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16 Types of Measuring Tools

By: David S. Miles | Last Updated: January 10, 2024

The tools which provide accurate measurements are extremely important for many professions. A measuring tool can give us the chance of exploring the details of the world around us. 

There are many different tools that can be used for measuring, depending on what you want to measure.

Maybe you want to measure time, or temperature? Or you just want to measure the length of a surface, an angle? 

Don’t worry, there is a tool for every need and every job.

Today we are going to explore the most popular measuring tools, which should be helpful enough for you to choose the best one for your tasks.

1. Calipers

A caliper is a tool that is used for measuring the distance between the two sides of an object. It can be bought as a basic option, you will receive manual reading form and you will use it, not as a digital option, which will give you easy to read measurements placed on a digital display.

In order to use it, you have to adjust the tips of the tool to fit across the object. When you remove the calipers, the distance is going to be measured by an integrated ruler. Those tools are used in many fields such as woodworking, metalworking, engineering, medicine, science and forestry.

2. Micrometers

Micrometer is a tool that is used in mechanical engineering, essential for precision. It is similar to the caliper, but it measures depth, length and thickness. As we already mentioned, they are famous for their precision.

If you want to measure an object you have to place it between the two ends. If you use a digital micrometer, then you will have instant results of the measurement of the distance between the two clipper heads.

There are different options available on the market, such as digital micrometers, bench micrometers, blade micrometers and tube micrometers.

3. Laser Measures

Laser measures are considered to be an alternative to the traditional tape measures. They are used for measuring the length of a space. It is a good way of measuring distance in a few seconds.

In order to use them you have to send a laser beam that will hit the desired target, then it will measure the distance based on the detected reflection. You can get the measurements by simply pressing a button instead of walking a distance with traditional tape measure.

Furthermore, the laser measures will give you more accurate measurements than the basic option. You can also use the laser measures for longer distances than usual. You can easily do the measuring alone, without help from other people.

However, if you want accurate measurements you have to make sure that there are no obstacles between the two end points.

The laser measures are used in construction and architecture. They are used for measuring room sizes too. However, you can not use it for measuring the length of a wood for example.

4. Rulers

Ruler is a tool, also known as a line gauge, considered to be one of the essential measuring tools. It is used for measuring distance and drawing straight lines. The rulers are simple and easy to use.

They are used in geometry, engineering and construction. Also, they are often used in schools. A ruler can be made of metal, wood or plastic. If you are looking for a long lifespan and durability, then you need a metal ruler.

5. Squares

A squire is a simple tool that we all have used. It is effective and essential for many professionals and hobbyists. It has a basic design of “L” shape, it is made of two rulers that are fixed together at the perfect right angle.

The squares can be made of plastic, metal or wood. They will make the marking of the right angles easy, which are needed for accurate cuts.

You can get different types of squares, but your choice should be based on the tasks you are going to accomplish with it. If you are going to use it in the construction industry, then you may need a drywall square shaped as “T”.

Other types of squares are combination squares, framing squares and speed squares. The combination ones are used for making out angled cuts, the framing ones are used in carpentry for setting up right angles, and the speed squares are used for measuring on lumber.

6. Measuring Tapes

A measuring tape is also known as a flexible ruler that can take measurements of size and distance. They are simple, and they are made of pieces of plastic marked with measures in centimeters/inches and millimeters.

You can get measuring tape everywhere and in different sizes. They are used in tailoring, dressmaking and woodworking. You can use it to take measurements over a long distance.

7. Tailor’s Measuring Tapes

A tailor’s measuring tape is a piece of fabric that is similar to the standard measuring tape. It is flexible and made of cotton-based material, coated in plastic for protection. It has measurements in centimeters or inches marked along its length.

It is most often used for determining the measurements of a person’s body, since it is gentle to the skin. Furthermore, its flexibility gives the opportunity of fitting snugly around the curves of a person’s body.

It is most often used in the clothing industry. It is accurate and you can achieve great precision with a tailor’s measuring tape.

8. Angle Gauges

An angle gauge is a tool that is most often used for measuring angles, or for forest inventory tasks. You can get angle gauges as a traditional metal tool, or you can get a faster and easier to use digital angle gauge.

The digital angle gauge is more accurate and it will find the angle of the surface that is attached to. It has a powerful magnetic base and it can determine precise bevel or miter angles on powered saws.

9. Levels

Level is a tool used to check if an angle is level and balanced. It is also called spirit level or bubble level. This tool is useful in carpentry and construction, but most people have it at home for small tasks such as making sure the mirror is straight.

You can get a level of various sizes, depending on the project you need it for. It works simply- it has one or two glass vitals fixed into the level and filled in with liquid that makes air bubble inside the glass.

To measure the level of a surface you have to put the tool on it and adjust until the air bubble is placed at the center point. You can measure horizontally and vertically.

