A caliper from Mitutoyo

One of the most common and least expensive measuring instruments for length is the caliper. It has to many people become a wear and tear tool that it is ok to misuse if you feel for it.

The caliper is worth much more than that. If you just give it a little respect and love, it will serve you well for many years.

The caliper is a Swedish invention, created by Carl Edvard Johansson who also invented the modern gauge block set and in fact also the bicycle chain!

The most common digital standard caliper measures up to 150 mm with a resolution of 0,01 mm. You can measure both outer, inner and depth measures.

Elastocon calibrates a large number of calipers every year and we have seen many variations of models and problems.

To avoid issues and to be able to measure with ease and precision for many years, here are some simple tips based on our many years of knowledge of calibration of calipers:

  • Before you purchase a caliper, think about what you will use it for!
    Which accuracy do you need? Does it have to be waterproof or resistant to cutting fluids? Do you need harder measuring surfaces than usual? What do you need to measure? There a lot of different designs and models to choose from.
    A tip is that it never pays to skimp on quality. If you buy a cheap caliper, you can save a little money compared to a quality caliper.
    When they are brand new, the cheap ones often measure as well as the expensive ones.
    The difference is that after 5 or 10 years, the more expensive caliper is as good as when it was new, while the cheap one often shows the wrong values, is half-broken or has already been thrown away.
  • Do not use your caliper as a hammer, screwdriver or crowbar! Sounds obvious but we have seen some strange things. One of the most common issues we see on the calipers we calibrate is that the pointed parts used to measure inner measurements are bent. This gives a direct measurement error on all internal measurements and can be many tens of mm up to over one mm!
  • Clean your caliper. Sometimes the calipers are so dirty it is impossible to see the different parts behind all dirt. Dirt penetrates and wears on moving parts, dirt on the measuring surface causes you to get the wrong dimensions.
  • Calibrate your caliper – annually preferably! It will give you a document and proof of what your caliper performs.
    During a calibration at Elastocon a number of points are checked in addition to measurements of inner, outer and depth measurements. Gaps are adjusted, straightness and parallelism of measuring surfaces are checked, functions such as locking and reading are checked, repeatability is measured, and more.
  • Give your caliper 1 minute of care each week, wipe it clean and check that it does not come loose. You will then have great benefit from it for many years!

P.S. If you have any questions or need any help, please send inquiries to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Erik Stenström