Are you looking for a tool that is able to duplicate the irregular pattern/contour of a particular object? You are at the right place. On this page, we are glad to share with you our top 10 contour gauges with the reviews. We also share the buying contour gauge, some frequent questions, and how to use it.
Keep in mind this is not a contour measuring machine or contour measuring instrument. This is just a tool that people use in woodworking, metalworking, home improvement, the likes.
It is also called a profile gauge, which functions to “copy and paste” the irregular shape of an object’s contour. Floor designers can use this tool to allow them to make a perfect cut for the laminate or vinyl flooring. Further, it makes their works neat and precise with ease.
By using this tool, you could copy the irregular non-90° corner, floor edge, curved car panel, area around heating pipes, etc. to paste it onto what you want such as paper, vinyl plank, laminate, wood board, etc.
It consists of an assembly of tiny pins. Once you press the pins onto an object, some of the pins will slide/adjust to follow the horizontal contour of the object. But the contour to be duplicated is in the horizontal dimension only, not including the vertical dimension. The smaller the pin is, the more precise it should be to copy complicated curves.
People’s need for contour profile gauges may be different. Some need the longer one with deeper pins, whereas some find the 5-inch profile gauge sufficient. Some need models that feature a locking mechanism. Moreover, some users find a joinable contour gauge is considered helpful.
Top 10 Best Contour Gauges in 2023
1. Varsk Contour Gauge with Lock 10″ [The Best Overall]
Varsk contour gauge is still the best contour gauge with lock in 2023 and also our overall best choice for you. This contour gauge lets you work accurately easily.
The best thing about this tool is it comes with a special upgraded heavy-duty metal lock to ensure a great locking mechanism to the entire pins during the work. This allows you to create a precise duplication.
Another great thing about the Varsk contour gauge is you can adjust the pin tightness as you want. Using an Allen wrench which is included in the box, you could set your own tightness. Along with the lock, you could hold the shape tightly and very easily, end up with more accurate contour duplication.
To provide smooth marking, this tool gives you a nice thickness of 0.05 inch for a single pin. This is a very nice thin for a made-of-plastic pin. The smaller the resolution of the pin, the smoother the line you made onto the surface.
Moreover, the pin depth is also nice. It provides a 2.5-inch pin depth which is good to allow you to duplicate properly most of the object contours. As it comes with a 10-inch length, it adds more versatility to cover most of the jobs.
Overall, as we have updated the list, the Varsk contour gauge is the best choice overall so far. It comes with great features: metal lock and adjustable pin tightness. Its spec is also great, suitable to use for most jobs. Since it’s made from premium ABS plastic, it would be great to use for woodworking. It doesn’t scratch the wood. It’s also great for tiling, flooring, ceramic, carpet laying, etc.
- Lock: metal lock (Very Good!)
- Dimensions: Length 10 inch x Width 5.1 inch
- Single pin thickness: 0.05 inch (Very Good!)
- Pin depth: 2.5 inch
- Extra feature: The tightness can be adjusted using an Allen wrench
- Deep pins
- High-resolution pin
- Adjustable tightness
- Very tight due to the metal clamp lock and the adjustable tightness feature
- No magnetic block
2. Be91eiter Contour Gauge (5 & 10 inch) with Double Locking Knob
Want a greater locking system? Be91either provides you with two locking knobs on both two sides which allows you to give greater pressure to the pins/teeth so that they are always in shape.
As you could see, the double knob is present on the 10-inch contour gauge. It’s as expected because the more the pins, the greater the pressure required to tighten them all. Herewith, you will never find the pins moves even a small move.
The pin depth is very good. It’s a 3-inch depth impression. As we compare, 3 inch is the deepest pin impression amongst the plastic made pins on this review article. Don’t worry! There are 2 knobs, it should be sufficient to lock the pins together.
All in all, this will be a nice purchase for you as it comes with a set of two locking contour gauges. That said, this is an economical option while giving you some great advantages such as the great pin depth and double locking system. The downgrade thing is the plastic knob locking system and the 0.06 inch of the single pin. If the pin is thinner, it has a chance to get a better score in this review.
- Lock: plastic lock, double lock
- Single pin thickness: 0.06 inch
- Pin depth: 3 inch (Very Good!)
