If you are looking for a precision measuring tool that is able to measure within ten-thousandth of an inch, then the answer is micrometer.
Engineers, automotive technicians, pipefitters, metalworkers, woodworkers, machinists, mechanics, metrologist, and other professionals have been using micrometers for centuries. Especially in any machine shop and production line for dimension quality control, you can find it there. These are highly accurate tools for precision-oriented applications and come in different specifications for different purposes.
Micrometer is used to measure the bearing, pipe fittings, thickness of a metal, depth of a hole, pipe diameter, grooves, parts of machine, paper thickness, screw, etc.
Choosing the right type of micrometer is the crucial thing when shopping for a new micrometer. Outside micrometer cannot measure the inside diameter of a bore at all. The outside micrometer is only for the measurement of an outside dimension. If you want to measure the inside diameter of a tube, you need an inside micrometer. A flat anvil micrometer is not designed to measure the wall thickness of a tube although it can be used to measure the diameter of the tube (not the best practice for sure).
Micrometer screw gauges come in different configurations, which may make picking the right one a daunting task. Fortunately, you are in the right place with detailed reviews of the best micrometers and a buying guide.
Top 16 Best Micrometer Reviews in 2023
When looking for the best micrometer screw gauge, consider accuracy, measuring range, and the intended application. Other factors also come in, but the listed ones are crucial. We will review the 12 best micrometers you can consider for various uses. You can also use the buying guide on this post to make the best decision if the products reviewed here do not match your application.
1. Mitutoyo 293-130 Most Precision Digital Micrometer
Mitutoyo 293-130 is a high-accuracy submicron micrometer that weighs only 2.25 pounds. It is the best alternative to laser or bench micrometers that won’t drain your bank account. Mitutoyo 293-130 is more affordable, portable, and relatively accurate with a resolution of 0.1 µm ( 0.1 µm = 0.0001 mm).
The Mitutoyo 293-130 micrometer is many times more accurate than many digital micrometers. It offers an accuracy of ±.00002″, ideal for many precision-oriented applications. Consider this product if you are looking for a micrometer for professional or lab use. Besides, you can export the measurements through an SPC cable to supported devices such as personal computers.
- Very accurate
- Measured values can be exported to a computer
- Highly portable and easy to use
- LCD digital display screen – easy to take measurements
- Relatively expensive compared to other micrometers on this list.
2. Mitutoyo 293-348-30 Best Digital Outside Micrometer
Mitutoyo is a top brand that maintained its reputation in its 293-348-30 digital outside micrometer. The brand is known for its quality and reliability, as depicted in this product.
The Mitutoyo 293-348-30 micrometer screw gauge has a high resolution of .00005″ (0.001mm) and an accuracy of ±.00005″, making it an ideal choice for high-precision measurements.
By design, Mitutoyo 293-348-30 does not feature a ratchet. Instead, its thimble doubles as a ratchet. It will automatically slip when tight, allowing for one-hand operation.
This micrometer is built for all environments. It is rated IP65, meaning it is dust and water-resistant. Additionally, the tool features an LCD display that clearly shows readings of the workpiece on its jaws. In case of battery, it uses a single SR44 battery.
It’s almost perfect except it lacks the data transfer feature. If you are looking for the same quality model that employ SPC cable to transfer the measurements to external device, go to Mitutoyo 293-334-30.
Mitutoyo 293-348-30 comes with coolant proof (for Machinist in CNC Operations)
Mitutoyo 293-348-30 with coolant proof is the best option for professionals and technicians working in the CNC workshop. Not only does this micrometer has IP65 rating, meaning it can resist dust and water for a considerable time, but also it’s coolant proof. As coolant liquid can damage the micrometer and this protection will save your mics.
- Very accurate
- Allowing for one-hand operation
- LCD display screen for easy readings
- Great water and dust resistant
- Feels heavy and smooth operation
- Relatively expensive
- No data output
3. Mitutoyo 103-260 Mechanical Outside Micrometer
Mitutoyo 103-260 is a cost-effective mechanical outside micrometer and is equally accurate. It boasts a ±.0001″ accuracy and a measuring range of 0-1″. Although this tool is not a digital micrometer, it is easy to use and read measured values. Mitutoyo 103-260 features carbide-measuring faces with visible graduations on a satin chrome finish.
