Vernier callipers also known as Vernier scale or Vernier gauge are exact measuring instruments used to measure direct dimensions with high precision. They contains a main scale and a Vernier scale that allows for more accurate readings than normal rulers or measuring tapes. Vernier calipers are used in engineering, manufacturing and scientific applications where precise and accurate measurements are needed. Here are some key features and uses of Vernier calipers:
vernier calliper

Types of Vernier Calliper

Standard Vernier Calliper:

Standard Vernier Calliper:

The standard Vernier caliper is a mechanical measuring instrument that uses a Vernier scale to give accurate readings. It consists of a main scale and a Vernier scale which stays along the main scale. The main scale is fixed and has uniformly spaced markings while the Vernier scale has fine divisions.

When the jaws of the calliper are closed around an object the zero point of the Vernier scale is adjusted with a mark on the main scale. The Vernier scale is then read to decide the divided part of the smallest main scale division, providing the final measurement.

  • Advantages of Standard Vernier Calliper:
  1. High accuracy and precision in measurements.
  2. Long lasting and needs no batteries or electronic components.
  3. Fairly low cost compared to digital callipers.

Digital Vernier Calliper:

The digital Vernier caliper works on the same principle as the standard Vernier caliper but contains an electronic digital display for easy readout. Instead of reading the Vernier scale manually, the measurement is directly shown on the digital screen. Digital Vernier calipers generally have a reset button to zero the display making it easy for measuring multiple objects without needing to reset the scale manually each time.

  • Advantages of Digital Vernier Calliper:
  1. Easy and quick to read especially for those who are not aware with reading Vernier scales.
  2. Provides measurements in both metric and imperial units with a simple mode switch.
  3. Some models offer extra features like data hold, ABS (absolute) and INC  measurement modes and IP rating for water and dust resistance.

Some more types of vernier calliper.

  • Flat Edge Vernier Calliper: A Flat Edge Vernier caliper is a standard Vernier caliper with flat jaws used for measuring the outer lengthof objects.
  • Knife Edge Vernier CalliperA Knife Edge Vernier caliperis designed with knife-edge jaws which are classic for measuring the proportions of soft materials like paper or material.
  • Vernier Gear Tooth Calliper: A Vernier Gear Tooth caliper is a special caliper used to measure gear tooth width and tooth spaces in gears.
  • Vernier Depth Gauge: A Vernier depth gauge is used to measure the depth of holes, break or the height of steps or shelf. It has a long beam with a depth inquiry at one end.
  • Flat and Knife Edge Vernier Calliper: This type of Vernier caliper merge both flat and knife-edge jaws presenting versatility in measuring different types of materials.
  • Vernier Height Gauge: A Vernier height gauge is a tall calliper used to measure the height of objects and surfaces with great precision.
  • Vernier Dial Calliper: A Vernier dial calliper is close to a classic Vernier calliper but has a dial measure for easier and faster readings. It is commonly used in machine shops and engineering applications.

Least Count of Vernier Calliper

The least count of a Vernier calliper refers to the smallest measurement that can be read or measured using the instrument. It is the difference between one main scale division and one Vernier scale division.The least count of a Vernier caliper depends on the total number of divisions on the Vernier scale and the main scale.

To calculate the least count of a Vernier calliper:

  • Recognize the number of divisions on the main scale (N).
  • Identify the number of divisions on the Vernier scale (V).
  • Find the length of one main scale division (Ls) which is the value represented by N divisions on the main scale and divide it by V to get the length of one Vernier scale division (Lv).
  • The least count (LC) is the difference between Ls and Lv.

Mathematically, the formula for calculating the least count (LC) of a Vernier caliper is:

LC = Ls – Lv

For example, if a Vernier caliper has 20 divisions on the main scale N and 25 divisions on the Vernier scale V and one main scale division Ls represents 1 mm then the least count (LC) would be:

LC = 1 mm – (1 mm / 25) = 1 mm – 0.04 mm = 0.96 mm

Zero error

What Is Zero Error?

Zero error in a measuring instrument such as a Vernier caliper that refers to the differences of the instrument’s zero point from the true zero or starting point of the measurement scale.It is a type of planned error that affects all measurements taken with the instrument and needs to be noted to make sure accurate readings.

Zero error can be either positive or negative depending on whether the zero point of the instrument is to the right (positive) or left (negative) of the true zero point. When the jaws of a Vernier caliper are closed, if the zero on the Vernier scale aligns perfectly with the zero on the main scale, there is no zero error, and the instrument is said to have zero error-free readings.

Types of Zero Error in Vernier Calliper:

Positive Zero Error: 

Positive Zero Error

It occurs when the zero on the Vernier scale is to the right of the true zero on the main scale.In this case the Vernier caliper would read a value of higher measurement than the actual measurement.

Negative Zero Error:

negative Zero Error

It occurs when the zero on the vernier scale is to the left of the true zero that is on the main scale .The vernier caliper may read a value  lower  than the actual measurement.