- double locking knob for greater tightness
- deeper pins 3 inch
- Plastic locking knob
3. Firstinfo Contour Gauge with Lock & Magnets 20″ – [Best 20 inch Model]
Facing a long irregular object to duplicate? Requiring the locking system to keep the pins in shape? Don’t worry! Firstinfo contour gauge will give you a super extra long of the pin assembly. Most importantly, the Firstinfo contour gauge is the only one 20-inch contour gauge that comes with a locking knob.
The more the pins, the more the weight. As it becomes weigher, it becomes easier to slide. It’s no longer the issue since the knob which is designed on the side will press the pins to stick together. This is very important after the duplicating step, the pins have to keep in shape so that no pins slide.
Another great feature is the magnetic blocks. There are 8 magnetic blocks. It functions to assist you to work firmly on a surface made of iron. Moreover, it lets you easily store the tool on an iron wall.
If you are looking for a long contour gauge with a lock, then this could be your choice.
- Dimensions: Lenght 20 inch
- Lock: metal knob
- Single pin thickness: 7 pins per 1 cm (0.56inch / 0.1428cm)
- Pin depth impression: 1.77 inch
- Extra feature: magnetic block
- Extra-long contour gauge 20 inch
- metal locking feature
- Comes with magnetic block
- Short pin depth
4. LionZ Contour Gauge (10″ & 5″ with Locking)
Another next best choice on the list is from LionZ. This option lets you get two gauges of different sizes that means a budget option. One is 10″ and the second one is 5″. So, whenever you are facing a narrow space, you could use the 5″ contour gauge. Vice versa, using the 10″ makes a long duplication easier.
It’s empowered by a metal locking mechanism that will tighten the pins after the copying is done. This tightening makes sure that you always accurately copy and there is no change at the pins during the duplication.
- Lock: metal lock
- Dimensions: Length 10 inches and 5 inches
- Tight lock mechanism, keep the shape in place
- Adjustable tightness
- Budget choice; getting two gauges for an affordable price
- No magnetic block
5. Saker Contour Gauge (10 inch)
Are going to renovate your house carpet? Saker contour gauge will assist you to do that. It allows you to make a great cut finish. No matter how many times you do the duplication, it serves you very well.
The pin depth is about 2 inches more while the overall length of the product is 10 inches. We consider this dimension is good for some users. This pin arrangement may move while you are trying to transfer the shape, don’t worry because it’s designed with a locking clamp that will tighten the pin arrangement.
You could also set the pin tightness as preferred. The combination of the lock knob mechanism and tightness setting would hold all the pins together so that they won’t move if you change the gauge position.
Overall, the Saker 10 inch contour gauge is another nice choice. It gives you some nice features and functions.
- Lock: Plastic lock mechanism
- Dimensions: Length 10 inch
- Extra feature: adjustable tightness
- Great lock mechanism
- Adjustable lock tightness
- The pin depth is less
6. General Tools 837 Stainless Steel Contour Gauge (6 Inch)
General Tools 837 is the contour gauge you could consider because it provides you with the thinnest and deepest pin assembly for a highly precise duplication result. However, there is also a drawback thing you have to consider.
Due to the pins made from stainless steel, it allows the resolution to be 0.028 inch which is the thinnest for a single pin in this review. These thin pins will be able to provide a smooth marking line. Moreover, any tiny and complicated contour can be duplicated accurately easily; expected to end up with a perfect fit.
The specification is also decent, even excellent. The maximum contour it can duplicate is 6 inch. This one is decent. But the pin depth is excellent. It can cover a depth impression of up to 3.5 inches. This is the excellent thing about this tool. Since the pins are stainless steel, they should last longer (corrosion-resistant).
However, the drawback comes to the pins itself as well. You may find the pins are too stiff. It needs a little force to move the pins while duplicating the contour. That said, it’s not quick to use although provides precision. Moreover, it may scratch the surface. If it comes with a locking system, then the thing may become different. To loosen and tighten the pins, you have to unscrew and screw the screws which may be a little hassle for you.
- Length: 6 inch
- Depth: 3.5 inch (Excellent!)
- Resolution: 35 pins/inch (0.028 inch) (Excellent!)
