19 Types of Measuring Tools

measuring tools types

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The new technology advancements these days have got us expecting nothing less than pinpoint accuracy in measurements. Be it distance measurement through GPS or Heart Rate on the Smartwatch, measurement tools have become better than ever. You can put the advancement into perspective by looking at the measurement tools used in ancient times. 

People used thumbs for an inch, a foot’s length for afoot, and the yard was the distance between King Henry’s nose to his arm. Ke As the standard units of measurements of various quantities have been defined over the years, tools have been made and upgraded. Measurement tools have become an indispensable asset of our daily life. 

Even a kid would need necessary tools like a ruler, thermometer, measuring tape, etc. If you take up DIY projects or like to do repair work in your house, you’d need many measuring tools handy. Here are some important types of measuring tools that you should know about.


Types of Measuring Tools

1. Ruler

Westcott Non-Shatter Ruler, Clear, 12 Inches,(13862)

It is easily a universal measuring tool. From a kindergarten student learning how to make shapes, to working on those school projects in the college, the ruler comes useful everywhere. It’s so simple to use and has such vast uses that you may want to ignore this point!

But that has been made possible because of William Bedwell, who designed the world’s first ruler in the 16th century. The fundamental purpose of a ruler is to draw straight lines and to measure the length and height of a geometrical shape. You can find different types of rulers based on different purposes.

School students use a standard 15cm ruler for drawing lines and shapes in their notebook. Engineering drawing students, designers, and other such industry professionals use a large ruler measuring 30cm or more. You can find rulers made of plastic, wood, and metal in the market. Of course, plastic is the cheapest of them all.

Types of Ruler

Based on their built, there are three types of the ruler:

a. Straight Ruler

b. Curved Ruler

c. Folding Ruler

The folding rulers are further available in different shapes and styles as per usage.

2. Measuring Tape

Komelon 4912IM The Professional 12-Foot Inch/Metric Scale Power Tape, Yellow

A measuring tape is a carpenter’s best friend. If you like to save some bucks and build handy furniture and stuff on your own, a measuring tape would be an indispensable asset for you. The essential purpose of a measuring tape is to measure the length of an object. It is essentially a metal or nylon tape folded into a coil shape in a plastic enclosure.

Just like a ruler, the tape has three types of markings on it- inch, centimeter, and millimeter. It is effortless to use this instrument. You just have to hold the open end of the tape and pull it to the size of the object. Once you have taken the measurement, only release the tape, and it gets retracted back into the roll

Measuring tapes have quite a few benefits over regular rulers. They are portable, can be kept in the pocket, and can measure long objects. You can find these tapes in multiple sizes between 12 inches to 35 inches. It fits in the palm well, and many companies also offer a switch to lock the tape in place.

Buy this tape on Amazon.

3. Squares

Swanson Tool S0101CB Speed Square Layout Tool with Blue Book and Combination Square Value Pack

Squares are accurate measuring rulers mainly used to measure and put markings to cut objects. Again, the DIY experts out there would know how great an asset a square is. You can find multiple kinds of squares based on different purposes:

a. Combination Square

You can use this measuring instrument to draw lines or marks to cut 3D objects. You can’t compromise on measuring angles while making DIY projects and other architectural objects. The combination squares help measure both 45° and 90° angles as per need.

b. Drywall Square

This square has a four-foot blade that you can use to draw markings on points where you need to cut the drywall. You can also place it on the line and cut against it.

c. Speed Square

Another square scale that measures 45° angles precisely. You can also use it to draw perfectly straight lines. Apart from these two uses, you can also use it as a fence to cut the objects precisely.

4. Protractor

Plastic Protractor Math Protractors 180 Degrees, 6 Inch, Clear, Pack of 2

Another measurement tool right from the school geometry box. We all remember the scoldings we got from our maths teacher when we forgot the protractors. It is indeed an essential tool that is used to measure the angles precisely. Protectors are inexpensive angle-measuring instruments with markings from 0° to 180°.

They are typically made up of plastic to cut costs and make them lightweight for school students. Some companies also make metal protractors. Architects, engineers, surveyors, and such industry professionals use metal protectors because of their durability.

These professionals use a protractor to measure angles while creating a detailed drawing of architectural designs.

5. Calipers

Neiko 01407A Electronic Digital Caliper Stainless Steel Body with Large LCD Screen | 0 - 6 Inches | Inch/Fractions/Millimeter Conversion

Another popular measuring tool, Caliper, is used to measure the distance between two sides of the same object. As simple as it sounds, Caliper is an indispensable tool for architects and engineers. Even a millimeter of error in the measurement of fittings, equipment, parts, etc. can disrupt the whole machinery and shape of the system.