Correcting Zero Error:

To get precise measurements with a Vernier caliper damaged by zero error. ` It is important to find the magnitude and direction of the error and fix the readings properly.

For positive zero error:

Minus the magnitude of the error from the measured value.


Correct reading = Measured reading – Magnitude of positive zero error

For negative zero error:

Add the magnitude of the error with the measured value. 


Correct reading = Measured reading + Magnitude of negative zero error

It is important to note that zero error can change over time due to damage or mishandling of the instrument. Regular measurement and maintenance are needed to reduce zero error and make sure the precision of measurements.

How to Read Vernier Calliper?

Reading a Vernier caliper needs careful observation and understanding of both the main scale and the Vernier scale. Vernier callipers can give highly accurate measurements when read properly. Here are the steps to read a Vernier caliper:

How to Read Vernier Calliper?

  • Examine the Vernier Calliper: Before taking a measurement, keep up to date yourself with the Vernier caliper. Recognize the main scale,Vernier scale and any extra scales or characteristics present on the calliper.
  • Close the Jaws: Close the jaws of the Vernier caliperso that they hold the object you want to measure. Make sure that the object is held strongly between the jaws.
  • Align the Scales: Make sure that the zero mark of the Vernier scale accompany with the zero mark of the main scale.This is the beginning point for reading measurements.
  • Read the Main Scale: Recognize the main scale reading that lines up with the left end of the Vernier scale.This is the whole number measurement before the decimal point.
  • Read the Vernier Scale: Now note the Vernier scale and find the Vernier scale division that followmost precise value with any main scale division. This is the line on the Vernier scale that goes with or is just to the left of any line on the main scale.
  • Determine the Vernier Scale Reading: Note the number on the Vernier scale that lines up with the main scale. This is the fraction of the measurement behind the whole number measurement on the main scale.
  • Calculate the Measurement: Combine the main scale reading and the Vernier scale reading to find the final measurement. Add the main scale reading to the fraction denoted by the Vernier scale.
  • Account for Zero Error (if applicable): If there is any zero error present (positive or negative) make the required amendment to the measurement obtained in step 7.

Example: Main scale reading = 5.0 cm Vernier scale reading = 0.06 cm Total measurement = 5.0 cm + 0.06 cm = 5.06 cm

Errors in Measurement

Errors in measurement indicate the changes between the measured value and the true value of a quantity being measured. These errors can occur due to different factors and can affect the accuracy and precision of measurements. Errors in measurement can be widely classified into two categories: systematic errors and random errors.

Systematic Errors:

Systematic errors are according to it and repeatable errors that affect all measurements in the same way. They are caused by defects or biases in the measurement process and started to shift the measurements either higher or lower than the true value.

Examples of systematic errors:

  • Zero error in measuring instruments like Vernier calipers or balances.
  • Error displacement  in reading measurement scales.
  • Temperature effects on the measurement instruments.
  • Measuring errors in laboratory equipment.
  • Random Errors: Random errors, also known as numerical errors, are unsure variations that occur in measurements. They are caused by various unmanageable factors and can occur differently in each measurement. Random errors do not have a logical pattern and may cause measurements to vary around the true value.
  • Human errors in reading instruments or recording data.
  • Interference from external sources of noise or electromagnetic field

Components of a Vernier calliper  

Components of a Vernier calliper  

  • Main Scale: This is a long fixed scale that runs along the body of the Vernier calliper.It is graduated in either centimetres or millimetres, and each division on the main scale shows one unit of measurement.
  • Vernier Scale: The Vernier scale is a smaller scale that is attached to the sliding jaw of the Vernier caliper. It moves along the main scale and provides extra measurements with finer divisions than the main scale. The Vernier scale is used to find the integer part of the measurement behind the whole units mentioned on the main scale.
  • Sliding Jaw: The Vernier caliper has two jaws one fixed and one sliding. The sliding jaw moves along the main scale and is used to calculate the length or measurements of objects.
  • Lower Jaws: The lower jaws are part of the sliding jaw and are used to measure the outer measurements of objects such as the diameter or width.
  • Upper Jaws: The upper jaws are also part of the sliding jaw and are used to calculate internal dimensions of objects such as the inside diameter of a hole or the deepness of a container.
  • Depth Rod: Some Vernier calipers have a depth rod fixed to the sliding jaw. The depth rod expands perpendicular to the main scale and is used to measure the depth of objects like the depth of a hole.
  • Locking Screw: The locking screw is used to secure the sliding jaw in place once the measurement is taken.This helps avoid any movement and makes surethe precision of the measurement.
  • Thumb Screw: The thumb screw is used to move the sliding jaw along the main scale. It is operated by hand and allows for precise positioning of the sliding jaw.
  • Beak or Measuring Faces: The measuring faces are the tips of the jaws that come into contact with the object being measured. They need to be clean and free from any junk and make sure exact

Applications of Vernier Calipers

Some applications of vernier calipers are listed below:
  1. Science Labs
  2. Medical Purposes
  3. Steel Industries
  4. Aerospace Industries
  5. Educational Sector

