View Full Version : Selecting a new 6" Dial/Digital Caliper?

08-08-2002, 10:04 PM
Another caliper question. My 27 year old Peacock 6" dial calipers are pretty ratty. It is time for a new set. I want to buy another 6" caliper.

What should I buy? Digital or Dial? I want to keep the price at or below $100 and I want to get good quality and accuracy.

What do you recommend? What are the good and bad points?


08-08-2002, 10:28 PM
I picked up a 6" Mitutoyo at the beginning of the year for around $100. Can't believe I waited so long. It resolves the nearest 0.0005 and you can toggle between metric and english as well as set a reference value. The latter function and any short length of ground rod gives a crude but quite accurate pin gauge for probing into bores. You simply measure the random length rod, press the "zero" button and then use the rod (in line with the caliper body) along with the normal depth "stick" to read a hidden depth. I've measured down inside 0.062 diameter bores (fiber optic connectors) with no sweat. I've thought about adding a small tapped hole and screw/washer to hold the rod for me somehow. Sorry for being long winded but I love the digital.

On the other hand, I dusted off my 8" Mitutoyo dial caliper the other day in order to watch a diameter change as a steel part was polished (eyeballed to 0.0001" increments). The fourth digit on the 6" goes between 0 and 5 only. Maybe something with full 0.0001" resolution is out there now and someone else can comment on that, I don't know. Hope this helps a bit.

08-08-2002, 11:32 PM
I was at Kennametal the other day and they had the new Starrett "po boy" caliper. Looks a little cheesy but it is just over $100 Canadian and works nice.

Sylvac had a caliper that was accurate and read to millionths of an inch ($1500) - nice tool, bad price.
www.fvfowler.com (http://www.fvfowler.com)

08-09-2002, 01:17 AM
Thrud, What are the new po boy calipers from Starret?
Harbor Freight has a digital set for 19.99. I have used these at work. The caliper is
moisture resistant, set and forget zero
inch/metric. Looks very similar to a digital Mitotuyo. It also has a printer
output port.

08-09-2002, 01:17 PM
El Cheapo dial calipers today are almost as or better than the best were say 25 years ago. Personally I like Brown and Sharpe the best, have a couple pair of inch Mitutoyo's plus a metric set of Mitutoyo's that I get good use out of. Nothing at all wrong with Mitutoyo, Brown and Sharpe are smoother, never tried a set of Starretts. Have used some Enco's, Aerospace and other cheepos and they seemed OK, better in fact than my first set of dials which were a set of German made, what was that name.

I work in tooling at a woodbutchering plant, lots of calipers in use, I've had oportunity to look at several sets of digital calipers, out of around a dozen only 2 said my 1.000 standard was 1.0000, both were Mitutoyo's. All of the $9.95 or less Chinese made verniers are right on the money.

Check out the pawn shop, lets you finger them and get a feel of them. Beware of prices, often they want close to retail, cheaper to buy from one of the discount catalogs than from them.

08-09-2002, 04:02 PM
Thay are the new low cost Starrett digital calipers. Apparently they have discovered that by not charging an arm and leg you can actually sell more product and stay afloat. They are better (operationally) than the old Starrett Digital Caliper.

I call them "po boys" because it is about the only thing you can buy from the bastards for $100 Canadian. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

08-13-2002, 02:34 PM
My personal opinion is that Mititoyo makes the best digital calipers, but I do like starrett's dial..Mitutoyo has very good dial calipers as well...

The cheap imports are ok, but they are tempermental....


08-13-2002, 06:00 PM
I bought a pair of the Mitutoyo Coolant Proof digitals for about $90. I'm waiting for delivery now.


Dave Burnett
08-13-2002, 08:35 PM
Helios are the best dial calipers ever made. The set I have is about 35 yrs. old, bought them as an apprentice and I still use them today. Cost a weeks when I bought them. Made in Germany.

08-14-2002, 02:09 PM
Dave B.

Helios was the name I was trying to recall. Bought a pair of reconditioned ones for $50 back in 1980, thought they were great at the time. Boss had a set of Mauser's which were really nice, had 2 hands, nice and smooth. I really wanted a set of Brown and Sharpes, they were still US made then, at that time they cost well over a $100.

I now have a set of Brown and Sharpes, cost $83 with shipping. Some things do get cheaper.

Gave that set of Helios calipers away to a buddy of mine, he really likes them, still using them. My main gripe with them was the exposed rack and the .200 dial.

BTW, my best set of calipers is an older pair of B&S verniers bought on Ebay. Dead on all the time, can't get a chip in the rack of a set of verniers, just not as easy or as quick to read. Mitutoyo makes a really nifty set of verniers also, they are nice.