Everything You Need to Know About Micrometer and Caliper

Everything You Need to Know About Micrometer and Caliper

Precision measurement tools such as micrometers and calipers are both available. The main differences are the accuracy of this equipment and the types of measurements they may take.

The key differences between the two tools are listed in the table below. Then read on to learn more about what those differences signify when using them.

Comparisons Between Micrometers and Calipers


Micrometers are more precise than rulers. A micrometer’s accuracy is 0.0001′′, but a caliper’s accuracy is only 0.001′′. A micrometer is 10 times more accurate than a caliper because of this.

Keep in mind that cheaper versions of these tools are less accurate. Furthermore, buying a larger version of these instruments will generally result in inferior accuracy.

A micrometer with a 17-18 inches range and a caliper with 0-24 inches may only be accurate to +/- 0.002 inches. To summarize, understand that there is some fluctuation in precision, but micrometers are 10 times more accurate than calipers in general.

Range of Measurement

Micrometers have measuring ranges of 1 inch. 0-1′′, 1-2′′, 2-3′′, and so forth. The most common measuring calipers cover a range of 0 to 6 inches. Larger variations with measuring ranges of 0-12′′ and 0-24′′ are also available. Other ranges, such as 0-4′′ and 0-8′′, are also available, but they are far less frequent.

Because of the disparity in measurement ranges, a set of micrometers would be required to measure over the same range as a single caliper. Calipers have a wider range of measurements but are less accurate.

Measurements That They Are Capable of

The majority of calipers can measure inside, outside, and depth. Micrometers can only do one type of measurement at a time. An outside micrometer, also known as simply micrometers or mics, is the most common form of a micrometer.

Internal and depth measurements can also be taken with inside micrometers and depth micrometers. Calipers can take a considerably wider range of measurements than rulers.


Maintaining the additional accuracy of a micrometer necessitated greater caution when using it. For example, the amount of force you use to close the micrometer can affect your measurement. Ratchet or friction stops are common on micrometers, which help solve this problem.

Even temperature becomes important when working down to a tenth (machinist jargon meaning 0.0001′′). Temperature fluctuations cause metals to expand and compress. Most micrometers contain plastic bits that can help shield you from the tool to protect against this.

A decent micrometer stand can also help you stay precise. A caliper’s accuracy is affected by the same reasons. Still, the impacts aren’t as evident because the caliper isn’t exact.


Calipers are faster than micrometers to use. Jaws may open and close in a fraction of a second. Micrometers must spin the thimble 40 times to cover an inch of travel.

Expense Comparison

A micrometer and a set of calipers are both relatively inexpensive. The difference is that you’d need a 0-6′′ set of micrometers to cover the same measuring range as a pair of calipers. An excellent set of micrometers will set you back much more than a standard 0-6′′ caliper.

Detailed Information About Micrometers and Calipers

Micrometer Components

The part to be measured will be sandwiched between the micrometer’s anvil and spindle. Turning the thimble clockwise or counterclockwise adjusts the spindle in and out.

The lock nut, ring, or lever can hold the micrometer at a given size, depending on the micrometer. Some tools will not be able to be locked.

The scales on the sleeve and thimble are used to read measurements. The micrometer frame varies depending on the brand and type of the micrometer. Some are designed with smaller frames for specific measuring uses.

A ratchet stop or friction stop is a feature on many micrometers that limits the amount of force applied to the thimble. As a result, measures are more consistent.

Caliper Components

Exterior measures, such as length, width, and thickness, are taken using the jaws for external measurements. Internal measurement jaws measure things like hole sizes and slot or groove widths.

The depth measuring rod measures hole depths, counterbores, and step heights. To deliver measurement readings, the scale and dial indicator face work together.

The caliper’s slide, which includes the adjustable jaws and dial indication face, is slid along the beam. For repeated measurements, the lock screw can be used to keep the caliper at a given size.

Micrometers: Digital vs. Analog

The speed with which digital micrometers can read measurements is fantastic. Their display demands very little operator training.

Another advantage of a digital micrometer is how rapidly measurement data may be translated between inch and metric readings. A simple button push can help you save time by automating the conversion process.

They are more expensive than typical analog micrometers, and they are more susceptible to contaminants such as water and coolant. Some types come with built-in resistance or protection against various pollutants.

