Having exact measurements when working on a project can be the difference between a great end result and an OK one. A set of digital calipers that works down to 0.01mm is preferred when you need extremely fine measurements to model accurately. But again, you can opt for a detailed one or less detailed depending on your project. I've spent hours using digital calipers to bring you the very best, so let's take a look.
Fine polished stainless steel
These digital calipers from Vinca are the perfect combination of affordability and accuracy and are perfect for your first pair of calipers. Accurate down to the micron (0.001mm), these calipers will give the detail measurement you need for all but the most professional jobs. The Vinca set also comes in many different lengths, from four inches to 40-inches, giving you the freedom to use them for large woodworking projects or small electronics work.
The cream of the crop
When it comes to digital calipers, Mitutoyo is the gold standard across the world. With a resolution down to the micron and superb accuracy due to its advanced onsite sensor (AOS), these calipers are staggeringly good. To give you an idea of how small a number that is, a human hair is around 0.04mm thick so that these calipers can measure very small indeed. Resolutions like this are essential when you are creating moving parts with minimal tolerances, and while the Mitutoyo are expensive, they really are the very best you can buy.
Accurate down to the decimal
If you are on a tight budget, you can't go wrong with this caliper. The Neiko digital caliper offers three convenient measuring modes, and all you need is one button to change between the modes. The extra-large LCD digital readout displays numbers, so you don't have to squint every time you take measurements. The caliper has a finely polished stainless steel shaft fitted with a knurled thumb roller for smooth sliding and a lock screw for accurate positioning.
Water and dust resistant
This is an excellent middle of the road set of calipers. The accuracy is good, the price is good, and they look good. The bonus with these is the IP rating. An IP rating means it has some limited water and dust resistance, so you don't have to worry about the occasional drop of water or sawdust grinding into your gears.
Large and easy to read LCD screen
OK, these are not the most accurate calipers in the world. They only measure down to 0.01mm, but that's more than enough for a standard project. It's the price point that makes these worth your time. At such a low cost, they are perfect for learning about calipers and using them for your first projects. I particularly like the inclusion of the zero button that allows you to measure from a previous measurement.
An alternative to digital calipers
Now I know this isn't a digital caliper but hear me out. On more than one occasion, I have gone to pick up my digital calipers only to find the battery dead and them to be useless. So I bought this set of dial calipers to use in a pinch. It turns out that they are excellent for accuracy around 0.01mm and have both metric and SAE measurements, making them easy to handle whatever your location.
Get it dialled in
Whether you are a carpenter, electronics guy, 3D printing hobbyist, or anything in between, a maker needs a good set of measuring tools. We have tried to cater to every type of maker on this list. I think there is something for every project and every budget. My personal favorite is the VINCA DCLA-0805 as they are incredibly accurate but won't break the bank. The eight-inch ones are perfect for me as I can measure the full-size of a 3d print bed with them.
I would also suggest picking up a decent set of Anytime Tools Dial Calipers just in case you need them when the batteries inevitably fail on your digital set. This way, you will always be able to get the right measurement with the right tool.