Best Dial Indicator For The Perfect Alignment of Your Machines – A Detailed Buying Guide For DIYers

Best Dial Indicator featured

The Best dial indicator is a precision machine that is used for measurements. These tools give us precise reading and accurate measurement. These are very handy tools for people who work in precision engine building.

The dial indicator is used to check the flatness of surfaces, parallelism of bar and rods, and detect small differences in the linear measurement of identical objects. You can use it for measuring the concentricity of round objects too.

In this comprehensive article, we are reviewing the leading dial indicators on the market. These instruments are very useful and reliable for mechanical workers.

We have made the list of our favorite products based on the reviews and other features of dial indicators. You will see the features on our complete buying guide, and a care and maintenance tips guide, and some FAQs will follow it.

 

Our Top Picks For The Best Dial Indicators Reviewed

Here are our top picks for the dial indicator with the most measuring range!

 

All Industrial Tool Supply TR72020 Dial Indicator

The first tool on our list is the All Industrial Tool Supply TR72020 Dial Indicator. It has a magnetic base that is very convenient for professionals and hobbyists. The indicator’s magnetic base makes it easy for you to measure whatever it is that you want to measure.

All Industrial Tool Supply TR72020 Dial Indicator

 

There is three precision inspection set that includes 0-1″ .001″ dial indicator magnetic base, and 22 piece indicator point set. It has a graduation level of 0.001 inches. The stem diameter is 3/8 inches.

The dial face is 2 inches in size, and there is a lug back too. This makes sure you can use the tool easily. The overall height of the indicator, including the magnetic stand, is 9 inches.

There is an on and off switch. The dial is a magnetic indicator set, and the 22 piece pack comes with a hard plastic case.

The TR72020 Dial Indicator provides you with a consistent result for your projects. The price of the TR72020 is in the affordable range. It is sturdy and very useful for hobbyists and professionals.

Pros

  • Dial test indicators with a mag base
  • Precision measuring tool with 22 pieces indicator point set
  • Large, solid dial face and lug back
  • Nice indicator for professionals
  • Convenient center lug; anti glare finish
  • Plastic storage case works perfectly for safety
  • High measuring range, 0.001 accuracies, high degree precision
  • Thread size 4-48 threads
  • Durable gear wheels test indicators
  • Decent prices for the dial test indicator

Cons

  • Few users faced difficulty setting the stand

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Mitutoyo 513-402-10E DIAL TI

Mitutoyo brand is one of the most renowned brands for their quality tool makings. This is one of their coolest dial indicators on the market.

The Mitutoyo Dial Indicator comes with two types of dial faces, yellow and white. The limit markers on the dial can be attached or removed if you want. This allows you to measure accurately even in tough working angles.

Mitutoyo 513-402-10E DIAL TI

 

The contact point is effective length is printed on the dial for easy understanding and reading. The gear wheels and bezel are made with durable materials for long lasting and greater impact resistance.

The Mitutoyo dial indicator comes with an Inspection Certificate that makes sure that the it is better than any other dial indicator or dial test indicator. This also certifies the bidirectional evaluation of the Mitutoyo indicators.

The crystal on the spindle is made with increased resistance to scratch. This makes sure the measurements are perfect and accurate for your work every time!

It is a lightweight and durable tool with an accuracy level of 0.0002 inches and a resolution of 0.0005 inches. It is perfect for workers, professionals, and beginners.

The price of this indicator is a bit high. Still, because of the high quality of the tool, you can expect that hike. Mitutoyo gets the last word.

Pros

  • Black dial works great in sunlight
  • Accuracy 0.0005″
  • Precision travel indicator works in both directions
  • Crystal contact point with scratch resistance
  • Easy calibration, knurled bezel
  • Better than any test dial indicator
  • Great build quality
  • Comes with a storage case

Cons

  • A bit pricy

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Taylor Toolworks SAE Dial Test Indicator with 0.0005″ Resolution Magnetic Base

Taylor Toolworks SAE Dial test indicators are the next on our list. Although the product is called a test indicator, the manufacturer claims it is a dial indicator with a magnetic stand.

The body of the Taylor Toolworks SAE Dial Test Indicator is made with a machined anodized aluminum body. This makes the indicator durable and does not corrode during use. There is a vertical lug back configuration for easy mounting.

Taylor Toolworks SAE Dial Test Indicator with 0.0005" Resolution Magnetic Base

 

The graduations level of the Taylor Toolworks SAE Dial Test Indicator is 0.0005 inches per line, and the accuracy level is 0.001 per 1 inch. There is an inspection certificate with each indicator.