- Precise; high-resolution
- Deepest pin impression
- Made of metal
- The pins may scratch the surface you are contouring
- No locking system; not quick to use
7. General Tools 833 Joinable Contour Gauge (10 inch)
Still from the same brand, General Tools 833 deserves to share with you.
There are three benefits using this stuff: 1) Decent Resolution; slightly better with 18 pins/inch resolution, and 2) Comes with 4 magnetic blocks that are stuck on the back.
The magnetic blocks will be very useful when you work on ferrous objects. It will easily stick to make your job a lot easier.
In summary, this is an amazing tool for easy copy and duplicating a profile such as woodworking or tile flooring installation. In terms of the build quality, it is crafted from solid durable plastic. Plus, the standard two-unit system inch and mm are available to support everyone’s measurement.
Spec: Length: 10 inch; Depth: 1.25 inch; Resolution: 18 pins/inch (0.055 inch)
- Joinable, able to extend more
- 4 magnets
- Only provides 1.25 inch depth
8. Wolfcraft Strong Clamp Locking Contour Gauge (5 inch)
What we highlight from this Wolfcarft is its big clamp. It gives higher pressure due to the larger clamp. This will make your contour modeling becomes more accurate.
This German-made tool is perfect for a short-range contour line. With its specification, you could copy some of the irregular edge lines with a length of no more than 5.1 inch. And also, it will do the job in the depth range of 3 cm. If you want to copy the contour when working on laminate flooring, then this should be sufficient.
For you who are based in the UK which means some of the contour gauges on this page may not available, however, we have made a check that this one is available. Glade to report it for you.
Spec: Length: 13 cm (5.1 inch), Depth: 3 cm (1.18 inch)
- Absolutely strong clamp locking
- High-quality build
- Made in German
- Short-range contouring
9. Big Horn Contour Gauge with Magnets (20 inch)
You realize your flooring project is large. Using the small contour gauge is not suitable. It makes you do the copying repeatedly which takes longer and hard work. Here is the solution, Big Horn 19062 large contour gauge will save your job twice more effectively.
This tool profiles at an amazing 20 inches in length and 1-1/4 inches in depth. It is made from ABS plastic that aims to be lightweight, affordable, yet last longer. No matter how humid your storage, it won’t rust.
On the back, you could see the magnets. Those extra features function to stick on a ferrous surface for easy tracing steadily. It nicely acts helping the gauge keep sticking onto a magnetic surface such as on a car panel, etc.
The Big Horn 19062 is one of the best contour gauges as it has the capability to transfer shape with greater length of pin assembly. In other words, it’s great to use for larger objects/works.
Spec: Length: 20 inch; Depth: 1.25 inch;
- 20-inch length
- Magnets on the back
- Low pin depth
10. Flexible Steel Curve Template (37″ & 107″)
It seems that many searchers go to the web and try to find the 48-inch contour gauge. However, there is no site that reviews this kind of long metal contour gauge. Fortunately, we’ve successfully found it and put it here in the hope that you’ll like it.
This is a metal contour duplicator that is rigid and solid but allows you to bend it to follow a particular surface contour. There are available several knobs to lock tightly the pattern so it will lose and change the duplication.
Therefore, as said in the advertising, it’s agreed that this tool is ideal for carpentry, woodworking, and metalworking. If you are dealing with flooring, this is absolutely the right one that will handle the long contour you are working with.
There are two length models, the 37 inches and 107 inches one. So if you are looking for the 48 inches, then the 107 inches will be very sufficient to cover your job. But, this one is quite expensive. It’s okay as long as your work can be finished faster.
- Great to use for longer contour
- Made of metal
- Not as easy as the plastic pin contour gauge
Things to Considering Buying Contour Gauge
You have to consider the length when going to work with the object’s size. If you want to duplicate a longer contour, the longer contour gauge is required. We recommend using the 10-inch contour gauge. It should be suitable for most jobs. Otherwise, the shorter one will meet the needs.
2. Pin Depth
When you are trying to copy the contour around pipes, the pipe may have a larger diameter. The larger the diameter, the deeper the pins required. In this case, deeper pins are critical to use to completely duplicate the contour. However, deeper pin assembly requires more pressure to hold the pins in shape. A great locking system is required.
