What is a dial caliper?What is a dial caliper?

Dial calipers are precision measuring devices that are used to measure the thickness of materials and small amounts of movement.

They have great use in the automotive industry. They can be used to measure the thickness of brake rotors, measuring deflection between two lines, and measuring the width of brake drums.

The main uses of a dial caliper include:

  • Analysis
  • Inspection
  • Engineering design
  • Reverse Engineering
  • Manufacturing

Best Dial Calipers in 2019

PositionVisualTool NameCheck Price
1.Brown & Sharpe 599-579-4
2.Anytime Tools
3.Fowler 52-008-706-0
4.Mitutoyo 505-746
5.Shop Fox D3208
6.Starrett 3202-6
7.SE 780DC
8Oshlun MTDCF-06
10.Starrett 1202F-6

Here are some of the most popular dial caliper brands in the market, and an example of the type of products they have in store for you:

1. Anytime Tools Dial Caliper



  • Well-built and an excellent buy for the money
  • The slide action is smooth and there are no binders whatsoever.
  • The pointers align at 16 places along the slide length. If you calculate and check all the 16 locations, the caliper delivers exactly correct results


  • The scale seems to be painted on, so there is a worry about it wearing off over time.
  • They are probably not repairable after damage, so you will have to buy just to keep a backup ready.

This metal dial caliper has a dial that reads both inch and metric measurements. It is constructed from hardened stainless steel throughout and is perfect for depth measurement. It also has a raised sliding surface and a covered stainless steel rack.

2. Mitutoyo 505-742 Dial Vernier Callipers



  • It is made from hardened stainless steel, which makes the body extremely tough.
  • The titanium nitride finish enables it to resist the wear and tear of daily use.
  • It also has a high visibility dial face which makes it easier for the users to read the measurements.


  • The price is a little higher than the other dial calipers available in the market, so if you are not willing to invest such a significant amount of your first buy, you should probably skip this product and check out some cheaper but equally competent options.

Mitutoyo is known for offering high-quality products for a reasonable price, and it has delivered on its promise once again with this excellent product. It is one of the most respected choices for taking interior, exterior, depth and step measurements. It has an accuracy guarantee of 0.0001″, and comes equipped with a shock-protected gear mechanism. This also makes it extremely durable for a long time.

3. Starrett 3202-6 Dial Calliper



  • The product has high-precision hardened contacts
  • It is very handy for daily use since it is almost immune to wear and tear.
  • The fraction and decimal-marked dial provide you with accurate measurements each time.


  • Again, Starrett is a high-end brand, so the price is higher than other dial caliper brands.

Starrett Callipers are known for their capability to provide quick and accurate measurements.     This product has lock screws for sliding the jaw and dial bezel, as well as a thumb-operated adjustment roll. The rack, gears, and depth rod are all made from Hardened stainless steel, and it also has some knife edge contacts measuring surface.

4. Fowler Shockproof Dial Calliper 52-008-706-0



  • It is durable and precise, and provides accurate measurements each time.
  • This product is backed by a one-year warranty
  • It also comes in a foam lined case, which makes it easier to store.


  • If you are looking for a budget option, then this caliper is not for you
  • Not for amateur use

This product is made from hardened steel, has a heavy duty spring as well as shock protection systems to ensure safety and reliability. It is one of the products for mechanics and engineering enthusiasts.

Parts of a Dial CaliperImportant Parts of a Dial Caliper

  • The blade scale displays an inch which has been divided into 10 increments. The blade also has the immovable part of the caliper.
  • The slider moves along the blade and it is used to adjust the distance between the measured surfaces.
  • The pointer on the dial moves back and forth along the blade.
  • The reference edge keeps track of the larger increments as the slider moves along the rack.
  • The rack is the gear toothed part that can change both linear motions along the slider and rotator motion with the pointer.

Price Ranges of Dial Calipers

You will not have to spend more than $50 to get some of the best dial calipers in the market.

Brands like Mitutoyo provide iconic dial calipers for very affordable prices, so if you are looking for a reliable option that is both accurate and long-lasting, then you should definitely opt for this brand.

The price is a little higher than other dial caliper brands, but they are completely worth the investment.

Vernier Calipers vs. Dial Calipers

Many people prefer vernier calipers over Dial Calipers. This is because one persistent problem with dial calipers is that you cannot afford to get the rack dirty on dial calipers, because that will inadvertently give you a wrong reading.

However, with dial calipers, there is very little scope for making a mistake and the reading can almost always be trusted. With vernier calipers, there is a chance that you might make some calculation mistake and end up with the wrong results.

Also, most vernier calipers do not go to the decimal places that digital and dial calipers are capable of. You need to put in more thought into noting the reading when compared to dial calipers.

Dual Reading Dial Calipers

The dual reading dial calipers basically show the measurements in both inches and meters on the main scale and the dial.

It has independently moving hands which read the inch and meters separately. Not only are these calipers extremely accurate, but the fact that they provide two kinds of readings ensure that you get the reading in the unit form you want. They usually have an accuracy of about .001”.


If you are searching for the best dial calipers, you can easily take a pick from any one of the products mentioned here. The best thing about these dial calipers is that batteries are not needed to use them, so there is no hassle of batteries draining off or causing harm to the environment. This is why dial calipers are extremely popular for professional use.