Calipers? Dial or digital and why

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by Gibill, Aug 20, 2012.

  1. Gibill

    Gibill New Member

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    Seems to be a debate on which is the best to use and why. Any input would be appreciated
  2. DixieLandMan

    DixieLandMan Member

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    I prefer digital because they are easier for me to read.
  3. Deacon_Man

    Deacon_Man Member

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    Digital are very accurate and have a lot less moving parts to wear out.
  4. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    Analog either are or they aren't. It's pretty easy to tell, and if they "aren't", they can be adjusted so they "are".

    Digital either are or they aren't, but it's a pain in the butt to determine, and if they "aren't", you toss 'em and buy a new set.

    When I want to use my digital scale, I turn it on at least a half hour before-hand, so it had time to warm up and settle down. Otherwise it sometimes gives me wrong readings. Logic says digital calipers will work the same way, and when I want to measure something, I don't want to wait for the tool to warm up. I want to use it now.

    And then, of course, there is no battery to die on an analog tool.

    Learn on a vernier. Then when you switch to a dial it is soooooo much easier that you won't even think about messing with a digital.
  5. RustyFN

    RustyFN New Member

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    Dial because the batteries never wear out.
  6. rcairflr

    rcairflr Well-Known Member

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    Digital, easy to use, and easy to read. I have a $9.99 digital caliper from Harbor Freight that I've had for 4 years with no problems.
  7. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

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    I have both dial and digital calipers. The dial ones are cheaper sets, either Midway (Frankford Arsenal now) or Harbor Freight, with one old Starrett that wasn't so cheap when the original owner bought it.
    For digitals, I've got one Frankford Arsenal (cheap) and one Mitutoyo (not so cheap).

    My cheaper ones (dial and digital) live in my portable tool kits but seem to be just as accurate as the spendy ones. The high-priced ones live in my shop where they don't get beat around out on the road.

    As for dial vs digital...
    As Rusty said, you don't need to worry about the batteries going dead with a dial.
    The main reason that I use my digitals is when I'm measuring metric since I don't have a metric dial unit...but it is nice to be lazy and just read the LCD though too. :)
    A digital is nice when you're measuring "absolute" too. Much easier to rezero them at a non-home position than a dial unit.
    It boils down to personal preference I suppose. I'm not picky so I'll use either.

    Note: I don't use metric when reloading...that's for other hobby and work-related stuff.

    Now as for micrometers...I stick with the good old fashioned vernier style. these I do have in both SAE and metric.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2012
  8. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Active Member

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    Bindernut summed it up better than I could have. I use the digital most, but sometimes I will break out the dial just to keep my brain thinking a little.
  9. 76Highboy

    76Highboy Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    The analog kind of makes you think more and I like that. Kind of like my balance beam scale, it's nice to be able to read the older stuff. Plus I can use the old school anytime, anywhere.

    The sad thing, I need to go buy a new analog caliper.
  10. steve4102

    steve4102 Former Guest

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    I have both, digital get the most use.
  11. 312shooter

    312shooter Active Member

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    +1 my digital has been in the drawer for two years with dead batteries. Been using the dial ever since.
  12. 76Highboy

    76Highboy Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    One thing that drives me crazy is when I set my digital calipers down they don't automatically shut off. So, sometimes when I am using them I will set them down and realize a day later that they are still on. It's murder on batteries.
  13. CampingJosh

    CampingJosh Well-Known Member

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    I've had OK luck with the cheap-o digital calipers I bought, but I found a nice set of dial calipers in my (deceased) grandfather's old toolbox, and I use those now.

    I just like the dial better.
  14. Hugh357

    Hugh357 Member

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    Dial. None of my reloading equipment requires batteries or electricity for obvious reasons. But then again I have a well, two mules, a wood burner and a lot of toilet paper. I just can bring myself to corn cobs and magazines.
  15. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    Ill take em either way. I have a fowler DIgital the worm here gave me and I lov eit. But I also have a starrett dial that I do love also.
  16. gun-nut

    gun-nut Member

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    I go dial. Dont have much use for the digital. Yes digital is faster to read, but i have been known to miss read them at such a fast glance, that i have scraped parts at work.:eek: Made wrong adjustments with the CNC mills because i read the digital to fast. I will stick to the dial you have to take that few Sec. to read them. Less mistakes in the reloading world as well. Safty first!
  17. RandyP

    RandyP Member

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    Either is a fully acceptable tool more than capable of achieving the level of accuracy reloading needs....which honestly isn't that much for most of us.

    I am very satisfied with my $12 Harbor Freight digitals and my very affordable battmanaz batteries for it (an e-bay vendor) just an example - 10 batteries for $2 - http://www.ebay.com/itm/10-x-CR2032...t=US_Single_Use_Batteries&hash=item4ab152a62f

    My tired old eyeballs appreciate the digital readout and for my needs it ain't rocket surgery. lol
  18. flintlock

    flintlock Well-Known Member

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    I'll stay with the dial version. Used them, or verniers, for forty years with out complaints, but I got some cutting oil on a set of digitals and that was it for them. Yes, I know they make them better now.
  19. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

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    I like the digital. I'm too damn old to have to think so I just look at the screen and know the measurement right away .
  20. mikld

    mikld Active Member

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    It all boils down to personal preference. I have been using precision measuring tools for 50 years and I like to SEE the measurement on a dial rather than trust some seemingly random numbers pop up on a display. Plus there are no batteries to die and leak all over the battery compartment...:cool:
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