The spindle rack, pinions, and gear wheels are made with steel; this gives the tool a long life. The two arms are durable satin chrome finish plated for durability.

The magnetic base measures are light but have a magnetic force of around 176 pounds. The magnet works can be turned off easily for quick release. There are adjustment knobs for precise positioning for easy measurement.

The price of the Taylor Toolworks SAE Dial Test Indicator is affordable. It is a good value for a decent amount of money.

Pros

  • One of the leading dial test indicators available
  • Precision travel dial indicator with an aluminum dial face
  • Lug back and magnetic base for convenience
  • Gear wheels made with hardened stainless steel
  • White face, durable satin chrome finish arms
  • Top-notch build quality test indicator; reads in metric
  • Reliable, strong magnetic power pull
  • Easy to operate, easy calibration of the dial test indicator

Cons

  • Test indicators come without plastic cases, no dial lock screw

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Clockwise Tools DIMR-0105 Dial Indicator Gage Gauge and Magnetic Base

Clockwise Tools are one of the most famous brands on the market today. The DIMR-0105 Dial Indicator has all the top-drawer features.

The Clockwise Tools DIMR-0105 Dial Indicator & Magnetic Base is a premium digital dial indicator with a magnetic base. This product is very highly recommended for home and DIY uses and for professionals. It comes with a manufacturer calibration certificate.

Clockwise Tools DIMR-0105 Dial Indicator Gage Gauge and Magnetic Base

 

The tip of the Clockwise Tools DIMR-0105 Indicator is made with carbide and anvil ball. This gives you the most sensitive measurements. There are twist and locked bezels that easily adjust the scale position. There is an anti dust cap for keeping the dust away from the dial face.

The tool’s magnetic base has a pull force of 176 pounds. You will get an indicator that is better than test indicators. It has a magnetic base, one lug back, one factory calibration certificate, and one durable case to keep all of that professional quality indicator safe.

The Clockwise Tools DIMR-0105 comes with a bit high price; you can get just the indicator as well. There is a one year warranty with the DIMR-0105 Dial Indicator & Magnetic Base.

Pros

  • Nice indicator white face, durable arms on the indicator point set
  • The thicker metal piece, reliable, strong magnetic power pull
  • Precision travel dial indicator with strong metal components
  • One year warranty on the dial test indicator
  • Lug back and magnetic base for convenience
  • Easy calibration, anti dust cap, recommendations for safety
  • Durable plastic case included
  • Great test indicators with greater quality

Cons

  • Price can be an issue with the dial test indicator

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Triton 1″ Dial Indicator 0.001″ Graduation Travel Lug Back White Face

Triton 1″ Dial Indicator is the next high-end product on our list. Unlike the other indicators on our list, it doesn’t come in a set.

The Triton Dial Indicator has an accuracy level of 0.001 inches and 0.001 graduation level. The dial diameter is 2 inches, and the diameter stem is 3/8 inches.

Triton 1" Dial Indicator 0.001" Graduation Travel Lug Back White Face

 

The dial indicator is made in accordance with ASME/ANSI standards.

It comes with jeweled bearings, and the rack and contact point are made with hardened stainless steel.  There is a lug back, and the dial face white face makes it easier to read.

The Triton 1″ indicator costs in the affordable range. It is perfect for DIY, hobbyists, and professionals alike.

Pros

  • White face, durable arms
  • Precision travel indicator with a large dial diameter
  • Lug back, rack, and contact point made with stainless steel hardened
  • Jeweled bearing movement, low inaccuracy
  • Manufactured according to ASME/ANSI standards
  • Easy calibration, anti dust cap
  • Better than any test indicator

Cons

  • Few users found it difficult to use

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Fowler 52-520-109-0 Dial Indicator with 1″ Travel, Black Dial

Fowler 52-520-109-0 is one of the finest dial indicators from one of the world’s most famous brands of tools.

Fowler 52-520-109-0 Dial Indicator with 1" Travel, Black Dial

 

The Fowler Dial Indicator comes with a blackface dial with white graduation. It is very easy to read the measurement on the black dial. The dial face is 2.25 inches for easy reading.

This indicator is different from dial test indicators. It comes with a 100 continuous reading with one revolution hand. The carbide ball contact point makes the reading easier and accurate while giving the tool durability and longevity.

The spindle rack and the pinions are made with hardened steel, and the body is made with brass, so are the gear wheels.

There is a center lug back hat that allows positioning at every 90 degrees. The springs are extra long, which gives you uniform pressure throughout the travel of the spindle.

