Calipers Measuring Instruments: Definition, Functions, Types, And How To Use Them

Calipers – Is Sinaumed’s still unfamiliar with vernier caliper? Perhaps Sinaumed’s is no stranger to rulers, clocks, and weight scales which are measuring instruments, as well as vernier calipers used to measure the outside or inside diameter of an object. If a ruler is to measure a flat surface, then a vernier caliper can be used by Sinaumed’s to measure the length of objects that are not just flat. 

Humans definitely need a more detailed length measuring tool to measure the length of an object shape. So to solve this need, a vernier measuring instrument is needed which has its own characteristics in its use in measuring an object. In the study of physics, this measuring instrument has even been introduced since junior high school. 

Sinaumed’s doesn’t need to worry about difficulties using this measuring instrument. Watch this article to the end because it discusses caliper measuring devices. The following is an explanation of the meaning, function, types, parts, how to read, and examples of solving calculations using caliper.  


Calipers are a measuring tool that can be used to determine the length, outside diameter, and inside diameter of a particular shape. Calipers can also be used to measure the depth of a hole or certain geometric shapes, such as a tube. Sinaumed’s needs to underline that even though he can measure the diameter of an object’s shape, the caliper is only intended to measure objects that are relatively small in size.  

This happens because the units are limited and usually objects that cannot be measured with a ruler. Compared to a ruler, caliper has a higher level of accuracy. The level of accuracy in question is the form of the smallest scale value that can be measured by a caliper that is more detailed or accurate. The smallest scale of the vernier caliper is 0.01 cm or 0.1 mm, while the smallest scale ruler is 0.1 cm or 1 mm. 

This is what shows the advantages of vernier calipers compared to a ruler for measuring the shape of objects that are not in a flat plane. Its detailed and accurate size makes the vernier caliper a measuring tool that workers in the engineering field rely on, moreover, it is relatively small and easy to carry around. 

The vernier caliper was first discovered by a French mathematician who is also an engineer named Pierre Vernier who was born on August 19, 1584. He published the invention of this measuring instrument in 1631 which became an accurate measuring instrument, namely vernier calipers or by another name Vernier calipers The scale on the vernier caliper is named after the name of its inventor, with the term Vernier.  


In practice, calipers have functions that really help humans to measure the length of an object. This measuring instrument was indeed created to answer problems that were previously unresolved, such as being able to measure the shape of objects other than flat surfaces like a length measuring instrument using a ruler. Because in fact we also need measuring tools that are more precise and accurate. The following are the functions or benefits of the caliper that Sinaumed’s needs to know:

  • Serves to measure an object from the outside by means of being flanked
  • Serves to measure the side in the form of objects which are usually in the form of holes like in pipes by stretching them out
  • Serves to measure the depth of a gap or hole in an object shape by plugging or piercing the measuring instrument
  • Used to measure the thickness of an object
  • Serves to measure the diameter in the form of objects using fixed jaws and upper sliding jaws
  • The function is to measure the depth of an object shape using the bottom measuring rod, for example the depth of a tube, a small hole, or a relatively small difference in height
  • It has two scales, namely the main scale and nonius


Of the various functions that the vernier caliper has, this tool also comes with various types. So Sinaumed’s can use several types of calipers as needed. The following are the types of caliper that Sinaumed’s needs to know so that they can be used as a reference if you want to use this measuring instrument:

1. Caliper Analog Or Manual

This type of calipers is usually used for practicum in schools or school laboratories. Because it is only for practical purposes, how to use it is quite difficult, which is still done manually, so it requires more accuracy when using it. Then to find out the measurement results, Sinaumed’s needs to calculate it first. 

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2. Digital shovel

This type of caliper has been developed from the previous type which was still analog or manual. Sinaumed’s may find it difficult to find digital calipers in schools or in school labs. This caliper has a screen that can display the value of the measured object size without having to calculate it manually first. 

This digital caliper will greatly facilitate and speed up when measuring the shape of objects, for example in large quantities. However, in terms of price, digital calipers are more expensive than analog types. 

3. Calipers shove a watch or clock

The vernier caliper is a type of vernier caliper that can be read using an analog gauge needle that is attached to the face or with a stopper. This vernier caliper uses a measuring hour instead of a nonius scale when interpolating the index line to the measuring rod scale. 

4. Altitude calipers

A height caliper is a type of slide rule that is used to measure height. This vernier caliper has measuring jaws that move vertically on a rod that is scaled perpendicular to the anvil. The measuring jaws of the calipers are parallel to the reason so that the measuring line is perpendicular to the surface where the foundation is placed. That is why the use of this caliper requires a flat reference surface, such as a flat table surface. 


In order to be able to use this measuring instrument, Sinaumed’s certainly needs to know the parts of the calipers and their functions. If Sinaumed’s understands the parts of the caliper, it will be easy to use it to measure the diameter or shape of a particular object. The following are the parts of the vernier caliper that Sinaumed’s needs to know in order to be able to use it:

1. Deep Jaws

Consisting of sliding jaws and fixed jaws which function to measure the inside such as the diameter of the hole or gap of an object shape. 

2. Outer Jaws

It consists of two jaws, sliding and fixed jaws which function to measure the outside, for example the diameter, width or length of a certain object shape. 

3. Stalk Depth Measure

This section serves to measure the depth of the hole of a particular object

4. Main Scale

This section serves to state the main measurement results which are usually expressed in units of cm or inches, usually the main scale length is 15 to 17 sm. 

5. Nonius Scale

This section of the caliper serves to add an extra level of accuracy to measurements that are usually expressed in inches or mm.

6. Locking Bolt

The locking bolt on the caliper serves to hold the jaws in place so that the object being measured can be held or not released and the scale does not shift while being measured.


