7 Best Digital Calipers for Easy-to-Read Measurements

best digital calipers
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Digital calipers are not a new alternative to dial calipers, although a lot of consumers are reluctant to convert. This is due in no small part to the number of options available and the often confusing nature of digital caliper reviews.

The best digital caliper will be precise, easy to use, resistant to water, and have an easy to read screen. Each of the following calipers are good choices, whether you’re in the machining, metalworking, carpentry, engineering, or other related field.

Mitutoyo calipers are at the top of their class but come at a price so it all comes down to what you plan on using this tool for, and how often.

Our 7 Favorite Digital Calipers

ProductRangeAccuracyFractions?Made In
best-digital-caliper-2Mitutoyo 500-196-300 to 6"+/- 0.001"NoJapan
digital-calipers-reviewiGaging 100-700-330 to 6"+/- 0.001"YesChina
professional-digital-caliperMitutoyo 500-197-300 to 8"+/- 0.001"NoJapan
best-caliper-for-reloadingRCBS 873230 to 6"+/- 0.001"NoChina
igaging-caliper-reviewiGaging 100-333-8B0 to 6"+/- 0.001"YesChina
good-cheap-digital-caliperNeiko 01407A0 to 6"+/- 0.001"YesChina
eagems-digital-caliperEAGems0 to 6"+/- 0.0005"YesChina

Digital Caliper Reviews

#1 – Mitutoyo 500-196-30 Digital Caliper

best-digital-caliper-2When looking for a quality digital caliper, it doesn’t get better than the Japanese-made Mitutoyo’s 500-196-30. The advanced onsite sensor (AOS) is an electromagnetic inductive sensor which provides resistance against dirt, oil, and water.

It measures depth, inside, outside, and step values with an accuracy of .0005 inches or .01 millimeters for maximum precision.

The measuring range itself goes from zero to size inches (150 millimeters) and easily swaps between imperial and metric measurements. It can also switch between absolute and incremental measurement readings as needed.

Like other Mitutoyo calipers, this product includes a signed certificate of calibration specific to its unique serial number which is required for industrial and commercial applications. Also included is an SR44 silver oxide battery in its own packaging to ensure no power has been drawn prior to using. The Mitutoyo can be found in professional metal shops and auto repair shops as well as in home garages or on the reloading benches of gun and ammo enthusiasts who demand consistent precision.

Users of the 500-196-30 note that the quality can be felt the moment you open the package and pick the caliper up. The quality continues, with reports that the caliper doesn’t need to be reset unless you change the battery, as well as the ability to give stable, repeatable readings.

Customers who have bought other Mitutoyo calipers in the past note that the quality remains strong, while power use has become more efficient, leading to an even longer battery life.

The single biggest concern brought up by consumers isn’t regarding the caliper itself, but rather the risk of getting a counterfeit or knock-off tool instead of a genuine Mitutoyo.

Made in China instead of Japan like the real thing, these knock-offs have several features to watch out for. The two most obvious signs are the use of an LR44 battery instead of an SR44 and a display which only reads 0.000 and not 0.0000.

The official version reads in the ten-thousandths and always includes an SR44 battery which must be installed before using. The shipping information may show either China or Japan. When purchasing the 500-196-30, it is vital that you always purchase from a reputable online dealer.

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#2 – iGaging ‎100-700-33 Digital Caliper

digital-calipers-reviewIf you are looking for an electronic caliper that will go the extra mile and is capable of standing the test of time, then the iGaging 6-inch electronic caliper is an ideal fit. This digital caliper us engineered with durability in mind and is considered by many to be the best digital caliper for the money.

In addition to standard inch and metric measurements, this iGaging displays fractions up to 1/128th. It carries IP54 protection for enhanced water/dust resistance and uses super high accuracy, absolute memory technology.

Some users state that the iGaging caliper requires an occasional reset when in use. However, removing the caliper’s battery and replacing it while holding the jaws together for a period of one second, should reset the zero point.

