Top Rated Manual Micrometers [Updated 2020]
When it comes to precision measurements, no tool can serve the purpose better than the good, old micrometer.
Small, sleek and accurate, mics are considered one of the most important tools to have in the toolbox and, despite the proliferation of new, advanced equipment, they are often the first tool that inspectors reach for on the shop floor.
For this reason, when shopping for a new micrometer, you should always aim for the best model. It might cost you a little more, but you’ll be guaranteed to have an extremely accurate instrument that will last you a very long time.
From material to resolution, the variables to consider when selecting a micrometer are numerous and all equally important. We collected them all and made them easier to digest in our ultimate guide to micrometers that you can read here.
One of the main things to decide before getting started with your research is if your next micrometer will be digital or manual. Manual or mechanical micrometers are the most common type. They apply the working principle of the screw and nut to create an amazing magnification. Digital micrometers, on the other hand, apply electronic principles to take a measurement. There are pros and cons for each type. You can read more about digital micrometers here.
Our goal is to help you find the best manual micrometer. (If you are considering a digital mic, check out our review of the Top 5 Digital Micrometers for Machinists or read our Ultimate Guide to Micrometers.)
To learn which manual micrometers are the most popular among metalworkers in 2020, we asked the Practical Machinist community to share their top picks. There were five particular models that dominated the conversation. Here’s what they were, in order from least to most popular.
If you are looking for a micrometer set, this is a great option. This set includes insulated frames to work against any expansion and contraction from heat and carbide measuring faces for durability. Casing included for convenient storage and protection. A great option if affordability is a priority.
This tool is known for its reliability and features carbide measuring faces for wear resistance and a friction thimble that supports quiet and one-handed operation. When you buy this tool, you also get a hex key, spanner wrench, and storage case.
This model has made quite the name for itself. Keep in mind this tool reads in metric units. Including the satin chrome finish for easy readings and the tungsten carbide facing on the spindle and anvil provides wear resistance. It also has a heat insulated frame that reduces temperature related expansion and contraction.
Claimed to be a bit heavier than its competitor Mitutoyo, this model is definitely a fan favorite. The friction thimble enables repeatability and the high-grade tool steel construction enables durability. For many Practical Machinist members, satin chrome finish is a must as it supports optimal reading visibility, and this Starrett micrometer has it. It also has a locking ring mechanism, as opposed to a lever-type, for securing locking of the measurement position. If you prefer the lever-type locking mechanism, keep reading! For more reviews about Starrett micrometers, check out this Practical Machinist forum thread.
The Mitutoyo micrometer was the most mentioned and recommended manual micrometer. Members of the Practical Machinist community raved about the lightweight quality of the tool. This tool has all the advanced features: a friction thimble, flat, carbide-tipped measuring faces for durability, and most importantly, that beloved chrome finish. It also features a lever-type mechanism to securely lock measurements.
Do you have experience with any of the manual micrometers mentioned above or a favorite model that didn’t make this list? Share with us in the comments.
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