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Best Digital Calipers 2020 – Reviews & Buying Guide

Last Updated on August 20, 2020

a digital caliper

If you have a profession or a hobby that requires precise measuring, you will need a good pair of calipers. You can get ones that you read with the naked eye, but the most accurate ones are digital. Those are the ones that we will concentrate on today.

There are so many brands of calipers on the market that it can be confusing when you start looking at them. We have reviewed many different brands and models of digital calipers and would like to share our favorite five with you.

Comparison Table (updated in 2020)

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Mitutoyo 500-196-30 Mitutoyo 500-196-30
  • Resistant to dirt, oil, and water
  • Accurately measures to within 0.0005-inch
  • Measures the inside, outside, step or depth of an object
  • Second place
    EAGems IP54 EAGems IP54
  • Auto On/Off
  • Position lock
  • Measures inches, millimeters, or fractions
  • Best Value
    Third place
  • Digital LCD display
  • Includes data transfer port
  • Accurate to within 0.001 of an inch
  • RCBS Electronic RCBS Electronic
  • Instant reading on LCD display
  • Measures in inches and millimeters
  • Measures inside, outside, step and depth of an object
  • OEMTOOLS 25363 OEMTOOLS 25363
  • Stainless steel
  • Measures zero to six inches
  • Large, easy-to-read LCD display
  • The 5 Best Digital Calipers

    1. Mitutoyo 500-196-30 Digital Caliper – Best Overall

    Mitutoyo 500-196-30 Digital Caliper

    The Mitutoyo 500-196-30 Digital Caliper is our favorite out of all the calipers we looked at because it offers you so much.

    These calipers measure from zero to six inches in 0.0005 increments, giving you extreme accuracy. They can measure in inches and millimeters, and the final measurement is digitally displayed on a large, easy-to-read LCD display screen.

    You want calipers that are made to last, and these ones are made from stainless steel. It is an extremely durable material that is resistant to dirt, oil, and water. This will keep the tool working at its best and give it a longer shelf life.

    These Mitutoyo calipers can measure the inside or the outside of an item, as well as its step or depth. These are a great go-to tool for all your measuring needs. We have found that they are extremely sensitive, though. They can’t handle any pressure once contact has been made with the item being measured.

    These calipers come with an SR44 silver oxide battery and protective case. The only real issue is that this is a delicate tool that you’ll want to keep protected from objects that may be around it. The case that they come in is too big for the tool itself, and there is no padding inside to protect it.

    • Measures zero to six inches
    • Accurately measures to within 0.0005-inch
    • LCD digital display
    • Measures in inches or millimeters
    • Resistant to dirt, oil, and water
    • Measures the inside, outside, step or depth of an object
    • Includes SR44 silver oxide battery and protective case
    • Extremely sensitive
    • Case too big for tool and has no padding

    2. EAGems IP54 Digital Calipers

    EAGems Digital Caliper IP54

    The EAGems Digital Caliper IP54 is our second favorite. It has a lot going for it, but has a few more flaws than the Mitutoyo calipers have.

    These calipers also have a digital LCD display, and measure from zero to six inches in increments of 0.0005 for near-perfect accuracy. Like the Mitutoyo, the EAGems can measure in inches or millimeters, but this set also measures in fractions.

    This tool has an auto on/off feature to help keep your battery good longer. The issue here is that this tool tends to turn itself on without your knowledge, which of course drains the battery. The screw that holds the battery door shut is too short to keep the door closed. It keeps popping open, and the battery falls out.

    It also has a position lock on it, but this lock doesn’t hold very well, no matter how much you tighten it down. This allows the calipers to slide while you are using them and makes it easier to get an imprecise measurement. This is also a heavy tool.

    It does come with IP54 protection, though, to protect it from dust and water. That will add to the lifetime of the tool.

