When it comes to precision measurements, digital calipers are indispensable tools. You can find so many options and models available that sometimes it can be overwhelming to choose the right one that delivers the results you require or adapts to your personal taste. In this buyer’s guide, we’ll take a closer look at the key factors to consider so that you’re able to make a wise choice during your next tool-shopping adventure.
What is a Digital Caliper?
Digital calipers are measurement tools that use a linear encoder to quantify the distance of small objects. The tool displays the measurement on an LCD screen which makes for precise measurements and stops the need for error-prone manual interpretation of a scale. It is battery-operated and comes with a convenient thumbwheel that is made to slide jaws forward or backward to achieve the desired measurement.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Digital Caliper
1. Resolution, Accuracy, and Precision
Do you know the difference between resolution, accuracy, and precision? These are all separate metrics that need to be considered when choosing a quality measuring tool.
Resolution simply refers to the number of decimal places that the tool can display. Budget calipers might only report to 0.01” or 0.1 mm with higher quality ones reporting measurements to the nearest 0.0005” or 0.01 mm.
Accuracy is how closely the calipers’ measurements are guaranteed to conform to international measurement standards. Accuracy is specified as a tolerance such as ±0.0010” or ±0.02mm. The smaller the number, the better the accuracy and the closure your measurement will match the true size. This number is of more importance than resolution because even if you had “high resolution” calipers that reported ten decimal places, if they were only accurate to two decimal places, you could only trust the first two decimal places of your measurement.
Precision is synonymous with repeatability and is one of the most important metrics for identifying the quality of a tool. Have you ever had a measuring instrument like a speedometer that always showed 5 mph below your actual speed or a scale that always reported 10 lbs more than your actual weight? This is an example of a repeatable measurement, but not an accurate one. High-quality tools are built to exact tolerances to provide precise (repeatable) measurements like our digital calipers with ±0.0005” (±0.01mm) precision. When you have a tool that is providing consistent measurements, that indicates that it is a high-quality tool. If measurements are consistent but inaccurate, usually it means that you have a precision tool that just needs to be recalibrated.
To summarize, resolution tells you the number of digits, accuracy tells you how well the tool is calibrated, and precision refers to repeatability which indicates the build quality of the tool.
To deliver more accurate and repeatable measurements, this Olsa Tools Digital Caliper includes an upgraded digital sensor that measures high-resolution metallic markings hidden behind the measurement strip. These upgraded features that surpass other low-grade digital calipers on the market, plus exacting machining on all the stainless steel surfaces, resulting in a reliable, professional-grade tool. Plus, it comes with a serialized calibration report for peace of mind.
2. Range and Measurement Modes
The digital caliper's range refers to the maximum distance that it can measure. Calipers come in various ranges, from around 4 inches to 12 inches or more. When considering your best option, think of the maximum measurement you'll need to handle and pick a caliper with a range that accommodates it. This caliper comes with measurements of up to 6 inches (150 mm) and converts between millimeters, inches, and fractional inches.
Most dial calipers measure only one standard and most digital calipers only measure in inches and mm. However, Olsa Tools adds a third by also providing fractional inches which can be handy when working with Imperial-sized nuts and bolts.
In terms of durability, stiffness, corrosion resistance, and longevity, the right material is what matter the most. Calipers are made from stainless steel, carbon fiber, and plastic, but in general, the material should be chosen based on your needs.
For experienced settings and straightforward measurements, stainless steel or carbon fiber may be the best digital caliper material pick. While for hobbyist applications or occasional use, a plastic caliper may be sufficient.
At Olsa Tools, our products are built with professionals in mind. To guarantee efficient results, this digital caliper is constructed from hardened stainless steel which is suitable to perform nicely under professional applications while also being durable.
4. Ease of Use
Several things facilitate the tool's operation. Here’s a list of them:
- Easy-to-read display screen: If you want to make your job easier with clear readings, choose a digital caliper with a large display. It is ideal for the task, especially in low-light conditions.
- Simple controls: Digital calipers with simple and intuitive controls can make it easier to switch between measurement modes and zero the display.
- Smooth thumbwheel: A smooth sliding mechanism ensures that the caliper moves freely and provides accurate and consistent readings.
- Auto-shut-off: A digital caliper with an auto-shut-off function can help save battery life by automatically turning it off after a period of inactivity.
Many older-style calipers use 1.5V LR44 zinc button cells which are notorious for corroding and going dead in a short period of time. When shopping for new digital calipers, look for modern ones that use a 3V CR2032 lithium coin cell instead. Though they'll still run out eventually, the lithium batteries will last far longer than their zinc counterparts.
The most important thing when choosing the best digital caliper is selecting one that adapts to your needs and performs well under different applications. Considering the above-mentioned factors ensures you have a tool that is your loyal companion for years. The Olsa Tools Digital Caliper is here to help you solve your measurement need. Remember that it comes with a serialized calibration report, a limited lifetime warranty and a 100% satisfaction guarantee!