It is common for automotive mechanics to use a measuring instrument called a dial indicator (or dial gauge). A dial indicator measures small distances and to monitor the tolerance of various machined components. It is mostly used when building an engine, which has thousands of small components in them. The mechanic must measure the crankshaft thrust, straightness, deck clearances and anything where you have two surfaces with short distances between them.
Dial indicators take linear measurements flawlessly. The typical dial indicator device consists of a round dial with measurements in millimeters around the perimeter. The round dial is connected to a probe tip and plunger. The dial indicator almost resembles a clock with one red hand. It works very similar to how a wristwatch works because they both use a rack and pinion gear to understand the probe’s position.
There are several different types of dual indicator gauges on the market. You might be confused about how to find the best dial indicator for your particular automotive projects. Well, perhaps we can help you out with that.
Our Best Picks
Below are the top 5 best dial indicator/gauge brands:
1) Neoteck DTI Digital Dial Indicator
This Neoteck DTI Digital Indicator can measure linear distance in industrial and mechanical processes accurately. The result is accurate with zero reading errors. The measuring range is from 0 to 25.4 mm (0-1 inch). The diameter hole in the tool is 6.5mm and comes with a rear cover. You also can remove the cover if you want to use it on different magnetic indicators.
Unlike the old fashioned dial indicators, this product has a decent and modern digital look. It will take less than 0.5 m/s to show the result of the measurement. The LCD is precise and it is easy to read with four digits. You can switch between inch and mm at ease. This Neoteck DTI Digital operating temperature is 0 to 40 Celcius. It is easy to use and you can easily replace the battery as well.
2) Accusize Industrial Tools Dial Indicator
Accusize Industrial Tool is one of the best dial indicators that you can use. This tool comes with AGD 2 Style and becomes the best selling dial indicator in the United States. You can easily do the zero set by using the rotating bezel with a clamp. The accuracy of this product is incredibly accurate. It comes with a neat design with satin chrome finish.
The measuring range starts from 0 to 0.05 by 0.0001 inch. The lug back of this Accusize Industrial Tool comes with ¼ hole. It is also an interchangeable hardened contact point. This product is originally from Canada and it has good durability for measuring jobs. It fits for the industrial or mechanical process.
3) iGaging Depth Gauge Digital Electronic Indicator
For you who like a digital electronic indicator for easier measuring, you should check out this iGaging Depth Gauge Digital Electronic Indicator. This product is super versatile and delivers perfect accuracy. You can use this tool to determine the depth or shape of the instrument that you are working on. If you find a slot, step, or groove, you can measure it by using this digital dial indicator. This dial indicator is going to be very useful for your project.
This dial indicator’s range measurement is 0 to 22 with 0.0005 resolution. This tool is a super high precision indicator that can read 3 functions of metric, inch, and fractional. It is easy to use this tool as it can read so fast. The large LCD will ease you to read the result. You can attach it to the center or side of the base of the product that you wish to measure. This brand uses the AGD standard and also the specifications from Federal Accuracy.
4) Mitutoyo”2416S” Dial Indicator
This Mitutoyo “2416S” Dial Indicator is recommended for you. This standard dial indicator is absolutely a great choice because you can easily measure the surface in fractional inches. The design is very impressive as it has an involute curved lifting lever. It delivers smooth movement of the spindle and also the dovetail joint. You will experience a tool-less connection.
There will be a variety of mounting options for the measurement. You can choose either flat or lug. This product uses the standard on AGD, ANSI, and also Japanese Industrial Standard. The durability is also decent and more importantly, it is accurate and provides zero error. This is a good choice when it comes to accuracy and quality.
5) All Industrial Tool Supply TR72020 Dial Indicator
The All Industrial Tool Supply TR72020 Dian Indicator is a magnetic base indicator that uses a 22 point set. It uses AGD specifications of 4-48 threads. It comes with a 3 pc precision inspection set. This device performs smoothly and accurately. The powerful magnet is positioned upside down yet it is in place. The magnetic dial indicator will deliver the consistent result which you will need the most for your project.
The accuracy of this dial indicator is very trustable. The consistent accuracy will ease you to do well with your project.
Besides the performance of this device that is very decent, it also comes very handy and easy to store. It is a good choice if you like to have a decent and handy dial indicator that is not too expensive. It will help you to finish your project safely.
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Those five dial indicators or gauges are the best five that are available on the market. You can find the one that is suitable for your needs and also for your budget. As you can see, those five products come with different prices that you can check. However, all of those products are proven to deliver zero errors. It is the most important thing because accuracy is what you need the most to do your project. Your measurement needs to be precise and those dial indicators are the best. They give consistent accuracy for your whole project. You will work with fewer frictions and you can finish faster for sure. On top of that, it will be zero error.
Tips to Choosing the Best Dial Indicator/Gauge for Your Automotive Work
As we mention above, dial indicator/gauge is a tool that you will need to measure material run out on car engine cylinder bore or disc brake. It is an essential tool that every auto technician need to have. Accuracy is important when you try to measure the distance between two surfaces. Thus, you have to use a credible tool, in this case, a dial indicator or gauge to ensure that it is accurate and safe. There are plenty of brands of dial indicators that you can find on the market. Ensure that you make a comparison before you decide to buy one. It is the best way to find a good quality dial indicator. Below are the top six tips for choosing the best dial indicator or gauge for your automotive work.
1) Glare Free and Scratch Resistant
Chances are that you’ll be using your dial indicator gauge quite often. If you’re working in an automotive garage or workshop, the gauge will get thrown around all over the place. It won’t take long for the gauge to get scratched up under these conditions.
Look for dial indicators that have scratch and glare resistance. That way, they will be easier to see under LED lighting without any scratch lines or glare spots getting in the way of your vision.
The most important requirement is for the dial indicator to provide accurate readings. Some of the cheaper dial indicators do not provide accurate readings. However, don’t assume the more expensive dial indicators will be more accurate either.
Look for something on the packaging that reads “passes industry certification” or something similar. Federal regulators have set official specifications where accuracy is concerned. If your dial indicator meets these specifications, then you have found a good one for sure.
3) Read the Reviews
Read the reviews of other customers who purchased various dial indicator products. See which dial indicators received the most 4 to 5-star ratings. Choose a dial indicator with the most positive comments on it. Look specifically for comments about accuracy and ease of use.
Sometimes it is difficult to tell from the advertisement if a dial indicator is accurate or not. Well, the customer reviews will fill in those blanks fast. Customers are not afraid to address their opinion on an inaccurate dial indicator.
4) Magnetic Base
Automotive work requires you to have both free hands available. You cannot afford to have one hand holding your dial indicator as you take measurements. Fortunately, you can avoid this problem if your dial indicator has a magnetic base. Then you can mount the base to any metal object so that your hands can remain free and usable.
5) Multiple Bits
The dial indicator bits come in all different lengths. If you’re working in some small and narrow areas within an automobile, you might require longer bits for your dial indicator. That is why you should look for dial indicator kits with as many different bits as possible. You’ll find kits with anywhere from 4 to 22 bits. Choose the kit with the most bits if necessary.
6) Carrying Case
The dial indicator must come with a comfortable and well-protected carrying case. Some cases are only made of plastic, which is not the best for keeping your device safe. It is better to find an indicator that comes with a padded case, so it can have an extra level of protection as you lug it around.