The knurled bezel is very easy to adjust and has 360 degrees of word indicators.

For the last word of this product, we will look at the price. The price is an affordable one, you get a good discount from Amazon, and there is a one year warranty for you.

Pros

  • Black dial test indicators, better than Interapid indicators
  • Precise indicator with rotation or revolution counter
  • Lug back, rack, and contact point made with hardened stainless steel, body made with brass
  • Good indicator with easy calibration, knurled bezel
  • Better than any test dial indicator
  • Top build quality
  • Comes with a storage case

Cons

  • Some dial test indicators arrive damaged due to shipping problems

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Mitutoyo 2046S, 0.01mm X 10mm Dial Indicator

This Mitutoyo dial indicator is ISO/JIS type, shock proof, and waterproof. It will not break from fall and is perfect for professional workers.

Mitutoyo 2046S, 0.01mm X 10mm Dial Indicator

 

The standard dial indicator has standard graduation, and the outer frame has a diameter of 57mm. There are limit pins and frame clamps with the dial.

There is a strong and secure adhesion between the frame and the crystal, and an O ring makes sure water or oil can’t get through to the dial.

The stem spindle is made with high-strength hardened steel and can be very durable even in strenuous use.

The contact point is made with carbide. The gear wheels are made with stainless steel that resists wear and deformation. There is a hard coating on the surface of the crystal that makes it durable, scratch proof and chemical resistant.

The price of this Mitutoyo indicator is affordable, and considering its use in professional and amateur works, it is a very good investment.

Pros

  • Black dial, standard indicator
  • AGD specifications
  • Crystal contact point resistant to scratch
  • Easy calibration, knurled bezel
  • Better than any test indicator

Cons

  • Costly

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Best Dial Indicator Buying Guide

Buying the right dial indicator is essential for many reasons. The quality of the tool is dependent on many factors. We will discuss these factors here in our buying guide now.

Understanding these few things will enable you to buy the right dial indicator and get the most value for money.

 

Accuracy

Accuracy is a very important consideration when buying any precision measurement tool. This is even more true for dial indicators that are used in making precision machines.

Indicators need to be very accurate and have an accuracy level of scientific certainty for all practical purposes. Professionals’ and experts’ opinion is 0.0001 accuracy for a dial indicator is the most desirable. But for hobbyists can work with a 0.001 accuracy range. The smaller the accuracy on the indicator, the better it is.

We have selected the most accurate indicators for professionals and hobbyists. You can select any of the tools to buy without any doubt.

 

Resolution

Selecting the right dial indicator depends on the resolution of the tool. Resolution is the smallest reading value that an indicator can measure. The smaller the reading, the better the tool is at measuring.

Most dial indicators come with a resolution of 0.001 inches. There are other resolutions 0.0005 inches and 0.0001 inches. The resolution is a big factor for price differences.

The resolution of the tool depends on the type of work you are looking to use it. If you are not a professional, if you are just looking to use the indicator as a hobby, 0.001 inches resolution is perfect for you. But for professionals, 0.0005 inches and 0.0001 inches.

If you want the top result, you can match the resolution and accuracy. We have selected some of the top-rated indicators that match both resolution and accuracy ranges for the greatest results.

 

Material

Dial indicators are made with various materials. This is an important consideration regarding the contact point, body case, gears, rack, pinion, and bearing. Dial indicators contact points can corrode on regular use, which is why it is important to select the material that will not corrode away.

The better option seems to be stainless steel. There are other alloy options available for you.

 

Jeweled Bearing

Some dial indicators come with jeweled bearing made, rather than steel made. There are some obvious advantages of jeweled bearing indicators. The most commonly used jeweled bearing is ruby or sapphire. The jewels are not mined; they are man-made.

Here are the advantages of the jeweled bearing—

  • The jeweled bearings give you a high degree of accuracy and have a smooth operation.
  • The durability is higher than steel.
  • It is more preventive to rust.
  • Non magnetic, so it is not susceptible to earth’s magnetic properties.
  • It does not need to be lubricated.
  • It is more durable than, 9 times better than carbide tungsten, and more abrasion resistant.
  • Jeweled bearings have a low friction coefficient.

We have listed both types of indicators for your convenience of purchase.

 

Lug Back

The dial indicator has a lug back that allows you to install the indicator on a stand base. This particular feature comes in handy when working at a tough angle. Most indicator has a hole diameter of ¼ inches. You need to make sure the lug back is consistent with your need.

There is another option available with no center lug back. There are stems; stem diameters can be 3/8 inches in size.

