Nowadays we use all kinds of tools to get things done, and when it comes to making measurements, we do not lack means to get accurate numbers. While the dial caliper is the most commonly bought object that measures the distance between the two opposite sides of an object, sometimes you may need something smaller than that. A dial caliper covers a broad range of sizes, but when you work with very small items, and you need an accuracy better than a 1000th of an inch, it is not a dial caliper you turn to. In that case, you need a micrometer.
So what is a micrometer? It is a measurement tool that will help you get the inside, outside, depth and step measurements between two points. I do not think it is fair to call it a miniature dial caliper, but the idea is pretty much the same. While its big brother is used in carpentry and metalworking, the micrometers sticks to smaller applications. Even so, micrometers are still used to provide precise measurements in engineering and other fields that require maximum accuracy when it comes to sizes.
Types of micrometers
As you can probably guess, there is more than one type of micrometer. In fact, there are three kinds, and they are all designed for specific purposes. Why is that important? Because a particular job may require a specific type of micrometer. With that being said, here are the three categories of micrometers.
People use the outside micrometer to measure pipes, wires, and blocks. The fact of the matter is that such a micrometer can take the measurements of an item as thin as a sheet of paper or of an object that measures several feet in width. It is highly versatile, which is why this type is the most commonly purchased.
This type is usually used to measure the inside of a tube or a hole. They are manufactured as a caliper-like micrometer or tubular. While they are used pretty often, it is still used less than an outside micrometer.
Last but not least, this kind of micrometers is used to measure the depth of slots, teeth, or steps. If you need such a model, you should probably know that the depth micrometer comes as a set that includes interchangeable measuring rods.
Along with the types of micrometers, you can also make the distinction between regular (the ones above) and the ones that are specially designed to perform certain types of measurements. In this category, we have two kinds.
The first one is the V-anvil micrometer, which is used o measure the outside diameter of cutting heads. It is not as common, and mostly professionals use it, but you may find it useful from time to time. The second is the tube diameter. If you need to measure the thickness of the wall of a pipe or tube, this is the tool you are looking for. It is designed with a curved anvil so that it can allow a single point to come in contact with the object. Again, this is not a tool that you usually see in someone’s toolbox, but professionals use it quite often.
What to consider when looking for the best micrometer?
You cannot buy a micrometer without doing some research first. Otherwise, you may end up with something that you do not actually need. At the same time, you need to pay attention to a product’s specifications. There are several factors you need to consider before you make a purchase, and they are as follows:
- Standard vs. digital – while classic micrometers are analog, you can also go for a digital micrometer. We live in a day and age when almost nothing is analog anymore. We have digital dial calipers, so why would the micrometer be any different? To be honest, this is a matter of preference and skill. While some people can handle an analog micrometer well enough, there are some who are not as skilled and have trouble reading the value. That is why a digital micrometer is recommended. Reading some numbers of a screen seems like it is a lot easier than squinting your eyes at a tool, doesn’t it?
- Size – despite the name, a micrometer comes is a vast variety of sizes. I used to believe that a micrometer is used only for small items, but that is not true. Even so, people make the same confusion, and if what you need to measure is usually small, all you need is a 0-1-inch micrometer. For something larger, you are going to need a 1-2-inch micrometer. The choice is yours, after all. You know best what you are going to use the micrometer for.
- Accuracy – you would think that all micrometers have excellent accuracy since they are, after all, measuring tools. However, that is not always the case. Some cheap micrometers fail to provide precise measurements. You need to decide how important it is for you to get perfect accuracy. However, if you need accuracy to the closest thousandth, you may want to go for a name brand. You pay some extra money, but you can be sure that the tool you buy is as precise as they come.
How to perform proper maintenance for micrometers?
There is this saying going around that your tools will serve you only as well as you take care of them. It is a valid saying, and not just for micrometers. Even so, if you want to always get precise measurements, you need to take very good care of your tool. Here are some things you need to do on a regular basis.
- Do not forget to oil your micrometer – if you use the micrometer on a regular basis, you should oil it every couple of weeks. You need an all-purpose oil, nothing special, but it will prevent your tool from getting rust or corrode, if you use it rarely, you should probably oil the inside thread as well, especially if you put it in storage for months at a time.