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#3 – Mitutoyo 500-197-30 Digital Caliper

professional-digital-caliperFor those needing a premium digital caliper with a longer 0 to 8″ (0 to 200mm) scale, the Mitutoyo 500-197-30 is hard to beat. Made in Japan, this precision tool offers +/-0.001″ accuracy and 0.0005″ (0.01mm) increments for precise readings.

This electronic caliper measures inside diameter, outside diameter, and depth, proving extremely versatile. Also included is a SR44 silver oxide battery, protective case, and signed certificate of calibration specific to its serial number.

It is worth keeping in mind that the Mitutoyo Absolute Digital Caliper does not have an automatic on/off switch. However, keeping an extra battery on hand can eliminate issues, on the off chance that you fail to shut the caliper off following previous use.

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#4 – RCBS 87323 Digital Caliper

best-caliper-for-reloadingA household name in the reloading community, RCBS offers a high-quality digital caliper at a reasonable price with its 87323 model. Featuring a hardened stainless steel body and easy-to-read LED display, this caliper measures depth, external, internal, and step dimensions easily.

As with most calipers in its class, the 87323 is also able to switch easily between imperial and metric measurements.

Those who have purchased the RCBS model are quite pleased with the quality of this tool, paired with the relatively low price. The large display makes it easier for many users who have difficulty reading measurements on vernier and dial calipers.

Owners have also noted the high accuracy of up to 1000th of an inch and locking feature which speeds up multiple measurements.

The only common complaint about the 87323 is its lack of an automatic shut-off, which can lead to rapid battery drain if you forget to turn it off between uses. A few consumers have had issues with the auto-power and calibration.

It is unknown if these complaints have been due to a defective product, receiving a refurbished model, or have met with other problems. In most cases, notifying customer service has resulted in a working replacement.

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#5 – iGaging 100-333-8B Electronic Caliper

igaging-caliper-reviewIf you’re a fan of standard digital calipers, but have grown tired of poor quality units that are seemingly incapable of accurate measurement, then the iGaging 100-333-8B is worthy of your attention.

If your eyesight isn’t as good as it used to be, this caliper features one of the largest LCD displays available (2-3/8″ x 7/8″). It measures to .0000 in SAE mode, .00 in metric mode, or 1/128 inch as fractions.

The iGaging IP54 calipers are constructed of water, oil, and dust resistant hardened stainless steel. For its price, it is built quite well.

In certain cases, some consumers have had difficulty removing the 100-33-8B’s battery compartment cover. However, this issue can be resolved by wiggling the compartment lid left to right upon removal.

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#6 – Neiko 01407A Electronic Digital Caliper

good-cheap-digital-caliperThe Neiko 01404A digital caliper should make a welcomed addition to any toolbox, especially when one is in need of extremely accurate measurements.

These popular calipers feature a quick-change button that alternates between three measuring modes, including inch, fraction, and millimeter measures. For enhanced durability, these low priced calipers are constructed of highly polished stainless steel. 

It’s worth noting that these Neiko calipers (like others in this price range) don’t come with a certification of calibration. While most will find this to be of little concern, some consumers desire such a certification upon purchase.

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#7 – EAGems IP54 Digital Caliper

eagems-digital-caliperIf you’re new to the world of digital calipers, EAGems has created a good low-budget model that’s perfect for you. The caliper itself is hardened stainless steel with no plastic parts and an IP54 rating against dust and liquids.

The LCD screen provides large, easy to read numbers, unlike a traditional dial caliper. The display quickly switches between imperial, metric, and fractional measurements, with a range from zero to six inches (150 millimeters) and accuracy of .0005 inches, .01 millimeters, or 1/64 inches as a fraction.

The accuracy is allegedly better than others but confirming the difference between 0.0005″ and 0.001″ is literally impossible by the average person. Finally, a full, 2-year warranty is provided upon registration of the product.

This has been a winner with new consumers, as the company has been known to send a follow-up email explaining how to use digital calipers. Owners have also noted that customer service is always top-notch and the warranty provides some extra peace of mind in workshops where tools suffer plenty of use and abuse.