    • Measures zero to six inches
    • Digital LCD display
    • Accurate to within 0.0005 of an inch
    • Measures inches, millimeters, or fractions
    • Auto On/Off
    • IP54 Protected
    • Position lock
    • Locking screw doesn’t hold well, allowing the calipers to slide
    • Battery door screw is too short
    • Sometimes turns itself on, draining the battery
    • Heavy

    3. VINCA DCLA-0605 Digital Vernier Caliper – Best Value

    VINCA DCLA-0605 Digital Vernier Caliper

    We have voted that the VINCA DCLA-0605 Digital Vernier Caliper is the best that you can get for your money. Although it isn’t a top-of-the-line tool, it isn’t at the bottom either. It does a pretty good job for what you pay for.

    These stainless steel vernier calipers also measure zero to six inches. The readings are displayed on a digital LCD display to within 0.001 of an inch of accuracy. It has the option to measure in inches, millimeters, or fractions, and it even has a data transfer port that conveniently allows to you move your measurements into your computer.

    There are a few issues with this tool, though. The computer runs continuously whether the device itself is on or off. It uses a constant 27uA at all times, which shortens the battery life to about six months. That is if you can keep it in. The door that holds the battery in is too close to the locking wheel. Every time you bump it, the door pops open, and the battery falls out.

    These calipers don’t slide very smoothly. The outside jaws are wobbly, and the inside jaws don’t align properly. These can all throw off your calibration, so you’ll want to check them often to make sure they are still giving you accurate readings.

    • Measures zero to six inches (or 150 mm)
    • Digital LCD display
    • Accurate to within 0.001 of an inch
    • Measures inches, millimeters, or fractions
    • Stainless steel
    • Includes data transfer port
    • Uses 27uA even when off
    • Battery cover falls off
    • Doesn’t slide smoothly
    • Outside jaws wobble
    • Inside jaws don’t align
    • Inconsistent results

    4. RCBS Electronic Digital Calipers

    RCBS Electronic Digital-Caliper

    The RCBS Electronic Digital-Caliper measures pretty much the same as the rest of them. The difference is in the quality of the product.

    This is a stainless steel tool that measures both inches and millimeters. It will measure the inside, outside, depth and step dimensions of your object and display your results on an LCD display screen.

    You do have to be somewhat careful with this product, though. It will sometimes switch from measuring in inches to millimeters without you noticing. You’ll always need to double-check the number to make sure it’s in the measurement type you want. It also isn’t always consistent. As we’re sure you have heard before, it’s better to measure twice and cut once. The same is true here. If they don’t match, measure a third time and figure out where the problem lies.

    The battery life is also shorter than the company says it is, and this tool has no auto off switch.

    • Stainless steel
    • Instant reading on LCD display
    • Measures in inches and millimeters
    • Measures inside, outside, step and depth of an object
    • No auto off feature
    • Sometimes shifts from inches to millimeters on its own
    • Not consistent
    • Battery has shorter life than RCBS promotes

    5. OEMTOOLS 25363 6-Inch Digital Caliper

    OEMTOOLS 25363 Six Inch Electronic Caliper

    The OEMTOOLS 25363 Six Inch Electronic Caliper is good if you’re just starting to use calipers for small things that require you to be reasonably close, instead of dead accurate in their measurements.

    This stainless steel tool has a large LCD screen to display your measurements. However, the case is somewhat cheap. This tool is also inconsistent. It can measure up to six inches, but when you have it open the maximum amount, it doesn’t read accurately. When you take it back to zero, it doesn’t always read zero. It does okay with numbers between zero and six inches, but there are problems with both ends. Just be sure that your zero always reads zero, and you should be good to go.