Digital micrometers have become more inexpensive in recent years as their prices have decreased. Analog micrometers are a dependable tool that has been in use for many generations. This also implies that there are a lot of used analog micrometers on the market.

If affordability is your primary issue, an analog micrometer is a way to go. If the convenience of use and operation are important, a digital micrometer is the way to go.

Calipers: Digital, Dial, and Vernier

Vernier calipers are the most durable calipers available. Things like dirt, water, and coolant will have the least impact on them. They are, unfortunately, the most difficult to measure with. It takes some practice to learn to read the scales.

Dial calipers are a suitable middle ground because they allow you to take measurements with the dial indicator face. Although they are relatively resistant to infection, they should be handled cautiously.

Digital calipers are by far the most user-friendly. The LCD eliminates the need for guesswork while reading your measurement. They’re also the ones who get the most damage from things like dirt and coolant.

I advocate digital calipers unless they are utilized in the most extreme conditions. If ingress protection is required, digital calipers can be ordered with it.


Micrometers and calipers are precision measuring equipment, but they have several major differences. Micrometers are more specialized and have a narrower range of measurement. As a result, they are more precise and can often make measurements down to.0001′′.

Calipers have a wider range of applications. They have a significantly wider range of measurements. They compromise accuracy to achieve this, and most measurements are taken to an accuracy of.001′′.

Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Still, in the end, they are two of the most significant precision measurement tools you may own.

Frequently Asked Questions About Micrometer and Caliper

What Is the Difference Between a Micrometer and a Caliper?

Calipers and micrometers are both precision instruments that are used to measure dimensions. This can include inside dimensions, outside dimensions, or depths. However, micrometers are often used for specific measurements, such as outside or inside dimensions.

What Is the Difference Between a Micrometer Caliper From a Vernier Caliper?

Vernier Caliper and Micrometer are two types of measurement tools. A micrometer can only measure exterior distances; however, a Vernier Caliper can measure internal and external lengths. A Vernier Caliper measures with a sliding scale, whereas a micrometer measures with a revolving scale.

How Do You Use a Micrometer Caliper?

To use a micrometer:

  1. In your dominant hand, hold it.
  2. Between your thumb and index fingers, grasp the thimble.
  3. Place the frame’s C-shape against your palm.
  4. Wrap your pinky or ring finger partially around the inside of the frame.

What Is a Micrometer Used to Measure?

The micrometer is commonly used to measure the thickness or diameter of very small objects, like microorganisms and colloidal particles. Like the wavelengths of infrared radiation, Minute distances are also measured in micrometers.

What Are the Three Types of Micrometers?

Micrometers come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The Outside Micrometer is the most popular variety. In addition, there are interior micrometers, caliper-type micrometers, tubular micrometers, and rod micrometers. Last but not least, there’s the depth micrometer.

Are Starrett Micrometers Good?

People have noticed that the quality of Starrett’s measuring tools has gone down since they moved their factories to China. However, their tools are still better than what you would find in lower price ranges.

What Is the Difference Between Micron and Micrometer?

A micron is a very small measuring unit that equals one-millionth of a meter. A micrometer is a measuring instrument used to measure very small distances, objects, or angles.

Why Is This Instrument Called a Micrometer Screw?

The word “micro” can be used to describe something very small, or it can be used as a prefix to indicate a very small unit of measurement. The word “meter” can be used to describe a measuring tool, or it can be used as a unit of length. So the screws that are used in micrometers.

Where Is the Micrometer Used?

A micrometer is a device that uses a calibrated screw to measure the size of objects. It is widely used by people in the engineering and machining industries and other fields that need precise measurements.

What Are the Parts of a Micrometer?

A micrometer typically has eight parts: the frame, the anvil, the barrel, the lock nut (or thimble lock), the screw, the spindle, the thimble, and the ratchet stop.

What Are Calipers Used for?

A caliper is a measuring instrument with two adjustable legs or jaws to measure the dimensions of material parts.

How Do You Read a Micrometer?

The main scale is on a depth micrometer or inside caliper-type; the initial number obscured by the thimble is revealed by the micrometer. The initial number hidden by the thimble in this example is 0.4 inches. At 0.020 inches, the thimble scale aligns with the index line.