Best dial indicator for woodworking and how it works

In woodworking, the definition of the dial indicator is correlative with its purpose. The primary purpose of a dial indicator is to accurately measure the height of a cut or the depth of a cut created with a router. They are small, handheld tools that are used to measure the height of a cut or the depth of a cut made with a router. Their size and convenience make them a popular choice for woodworkers.

The most common types of dial indicators are the simple mechanical ones that are available for about $30 and are available in a wide variety of models and sizes. But there are also electronic dial indicators, which are almost always handheld and have a built-in digital readout. They can be programmed with a specific setting and can be set to perform a specific task by entering in a number from 0 through 9.

The dial indicator works with the plunger which is attached to its side. Measurement depends on the amount of plunger movement.

At a Glance:

There are a wide variety of dial indicators used in woodworking, which includes hand-cranked dial indicators, which are simply hand-cranked indicators used for marking. Different trades use different types of dial indicators, but one of the most common is the dial test indicator.

The dial test indicator is a piece of wood, usually a scrap piece of wood, that is cut to the desired angle. It is also angle cut to fit the dial indicator. It is then drilled with a small hole that is drilled down to the center of the dial indicator. The dial indicator then fits snugly over the piece of wood and is used just like any other dial indicator.

How to use a dial indicator in woodworking


Using a dial indicator is not a tough task in woodworking. Just hold the side in the position where measures need to be calculated and read the number. A router is used to cut into the calculated notch, which will allow the user to set the height of their cut.

What is a dial indicator used for in woodworking? (dial indicator purpose)

The dial indicator is a simple device that consists of a small piece of steel that is attached to a pivot point in your workpiece. If you turn the dial to a certain point, the point at which the dial contacts the steel is known as a zero-stop. The dial indicator is useful when checking the runout of your stock.

The dial indicator is most commonly used to adjust the height of a boring bar in a boring machine, but there are other uses for this simple device. For example, you may use it to accurately align a router bit, speed square, or edge guide.

The dial indicator is also used to check the amount of run-out in a workpiece. This can be done while the workpiece is still in stock, without removing the workpiece from the table.

How many types of dial indicators are there?

Dial indicators and test equipment come in a variety of shapes and sizes. What is the definition of an indicator? It is a device that can be used to track the path of a moving object.

How many types of dial indicators are there

The tool can be used to illustrate how long a length of pipe is and how far along it is in the installation process. The instrument can also be used to determine the length of a pipe piece and how far along it is in the installation process.

Dial indicators and test equipment come in a variety of shapes and sizes. What is the definition of a dial indicator? It is a device that can be used to track the path of a moving object.

The tool can be used to illustrate how long a length of pipe is and how far along it is in the installation process. The instrument has the ability to

What are the two basic types of dial indicators?

A dial indicator, also known as a hand indicator, is one of the most versatile tools in a woodworking shop. You can use it to dial out or dial in saw blades, drill bits, chisels, and other hand tools. Plus, you can use it as a gauge for thicknesses.

However, if you’re still new to using dial indicators, here’s a quick primer to help you get started. Basically, there are two types of the dial indicator. one is a test indicator and another one is a drop indicator.

What are the types of dial indicators?

  • Lever Dial Indicator
  • Balanced Reading Dial Indicators
  • Plunger Dial Indicator
  • Continuous Dial Indicator
  • Reversed Continuous Dial Indicators
  • Reversed Balanced Dial Indicators

List of Best dial indicator for woodworking

1. WEN 10702 1-Inch Precision Dial Indicator

Best Pick

WEN 10702 1-Inch Precision Dial Indicator

71XCUHlNfcL. AC SL1500

This WEN 1-Inch Dial Indicator is a hand-held precision measuring instrument that provides an accurate method for measuring the diameter of workpieces. This equipment has a maximum range of 1 inch (25.4 mm). A measurement dial has a diameter range of 0.01 inches to 0.25 inches.

This WEN dial indicator has a hardened steel spindle that is adjustable. It has an adjustable dial indicator. The spindle is driven by top-quality brass worm gear.

The unit is housed in a base that has a telescopic design that allows it to extend or contract in length. This base has an improved design that provides additional stability during use. It has an anodized aluminum base that is sturdy. This dial indicator

The WEN 1-Inch Dial Indicator has a gauge range from 0 to 1″. It has a pointer that is accurately calibrated to read the indicated value. This dial indicator is designed with a wide pointer, which makes it easier to read, and the pointer has a glossy finish that resists wear, rust, and corrosion. The pointer is also adjustable and removable, so you can calibrate the dial indicator to suit your needs

Key features:

  1. On the inner wheel, the resolution is .1 inches, while on the outer dial, it’s .001 inches.
  2. The display can be rotated in any direction thanks to the rotatable bezel.
  3. For all measurements, the markers provide reference points
  4. With the 1/4-inch lug hole, you can mount your dial indicator to magnetic bases or other necessary calibration and measurement equipment.
  5. Users can read and record measurements on the 2-inch display face
  6. Spring-loaded plunger retracts smoothly and easily with a 1-1/2-inch by 3/16-inch size


  • The spring pressure is well-equipped, so it can be measured with accuracy.
  • The cheapest available on the market.
  • A good quality knob, bar, and dial can be found on the console.
  •  Those dimensions are exactly right


  • The small hole for mounting the indicator isn’t entirely drilled
  • Not for precision measurement

 2. Multi Gauge oneway dial indicator

Budget Pick

Oneway dial indicator

91bc8bgcOuL. SL1500

One Way Indicator’s multi-gauge dial indicator is a great aid for precise measurements. The included 3-2″ adaptor gives you the flexibility to take precise measurements in any size project. This dial indicator can also be used to check run-out on a lathe or to check the width of the board.

