Digital Calipers

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I got the Lidl digital caliper a few years ago, it has been good enough for my woodworking and the battery life doesn't seem to be a problem 👍

In contrast I got their digital angle finder at the same time and that was awful! The battery went flat in about a week but it didn't matter as the locking knob didn't work so they went straight in the bin (n)
I had a cheapy for several years and not only did it run down the battery all too quickly,it reached the point where it became inconsistent-it went in the wheely bin once the battery had been removed.I had a lingering suspicion that the foam in the lid of the case might have been pressing on the on/off switch.I've had a traditional vernier since the 80's and it never causes any concern.I did replace the faulty digital item with a Mitutoyo but I'm not convinced it wasn't one of the copies that were around a few years ago and don't really mind-as long as it works.
Thanks everybody for your knowledge---very useful info. Much appreciated.

Anybody use Moor & Wright (British Made) digital calipers? If so your thoughts on them?
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Anybody use Moor & Wright (British Made) digital calipers? If so your thoughts on them?
They look cheap and as machining mechanical measuring tools doesn't teach you how to design digital electronics, I'd be amazed if this product wasn't a generic product made for M&W by someone else with just some cosmetic branding.
It's not to say they are bad, just that the M&W name probably adds little value in this context.
I have a 20+yr old M&W combination square and value it highly. I'd be gutted if I damaged it because the current production of the same thing is not as well made.
The Moore & Wright ones look so close to the eBay 'tenner a throw ones', I'd bet they're not manufactured in the UK, but just re-finished Chinese ones.
However it does say something about how good that product line is that M&W would put their name to it.

I've a couple of pairs bought for about £8 off eBay years ago and have found them reliable and consistent with my other measuring tools. Batteries last around a year, which seem fine, but displays are almost unreadable when the temperature get close to freezing.
Absolutely great for woodwork, but I wouldn't trust them for critical precision metal engineering.
Thanks everybody for your knowledge---very useful info. Much appreciated.

Anybody use Moor & Wright (British Made) digital calipers? If so your thoughts on them?
I have the MW110 Digital Caliper which I got to replace an Axminster own brand model a few years ago (it was before lockdown). It does the job accurately enough for my woodworking and I’ve had no issues with battery life (I think I’ve replaced it once) or with the display but I’ve probably never used it in freezing conditions!
I would agree that micrometers don't but the vernier gives a quick measurement providing you accept some wood is soft so easy to lose true thickness.
Yes for sure and a previous post mentioned the pressure you apply , i just find the digital vernier is second to none for confirming if a 6mm drill bit is actually 6mm or the steel or brass rod is the diameter you expect it to be . I dont need to be super accurate but close enough to get a tight fit or 1/2 mm of clearance ..
I have a cheapish vernier caliper which doesn't need batteries, measures to a fiftieth of a mm and if treated with respect will still function for my great grandson or longer.
I have 2 dial gauge calipers, one in stainless steel for more precision work and a plastic one for less important stuff. The plastic one is a Shinwa, only reads to 0.1mm but is perfectly adequate for woodwork, roughly gauging a drill bit diameter and checking material thickness when using my lunchbox planer.
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.

That's what the wheel is for on calipers, to regulate the pressure applied.
Thanks everybody for your knowledge---very useful info. Much appreciated.

Anybody use Moor & Wright (British Made) digital calipers? If so your thoughts on them?
I have Moore & Wright Calipers and Micrometer and am very happy with them. My dad was an Engineer trained in the early 1950s and swore by M&W. The micrometer is his, calipers were bought a few years ago.
I prefer to use dial calipers -in my youth I was used to vernier ones but since my eyesight isn't so good I find dial gauge calipers easier/faster to use!
I have two a cheapo no-brand ss one that was less than £20 which developed a lumpy spot on the sliding action after dropping it onto a concrete floor, and so as a backup a genuine Mitutoyo one that reads down to 0.02mm per graduation.
I do have a Lidl purchased digital one but have never used it in anger because the battery is always running out..
I have a Moore & Wright digital plus a couple of the generic cheapy versions. The battery in the M&W lasts for ages while the other two drained very quickly. As far as I can remember there was some blurb with the M&W that claimed it was a UK product. Regardless, there's clearly a fundamental difference between it and the generic types, at least as far as the on/off switch isolating the battery and removing the parasitic drain.
Thanks everybody for your knowledge---very useful info. Much appreciated.

Anybody use Moor & Wright (British Made) digital calipers? If so your thoughts on them?
Hey Mikegtr,

I have a set of Moore and Wright 150mm digital callipers and they are excellent.

Must have changed the battery once in several years, and that is with it being kept in a workshop which sometimes gets to around freezing.

main thing that impresses me about them is that even though theres a 'reset zero' button, its not once gone even a smidge out of whack.

As others have mentioned, having the little knurled wheel to regulate thumb pressure is a great feature.

i made the mistake of buying cheap ones off amazon first time round, they got returned, they were rubbish.

I would have no problem recommending M&W digital calipers.
Digital callipers are so straightforward to use that I guess most of us don't bother to read the instructions, which often call for a 1.55V silver oxide cell to be used - not a 1.5V one. I suspect that the short battery life that many mention is due to using 1.5V alkaline or zinc manganese cells rather than silver oxide. Under 'troubleshooting' the instructions will generally say:


Power Source: One silver oxide 1.55V LR44, capacity 180 mAh. Current <20uA

'Troubleshooting': Digits flash randomly or all five digits flash simultaneously: Battery Voltage below 1.45V.


Not only do alkaline/zinc chloride cells have a lower voltage of 5V when new, they have a a lower capacity, and quite a different discharge curve. If you look at the attached discharge graph of a 1.5V LR44 zinc manganese cell, you will see that it doesn't take long for the voltage to fall below 1.45V. Conversely if you look at the discharge curve of the SR44 silver oxide cell, you will see that the voltage remains stable at well above 1.5V until it expiries and the voltage falls off a cliff. Hence, it doesn't 'run down' - it dies when its distance has run.

I always use silver oxide, in my callipers and they last at least a year.

It's easy to make a mistake when buying them, even though it does usually state either alkaline 1.5V or Silver Oxide 1.55V on the package.

EG, these are both Energizer brand, both LR44, and both packages look almost identical except for the small print:

1.5V Alkaline:

1.55V Silver Oxide:

People often say 'I can buy a sheet full of LR44 cells from Poundland. Well yes you can, but what you see isn't always what you get.

As to the title of this thread, the terms 'cheap' & 'expensive' are subjective.

To my mind, £20 is more than enough to pay - a lot of them are fairly generic, whatever the brand. I think the 100% plastic ones are best avoided - all the rest are stainless steel. I sometimes use mine for measuring fine wire gauges, (0.03mm - 0.1mm) and all three of my callipers measure the same. +/- 1% and 2 decimal places is quite adequate for my needs. I'm an old guy in a garden shed - I'm not putting rockets into space.

Just my thoughts.


  • LR44 Alkaline cell datasheet.pdf
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  • SR44 Silver Oxide cell datasheet.pdf
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