Choosing the best calipers for reloading requires some prior knowledge of the key buying factors.
You need to decide between a digital and dial caliper.
You must choose an accurate and precise unit. The caliper must provide millimeter measuring mode.
Like this, you have several other factors to consider before choosing a caliper for reloading.
Don’t be troubled.
Here in this guide, I’m going to clear out all those confusions and aim to guide you with four calipers for reloading reviews mentioning all the upsides and downsides of them.
I’m sure it will be an easy-peasy task for you to choose the best bet for you once you complete reading this article.
So, let’s jump right in.
4 Top Calipers of Reloading – Detailed Review
1. iGaging Absolute-Origin Digital Caliper Review
When it was about listing the best calipers for reloading, I couldn’t resist myself putting this iGaging digital caliper on top of the list.
You can buy from several sizes, and measurement ranges like 0-4”, 0-6”, 0-6” with fraction, 0-6” with a USB cable, 0-8”, 0-12”, 0-24”, 0-40”, 6” groove inside, and double hook version.
The overall construction and quality of this unit are worth mentioning.
A caliper must not be a brittle unit that breaks if you sit on it, or it drops down accidentally. This unit is precisely that much rugged.
You can use a USB cable with it; you have to buy it separately, though. The battery compartment of this unit is not like those cheap Chinese flimsy ones.
In a nutshell, if you are looking for a top-notch caliper for reloading that gives accurate results, and offers all those bells and whistles a useful unit needs to provide, this unit is the one you should give a try.
It won’t break your bank either.
2. Mitutoyo Absolute-Origin Advanced Onsite Sensor Digital Caliper Review
Mitutoyo is one of the most popular brands when it’s about buying a digital caliper.
This particular model features different packs (1 pack, two packs, three packs, five packs, etc.). The more you buy at once, the more you save the money.
Remember, the 6” version features a data output.
Once you open the plastic box, you will receive a certificate of inspection, that clearly proves the overall quality of this unit.
If you are finding a budget caliper, then this is not for you.
However, if spending money is not a big deal for you, and you are so fastidious like me, this is the best bet without any second thought.
Undoubtedly, this digital caliper will beat those cheaper Chinese units any day. It has all the ability to be the best digital caliper for reloading without any second thought.
3. Anytime Tools Dial Caliper Review
Anytime tools dial caliper is one of the very few dial calipers that gives both inch (black) and metric (red) reading.
When it’s about choosing a dial caliper, the most important deciding factor should be the quality of the dial. I must say, this unit offers non-jerky dials, and you will be able to see the numbers through the clear glass.
As this is not a digital caliper, so, you don’t have to worry about using a battery and its life. So, you can use it frequently at any moment as many times as you want.
Despite having a few minor hiccups, still, I suggest you use this caliper if you are finding a budget-friendly dial caliper for reloading. This is one of the best dial calipers for the money out there.
However, if using a dial caliper is not a problem for you, then I suggest you go for any of the dial calipers, I’ve reviewed here.
4. Neiko 01407A Electronic Digital Caliper Review
You can choose from either 0-6” or 0-8” or 0-12” range of this same Neiko 01407A model.
The size of the LCD screen sets this unit apart from the crowd for sure. It features a comparatively big screen that gives ample convenience to see the numbers clearly.
It features measuring in three different modes – inches, millimeters, and fractions.
You will get one extra battery with the package.
Nonetheless, I think the battery cover needs some attention from the manufacturer. The battery life is not too impressive either.
Moreover, it’s not dust ingress or water splash protected.
Overall, this one is not too good to go for a type of caliper. Yes, it costs less and features all those basic functionalities that you require as a reloader.
With that said, if money is not an issue for you, then I don’t think you should go for this one.
The iGaging digital caliper or the Mitutoyo caliper that I reviewed above are the ones I prefer to this unit considering the accuracy, build, and overall performance.
Top Calipers for Reloading – Buying Guide
Let me elaborate on some of the key buying factors for your convenience.
Construction and Durability
When it’s all about durability, the overall construction needs to stand out for any calipers.
You don’t want any fragile unit that might break if it drops down or you sit on that. On top of that, you don’t want to buy a caliper each year. So, it’s vital for the unit to have solid construction.
If the frame of a caliper is made from stainless steel without any plastic involvement, it’s an indication of a long-lasting unit.
All the calipers offer multiple measuring modes. That’s nothing new. However, for reloading, you must go for the one that includes millimeter measurement mode.
Both accuracy and precision are crucial factors for a caliper. A minimum of 0.02 mm or 0.001 inches accuracy is expected from a top-notch reloading caliper.
This is important if you reload different sizes and thicknesses of cartridges, which I believe you do for sure if you reload regularly.
To find out the measurement smoothly, the caliper must get back to zero quite easily against each attempt.
Easy to Calibrate
As per the standard practice, a dial caliper needs to be calibrated once in a year to verify the stated accuracy specifications.
To achieve that smoothly, the calibration should not be a complicated process because of the caliper’s complex design.
You will want to use a caliper both indoors and outdoors. That’s why it needs to be weatherproof.
At least it should be protected from dust ingress and water splash. An IP54 rating is enough for a caliper to consider it to be a safe unit.
Battery life is another vital factor for digital calipers. It has nothing to do with the dial calipers.
Any top-notch digital caliper should provide at least 1-2 years of battery life against regular use.
The cheap Chinese ones fail in this regard measurably.
Not only the battery life, but the battery compartment should not be a flimsy one.
What are the Different Types of Calipers?
Let me brief a bit about these two types.
A digital caliper is the most popular type of caliper among the reloaders. It’s because a digital caliper gives a more accurate result, and it’s more beginner-friendly.
In the case of a digital caliper, a digital sensor gives the measurement information, that’s why it doesn’t get hampered by the human movement.
You can easily see the digits through the LCD screen, use the buttons to switch between different measuring modes, on-off the unit, etc.
When it’s about comparing durability, a dial caliper tends to last longer than a digital caliper.
The significant advantage of dial calipers over the digital calipers is a dial caliper doesn’t require any battery to operate. So, you don’t have to worry about battery life and all these.
In this best calipers for reloading article, I’ve tried to list down some of the top-most calipers (both dial and digital) of various price ranges.
It’s quite evident that the budget ones don’t provide the same quality as the comparatively pricey ones do.
So, finally, it’s your preference. It’s always what you get is what you pay for.
If you don’t want to sacrifice the quality, durability, and performance at all, then either the iGaging or the Mitutoyo is the best bet for you.