Vernier callipers are universal and widely used measuring instruments due to their accuracy and capacity to measure different dimensions accurately . They find applications in various fields and industries. Some common applications of Vernier calipers include:

  • Engineering and Manufacturing: Vernier calipers are broadly used in engineering and manufacturing industries for dimensional examination, quality control, and accurate measurements of components and parts.
  • Machining and Metalworking: In metalworking processes, Vernier calipers are used to measure the dimensions of metal parts including diameters, lengths and depths making sure the  proper assembling and construction.
  • Carpentry and Woodworking: Vernier calipers are used by carpenters and woodworkers to measure lengths, thickness and other dimensions of wood and wooden components for precise cutting and fitting.
  • Educational Institutions: Vernier calipers are broadly used in schools and colleges for teaching students about measurement techniques and accuracy.
  • Scientific Research: In laboratories, Vernier callipers are used for accurate measurements of samples and experimental set-ups in different scientific research projects.
  • Jewellery and Gemology: Jewellers and goldsmith use Vernier calipers to measure gemstone dimensions, ring sizes and other jewellery
  • Medical and Healthcare: In medical settings Vernier calipers are used for anthropometric measurements such as skin fold thickness and body fat percentage as well as for measuring the size of bones and growth parameters in medicine specialety.
  • Architecture and Interior Design: Architects and interior designers use Vernier calipers to measure dimensions of   rooms, furniture and other components during the preparation and design process.
  • Automotive and Aerospace: In the automotive and aerospace industries, Vernier calipers are used for quality control and accurate measurements of different components and parts.
  • Art and Design: Artists and designers may use Vernier calipers to measure proportions and dimensions precisely for creating accurate artwork and designs.
  • Hobbyists and DIY Enthusiasts: Hobbyists and DIY addict use Vernier calipers for different projects that needs precise measurements.

Overall, Vernier calipers are essential tools in many fields where exact measurements are necessary. Their ability to measure length, diameter, depth, and other dimensions with high accuracy makes them a important and valuable instrument in a wide range of applications.

Learn more about various instruments or tools to enhance your expertise.

Measure things with Vernier Calliper:

 Frequently Asked Questions  about vernier callipers

What is a Vernier calliper and how does it work?

A Vernier caliper is a measuring instrument used to measure length, diameter, depth and other dimensions with high accuracy. It mainly consists of a main scale and a skidding Vernier scale.The Vernier scale gives excellent divisions than the main scale allowing for more accurate readings.

How do I read a Vernier calliper?

To read a Vernier caliper line up the zero mark of the Vernier scale with the zero mark of the main scale. Read the main scale value that line up with the left end of the Vernier scale.Then find the Vernier scale division that lines up most precisely with any division on the main scale. Read the value on the Vernier scale that line up with the main scale to get the final measurement.

What is the least count of a Vernier calliper?

The least count of a Vernier caliper is the small measurement that can be read using the instrument.It is find by the total number of divisions on the Vernier scale and the main scale. The least count is used to attain higher accuracy in measurements.

How do I measure inner dimensions using a Vernier calliper?

To measure inner dimensions use the upper jaws of the Vernier calliper. Place the jaws into the cavity or hole being measured and then carefully close the jaws until they lightly grab the inner surface. Take the reading where the zero on the Vernier scale line up with the main scale.

Can I measure depth using a Vernier calliper?

Yes, Vernier calipers supplied with a depth rod can measure depth. Expand the depth rod and place the jaws on the object’s top surface. Slowly open the jaws until the depth rod touches the bottom of the object and then read the measurement.

How do I make sure accurate measurements with a Vernier calliper?

To make sure exact measurements handle the Vernier caliper carefully, avoid parallax errors by reading at eye level and use the locking screw to secure the jaws in place during measurements.Regular measurements and maintenance of the instrument also contribute to accuracy.

Can Vernier callipers measure in both metric and imperial units?

Yes, most Vernier calipers are double-scale instruments and can measure in both metric (centimetres or millimetres) and imperial (inches) units. They have a switch  mechanism to select the applicable unit of measurement.

Are digital Vernier callipersmore accurate than standard ones?

Both digital and standard Vernier calipers can provide high accuracy. Digital callipers offer easier readings with a digital display while standard Vernier calipers needs reading the scale manually. The precision primarily depends on the quality and measurement of the calliper rather than its type.

What is the range of measurements a Vernier calliper can handle?

The range of measurements in a  Vernier calliper can handle depends on its size and design. Mostly available Vernier callipers have a range of up to 150 mm or 6 inches.

Can I use a Vernier calliper for measuring body fat or body parts?

While Vernier callipers can be used for different anthropometric measurements. They are not the standard tool for measuring body fat or body parts. Specialized callipers or techniques are used in such cases and it is important to ask a trained professional for precise measurements.If you want to purchase a vernier calliper in reasonable amount then you can buy it from Amazon

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