Mitutoyo 103-260 is the best choice if you need an easy-to-use, reliable, and affordable micrometer for everyday applications. It is also lightweight and waterproof.
- Easy to read
- Reliable and durable
- Like many other mechanical mics, it’s slow to take multiple measurements
4. Anytime Tools AT201872 – Best Budget Mechanical Outside Micrometer
Anytime Tools AT201872 is a feature-rich yet affordable mechanical outside micrometer. This machinist tool features a balanced frame and thimble designed for easy and comfortable handling for better readability. The Anytime Tools AT201872 has laser-etched graduations and a chrome finish to make it easy to read without glaring effects.
This micrometer comes in different measuring ranges to choose from according to the intended use. It is available in 0-1”, 1-2”, 2-3”, 3-4”, 4-5”, and 5-6”, making it a versatile tool.
Anytime Tools AT201872 is an affordable tool best suited for occasional use. Its built quality may not withstand heavy use in industrial environments. But you can be sure of the high resolution and accuracy you need for different applications.
- Very affordable
- Good resolution
- Available in different measurement ranges
- Not ideal for heavy use
5. Vinca DMCA 0105 – Best Budget Digital Micrometer
You can consider Vinca DMCA 0105 if you want a digital micrometer on a low budget. It is the most affordable option of all the mentioned products with an LCD display on this list.
Vinca DMCA 0105 micrometer proves that affordability does not mean inferiority. This micrometer has a high accuracy of ±0.002 mm and a resolution of .00005″ (0.001 mm). You can use it to measure 0-1″ (0-25 mm) workpieces, which is the average measuring range of most micrometers available.
By design, Vinca DMCA 0105 has a hard carbide tip measuring face that resists wear and ratchet thimble. The thimble is fixed for precise pressure application on objects. It also features laser-etched graduations and stains a super precision and no glare satin chrome finish.
Other functions of the Vinca DMCA 0105 micrometer include absolute or relative measurement, data hold, and tolerance adjustment.
- Affordable digital micrometer
- Large LCD display and intuitive user interface
- A manual scale is also available
- Relative low accuracy
6. Rexbeti – Another Budget Option Digital Outside Micrometer
Digital micrometers do not have to be expensive. If you are not looking for a product for a precision-sensitive application, consider Rexbeti. It is affordable and can measure down to .00005″ (0.001mm) with ±.0001″ (0.00254mm) accuracy.
Rexbeti micrometer features an LCD screen, which displays values and three buttons for different functions. The O/ABS button is for zeroing the micrometer. On the other hand, the Unit/Set one converts the reading from mm to inches and vice versa. Lastly, the save battery button allows you to turn off the gauge.
- Carbide-tipped anvil for durability and wear resistance
- Easy to use
- No manual reading
7. Starrett 440Z-6L Vernier Depth Micrometer – Best Depth Micrometer
Starrett 440Z-6L Vernier Depth Micrometer is the best option for measuring workpieces of varied sizes. It boasts the longest measuring range of 0-9”, an accuracy of 0.0001″, and a resolution of 0.001″. Starrett 440Z-6L includes an adjustable measuring rod to cover the specified range.
The bases and all measuring surfaces of Starrett 440Z-6L are hardened to enhance durability and accuracy. It features a ring-type knuckled lock nut, making it ideal for precise measurements.
- High accuracy and resolution
- Ring-type nut secures readings
- Very expensive
- You have to manually calculate the readings shown on the tool.
8. Starrett 124BZ Inside Solid Rod Micrometer Set – Best Inside Micrometer
Starrett 124BZ Inside Solid Rod Micrometer Set is the best inside micrometer and the ideal choice for you if you measure workpieces of varying lengths. It has the longest measuring range of all products on this list, boasting 2-12”. Thanks to its adjustable, insulated measuring rods.
Starrett 124BZ Inside Solid Rod Micrometer Set is equally accurate, durable, and reliable. It has a measurement accuracy of +/-0.0001″ and a resolution of 0.001″. The micrometer is made of hardened steel to withstand heavy use in different environments.
- Very accurate
- Sturdy and durable
- Easy to assemble and use
- A bit heavy
9. Accusize Industrial Tools S916-C750 – Versatile Mic; with 5 Interchangeable Anvils
If you are looking for micrometer to measure screw thread, this model is for you. In the package, there are knife-edge and v-shaped anvils.