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Vernier Scale is another name for Calipers as French Mathematician Pierre Vernier invented the calipers. He used them to measure angles at that time, but people mainly use them for measuring the distance between two sides of an object. The first Caliper was a mechanical one made up of steel.

It is an exact instrument and can measure lengths up to several decimals. You can find multiple variants of Caliper based on their uses, including inside Caliper, outside Caliper, a divider caliper, digital Caliper, etc.

Digital calipers are understandably most prominent among professionals now. It shows highly accurate data on display. It helps eliminate human eye errors.

6. Micrometer

Beslands Digital Electronic Display Micrometer 0-1" / 0-25mm Gauge 0.00004" / 0.001mm Thickness Measuring Tools Inch/Metric Caliper, Protective Case (with Extra Battery)

Commonly known as External Micrometer or Outside Micrometer, this device diameter of a circle to great precision. The accuracy of this device is between 0.01mm to 0.001mm. The mechanical engineers and those working in the manufacturing of machinery frequently make use of this tool among other metrological instruments.

Now micrometer isn’t an instrument that has uses in daily life until you need high diametrical precision. Opticians use it to measure diameters of lenses. While a micrometer measures small circular objects to good precision, you can’t replace it for calipers. This is because calipers can measure large objects while a micrometer has a range of about 25mm.

A traditional micrometer is a screw gauge that works mechanically. You have to read the measurement on the scale imprinted on the thimble. Like with all modern tools, you can now find a digital micrometer that delivers pinpoint accuracy with relative ease.

7. Angle Gauge

Wixey Digital Angle Gauge Type 2 with Magnetic Base and Backlight

Angle Gauge is another tool specific for professional measurements. If you aren’t related to the metrology or engineering industry, you wouldn’t have probably heard of this device. It is used to measure the angle between two solid surfaces. These are blocks of hardened steel coming in various measurements as peruse. Typically, an angle gauge measures 75mm in length and 16mm in width.

It is a very accurate tool and can measure any angle between 0 to 360. You can measure angles up to an accuracy of 0.5° to 0.25 seconds. Angle gauge is an indispensable tool for the forest department as they have to determine which trees to measure when design forest inventory. You can also check the balance of an object and its off-angle tolerance using this tool.

Angle gauges are quite inexpensive tools and you can easily find digital ones on eCommerce websites.

8. Thermometer

iProven Dt-R1221AWG Medical Thermometer, Oral & Rectal Thermometer with Fever Indicator

You don’t need to be a medical expert to own a thermometer. A simple device that can be the most helpful in determining whether the fever is critical or not. The thermometer helps measure the body temperature of humans as well as animals. But that’s not all, it can actually measure the temperature of a host of other things like cooked dishes, lab equipment, etc. 

There is a general misconception on who invented the thermometer. If you are one of those who think Galileo did it, you’re wrong. It was Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit who invented the alcohol thermometer in 1709 and subsequently the mercury thermometer in 1714. The Fahrenheit scale is understandably named after him.

Types of thermometers:

You can find a variety of thermometers for specific purposes, but these can be broadly grouped into two types:

a. Clinical Thermometer

This is the one you have at home. It is a simple device that you put under the tongue for about a minute and it measures the body temperature accurately. Digital thermometers have bow replaced mercury ones. These have plastic built and don’t get broken on accidental drops like the mercury ones with glass covering. They are also easy to use and are readily available online.

b. Laboratory Thermometer

Laboratory thermometers can measure much higher temperatures than clinical ones. Scientists and researchers use them to measure the temperatures of different solutions and equipment.

9. Glucometer

Accu Chek Performa 100 Test Strips (Very Long Expiration Dates) + Glucometer Tester Monitor Kit + Softclix + Lancets + Diabetes Wipes Finger Sterilizers Cleaners for Accurate Blood Level Results

Diabetes and heart patients know the struggle of sudden fluctuations in blood pressure and glucose levels. Devices like glucometer are essential for these patients to keep handy. The glucometer measures an approximate glucose level in the patient’s body. Glucometer was invented in 1965 by Hubert Clemens.

It had a paper strip. The patient added his blood drop onto the strip which turned blue after some time. It came with a chart of shades of blue with their respective glucose readings. Of course, like most other measuring tools, scientists managed to develop Digital Glucometers with time. You can now even sync your Glucometer with a mobile app to get real-time updates and suggestions.