Most often the levels are made of plastic, but you can get a metal or wood one too. You can get a mason’s level, electronic leve, line level or post level.

10. Protractors

Protractor is a glass or plastic half-circle tool, made of transparent material and used for measuring angles. It is marked with degrees, so you can easily measure the angle of a surface.

The protractors are used in engineering, but most often you will find it in geometry classes at high school.

11. Compass

We all know what a compass is- one of the best inventions in our history. It is used for establishing orientation and navigation all around the world. It works because of the natural magnetic pull of the Earth, which establishes directions for the owner.

A compass is also a tool that consists of two lengths of metal that are joined at one of their ends. One of the pieces has a sharp point that grips onto the paper, and the other one includes a pencil attached to its end.

You can adjust the compass on different angles in order to make perfect circles of different sizes, or to measure spaces. It is used in architecture and drawing. Also, it can be used to measure the distance between two places on a map.

12. Angle Locators

Angle locator, or in other words angle finder is a tool that can measure at a glance of angles up to 90 degrees. They are also used for finding angles, thanks to their magnetic base that attaches to metal.

You can have a digital option, but the basic one is less expensive and even better and easier for use. The angle locators are used in woodworking, contracting, construction and DIYers.

13. Bubble Inclinometers

Bubble inclinometer is a tool designed to measure the range of motion at a joint. It can be used for measuring the steepness of a grade too.

It is easy to use- you have to put it next to the joint in order to measure the range of motion. You have to turn the dial, and when the scale points at 0 you have to take the joint through its range.

It is used in sport therapy for testing the healthy range of motion of a body. It is also used in other professions.

14. Thermometers

Thermometers are the most recognized measuring tools. We all know, and we all have seen and maybe used a thermometer to measure our body’s temperature. There are basic models, and digital ones too.

The digital thermometer is easy to use and gives more accurate results. Furthermore it is much faster than the traditional one. It is used in medicine, environmental studies and culinary.

15. Odometers

An odometer is a measuring tool that shows the distance traveled by a car or another type of vehicle. It is placed on the dashboard, or attached to the vehicle.

It can be digital or mechanical, but most often with new technologies we all use digital odometers. It is easy to use and it is used in different industries and mechanical tools.

16. Measuring Cups

Measuring cup is a tool that is used to measure ingredients or liquids. It is a kitchen measuring item that every person has in their kitchen tools collection. It is used in bakeries and at home.

You can get a measuring cup made of ceramic, plastic or metal. You can buy one almost anywhere, including dollar stores or kitchen stores.

17. Pressure Gauge

Pressure gauge is a tool that measures the pressure of gas or liquid such as oil, water or air. It is often attached to a water heater to help you keep track of the water pressure.

It is used in commercial and industrial environments for keeping a plant sage. They are used for checking on the air pressure of the tires of a vehicle or a bike. We all have seen and most of us have used a pressure gauge.

Which measuring tool is best for me?

It is really hard to say which type of measuring tool is the best for you. It fully depends on the tasks you are going to accomplish with it. You may be a DIYer, or a professor, so you should think about your needs.

You can use a measuring tool for almost any task. If you are going to measure or draw straight lines on a piece of paper, then you most likely need a simple ruler. If you need to measure parts of a human’s body for clothing- you need a tailor’s measuring tape.

If you need to draw circles, then you need a compass, or if you are looking for perfect precision, a micrometer may be good for you. Let’s say you are a doctor and you need to measure temperature- then you definitely need a thermometer, not a measuring tape.

In conclusion, we can say that measuring tools are needed in almost every profession. Think about your needs and the tasks you are going to accomplish before buying one, since there are different types specified for different tasks. We wish you good luck!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the importance of measuring tools?

The measuring tools are important in our daily life or profession. They make our life easier and they assure the quality of our work. The measuring tools give us the chance to measure distance, length, depth, human temperature, body measures, liquids, levels and many more things.

How do you properly care for measuring tools?

The proper care depends on the type of measuring tool. There are some basic rules for proper care- always keep the tool clean, sustain it and take care if there are some damages. Keep it in proper place and do not put pressure while using a measuring tool

What are the importance of measuring tools in fixing building lines?

If you are going to fix a building line, you have to make sure that every measurement is accurate. The measurements include width, level, plumb, position, height and length. All these should be perfectly accurate if you want to make the right building lines. 

You can’t measure them without having a full range of measuring tools with you, and you can’t fix building lines without measures. So, the measuring tools are extremely important in fixing building lines.

What are the basic measuring tools in woodworking?

There are five measuring tools that every wood workshop needs for proper work and accomplishment of every possible task:

  1. Speed square
  2. Tape Measure
  3. Protractor
  4. Laser Measure
  5. Level and ruler

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