The Accusize Industrial Tools S916-C750 Micrometer has 6 size ranges: 0-1”, 1-2”, 2-3”, 3-4”, 4-5” and 5-6”. You can change these anvils according to what you want to measure.
This micrometer employs a vernier scale and has an accuracy of ± 0.00016” and a resolution of 0.0001”, one of the best currently available.
- Relatively affordable
- Interchangeable anvils; has 5 different anvil sizes
- Has a nice fitted carrying case
- Great for machinists
- Limited use
10. Mitutoyo 146-131 – For Inside & Outside Measurement
The Mitutoyo 146-131 is the best choice if you want an inside and outside micrometer. Instead of buying two models of micrometers, you can just pick this choice.
It is ideal for measuring the width, depth, and locations of grooves and flanges. You can rely on this micrometer to get accurate measurements without trouble from glare. Thanks to its satin chrome finish.
- Ratchet stop lock for accurate measurements
- Measures inside and outside of workpieces
- Comes with a fitted plastic case
- Not as accurate as other micrometers
11. Mitutoyo 395-363-30 Tubular Micrometer
Mitutoyo 395-363-30 is the best tubular micrometer. If you work with pipes and other tubular workpieces, consider this. By design, it allows you to measure the thickness of the pipe walls and shows reading on an LCD screen.
The Mitutoyo 395-363-30 has an accuracy of ±.00015″ and a resolution of .00005″ (0.001 mm). Additionally, the product has an IP rating of 65. It can be used in dusty and wet environments without performance deterioration.
- Fast and easy to read
- Great resolution
- Great for reloading
- LCD screen for displaying data
12. Mitutoyo 103-907-40 Mechanical Micrometer Set for Machinist
The best micrometer for a machinist should be highly durable, accurate, and able for heavy-duty use. This one is fulfilling those requirements and gives you a set of 6 micrometers with different measuring ranges.
Respectively, the ranges are 0-1″, 1-2″, 2-3″, 3-4″, 4-5″, and 5-6″. It comes with a wooden box case which is inside, there is a box of 5 calibration bars as well as the 6 wrenches.
The smallest range micrometer (0-1″) comes with friction thimble which means the thimble and the ratchet are assembled in a single part to serve two functions together. This should allow you to be able to use it single-handed. The rest are designed with a separated ratchet.
For resolution, each of them has a spec of .0001″ graduation which is excellent for the mechanical model. Overall, this micrometer is accurate and smooth, highly recommended for professional purposes. You can’t go wrong with it for your machinery jobs.
- Up to 6″ measurement range
- A complete set, containing 6 micrometers
13. Anytime Tools Mechanical Micrometer Set 0-6″ for Machinist – [Budget Choice]
Machinist is one of the users that require micrometers a lot. They use it to measure the piston, camshaft, etc which vary in size. Therefore, it’s required to purchase the set rather than a single one. The set is expected to come in different measuring ranges.
Herewith, this Anytime Tools micrometer set comes in 6 different measuring ranges to serve measurement up to 6″. The ranges are 0-1″, 1-2″, 2-3″, 3-4″, 4-5″, 5-6″. So, if your piston is about 3.75″, you could use the micrometer that has a range from 3″ to 4″.
That said, this set contains 6 micrometers. Don’t worry about its accuracy. The resolution is .0001″. You could calibrate it immediately when arrived using the calibration bars that come with the micrometer set.
However, in our view, this one is not ideal for everyday and heavy-duty use. It’d be nice for occasional and light use. Overall, this is a great choice for beginners in their home shop.
- Great for machinists
- Up to 6″, serve wider ranges
- Good measuring range
- Recommended for light use
14. Igaging 35-025-40 with SPC Data Transfer Feature
This is the most affordable micrometer with data transfer feature SPC cable. If you are planning to perform a statistical measurement but you are on a budget, you may want this one.
To perform that data transmission, you could use a 35-025-USB Mini USB Data Connect kit to connect this micrometer to a computer.
The resolution is good, 0.001mm. However, the accuracy is not too good, ±0.004064mm (±.00016″). If you are not using this for highly accuracy purposes, then this should suit the job.
There are four functions simplified into two buttons:
- On/Off & Set (first button)
- ABS & Mm/in (second button)
This may be not easy for everyone to operate the buttons, but you’ll get them used to. There are two types of pressing the buttons: “press-&-release” and “press-&-hold”.