The quality of today’s lower cost entries can often surprise even veteran users and the EAGems is no exception. However, comparing its quality to a Mitutoyo would be a stretch.

One major problem seems to be common with this company and may affect your purchase. A few users have noted that their caliper seemed to have arrived used or refurbished, leading to calibration issues, a damaged retaining clip or bushing, or overly-sensitive sensor that will turn the caliper on when the case is simply moved.

For this reason, it is best to thoroughly inspect the caliper upon arrival for signs of use or wear.

Among those that have received a used product, it has been reported that EAGems customer service representatives are quick to send a replacement if contacted and shown photos illustrating the signs of prior usage. Again, purchasing from a well know online retailer is the best insurance you can have against any issue.

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digital caliper used for

What is a Digital Caliper Used For?

A digital caliper is a precision tool designed to read finite measurements to the highest possible degree of accuracy.

This tool is used for everything from automotive repair to woodworking, providing vital measurements for consideration. Such tooling is most apt at measuring thicknesses and can be used to compare such measurements across a larger plane.

Digital calipers are capable of taking extremely precise measurements, often as small as .0005″ (or .01 mm). This proves invaluable when attempting to make precise cuts, or when trying to determine the diameter of a specific seal. 

A digital caliper can be used to read the thickness of a given surface or can be used to determine the diameter of a bore. These measurements can then be recorded, and recounted as an accurate measure of the given surface that was measured.

Are Digital Calipers More Accurate Than Dial Types?

In general, digital calipers are far easier to read than standard dial type calipers. Calipers of this type also tend to be far more accurate than dial style calipers as well. This is due to the fact that digital calipers take all of the guesswork out of reading a given measurement. 

The use of digital calipers eliminates any need to squint while looking at undersized dash-marks, instead providing you with a concise reading of that which was measured.

Digital calipers also display measurements down to the decimal, thereby providing a far more accurate measure than that typically produced by a dial-style caliper. Some models even show fractional measurements for greater convenience.

What Sizes Do Digital Calipers Come In?

The most common sizes of digital calipers include 6″, 8″, 12″, 24″, or even 40″. This measure denotes the length of a caliper, as well as the maximum overall thickness of an object that can be measured.

Calipers on the larger end of this size spectrum are used to measure automotive parts and larger industrial components, while smaller 6″ calipers tend to be heavily used within the woodworking trade.

In terms of popularity, 6″ calipers still reign supreme, with 8″ or 12″ calipers coming in second. Calipers of this size prove quite versatile, and can be used to measure the vast majority of bores and surfaces that one will encounter during any given project. Most tend to be economically priced, making them a true value to the avid craftsman of any skill level.

Features to Look For

As with any tool, there are several key features worth looking for, when considering the purchase of a digital caliper. Each of these features hold distinct value, and should not be overlooked when comparing products in a side-by-side fashion.

The following are several key features to look for when seeking out a quality pair of digital calipers.

Battery Life

Few circumstances are as aggravating as pulling out a set of digital calipers, only to find that they lack sufficient charge for use. Simply put, a set of digital calipers with dead batteries are of little value.

Therefore, it is important to consider the size, type, and longevity of any battery that is specified for use in a particular caliper. Just like having an extra battery available for your cordless drill, having a backup battery for your digital caliper is a wise move.

Readout Complexities

While some digital calipers provide only a basic readout of any measurement that is to be taken, others provide users with an array of display options. These selections often include options for metric readings, imperial conversions, and fraction conversions.

It is up to you to determine whether or not such options provide value in their particular situation. Inches (decimals) and millimeters are standard on just about model but displaying inches with fractions are less common.


Many high-end digital calipers feature a backlit display, allowing for simplified reading in low-light conditions. While this feature might provide little value to some consumers, other users are likely to find favor in such intricacies.

This tends to be especially true for those who routinely work in confined or dimly lit spaces. Be aware than backlighting can greatly reduce the battery lifespan.

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