- Regular cleaning – corrosion can destroy your micrometer, and it will not be as accurate as before. That is why you need to wipe it on a regular basis, after each use, with a dry cloth.
- Store in secure and dry place – micrometers are fragile tools, which is why you need to store it in an appropriate environment. Avoid placing it in areas where there is a lot of moisture. Otherwise, it will get corrosion.
What are the best micrometers?
If you do a simple search online, you will notice that there are hundreds of models to choose from. However, do not buy the first product you see. Take a close look at the specifications to make sure that it is what you want. At the same time, it could not hurt to read some micrometers reviews online to see what other people thought of the product that caught your eye. It is an excellent source of information. Or maybe you can choose one of the products below.
Rexbeti 0-1ʺ Digital Micrometer
The first micrometer on my list of high-quality products is the one manufactured by Rexbeti. It is an excellent micrometer that can measure anything up to 1 inch. This is an outside micrometer with a +/- 0.0001-inch accuracy, which is the best you are going to get in this price range. But overall, this is a sturdy piece of equipment that can take the abuse you often find in a workshop. If properly maintained, you can enjoy this tool for many years to come.
The Rexbeti micrometer features mirror finish measuring faces for precise general measuring. The manufacturer recommends that every time before you take a measurement, you should clean both the anvil and the spindle for a more accurate value. After all, a micrometer will measure the thickness of single particle of sand, and that will render your measurement inaccurate.
Other features include a large LCD screen that displays the value both in the imperial and metric system, absolute and incremental modes, and a ratchet stop. The tool is very easy to use, and you should have no issues maintaining it. The micrometer from Rexbeti runs on a CR1632 3-volt battery, and you receive an extra one in the package. However, you do not have to worry about changing it very soon. As a bonus, the manufacturer gives you a hard case box so that your micrometer is appropriately stored.
Anytime Tools Premium Outside Micrometer
Unlike the previous product, this is not a digital micrometer. Even so, it will still help you get accurate measurements. The only condition is that you know how to read it correctly. Other than that, you get to enjoy a high-quality analog micrometer. This is a more versatile product because of the interchangeable measuring rods. With all four of them, you can measure from 0” to 4”.
The accuracy on this micrometer is the same as on the previous one. The margin of error is only 0.0001 inches. The tips are made of super hard carbide for more durability and precision over the years. The set is complete with calibration standards and wrenches. Changing the rods is easy, but just as a precaution, please consult the manual.
Other features include a ratchet handle for precise application of force and a lock nut. The micrometer from Anytime tools has a powder coated baked finish, and it comes with a padded case for proper storage. As long as you store the device in a dry place and maintain it regularly, you should be able to enjoy it for many years to come.
iGaging 0-1ʺ Digital Micrometer
Last but definitely not least, the iGaging micrometer is another product worth looking at. It is a digital micrometer that has a range from 0 to 1 inch, and accuracy of 0.00016 inches. You can probably notice that the accuracy on this one is lower than on the other two products, but you should know that the difference is not as significant as it seems. Of course, if you need a higher level of accuracy, I recommend you choose one of the other two products. Even so, the iGaging micrometer is still an excellent product.
The iGaging micrometer can display the measurement in both imperial and metric system. It features a large LCD display for better visibility, and it has both absolute and increment modes.
The carbide measuring surfaces ensure better precision, and as a bonus, you get a ball attachment. The device runs on a battery, but it will last for a very long time, depending on how much you use the micrometer. The automatic switch off feature lengthens the battery’s life. You will also receive a plastic carrying and storage case to ensure proper storage.
I cannot go as far as saying that one of the products I presented above is better than the other, but if I were to choose one, I would go with the Rexbeti 0-1ʺ Digital Micrometer. It is a high-quality, high-resolution and accurate tool that will meet whatever purpose you may have for it. It is one of the best micrometers you can purchase in this price range.
Measurement tools are something that should always be treated with care. What I mean by that is that you must pay attention to what you are buying. An improper or inaccurate micrometer can ruin some of the projects you are working on, which is not something to be desired. That is why you must never go for something that has questionable quality. I am sure that one of the products above can satisfy your needs, which is why I strongly recommend that you make an informed decision and pick one of those. Click here to buy on Amazon
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