Vernier Vs. Dial Vs. Digital Caliper

What are the advantages and disadvantages of vernier, dial, and digital calipers? This is a great question. You may be wondering to buy which one is the best suited for your needs. Since it may be a bit time-consuming thinking of them, here we help you figure it out. On this page, we have a list of reasons why you have to choose one of them.

Vernier Caliper


  • Typical resolution is 0.001″ (0.02 mm) and accuracy is 0.001181102″ (0.03 mm).
  • In general, it’s relatively the most affordable compared to the dial and digital calipers
  • Durable, especially those which are made of stainless steel
  • No power source is needed, can be used anytime
  • Reliable accuracy as long as having good eyesight and improved caliper material
  • Displayed in both mm and inch. Some model has either metric (mm) or imperial (inch).
  • Usable in any condition: wet, dry, oily, near magnetic field, etc.


  • Slow reading, takes some steps to get the measurement result
  • The users have to be used with the two scales and figure out the total reading
  • More potential user errors such as improper eyesight angle (parallax error), etc.
  • Relatively tricky to calibrate, especially when the zero error happens.

digital dial vernier caliper

Dial Caliper



  • More expensive than a vernier caliper
  • Only available in a single unit system either mm (metric) or inch (imperial); some model has both mm and inch reading.
  • The rack and pinion are potentially broken when the caliper falls down, dumps, or crashes
  • A magnetic field may interfere with the reading

Digital Caliper


  • Digital caliper has a greater resolution than vernier and dial calipers. On the market, typical digital caliper resolution is 0.0005″ and its accuracy is ±0.001″.
  • Super easy, instant, and fast reading
  • Functional buttons such as conversion button from mm to inch for happier measuring journey
  • Easy zeroing, the zero points can be changed easily as wanted
  • Suitable for those who have trouble with eyesight
  • Reliable accuracy, better resolution than vernier and dial
  • A particular digital caliper has an SPC cable slot to transfer measurement data to other devices such as smartphone, tablet, and computers
  • If it’s IP rated, it can be used in harsh environment.


  • Relatively the most expensive
  • Sensitive to the magnetic field, water, dirt, and oil
  • Not work without a power source (battery); you have to remove the battery if it will not be used for a long time
  • Need careful treatment

Our Verdict

People have their own preferences. Suppose that all the types have reliable accuracy and precision, the next consideration is the number of checklists above. Our first verdict is to choose a vernier caliper since it provides all the basics you’ll have during the use of a caliper. This is important to let you learn the basics.

You only need to be familiar with and it takes some practice. Afterward, a vernier caliper becomes your best friend in any situation and condition. Make sure you buy the vernier with the best material in order to perform better rather than cheap plastic or cheap metal ones.

When you need a digital caliper? Yap, it’s beautiful stuff you have to take care of. However, it performs nicely. Especially if you buy a high-quality product such as from Mitutoyo or Starrett. It provides better reading speed compared to either vernier caliper or dial caliper, with some functional buttons to ease your measuring activity. The high-end model could provide features such as data transfer, durability against wear and tear, and protection against water and dust from being ingressed to the sensitive part.

If you require a caliper that is faster but no need to buy any battery, then dial caliper is where to go. Its dial scale is easier to calculate. There is less eye sight error.

1 thought on “Vernier Vs. Dial Vs. Digital Caliper”

  1. Great over view, Take or just Taken one of them. All leads to micrometers, learn how to read the scales, jump start with a Vernier Caliper then off to the races.
    Worm Regards,
    To All

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