    • Measures zero to six inches
    • Large, easy-to-read LCD display
    • Stainless steel
    • Cheap case
    • Doesn’t read correctly when fully extended
    • Doesn’t always zero out
    • Inconsistent

    Buying Guide

    In order to decide which digital calipers are best for you, you need to understand how each kind works. There are three types of calipers on the market today:

    1. Dial:
    Dial calipers have a dial that has your measurement markings.
    2. Digital:
    Digital calipers have an LCD display that displays the measurement digitally. They are more accurate than dial models. If you need precise measuring, digital calipers will show the exact reading clearly in the display for you to read.
    3. Vernier:
    Vernier calipers can come in dial or digital formats. These calipers are the most precise calipers you can purchase because they measure down to 0.0005 inches.

    Parts of Digital Calipers

    1. Depth Gauge:
    The depth gauge tells you how deep a hole is or how thick an object is.
    2. Locking Screw:
    This screw holds the calipers’ jaws in place so they don’t move while you are taking a measurement.
    3. Step Gauge:
    The step gauge measures how far a point is from the edge of an object.
    4. ABS Button:
    The ABS button takes your measurement down to zero temporarily.
    5. Inside Jaws:
    The inside jaws measure the inside of an object, such as the inside of a tube.
    6. Outside Jaws:
    The outside jaws measure the outside of an object, such as the outer walls of that same tube.
    7. On/Zero Button:
    This is your power button, but it will also reset your reading to zero no matter how far apart they are.
    8. In/mm Button:
    This button switches your measurement from inches to millimeters.

    A Few Things to Consider

    1. Type:

    a. Dial: read dial with your own eyes
    b. Digital: has a digital display of measurements
    c. Vernier: the closest you can get to perfection

    2. Construction:
    Calipers can be made out of several different kinds of materials.

    a. Stainless steel
    b. Plastic
    c. Carbon fiber
    d. Composite material

    We recommend the stainless steel ones because they are much more durable than the other materials. They are also water- and oil-resistant. They will cost a little more, but they will last you longer and save you money in the long run.

    3. Battery Life:
    Batteries are an additional cost since you have to replace them. You can help them last longer if the digital calipers you buy have an automatic shut off feature.
    4. Ease of Use:
    If tools make your job harder, then they aren’t useful tools. Make sure to look the tool over before you buy it. If it seems complicated, it probably is. A few things that will help make your work easier are:

    ➔ Easy-to-read LCD display
    ➔ Sensitive thumbwheel
    ➔ Smooth jaw movement

    5. Length:
    Usually, calipers that are between four to 12 inches will suit your needs. They do come in longer lengths, though, if you need them. Know what you’ll be using them for before you make your purchase.
    6. IP54 Protection:
    Calipers that come with this protection will cost a little more, but it protects your tool from degrading due to dust and water. It will save you money in the grand scheme of things.

    To Get the Most Out of Your Calipers:

    You don’t want to spend money on tools and have to replace them in a year. To keep your calipers in good working condition, take care of them properly by:

    ➔ Keeping the calipers shaft lightly oiled.
    ➔ Storing them wrapped in corrosion-resistant paper in a place without much humidity.
    ➔ Not using them near harsh chemicals.
    ➔ Not using them for anything except measuring.
    ➔ Not dropping them. This may knock the calibration off.
    ➔ Not putting heavy items on top of them.
    ➔ Keeping them away from extreme heat.
    ➔ Checking that your battery is charged correctly before using it.
    ➔ If you won’t be using your calipers and will be just storing them for a while, taking the battery out.


    Now that we have given you some more information about the different types of calipers and all their working parts, let’s quickly remind you of the top five we chose from all our reviews.

    1. Mitutoyo 500-196-30 Digital Caliper – Top Pick
    2. EAGems Digital Caliper IP54 – The Runner-Up
    3. VINCA DCLA-0605 Digital Vernier Caliper – Best for the Money
    4. RCBS Electronic Digital-Caliper
    5. OEMTOOLS 25363 Six Inch Electronic Caliper

    You know which available features are most important to you. Now all you have to do is make the final decision on which calipers you want to buy. Hopefully, we have given you enough information to get you on the right track.

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    About the Author Adam Harris

    Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!