Dial or Digital? Gauging the Right Option

by Michelle S. on December 25, 2013

Standard or plastic, waterproof or solar… with all the types of calipers available, finding the best fit for your application can seem overwhelming. The first step may be to determine whether a dial or digital version is right for you. Read on to discover the differences and benefits of each.

Dial Calipers Dial calipers use a gear system to move the dial in increments of one one-thousandth of an inch. Convenient and easy to use, dial calipers don’t require batteries and work well even when damp. However, they are easily knocked out of alignment if dropped, can be difficult to recalibrate, and are usually either imperial OR metric – but not both.

Digital Calipers Digital calipers are based on a capacitance system, and easily convert from inches to metric readings. Because gears are not involved, they are more shock-proof and won’t be knocked out of alignment. They can, however, become damaged or offer inaccurate readings if wet. Specially designed waterproof versions are available from brands like Mitutoyo for harsh fluid environments.

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