Tech team expert David Greer has been helping machinists and quality control technicians choose the right caliper for their application for over two decades. David's approach includes asking just two questions, and narrowing down the search from there.
When choosing A caliper, Ask YOurself 2 Questions:
Choosing the right caliper requires knowing the answer to these 2 questions:
1: What are you planning to do with the caliper?
2: How often are you planning to use the caliper?
These two questions can guide you to choosing the right quality caliper for you. If you are machining parts that require a higher level of accuracy and precision, then look at name brand calipers from Mitutoyo, Starrett and Tesa Brown & Sharpe. These calipers are high quality and include a one-year warranty for defects. If you are going to use the calipers every day, the name brand options will last you for years if you take care of them.
If you're checking items requiring a lower degree of precision, a lower cost caliper would be a suitable option. If you're using these calipers in a rough environment, or where they will be utilized very often, the calipers' longevity will be impacted. When using a low cost caliper, while you'll spend much less for them, you should anticipate their longevity will be limited and will require replacement more frequently than a high cost caliper will. You do get what you pay for!
Dial vs. digital calipers
The style of caliper you select should be dictated by both the most frequent application they'll perform and your comfort level/ability to take readings with ease. The dial caliper will always be my go-to. You will never have a battery die in a middle of a job. Once you get familiar with using this style, it will be no problem reading them. Digital calipers (electronic calipers) are easiest and fastest to read. They will take both inch and metric measurements in an instant. Some even have fractions on them. Provided you maintain your calipers, keep them clean, and store your calipers properly, a quality caliper will provide years of use. Most batteries will last for about one year – if you are going to store them for an extended period of time, be sure to remove the battery. Should your caliper be exposed to water, oil, dust or other contaminants, be sure to select a caliper with the proper ingress protection level.
WANT TO LEARN MORE about calipers?
Download our valuable caliper guide on the proper selection and usage of digital, dial, and Vernier calipers. Learn more advantages and disadvantages of each, and what to consider as determine the right caliper for your application. Find more information on:
- The fundamentals of calipers
- The features and appropriate use of digital, dial and Vernier calipers
- The benefits of caliper calibration
- Ingress Protection (IP) Ratings explained