Vernier Calipers: Best Models and Why You Should Use Them [Updated 2020]
Calipers are one of the most common tools that you’ll find in a machine shop. Traditionally used to measure the straight distance between two points, they are also very useful when it comes to measuring the diameter of round objects or holes.
Although deemed less accurate than micrometers, calipers are generally used more frequently than their counterparts as they require less “finesse” and can be used for other tasks besides tolerance measuring. They can measure a part’s inside and outside dimensions, depth, and thickness. However, not all calipers are the same. Besides being available in different sizes – ranging from 6” up to several feet – calipers come in three different types: Vernier, dial and digital.
Although digital calipers are the most popular type these days (at least according to the Practical Machinist community), some machinists still choose to use the Vernier model for a number of reasons:
- They are generally cheaper than their electronic counterpart.
- They are easier to read than dial calipers.
- They can last much longer.
- They don’t need to have their batteries replaced.
To learn which Vernier calipers are the most popular among metalworkers in 2020, we asked the Practical Machinist community via social media to share their favorite models. Additionally, an apparent discrepancy over the accuracy of Vernier calipers surfaced between generations, with younger folks not fully trusting the tool’s capabilities. However, long time Vernier Caliper users strongly denied that notion.
If you’re in the market for a new Vernier caliper, you are in the right place. Here are the top picks from the Practical Machinist community.
New Vernier Caliper Models
This caliper features a satin chrome finish that is not only easy on the eyes but also protects the tool. The raised sliding surfaces prevent defacement and wear of the scale’s graduations and the 14-degree face angle reduces the possibility of parallax errors.
TESA designed and Swiss made, this Vernier caliper also has the highly desired satin chrome finish for glare-free, easy readings. This model features a long Vernier bearing surface which improves both rigidity and ease of reading which is why this tool operates so smoothly.
Featuring both inch and metric measuring range and 0.001″/0.02mm graduation, this Starrett model is great for measuring the inside and outside diameter of holes, grooves, and tube thickness, along with the depth and step measurement of bores and grooves. This tool is durable and wear resistant thanks to its hardened steel depth rod.
Helios, not a brand you hear every day, came to the forefront of the Vernier caliper conversation on our Facebook page. This tool features matte chrome finish and comes with a thread chart on the back. Accuracy of 0.05 mm according to DIN 862 standards.
Used Vernier Caliper Models
When it comes to measurement tools, it’s typically better to invest in a new tool, but purchasing used tooling is also a good option. Like anything else, do your homework and you should have success. There is an interesting thread on the Practical Machinist forum full with different perspectives of purchasing used tooling.
To help ensure a positive experience when purchasing used tooling, keep these things in mind. First: Check seller reliability. This can be determined through reviews and number of items sold. Second: Make sure a legitimate transaction can be made with means for accountability, for example eBay’s money back guarantee. Third: Thoroughly read all product descriptions so there are no surprises when your tool arrives. And lastly, don’t be afraid to ask the seller questions about the tool to make sure your needs are met. If these steps are taken, buying used, can be both a sustainable and affordable option and can make for quite the unique tooling collection.
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