Micrometer vs Caliper : What are the Differences & Accuracy

What are Micrometer and caliper? 

We all know we need accurate measurements of the dimensions of various objects to put it into practical use. Micrometer and caliper are measuring devices which is able to measure the dimensions where a ruler can’t measure. They both are used to measure objects of heavily small dimensions like around 0.01cm. These are mainly used for engineering and scientific  purposes. Now, let’s learn about the similarities and differences we find in caliper and micrometer. 

Difference between a caliper and a micrometer

Starting with looks, we can obviously say that a screw gauge looks similar to an axe. A micrometer has shares its similarity with a gun, that is, it looks like a gun. Now, a least count is basically defined as the smallest measurement which can be taken by a device. 

  • Accuracy: 

Now, in a vernier caliper, the least count is of the value 0.1 mm. But, in a micrometer, it is of the value 0.01 mm. By comparing both the values, we can conclude that micrometer has a smaller count and hence it is much more accurate than the vernier caliper. This means that micrometer is 100 times more accurate than a vernier caliper. 

  • Which one is user friendly? 

Now, we got to know that a micrometer is much more precise. But, there are other factors to consider before coming to a conclusion. From experience, I can guarantee that a caliper is much easier to use than a micrometer. I bet you are asking why. Let me explain. Calipers gives you a constant value even if you try to measure the dimensions of an object more than once. Hence, you won’t be confused. But, in a micrometer, as it is very hard to handle the axe like structure, it is possible that it can give you different values when you measure it more than once. If you measure it thrice, then there may be a possibility that it may give you 3 different values.Furthermore, you need to move your hand properly around a micrometer as that may vary the value, but that’s not the case in a vernier caliper. The second difference is, in a caliper, you can measure the exterior and interior dimensions of an object quite easily and accurately. But in a micrometer, you can’t have the luxury of measuring both exterior and interior dimensions as the axe like structure blocks you and hence you can’t. But, generally, micrometers, despite the difficulties, are generally used to measure objects of smaller dimensions because it will be easier and gives you a precise and accurate value too. 

Types of calipers and micrometers :

There are many types of both the devices which are put into a practical use. For example, there are many types of calipers based on their jaw sizes, sharpness and styles. There are also different types of micrometer which measures normal object, a ball micrometer measure circular objects like a wire of uniform cross section or a pipe or a marble. Different types of calipers are also present like vernier, oddleg, dial calipers. Nowadays, it is all modernised as the recent versions of calipers and micrometers gives you a digital reading and hence, eliminates human error, the biggest of the errors. 

Now, let’s conclude by deciding which one is better. It all depends upon the type of experiment you are conduction or if you are a beginner. Taking all the factors into consideration. I can conclude that, if you need to make a quick and a small measurement, where the object is not that small, then you can go with the caliper. But, if you are conducting a detailed experiment where even a small mistake or error in calculating the dimensions will weigh as a huge error, then you should go for a micrometer.