If you need highly precise contour modeling, then you have to get the one that provides better resolution. The more pins per length, the better the resolution. In other words, the thinner the pins, the greater the resolution. In this case, metal pins are considered the highest possible pin that gives higher resolution.
For example, you have a 10-inch contour gauge and the total pins are 158. The resolution would be 0.063 inches, derived from 10 inches divided by 158 pins.
4. Pin Material
As we discover on the market, there are two common materials: ABS plastic and stainless steel. Both of them have different advantages and disadvantages for you. The ABS plastic pins will not rust but they are thicker. This makes the resolution decrease. Conversely, the stainless steel metal pins allow the pins to be thinner and result in greater resolution. Another consideration is that ABS plastic will not scratch the surface under gauging, whereas the metal one can cause a scratch.
5. Locking Mechanism
In short, it functions to keep the pins in shape while migrating the gauge.
It will feel very annoying if the pins are too loose. Herewith, the locking feature will add convenience to the users. Right after you copy the contour, switch the knob to lock. It will press the pin assembly and they don’t slip easily. Here will let you easily move the gauge to any place without worrying about the pins assembly from sliding.
A joinable contour gauge is a nice type of contour gauge that provides flexibility. When you deal with smaller objects, then disconnect the gauge. Conversely, reconnect the pieces to handle a wider surface.
This is an additional feature. The magnet on the contour gauge is also an extra feature you may want in a certain situation where you need it to attach steadily.
8. Adjustable Tightness
Imagine if you could adjust the tightness of whole pins, that would be great. This new feature lets you set your preferred tightness to the pins so that it’s as loosen as you want. If your contour is very irregular and hard to duplicate, you have to loosen the pins in order to duplicate entirely.
We found some really interesting questions about contour gauges. In this section, we are trying to give our best.
Q: Can I use a contour gauge for multiple shapes?
A: 100% Yes surely. This is the tool that is designed to duplicate countless shapes. As you have copied the shaped, you can switch back the lock so that the pins become easy to move and reset the position of the pins/tooths to its initial shape by pushing them on any flat surfaces such as floor or wall. That easy.
Q: Will the contour gauge scratch wood?
A: Since the pins/tooth are made of ABS plastic, it should not scratch the wood. However, if you buy the one made of metal, it may be.
How to Use A Contour Gauge
Using a contour gauge is very straightforward. Unlike other measuring instruments, there is no calibration required for this tool.
Open the box case if it comes with a case, then you could directly duplicate the contour shape. If it comes with a clamp, then it’s good. Switch oppositely the clamp until the pins are locked. You could now print the shape into a paper or vinyl or wood or metal piece by using a pencil or pen. After that, you could make your cut.
To repeat the process of duplication, you could reset the clamp to its initial position. You have to reset the pins to its initial shape as well by pressing the pins on a flat surface such as the wall, floor, wood, etc. After the assembly becomes flat, you could use it again to duplicate another contour.
If it doesn’t come with a clamp, then you have to move the profile gauge carefully in order to prevent the pins from sliding. Even a slight movement can ruin the shape. We are sure that you expect a great accuracy of the duplication. However, a typical contour gauge without clamp commonly is able to maintain the position of the pins.
DIY Contour Gauge
You might have a different project to accomplish. It requires a longer range and deeper pins. None of the selection of the contour gauges on this page may suit you. Fortunately, you can make it on your own. You could determine the size so that it meets the project requirements. In this case, this Youtube video below may help you.
Conclusion: Which is the Best One?
Since the size varies, the most versatile one should be the best one. In this case, we prefer the 10-inch contour gauge for you. It can be used for both small and large projects.
All in all, if you need assistance to pick, we recommend the Varsk contour gauge for you. It’s a 10-inch contour gauge (suits most jobs) that provides metal lock, adjustable tightness, thin pin, good pin depth. Another recommendation is the Be91eiter due to the double plastic locking knob and the deep pin impression. Its depth is the deepest amongst the made-of-plastic contour gauges that we found.
If you are looking for a 20-inch contour gauge, a great option to choose from is the Firstinfo contour gauge. It provides an overall pin assembly of 20 inches in length but comes with knobs. So far, it’s the only one 20-inch gauge that comes with a knob locking system. In addition, the 8 magnetic blocks are on the back to stick steadily on the ferrous surface.