Make sure the dial indicator you are looking to buy corresponds to your need. We have selected both types of indicators for you on our list for your purchase convenience.

 

Design

The design or models of the dial indicator is an important buying consideration.

The design f the indicator should be well constructed and resistant to dust, rust, and scratch. It should be water resistant as well.

Some products come with their own carrying cases. The case is designed for durability and to protect the dial indicator from fall, break, dust and rust. The carrying case is specifically important for jeweled indicators.

Look for a case with the indicator you choose for yourself.

 

Certification

The premium dial indicators come with quality assurances. This enables you to know that the tool has passed all the quality tests and is perfect for your work.

If you see a NIST certification with the indicator you are looking to buy, you can be sure that the tool is accurate. This is a very important consideration for professional workers and even hobbyists!

 

Brands

Many people despise expensive brands. And for good reasons too. But when it comes to precision tools, brands are a huge plus that you should depend on.

We do not promote any brands here. But brands are important because of the careful quality checks, inspection department, and quality control that they have in place.

Many famous brands make high-quality indicators. We’ve made the job easy for you with the list of the top-of-the-line dial indicators here. You can select any of these indicators without worrying about any issues of quality.

 

Price

Although many people do not admit to it, the price is a very important consideration for people. When it comes to dial indicators, it is even more true. If you are a professional who uses an indicator for work, you can understandably spend more for it because it will make your work easy and allow you to make money back through the service.

You can easily go for the dial indicators on the higher end of the price list. But if you are a hobbyist, you should look for an indicator that falls within the affordability range and fulfills your needs of functionality.

 

Reviews

Reviews are important. It allows you to know that the product, when used by other people, users, and customers, has served them well or not. This is a way of seeing the worth of the product.

We understand that this is time consuming work; that is why we have done that for you. We have selected the highest reviewed dial indicators that have pleased many people, professionals, and hobbyists.

This is why leaving a review is important; it is helpful for other people.

 

Dial Indicator Care and Maintenance

Taking care of the dial indicator is important for it to be long lasting and functional. Most indicators come with a manual that lists what you should do to make them work nicely. In case you don’t receive one, here is a small list of things you can follow to make sure your dial indicator is long lasting.

  1. Keep your dial indicator in the case. This is very obvious, but that helps you keep your tool functioning for a long time. This keeps away dust, moisture and doesn’t let rust sit in on the machine.
  2. Keep the reference surface or broad clean and level.
  3. Keep the spindle clean. You can use soft, clean, and lint free cloth.
  4. Use soap and water, benzene, or a soft eraser to clean your indicators.
  5. Make sure you fix your indicator stably and securely.
  6. Test your indicator under gaging conditions by taking measurements at intervals on the workday.
  7. Look for better angles to take better measurements.
  8. Most importantly, keep your indicator in a case, in a cool, dry place. Moisture can be harmful to your tool.

 

Conclusion

We have made this list with the highest-reviewed dial indicators that have the premium features. We have made sure that all the product has all the top features. This list is the perfect blend of the best features and most preferred by customers.

If you have used a dial indicator that you think should be on our list, and you feel it really should be here, you can write to us about the product (data protected by our privacy policy). We will look into it.

Show us your support by sharing this piece with your friends and family. You can also write to us about your support and suggestions. We appreciate your feedback.

Thank you for reading!

 

FAQs

Ans: Dial indicators need to be calibrated one the first step before you start using them. Once you have mounted your dial on a stand, turn the outer dial until the needle pointer points to 0. Displace your spindle a few times by hand; this allows you to check for errors. Once you have measured, you are ready to use it.

Ans: Dial indicator works by a plunger and dials. The plunger moves in and out; the dial rotates to give you a reading.

Ans: Most of the time, a dial indicator is accurate. There are ranges of the accuracy of indicators. 0.0001 inches of accuracy to 0.0005 inches accuracy are better for the performance of professionals. But there are 0.001 inches accuracy options.

Ans: These are the various kinds of dial indicators:

  • Balanced Reading Indicators
  • Continuous Indicators
  • Reversed Balanced Indicators
  • Reversed Continuous Indicators
  • Plunger Indicators
  • Lever Indicators

Ans: Dial indicators are used in mechanical and industrial measurements. The dial indicator can be used to measure clearances, tolerance, and variation in tolerance of machined parts to ensure accuracy.

Ans: Dial indicator has a plunger spindle, moves vertically, while test indicator has a lever and swings horizontally. The dial indicator is larger and heavier. Dial test indicator small and light.

Ans: Consult our buying guide to see the most desirable features on a dial indicator.