If you or someone you know is suffering from diabetes, it’s good to track glucose levels every day. It helps the doctor customize the treatment plan accordingly.

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10. Stopwatch

MARATHON Adanac 3000 Digital Stopwatch Timer - Battery Included

Another extremely common measuring device. A stopwatch measures time between two activities in a controlled environment. You would find a stylish metal stopwatch in the hands of the referee that kicks off a football match or a race. This device comes useful in measuring the length of an activity. It might be at the gym, a race, doing a home workout, and things like that.

You just have to press a button to start and the same button to stop. Stopwatches are now available on smartphones as well as keypad phones. You can also set pointers as laps which is the same as the time recorded when an athlete crosses a hurdle in a hurdle race. It’s a cost-effective device that is also fitted in most analog and digital clocks.

11. Laser Measure TACKLIFE S3-100 PRO Laser Measure 328Ft Laser Distance Meter with 2.25" Large Backlit LCD Display, Large Laser Receive Window, Delay Measure Mode, Tripod Screw Hole-Measure Angle/Distance/Area/Volume

If you are in the construction department and want to measure distances quickly, you should check out this device. A Laser measure helps measure the distance between itself and an object in quick time by projecting a laser. It’s not that its only use is in the construction department. A lot of industry professionals like architects, groundsmen, etc can use this device to measure distances instantly.

It’s a replacement for a tape measure but is extremely accurate and time-saving. It does cost quite a lot more than other measuring devices. Typically, Laser measures can measure distances up to 30m but you can find expensive Laser measures that have a range of up to 80m. Digital models are also available readily in the market, albeit a bit more expensive. It’s a valid investment for people who have to measure distances at worksites frequently.

12. Level

WORKPRO 3Pcs Spirit Level Set(9", 12", 24"), W002900A

It’s one of the essential measuring tools that every household should have. The level has a very simple but crucial purpose of determining whether something is on a level or a straight line or not. It ensures that things are properly balanced. If you’re not a carpenter and don’t take up DIY projects, you would use levels drilling holes in a wall for hanging frames and racks.

Just like this purpose, using the level is very simple. A standard beam level is just set on the top of the object and you can look at the vial to check if it is on the level. 

Apart from mechanical measuring levels, you can also find the quantity of a substance in a vessel using a level. A range of level measurements is available in the market for different purposes. You can also use digital levels to keep your shelves balanced.

13. Bubble Inclinometer

Digital Level and Protractor - eOUTIL 10 Inch IP54 Protected Electronic Bubble Inclinometer/Angle Finder/Gauge with Large LED Display & Magnetized V-Groove Base - Batteries and Carrying Bag Included

Are you an adventure enthusiast? Do you like the thrill of trekking on steep mountains in chilly climes? Then you should have a device to measure the steep of your climb. It lets you determine the risk involved. Trek routes are naturally carved and are by no means safe. A good trekker should weigh in his risks well.

Now in operation, it’s a simple tool. You just have to keep near the joint or the edge of the surface you want to measure the steepness of. You can use it while making your DIY projects, furniture, etc. It comes useful for letting you get the perfect angle to make a stable base and sturdy furniture.

It resembles somewhat a kitchen timer. You first need to set the inclinometer to zero and then place it carefully along the joint. It’s not as simple to take the readings and you would have to measure the changes in the bubble. Once you understand its working, you can measure the steepness effectively.

14. Pressure Gauge

Pressure Gauge,Liquid Filled,2" face dia,0-30 psi/bar/kpa,1/4" NPT Lower Mount, Polycarbonate Lens Window, Stainless Steel case

Have you ever noticed the equipment in the hands of the air filler at the gas station? You might have even filled the gas at a certain temperature suitable for your tire. The dial-shaped machine is called a pressure gauge. It measures the air pressure in the tire so that you can fill in the adept quantity of air. Gas stations and LPG cylinder agencies also use pressure gauges to check the air pressure.

Similarly, hot water heaters measure water pressure using a pressure gauge. In fact, a pressure gauge can measure the pressure of almost any kind of fluid. Hospitals use pressure gauges to measure blood pressure in a similar fashion. They are crucial measurement tools for hypertension patients. 

Many patients nowadays have their own blood pressure kit which includes a pressure gauge. Considering its multiple uses, you’ll surely find many uses of the pressure gauge in your life.

15. Speedometer

SOON GO Bike Speedometer, Bicycle Speedometer Wireless Bike Computer Waterproof Bike Odometer Speedometer Accurate Speed Tracking & Multi-Function

As made obvious by the name, a speedometer measures the speed of a moving object relative to its surroundings. The most common use of the speedometer is inside automobiles. Measuring the speed of a car is not just for fun purposes but also crucial to keep driving under a safe limit. Scientists also use speedometers outside vehicles for research purposes.

