Dial vs digital calipers

Westernhuntr

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Joined
Jan 5, 2020
Messages
297
Location
Idaho
My cheapo dial calipers finally broke on me today after 12 years of service.
I've been wanting a better one for years and now the time has come.
Is there any reason to go to a digital caliper or would I be better off buying a good dial.
Any recommendations on a solid budget friendly option would be awesome
 

Dosh

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Aug 6, 2013
Messages
3,212
Location
Arizona
I have both, use the dial mostly. The digital eats batteries, the dial is much higher quality as well although equally as accurate.
 

J E Custom

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Joined
Jul 29, 2004
Messages
9,960
Location
Texas
I find at my age the digital is easier to read and to zero at a known distance and use as a base line
for differences.

There is one thing that I would suggest though, buy a good quality If it is going to be your primary
measuring tool. Really good tools are worth the money.



These brands are the best in my opinion and should last a lifetime.

J E CUSTOM
 
Last edited:

tim_w

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Joined
Mar 25, 2008
Messages
538
Digital is easier to read precisely and much harder to mis-read. Dials are much faster to read at a glance especially for repetitive work to confirm a standard measurement. Just buy what you prefer but spend the money for good quality.
 

AZShooter

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Dec 12, 2005
Messages
2,531
Location
Tucson Az
I have a hard time using a battery powered measuring tool. I still use micrometers and a dial caliper. Your choice.

FTI I use a 1929 Brown and Sharp micrometer my late father used when he was a machinist! Accurate to about 1 tenth.
 

Edd

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Joined
Jan 26, 2011
Messages
3,721
Location
Tulsa
My cheapo dial calipers finally broke on me today after 12 years of service.
I've been wanting a better one for years and now the time has come.
Is there any reason to go to a digital caliper or would I be better off buying a good dial.
Any recommendations on a solid budget friendly option would be awesome
I've been using a Starrett model 120A-6 dial caliper every day for many years. If I needed a new one, I would buy the same one again.
 

Mram10us

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Joined
Oct 19, 2019
Messages
2,584
Location
Idaho
I have mitu dial and digital, but the one I always grab is my Starrett dial. Easy to disassemble and clean, if needed. They are all accurate enough for what we do.
 

Deezel

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Joined
Nov 30, 2013
Messages
92
Location
Alberta, Canada
For me it's digital. I find them way easier to read than dial.
I've had numerous different sets of budget calipers but now only use Mitutoyo's. I got tired of getting a different reading, measuring the same part, with budget calipers. I get the same reading every time with my Mitutoyo's. They may cost more but they save me frustration and I know they are reading correctly.
You also need to make sure you buy from an authorized dealer, no matter what brand, because there are MANY counterfeit calipers on the market. Some are easy to spot, some not so much.
 

okie man

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Joined
Dec 21, 2013
Messages
721
I have a nice set of dial and Vermeer Calipers , I’m hesitant to get digital.
 

tim_w

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Joined
Mar 25, 2008
Messages
538
I have had a Starrett digital 6' for 13 yrs now and they still work flawlessly. These are the ones I use the most for reloading.
 

Savage 12BVSS

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Joined
Dec 20, 2019
Messages
506
Location
Maine
Get a good quality one (important) far as digital or dial, I'm old school and used to dial calipers so that's the style I prefer. Either will get you the same results.
 

birdiemc

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Joined
Jan 1, 2011
Messages
818
Location
San Antonio, TX
My opinion is if the accuracy of my $12 harbor freight digital caliper is insufficient for the task at hand then it's time to break out the micrometer. Consequently every time I have done so the 2 have been spot on down to .001"
The big problem I have with digital, I can't tell if its 2.5010" exactly or 2.5014" cuz the screen goes from displaying 2.501" then it jumps to 2.5015". For most reloading .0004 is probably not worth discussing but if you're accustomed to a dial where you can sort of have an idea of where it lands between the two, this could possibly be annoying to you
 

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