Press-&-release the first button will turn the mic on or off. While press-&-release the second button will activate the absolute and relative measuring mode. Press-&-hold the first button will set the datum for the absolute mode. While press-&-hold the second button will convert the reading either to mm or inch.
Powered by a CR2032 battery, you don’t need to worry to replace it in case of runout because the battery is easy to get. In addition, like the other Igaging micrometer products, they come with a unit of ball anvil that can be used for tubing wall measurement.
- Transferrable data
- Good resolution
- Not too precise
15. Starrett T444.1XRL-1 Outside Micrometer Set – Can Be Purchased Individually
Starrett is great brand name for precision instruments as well like Mitutoyo. In case, mechanical micrometer, Starrett T444-1XRL-1 is also an excellent choice you have to consider. This model has a range of 1 inch measurement. The other ranges are also available. Nicely, they can be bought individually to match your need.
- Starrett T444-1XRL-2 for 1-2” range measurement
- Starrett T444-1XRL-3 for 2-3” range measurement
- Starrett T444-1XRL-4 for 3-4” range measurement
- Starrett T444-1XRL-5 for 4-5” range measurement
16. Anytime Tools Mechanical Counter Micrometer
A mechanical counter feature in this micrometer helps the users get the reading more instantly without the need of battery.
Things to Consider Buying A Micrometer
1. Take the Correct Type
There are three types of micrometers: outside, inside, and depth micrometers. Each of them is designed for different tasks. These are the dimension they can measure:
- Outside Micrometer: thickness, outside length, outside width, and outside diameter,
- Inside Micrometer: inside length, inside width, and inside diameter,
- Depth Micrometer: depth.
The very first step you have to take is to define the dimension you are going to measure. Since micrometer is not like the caliper, a kind dimension can only be measured by a certain micrometer.
2. Select The Correct Anvil
Select the appropriate anvil for the application you are facing. Besides the most commonly used flat anvil, there are lots of shapes available. For example, dealing with the thickness of a wall neck cartridge (tube wall thickness) is impossible with a typical outside micrometer. A kind of anvil that is designed standing perpendicularly toward the spindle is great to apply.
Moreover, a special anvil is needed to measure a piece of paper. The measuring faces have to be designed not pressing the paper too tight. In addition, the spindle must move without rotating.
3. Measurement Range
Unlike the calipers that provide greater measuring range, micrometers provide shorter. The most commonly used is a 1-inch range. However, there are actually other ranges typically for machinery jobs: 0-1″, 1-2″, 2-3″, 3-4″, 4-5″, 5-6″ and even up to 12″.
4. The Resolution, Accuracy, and Precision
In metrology; the science of measurement, there are three components of measurement: Resolution, Accuracy, and Precision.
- Resolution is the smallest value/number of a particular measuring tool that can read. The smaller it is, the greater it is. A typical standard of micrometer today has to provide more than 0.01 mm resolution. Else, you are better off buying caliper.
- Accuracy is the condition of uniformity between the measurement result of your tool and the actual value. The version of 1 inch of your micrometer has to exactly the same with the 1 inch that is established by international. In addition, the term of accuracy also refers to how small the uncertainty of a measurement. There will be an error that you cannot detect. That error is called uncertainty. The smaller it is, the better.
- Precision is how consistent your micrometer generates value from several repeated measurements. You repeat the measurement up to 20 times and the reading shows value “5” all the time, it’s consistent.
The combination of these three components builds a high quality accurate measuring tool.
5. IP Rating (Water and Dust Resistance)
IP rating stands for Ingress Protection. It’s the rating to state how protected an object from dust and water ingress.
Not all micrometers meet the IP rating test. However, a typical digital micrometer should meet this qualification. An IP rated micrometer is important when it comes to measuring in a harsh environment. Water can suddenly splash. The micrometer also can possibly drop into a water vessel.
Moreover, a hidden error can happen because of the entrance of dust. As the dust enters, even a small interference can make a significant inaccuracy. An IP rated micrometer is important for highly accurate measurement.
6. Mechanical or Digital Micrometer?
Mechanical micrometer means those who work based on mechanical components inside the tool such as screw and dial micrometer. While digital micrometer applies electronic principle to make a measurement. Each type has different upside and downside:
- Mechanical Micrometer: Measuring with a mechanical micrometer makes you have to figure out the reading scales manually. It may take some time to calculate for some people. Aside from that, the user error can possibly occur as well. Moreover, they are also relatively less accurate in terms of resolution. However, they are relatively cheaper, no battery needed, and workable in any condition.