Police officers use speed gun-type speedometers to check for overspeeding crimes. You can also get standalone speedometers from the market to attach to your bicycle and know how fast you can ride. 

Speed guns come into use in sports like cricket matches for determining bowling speeds. Measuring speed is a crucial part of modern research and speedometers are an effective tool in that regard.

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16. Odometer


Another speed measuring popularly installed in automobiles. Ever wondered how your car’s meter calculates the distance you have traveled without a GPS device? It is because of the odometer that we can measure the distance traveled by automobile. You can also get a standalone odometer to attach to your bicycle.

It will come in very handy for the fitness freaks who are adamant to complete distance goals. Odometers are mostly digital and it’s a rather simple device that anybody(of course not a blind person) can use easily. So how does the odometer actually measure the distance without a GPS? It tracks the wheel rotations and calculates the distance based on them.

If the tire gets worn or severely damaged, its radius would change a bit and that may cause an error in the readings. But it’s very rare and the error is mostly negligible. Having said that, odometers can be off the mark by a small percentage and can’t be compared with GPS distances.

17. Measuring Cups

Good Cook Clear Measuring Cup with Measurements, 2-Cup

As basic as this device is, the chemical labs will cease to work without them. They are also extensively used in the kitchen. And of course, making those exotic cocktails requires pinpoint measurements. The right amount of rum mixed with juice and gin can do wonders. You would need a measuring cup for that.

These cups have a scale marked on the outside and are transparent. You can find glass as well as plastic measuring cups in the market. Glass measuring cups are adept for lab purposes as plastic can react adversely with chemicals. Measuring cups are available in a range of sizes between 100mL to 1000mL. You can also find cups smaller or larger than these.

Measuring cups give an accurate measurement of the volume of liquid and you can also use it to measure solids. But the amount of solid may vary because of the compressibility factor. Apart from standalone measuring cups, the bottle caps of tonics and liquid medicine are marked like a measuring cup at times. You will find a scale that you can use to fill an apt amount of medicine and feed the patient.

18. Weighing Machine

Etekcity Digital Body Weight Bathroom Scale With Step-On Technology, 400 Lb, Body Tape Measure Included, Elegant Black

This is one measuring tool that even a common man would have seen in various types. You would remember the weighing machine at the doctor or at home that measures your temperature. Then think about the digital weighing machine at the grocery or departmental store for weighing groceries. Some people may have seen spring balances that measure the weight of cylinders et al.

The different kinds of weighing machines serve the same purpose for different needs. A weighing machine is an irreplaceable tool. And it’s been an indispensable asset that has evolved over the years. A simple weight balance is said to be as old as 2000BC through which people used to measure each other’s weights.

Having a weighing machine at home comes useful for health-conscious people who like to work out at home and check their progress. Apart from fitness freaks, it also helps travelers. You can weigh your luggage prior to leaving for the airport to ensure it doesn’t cross the weight limit.

As for the 18th-century analog version of the weighing machine, it showed the weight through the needle which stopped at a certain weight. Nowadays you can easily find a digital weighing machine that uses electric resistance to work. The good thing is that these machines can also measure body fat against lean mass which is crucial information for the health-conscious.

19. Clock

Bernhard Products Black Wall Clock Silent Non Ticking - 10 Inch Quality Quartz Battery Operated Round Easy to Read Home/Office/Classroom/School Clock Perhaps the most crucial among all the quantifiable elements, a clock has never stopped since the inception of the world. It’s an obvious choice and due to its extremely high reachability, it makes last on the list. Not having a clock around relieves you of so many distressing thoughts. But that can make you regret it sooner than you think.

Without the track of time, you don’t know what you can lose. Keeping a track of time helps properly segregate tasks and complete work on time. It’s also important to keep a good balance between professional and personal life. A living room, as well as a bedroom, is incomplete without a clock hanging on the wall.

Even though you can check out the time on the phone, a large clock wall is a better reminder. Some people also set alarms in their clocks to wake up early. You can find both analog and digital clocks readily in the market but both of them fulfill the same purpose. Wristwatches are also available for instant access to time.

But with the smartphone becoming a necessity for every human, wristwatches have become a fashion statement more than a need. You can also find smartwatches that sync with the mobile phone to display some of its functions along with showing time. It also acts as a fitness tracker and measures your steps, heart rate, etc.

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