A set of calipers is used to measure just about any aspect of a solid object you can imagine. In the past these calipers were read with a dial or bar that was calibrated in inches and fractions thereof. These days the process is made far more exact thanks to the introduction of calipers that are equipped with a digital readout. These digital calipers are capable of measuring extremely accurately and providing you with the measurement in a simple to read format.
Digital calipers are made by a number of tool companies and the better ones specialize very heavily in producing precision instruments. The calipers that you buy should be capable of withstanding adverse conditions and still provide a precise measurement. Companies responsible for the better quality calipers enjoy the regard of the professionals who use their products but the calipers are generally more expensive than those made by other companies.
Some of the biggest names in the precision measuring tool industry includes Mitutoyo from Japan and TESA from Switzerland. In the USA the TESA digital calipers may be found under the name Brown & Sharpe TESA digital calipers.
In the case of electronic digital calipers the old adage that you get what you pay for is definitely true. Although all calipers may appear to be solid and reliable, when you start to use them you will quickly understand that the cheaper versions are made from inferior materials and the components don’t quite move as smoothly. Worse, when you recheck the measurements of known objects, the jaws have shifted slightly and the measurement is different.
Fine grade digital calipers are made from hardened stainless steel and they are designed to stand up to extensive use without ever altering in their operation. The screen provides the measurement readings in a choice of either inches or metric and the better quality calipers can be calibrated to give an absolute measurement from any position.
Calipers are capable of measuring exterior surfaces, interior distances and depths. It is also possible to buy calipers that provide special features, some of them provide special measuring capabilities and others are made so that moisture or dust do not interfere with the operation of the components.
No matter what type of calipers you buy it is important that the bar is regularly cleaned to ensure dust or dirt doesn’t clog up the smooth run of the jaws. Wiping them down before and after use is simply a matter of best practice.