I’ve been in need of my own set of digital calipers for a while now, so I decided to take a look on Amazon and see what options I had. There are quite a few options… The Neiko 6 in. caliper was a “best seller” and had good reviews. And for $17, I figured I’d give them a go.
I’ve used many pairs of calipers in the past, mostly non-digital versions. I must say I prefer digital; it’s quicker, easier, and offers more functionality. That being said, if you use dial calipers enough, it becomes second nature. But for myself, who doesn’t use them every day, it’s a pain in the butt.
These calipers are decently made, the operation of them is a little gritty. If you’ve ever used good set of machinist calipers, you will know that everything is extremely smooth. These, leave a bit to be desired in that department; I’m hoping that it will smooth out with more use. The only other mechanical aspect of the calipers is the stop, it’s just a basic thumb screw on the side of the caliper. It works, there is nothing special about it. Everything else is electronic, so other than the movement, everything works well. The buttons are nice and responsive, they are not too soft so you don’t have to worry about bumping them, etc.
The calipers read in Inches (in) and Millimeters (mm), that setting is controlled by the blue button on the top of the calipers. It’s handy because you can switch back and forth and it will convert your existing measurements. Other then that, there are the standard features, a zeroing button, and a power button. They work as you would expect.
These calipers are accurate to 0.001 in. (0.02 mm) with a resolution of 0.0005 in. (0.01 mm). The display has the 0.0005 in. shown in the lower right corner; it doesn’t read that accurately, so it only shows ‘5’ at the appropriate times. Otherwise the display area doesn’t show anything. The digits in the display are large, and very easy to read, even from a distance. I tested the accuracy against 1 in. and 2 in. machinist gauges, used to calibrate very high end equipment, and they read exactly spot on, 1.000 in. and 2.000 in. respectively.
Another nice inclusion on this caliper is that it includes a depth gauge, a lot of cheeper calipers do not contain a depth gauge. It also includes a serial port on the side of the readout so that you can connect the calipers to a computer or other display, etc.
In playing around with the calipers, I tested them for basic functionality, including quick movements to see if they would “skip”. They maintained their zero even with me rapidly opening and closing them. Though the operation is not super smooth, they seem to function very well. Also, because of the semi-rough movement, it’s hard to open the jaws to a specific size without a bit of work.
The calipers came in a basic plastic case that clips closed, it’s not a great case, and the calipers don’t fit great in them. But it does get the job done. If these are something that you plan to carry around all the time, you would want to invest in something with a nicer case (or get a new case of some type). In the case, they also included an extra 1.5v battery. They say one battery is good for a year of continuous use.
To wrap it up, for $17, these calipers will definitely do the job. If you need something that you are going to use every day (you are an engineer or machinist, etc.), I would recommend spending a little more on something that operates a little smoother. The smoothness of operation is really my only ‘real’ complaint about these. Other than that, I feel they are a good buy, definitely worth the $17 (probably a little more).