Ben recently asked readers for inexpensive caliper recommendations, and you guys came back with some great recommendations – thank you!
But if you’re not quite shopping on a tight budget, Mitutoyo digital calipers are a solid pick. Mitutoyo has been my preferred brand when it comes to precision measuring equipment, and from the comments to Ben’s post, many of you feel the same.
Years ago, I needed good calipers. I watched the sales at Enco (which has since been absorbed into MSC), and bought Mitutoyo 500-196-20 digital calipers. At the time, the NIST-traceable certificate version was less expensive (I paid under $100). I also bought vernier calipers at around the same time. Since then, I picked up dial calipers as well.
The current version of my calipers is 500-196-30. Like my -20, it features a 0-6″ measurement range, ±0.001″ accuracy, and 0.0005″/0.01mm LCD resolution. It also has AOS (active onsite sensor) tech which is said to offer increased battery life and resistance to dirt, water, and oil that can lead to false readings.
Like other digital calipers, you can change between inch and metric units at ease. There’s an origin reset button, as well as a zero/absolute button for switching between absolute and relative measurements.
You can make outside or inside measurements, or use the rear shaft for making depth measurements.
There’s a thumb roller for easy and controllable adjustments, and a locking knob. The caliper takes SR44 batteries. It comes in a plastic case.
What’s so good about Mitutoyo digital calipers? Honestly, I can’t tell you how these differ from less expensive calipers you can find for a fraction of the price. I started with Mitutoyo and never looked back. But what I can tell you is that it has been bulletproof for me. My Mitutoyo digital caliper has been reliable, accurate, repeatable, and simply perfect. I’ve had mine for more than 11 years now, and it’s still going strong.
It’s not just a tool, it’s a precision instrument.
Not everyone needs to step up to Mitutoyo, but I’ve also never heard of anyone regretting doing so.
There are other sizes, but generally 0-6″ is a good start.