Difference Between Dial Calipers and Digital Calipers

Difference Between Dial Calipers and Digital Calipers

Calipers are precision measuring tools that are used in many industries such as manufacturing, engineering, and metalworking. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but the dial caliper and digital caliper are two of the most common. In this blog post, we’ll go over the key distinctions between the two and when to use each.

Dial Caliper:

A dial caliper, also known as a Vernier caliper, is an old-fashioned measuring tool that has been around for a long time. It is made up of a scale with a pointer that moves along the scale as the jaws open and close. The scale is usually marked in 0.001 inch or 0.02 mm increments, allowing for precise measurements.

The dial caliper has the advantage of being easy to read and not requiring any batteries or electronics. It’s also tough and can withstand extreme temperatures. It may, however, be more difficult to read for those with visual impairments, and it may not provide measurements with the same precision as a digital caliper.

Digital Caliper:

In contrast, a digital caliper is a more modern measuring tool that uses electronics to provide highly accurate measurements. It has a digital readout that displays the measurement in inches or millimeters, with some models also displaying fractions. Digital calipers’ jaws are typically made of stainless steel and can measure internal, external, depth, and step dimensions.

A digital caliper’s benefits include its ease of use, accuracy, and ability to display measurements in a variety of units. It’s also great for people who need to take measurements quickly or have trouble reading the scale of a dial caliper. It does, however, require batteries, and the electronic components may not be as long-lasting as the mechanical components of a dial caliper.

Here are some additional differences between dial calipers and digital calipers:

  • Price: In general, dial calipers are less expensive than digital calipers. If you’re on a tight budget or only need a caliper occasionally, a dial caliper may be a better option.
  • Resolution: Digital calipers usually have a higher resolution than dial calipers. Some digital calipers, for example, can measure to within 0.0005 inches or 0.01 mm, whereas dial calipers may only measure to within 0.001 inches or 0.02 mm.
  • Ease of use: In general, digital calipers are easier to use than dial calipers, especially for beginners. Without having to count the marks on the scale, the digital readout makes it simple to read the measurement. Some people, however, may prefer the tactile feedback of a dial caliper.
  • Battery life: Digital calipers are powered by batteries, which can be inconvenient if the battery dies in the middle of a job. Many digital calipers, on the other hand, have a long battery life and some even have an auto-off feature to conserve battery power.
  • Range: Digital calipers typically have a greater measurement range than dial calipers. Some digital calipers, for example, can measure up to 12 inches or 300 mm, whereas dial calipers may only measure up to 6 inches or 150 mm.
  • Accuracy: Digital calipers are generally more accurate than dial calipers, especially when measuring with high precision. This is due to the greater accuracy with which digital calipers can display measurements, as well as the elimination of human error that can occur when reading the markings on a dial caliper.
  • Speed: Because digital calipers provide an instant digital readout, they are faster to use than dial calipers. This makes them ideal for tasks requiring a large number of measurements to be taken quickly, such as in a manufacturing environment.
  • Durability: Because dial calipers have fewer moving parts and do not rely on electronic components, they are generally more durable than digital calipers. However, this can vary depending on the caliper’s quality.
  • Maintenance: Because digital calipers contain electronic components that must be protected from moisture and dust, they require more maintenance than dial calipers. This can include routine cleaning, battery changes, and calibration on occasion.
  • Environment: Because dial calipers do not have electronic components that can be damaged by dust or moisture, they are better suited for use in dirty or dusty environments such as a machine shop. Digital calipers are better suited for use in clean environments where accuracy and speed are more important than durability, such as a laboratory or inspection room.
  • Display: Dial calipers have an analog display that shows the measurement in the form of a pointer and a scale, whereas digital calipers have a digital display that shows the measurement in numbers. For some people, especially those who are used to working with digital displays, this can make digital calipers easier to read.
  • Zero reset: Most digital calipers have a zero reset button that allows you to reset the measurement to zero without physically moving the caliper’s jaws. This is a useful feature if you need to take multiple measurements and want to start each one from the beginning.
  • Data output: Some digital calipers include a data output feature that allows you to connect the caliper to a computer or other device and record measurements.
  • Brand & Quality: Both dial and digital calipers are available in a variety of brands and quality levels. Higher-quality calipers are generally more accurate and durable, but also more expensive. It is critical to select a caliper that is appropriate for your needs and budget, as well as a reputable brand with a proven track record.
  • Units of measurement: Digital calipers have the ability to switch between different measurement units, such as inches, millimeters, and fractions. In contrast, dial calipers are typically calibrated in only one unit of measurement and cannot be easily switched.


In conclusion, both dial and digital calipers have advantages and disadvantages. Dial calipers are more traditional and less expensive, but they can be more difficult to read and have a lower resolution. Digital calipers are more user-friendly and have a higher resolution, but they require batteries and may be more expensive. Finally, the decision between the two boils down to personal preference and the specific requirements of the job.

Call us to discuss your calibration, test or repair needs at:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *