy. An IP rated micrometer is important for highly accurate measurement.
7. Mechanical or Digital Micrometer?
Mechanical micrometer means those who work based on mechanical components inside the tool such as screw and dial micrometer. While digital micrometer applies electronic principle to make a measurement. Each type has different upside and downside:
- Mechanical Micrometer: Measuring with a mechanical micrometer makes you have to figure out the reading scales manually. It may take some time to calculate for some people. Aside from that, the user error can possibly occur as well. Moreover, they are also relatively less accurate in terms of resolution. However, they are relatively cheaper, no battery needed, and workable in any condition.
- Digital Micrometer: When people need to quickly read the reading, digital micrometers can handle it in handy. The most prominent thing about digital micrometers is its fast reading capability and easy to use. Most importantly, it has a greater resolution than the mechanical model. However, you need extra cost because it’s relatively expensive.
For more details, you could read our article that discusses this here “Mechanical Vs. Digital Micrometer“.
The buttons function to give some orders to the micrometer. Some familiar buttons we can find in a digital micrometer are:
- In/mm: This is what differentiates digital micrometers from the other type. You can easily convert the reading from inch to mm or vice versa.
- Zero(0)/ABS: This is another must-have button. The first push (Zero/0) lets you set zero position at any point you want. The second push (ABS=absolute) orders the zero position back to the factory setting.
- On/Off: to turn on and off the micrometer. Also, it’s to save battery power consumption.
- Origin: This is to set the zero position when the anvil and spindle are closed.
- Hold: to hold the reading so that you can easily read it even though you change the spindle face position.
- Data: If you click, it orders the data to be transferred into another device through the given interface.
9. Transferrable Data
With this feature, you can display, save and analyze data measurement on the other devices such as computers or tablets. Here are some interfaces available that we find so far:
- SPC cable. This is similar to USB cable.
- RS232 data cable connection. A typical data connection to a computer.
- Wireless Bluetooth. This is for wireless data transfer.
- Wireless USB. There will be the sender and receiver.
- Special cable made by the company.
You need to check the interface before buying it. Make sure your computer supports them to work properly.
10. Measuring Face Material: Is It Carbide Tipped?
The spindle and anvil measuring faces must be carbide-tipped. Carbide is a material that is more powerful than steel. It’s able to resist wear because of repetitive uses.
Fortunately, today’s most micrometers have been empowered with carbide. It’s highly recommended to pick out the carbide-tipped micrometers instead of the conventional stainless steel one.
11. Unit System: Imperial or Metric?
For those who are planning to buy the mechanical micrometers, don’t miss this. Unlike the digital in which you can convert the reading, the mechanical micrometers only provide a single unit reading. As a result, you need to convert it manually.
If you reside in the United States and familiar with imperial reading, then choosing a metric micrometer could be an issue later.
12. Manual Reading
Manual reading means the ability of the digital micrometer to remain able to measure when the power is off.
In other words, the thimble scale, the sleeve scale, and the vernier scale keep etched even though it’s a digital model.
However, in general, this kind of digital micrometer should be expensive.
13. Ratchet Stop or Ratchet Thimble?
As we know that ratchet functions to give a right pressure force to the object being measured.
There are two types of ratchet: Ratchet Stop and Ratchet Thimble.
The thimble that acts double as the ratchet and thimble is ratchet thimble. This allows you to operate it possibly with a single hand because it’s reachable by fingers.
While the ratchet stop has separated ratchet and thimble. This makes the ratchet fairly far and not easy to reach. If you prefer or will likely be working mostly in a single hand, then select ratchet thimble.
What Makes A Digital Micrometer the Best?
There are several aspects of a digital micrometer must have to be a great tool:
- Great Resolution.
- Excellent Accuracy.
- Traceable to NIST.
- Dust and Water Protected.
- Transferrable data.
- Complete Buttons.
- Origin / Absolute / True Zero.
- Carbide-tipped Faces.
What Makes A Mechanical Micrometer the Best?
There are some important things the mechanical micrometers must have:
- Good Resolution.
- Traceable to NIST
- Carbide-tipped Measuring Faces
- Etched Marks.
Time to Decide: Which Micrometer is to Pick?
People go to buy a micrometer because looking for a tool that is more accurate and precise than calipers. Therefore, when deciding, these two things (accuracy and precision) should be our first consideration. Afterward, consider other features.
In addition to deciding, we also take the price into account. This is normal as we are trying to get the best possible purchase with a minimum amount of money.
In this case, we undoubtedly recommend Mitutoyo 293-340-30 as the best micrometer overall. It’s worth every penny. You could request the NIST certificate calibration for professional purposes. For manufacturing quality, you could feel it by its incredible smooth rotating thimble. Further, it meets the IP65 rating for dust and water protection that keeps long last accuracy.
The only downside is no data plug for data transfer. However, the other model from the same series, Mitutoyo 293-334-30, provides that feature.
If you are looking for lower price rating mics, go to Vinca and Rexbety. They provide the same resolution but lower precision. If you don’t need that precise as Mitutoyo 293-340-30, they should be great for you.
Other lower-priced mics are from the mechanical/vernier model, Mitutoyo 103-177 and Anytime Tools are great considerations. However, they are less resolution. If your budget is under $100, pick Mitutoyo 103-177 (seen on the 9th of June, 2020). Go to Anytime Tools AT201872 if lower than $50 (seen on the 9th of June, 2020). If you are trying to buy a mechanical micrometer above $100, it’s better to buy Vinca.
To get the highest resolution micrometer, Mitutoyo 293-130 and Microtech are the only options available. They also allow you to transfer the measurement reading to the other device using the cable.