- Digital Micrometer: When people need to quickly read the reading, digital micrometers can handle it in handy. The most prominent thing about digital micrometers is its fast reading capability and easy to use. Most importantly, it has a greater resolution than the mechanical model. However, you need extra cost because it’s relatively expensive.
For more details, you could read our article that discusses this here “Mechanical Vs. Digital Micrometer”.
The buttons function to give some orders to the micrometer. Some familiar buttons we can find in a digital micrometer are:
- In/mm: This is what differentiates digital micrometers from the other type. You can easily convert the reading from inch to mm or vice versa.
- Zero(0)/ABS: This is another must-have button. The first push (Zero/0) lets you set zero position at any point you want. The second push (ABS=absolute) orders the zero position back to the factory setting.
- On/Off: to turn on and off the micrometer. Also, it’s to save battery power consumption.
- Origin: This is to set the zero position when the anvil and spindle are closed.
- Hold: to hold the reading so that you can easily read it even though you change the spindle face position.
- Data: If you click, it orders the data to be transferred into another device through the given interface.
8. Transferrable Data
For metrologist, this feature is important. With this feature, you can display, save and analyze data measurement on the other devices such as computers or tablets. Here are some interfaces available that we find so far:
- SPC cable. This is similar to USB cable. Mitutoyo and Igaging 35-025-40 use this.
- RS232 data cable connection. A typical data connection to a computer.
- Wireless Bluetooth. This is for wireless data transfer.
- Wireless USB. There will be the sender and receiver.
- Special cable made by the company.
You need to check the interface before buying it. Make sure your computer supports them to work properly.
9. Measuring Face Material: Is It Carbide Tipped?
The spindle and anvil measuring faces must be carbide-tipped. Carbide is a material that is more powerful than steel. It’s able to resist wear because of repetitive uses.
Fortunately, today’s most micrometers have been empowered with carbide. It’s highly recommended to pick out the carbide-tipped micrometers instead of the conventional stainless steel one.
10. Unit System: Imperial or Metric?
For those who are planning to buy the mechanical micrometers, don’t miss this. Unlike the digital in which you can convert the reading, the mechanical micrometers only provide a single unit reading. As a result, you need to convert it manually.
If you reside in the United States and familiar with imperial reading, then choosing a metric micrometer could be an issue later.
11. Manual Reading
Manual reading means the ability of the digital micrometer to remain able to measure when the power is off.
Although it’s digital, you can still take the reading manually.
However, in general, this kind of digital micrometer should be expensive.
12. Ratchet Stop or Ratchet Thimble?
As we know the ratchet functions to give the right pressure force to the object being measured.
There are two types of ratchet: Ratchet Stop and Ratchet Thimble.
The thimble that acts double as the ratchet and thimble is called ratchet thimble. This allows you to operate it possibly with a single hand because it’s reachable by fingers.
While the ratchet stop has separated ratchet and thimble. This makes the ratchet fairly far and not easy to reach. If you prefer or will likely be working mostly in a single hand, then select ratchet thimble.
Time to Decide: Which Micrometer to Pick?
Finally, we can say that Mitutoyo 293-130 as the most superior micrometer so far. It can assist you with an accuracy of ±.00002″. However, it’s expensive but don’t worry there are other choices.
Mitutoyo 293-348-30 is the best digital micrometer. It’s accurate, smooth operation, one-hand operation, and long last. In 2019, we recommend Mitutoyo 293-340-30 (the following photo) but this model has separated ratchet so it’s more convenient to use Mitutoyo 293-348-30.
If you are looking for lower price rating mics, go to Vinca and Rexbety. They provide the same resolution but lower accuracy.
The analog micrometer is also great choice. There are Mitutoyo 103-260 and Anytime Tools AT201872. The Anytime Tools is available in other ranges.
To get the highest resolution micrometer, Mitutoyo 293-130 is the only option available. They also allow you to transfer the measurement reading to the other device using the cable.
People go to buy a micrometer because looking for a tool that provides more accurate and precise measurement than calipers. However, calipers (whether it’s a digital, dial, or vernier model) provide better speed rather than micrometer. Depending on your needs, you need to know the differences between these two measuring tools before buying.