Common Types of Micrometers


If you're researching all the types of micrometers, this is an excellent place to start.


The micrometer is one of the most common tools in any lab or workshop. Different types of micrometers get used for measuring everything from the diameter of threads to the thickness of sheet metal and other materials. Many micrometers are available, including dial-type, digital, Vernier, and optical. This article will help you choose the right tool for your needs.


Let's explore the differences between micrometer:

micrometer calibration- alliance calibration

Dial Type Micrometer

 The Dial type is probably among the most basic micrometers. It consists of two components: a handle with an index mark indicating zero has a graduated scale with markings every tenth of an inch (0.1" 1/10".) Turn the handle until it stops at the desired measurement to use the dial type.


Digital Micrometer

A Digital micrometer has a digital display that shows the exact value of the measurement. These can be very accurate, but they also cost more than their analog counterparts. They usually have a large LCD screen and a keypad so that you can enter exact measurements quickly and easily. Some models even include a pointer to make reading easier.

How-to-read-a-micromete_vernier_alliance calibration

Vernier Micrometer

A Vernier micrometer, or vernier calipers, uses a pair of scales to measure. For example, a caliper-type micrometer reads in 0.001 inches (or 10ths of an inch) while the second scale reads 0.01 inches or 100ths of an inch. To get an accurate measurement from a Vernier, you first determine which scale corresponds to the distance you want to measure. Then you move the caliper micrometer over to the appropriate scale and press the button to indicate how much you want to add to the original reading.


For example, if you wanted to know the diameter of a bolt after being tightened by five turns, you would first find out how far apart the holes were before tightening them. Then you would move the pointer over to one of the scales and press the button to see how the hole was expanded by turning the bolt.

Optical Micrometer_alliance calibration

Optical Micrometer

An Optical micrometer works like a regular Vernier except that it does not require a physical change to the measured object. Instead, it uses light reflected off the surface to calculate its dimensions.

How Do I Choose The Right Type of Micrometer?

Multiple factors must get considered when choosing a common micrometer. First, decide whether you need the ideal tool: dial-type, digital, Optical, or Vernier model. Next, look at the external dimensions and size of the object or types of measurements you'll be taking.


A dial-type might be best if you plan to work with small objects such as bolts, nuts, screws, and springs. However, a digital or Vernier may be better suited if you're working with more oversized items, such as pipes, tubing, and sheet metal.


Finally, think about the level of accuracy you need. If you're only going to make rough estimates, a smaller model with less precision may be all you need. However, if you're planning on doing precise measurements for tasks like mechanical engineering, then a higher quality model with greater accuracy will be necessary.

You might find these articles interesting:

History of the Micrometer

What Is A Micrometer?


Phil Wiseman

Phil Wiseman

Phil Wiseman is Chief Marketing Officer at Alliance Calibration. He earned a B.S. in Chemical Physics from Centre College. Phil is an ASQ Certified Quality Auditor and ASQ Certified Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence.

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