Digital Calipers

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Mikegtr

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How accurate are digital calipers? Cheap vs expensive? Those of you who use them frequently and need an accurate reading which make would you use? Do not buy cheap ones?

Your advice welcome.
 
You decide the accuracy you need and then use the tools that can meet that requirement, for precision then you would use a micrometer but for most of us a digital vernier is more than adequate for our day to day task and I use Mitutoyo but there are others like Igaging and Moore and wright but don't go bargain basement .
 
Only 1 choice for me -mituttoyo .i got these via snap on over 12 yrs ago and they are as accurate as i could ever need . Dont smoke anymore but i could blind measure cigarette papers and tell you what colour pack ghey were from eg red green or blue or silver . Main uses are for when my woodwork gets morphed with metalwork or if i wanted to route a groove for a glass panel etc Or simply checking the diameter of a drill bit or bolt ..avoid real cheap plastic carp but plenty of other decent makes ( halfords pro, sealey , ) to name but 2 ..
 

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...I could blind measure cigarette papers...

Does that mean you had the ones with the talking output as well as the visual display?

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Digital calipers eat batteries. The 'off' button only switches off the display. If you use them infrequently, that can be a problem.

A good dial caliper will measure just as well as a digital one, but clearly is limited to only a single measurement system.
 
Does that mean you had the ones with the talking output as well as the visual display?

---

Digital calipers eat batteries. The 'off' button only switches off the display. If you use them infrequently, that can be a problem.

A good dial caliper will measure just as well as a digital one, but clearly is limited to only a single measurement system.
Blind as in im given a paper and i could tell what colour box it came from .. ive never had good eyesight hence a quality digital gauage and as you mention they will switch between metric and imperial ..
 
I bought a couple of digital vernier's from Lidl about 5 years back......Still working fine and, as far as I can tell, still reading accurately and using the same batteries that they came with, but I do remove the batteries from them when I've finished using them.

I've found that a lot of the small CR celled measuring devices will drain the batteries if they are not removed, even when the device is turned off.....
 
I find them invaluable especially for measuring drill sizes etc. However I went through about six cheap Chinese verniers before giving up on the £10 specials off ebay. They all simply stopped working . I shelled out for a Mitutoyo and have had no problems after two years. Buy once, cry once. :rolleyes:
 
The specs on my digital calipers are 0.01mm resolution with an error limit of 0.03mm / 0.001"
The accuracy of their standard range of dial gauges is essentially the same.
If you want micron (0.001mm) resolution, you have to step up to a micrometer or a higher precision gauge.
If you want the good stuff, buy Mitutoyo or Mahr. But if you buy Mitutoyo, be aware that there are fakes about so be wary if you see a deal that looks too good to be true.

Interesting observation:
I have 3 generations of the same digital micrometer made by Mahr.
The 20 year old set have 1 year battery life, the 10 year old set have 2 years battery life and the latest generation I think are good for 3 yrs all on the same type of battery.

My own experience of cheap digitals is that you need to take the battery out after use or they will be flat in a few weeks. Mitutoyo and Mahr electronics have far lower "parasitic drain" and batteries are good for at least a year.
 
I do prefer dial calipers like @loftyhermes , the battery does always run out at a critical point on digital stuff.
However, I was in a situation wher I needed a caliper and could not get to my workshop so I bought a budget Minotaur digital caliper set from toolstation, it is actually pretty good and its quite nice to have 2 calipers anyway.
Its not a Mitutoyo but for the price I am very happy with it.
Depending on what you are doing a micrometer may be better or more suitable.

Ollie
 
The specs on my digital calipers are 0.01mm resolution with an error limit of 0.03mm / 0.001"
The accuracy of their standard range of dial gauges is essentially the same.
If you want micron (0.001mm) resolution, you have to step up to a micrometer or a higher precision gauge.
If you want the good stuff, buy Mitutoyo or Mahr. But if you buy Mitutoyo, be aware that there are fakes about so be wary if you see a deal that looks too good to be true.

Interesting observation:
I have 3 generations of the same digital micrometer made by Mahr.
The 20 year old set have 1 year battery life, the 10 year old set have 2 years battery life and the latest generation I think are good for 3 yrs all on the same type of battery.

My own experience of cheap digitals is that you need to take the battery out after use or they will be flat in a few weeks. Mitutoyo and Mahr electronics have far lower "parasitic drain" and batteries are good for at least a year.
I,m on the 2nd battery in years for my vernier and are not removed . My micrometer is not used Much so batteries are removed ..
 
I have the Lidl digital calipers for about 20 years (maybe a bit more) and they seem to be fairly accurate (measuring the thickness of my bouzouki strings i.e). As for the battery I thing I have changed it twice so far, without ever removing it when not in use.
 
My Mitutoyo seems to use no battery - always leaving it on and it is now a couple of years on the original battery…

Previous no name cheap version - gave constant battery drain
 
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I bought a cheap one years ago from Maplin, and I use it and trust it every day. It does turn itself off if left on, and not just the display (unlike my trend digital angle meter for which I am for ever putting in new batteries even though I don’t use it much at all.
So it’s great, and sorry this doesn’t help you at all as Maplin has long gone and there is no manufacturer label on the tool!!
 
Digital calipers are usualy within a +/- 0.02mm tolerance but so much depends on your "feel" for the pressure you exert on the measured piece. Having said that about calipers I have a set of sylvac pros which do measure to 0.001mm but they are very expensive and I believe the only ones available that can measure that accurately.

A lot of older micrometers only measure to 0.01mm leaving the user to extrapolate the measurenent between 0.01mm and 0.001mm but digital micrometers will measure to 0.001. Again the "feel" is important and it helps if you have a ratchet or slipping clutch on the end. Even then always give it a consistent 3 turns once the anvil is seated on the part being measured to get a consistant reading.


Gerry
 
For wood and lots of metalwork you can’t beat IMO a manual vernier. Never need to worry about zero, battery or loosing the count. Now, a good Moore and Wright for instance manual vernier is a fraction of the cost of a decent digital caliper. Accuracy, around a thou or 20 microns, but that’s dependant of how well you read the scale.
If you want to get to microns then again a good manual micrometer is IMO your best friend. A decent one will not cost a fortune secondhand. You need a couple of gauge blocks or a setting piece to check its calibration / accuracy when buying. Equally new, they a fraction of a digital unit.
 

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