After knowing the meaning, function, and types and parts of the caliper, Gremeds needs to know how to measure and read the measurement results on this calipers. If Sinaumed’s succeeds in measuring the diameter or depth of an object, but cannot read or interpret the results, it will be useless. Here’s how to read the measuring results on caliper: 

  1. First, prepare the object or objects to be measured, such as marbles, coins, or others
  2. After that, open the sliding jaw on the caliper to the left until it is really tight so you can produce an accurate size
  3. Make sure again that both jaws are closed and the scale reads zero. Sinaumed’s needs to pay attention to this so that there are no measurement errors or commonly called zero errors
  4. Loosen the locking bolt and pull the sliding jaw to the right, until the object you want to measure can be placed between the two jaws.
  5. After that, place the object between the two jaws and make sure again that the position is appropriate and correct
  6. Pull the sliding jaw to the left until it clamps the object to be measured, then rotate the locking bolt until you hear a click sound
  7. After that, pay attention to the line that is squeezed between the upper and lower scales or the nonius scale. Find the number that connects straight to the line from the nonius scale
  8. Now, calculate the measurement results obtained by adding up the two numbers, then that is the diameter of the object that Sinaumed’s is looking for


The main principle when using a vernier caliper is that if the key on the vernier caliper is loosened, the nonius scale board can move as needed when measuring the shape of a particular object. Then to measure objects, they will be clamped between the two clamps or jaws that are on the calipers as accurately as possible or in the right position. 

The results of the size of the object can be determined directly by reading the main scale to one-tenth of a cm or 0.1 cm. After that, add the readings on the nonius scale to one thousandth of a cm or 0.001 cm. Calibration of the calipers is carried out by pushing the sliding jaw to touch the upper jaw. 

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It is said to have been calibrated perfectly if the sliding jaws are in the right position at zero, that is, the zero on the main scale and the zero on the nonius scale totally coincide with one another in a straight line. Then the caliper is ready to be used to measure objects. In practice the working principle, calipers have advantages and disadvantages when used to measure certain objects. 

Following are the advantages and disadvantages of vernier calipers that Sinaumed’s needs to know:

1. The advantages of the shove caliper

  • Has a better reading accuracy, namely the reading accuracy ranges from 0.05-0.01 mm
  • Can measure the outside diameter easily, i.e. how it is sewn 
  • Can measure the diameter of the inner side easily, namely by stretching.
  • Can measure depth accurately
  • Cheap and affordable prices compared to other measuring instruments with the precision and accuracy of the results

2. Disadvantages of shoves

  • Cannot measure objects that are large in size
  • Expansion can occur in the measuring instrument material if not treated
  • Due to the shape of the sensor that is in direct contact with the workpiece, it will allow scratches or impacts to appear which can cause unevenness on the two sensors or both jaws in the caliper.

If Sinaumed’s decides to buy a caliper because of the need for its use, then Sinaumed’s needs to pay attention to the maintenance of this measuring instrument. Even though the physical tool is a small caliper, it must be maintained so that it lasts longer even though it is often used. The factor that usually causes equipment damage is the temperature instability of the storage room and the place where the caliper is stored. 

Incorrect storage methods may allow the calipers to expand or contract, get bumped or scratched. So store it in a place where the temperature is stable, for example a room or a special place using a storage box for certain measuring instruments so that it doesn’t get scratched or expands easily. When finished using clean the tool and put it back in place. 


If Sinaumed’s already understands the explanation of the vernier caliper above, it’s time to learn to solve this measuring instrument problem. Here are some examples of questions about measuring using calipers in physics lessons:

1. Example Question 1 

What is the measurement result in the example question 1 image above in centimeters?


  • The main scale reading is 10 cm (the number 10 is obtained because it is exactly opposite the zero on the vernier scale on the right)
  • The reading of the Vernier scale or nonius scale is 0.02 cm (obtained from the second line after zero on the Vernier scale, which is exactly straight with the line next to it).

So, the measurement result in the sample question 1 image above is 10 cm + 0.02 cm = 10.02 cm

Or 100.2 dmm

2. Sample Question 2

What is the result of the final calculation of the measurement of the sample image in question 2 above in millimeters?


  • The main scale reading is 1.1 cm or 11 mm (one line after the 1 on the main scale directly opposite the zero on the vernier scale to the right).
  • The reading of the Vernier scale or nonius scale is 0.65 mm obtained from the line of the Vernier scale which is exactly straight with the line above it, which is between 6 and 7. 

So, the measurement result in the sample question 2 image above is 11 mm + 0.65 mm = 11.65 mm

Or 1.165 cm

3. Sample Question 3

What is the final calculation result from the measurement in the sample question 3 image above in centimeters?


Blue circle shows 5, 3 so many cm, we will get this much on the red circle Red circle shows 5 cm So the result is 5.35 cm

Book & Article Recommendations

Now that’s an explanation of the caliper measuring tool, starting from the definition, function, types, parts, how to read, and examples of solving calculations using caliper. Is Sinaumed’s still having trouble understanding how to use it? Calipers are indeed not the same as other measuring instruments which may be easier to use and can immediately show the results of their measurements. So, if you still need references for Sinaumed’s to learn about how to use calipers, you can visit sinaumedia’s book collection at .  

Sinaumed’s will find many reference books on Physics textbooks which will make it easier to understand how to use calipers and other measuring instruments in the study of physics. Apart from that, Sinaumed’s will also find books that explain, discuss, and practice examples of calipers and other physics lessons. The following is a recommendation for sinaumedia books that Sinaumed’s can read to understand theoretical physics in junior and senior high schools or the equivalent so that it is easier to learn and understand them: Enjoy studying. #Friends Without Limits

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