Oneway Multi-Gauge Dial Indicator is designed to be attached to a drill press to accurately and precisely measure the diameter of the wood being worked on.

The One-Way Multi-Gauge Dial Indicator is a simple but accurate way to measure the diameter of a piece of wood. It is ideal for checking the diameter of a finished pen blank or measuring the diameter of the inside of a hole drilled in the middle of a blank.

This little tool can measure the diameter of an object. It is used to measure the diameter of a hole in a cylindrical piece of wood to determine the size of the wood needed to make the hole.

Key features:

  1. designed for setting exact height adjustments of jointer knives and accurately setting jointer cutting depth
  2. The solid 1-1/4″ thick cast iron frame is precision machined at 90 degrees on three sides so you can check the squareness of, or accurately position, joiner fences, saw blades or tilting tables of scroll saws and drill presses.
  3. The dial indicator has 1-1/32″ of travel for a full 1″ measurement in .001″ increments.
  4.  includes a round tip for checking run out and a flat tip for saw blade, dado head, or router bit height adjustments.
  5. This includes dial Indicator and gauges.


  • Excellent fit and finish.
  • More useful than adjusting woodworking equipment.
  • The indicator is good and has a variety of screw-on tips that increase the versatility.
  • easy to set up.
  • Excellent design.


  • Little expensive.

3. Anytime tool test Clamping + mill dial indicator

Staff Pick

clamping + mill dial indicator

The Anytime Tools Clamping Diameter Dial Indicator is a very handy item to have when woodworking. It can be used to measure the diameter of wood, as well as the distance between the centers of two holes on the wood. It is made with a nice chrome finish, so it will be durable enough to last a long time.

Add a clamping dial indicator to your workshop for just pennies a day with the Anytime Tools Clamping Dial Indicator. The indicator is a versatile measuring tool that can measure the diameter distance between two points. Just clamp the indicator between two points and read the diameter of the wood on the dial.

For use with anytime tools tape measures, this clamping diameter dial indicator is a great addition to your tool collection. The dial indicator provides a digital readout for ease of use as well as a sturdy clamp to fit your tape measure.

This extremely accurate diameter dial indicator is designed for measuring diameters from 0 to 6 inches in 0.001-inch increments. It is a very useful measuring tool for machinists, builders, woodworkers, metalworkers, and a variety of professionals. An optional height gauge is also included. It is made from stainless steel and has a 1/4-inch measuring range.

Key features:

  1. Standard 1-7/8″ clamping diameter.
  2. Durable satin chrome finish
  3. Easy to read 1-3/16″ white face with crisp black markings
  4. Test Indicator 0.0005″ 0-15-0 included
  5. Suitable for all indicators with DOVETAIL or 5/32″ shank
  6. The frame of the holder is designed with bearing pads properly spaced and an opposite pressure screw securing the rigidity of the mounting.


  • perfectly fine for indicating holes or flatness.
  • The movement is really smooth.
  • The clamp and arm are very nicely made.


  • The bezel for setting zero is too tight.

4. Runout dial indicator

Budget Pick

Runout dial indicator

61V4te6hGTL. AC SL1000

The Türlen Runout Dial Indicator offers a precise reading and ensures precise adjustments when working on a table saw. The dial indicator is pre-calibrated and features a 44-tooth, hardened steel scale.

It measures from 0-1″ at .0005″ resolution and 1-16″ at .001″ resolution. It is designed for a 6.5″ throat depth. The indicator features a center calibrated dial and consists of a hardened steel body. It measures 3-1/4″ overall length and weighs 3.4 oz.

Key features:

  1. The wear and runout gauge set comes in a convenient molded case.
  2. the 12″ flex arm can be set to almost any measuring position desired.
  3. Indicator features 0-1″ travel and .001″ graduations.
  4. Checks ball joint wear and disc rotor run-out.
  5. Locking pliers provide secure clamping
  6. Türlen 1″/0.0005″ Dial Indicator Included
  7. Flexible arm can be rigidly locked in any position up to 12″
  8. Molded storage case


  • Easy to read scale.
  • The vice grip attachment method makes it very versatile.
  • The clamp and arm are very nicely made.
  • Flexible arm can be rigidly locked in any position up to 12″


  • The cord is too short so it needs to be adjusted towards the end of the range.

5. Mitutoyo dial indicator

Mitutoyo dial

715dcg3mNgL. SL1500

Mitutoyo always produces good tools. This Mitutoyo Dial Indicator is used with a milling machine, drill press, or lathe to determine the surface level of a workpiece. Its dial is calibrated from 0 to 7 mm, with an accuracy of +/- 0.02 mm.

The Mitutoyo Dial Indicator features a large, easy-to-read face and a well-designed, non-slip grip. It has a hardened steel body with hardened and ground faces and a hardened pointer.

This tool will provide accurate readings for an entire lifetime of use. It is well suited for the professional who cuts tenons and has zero tolerance for inaccuracy.

Key features:

  1. Contact point effective length is printed on the dial face
  2. Increased impact resistance and durability of gears and bezel
  3. Inspection certificate included with bidirectional evaluation
  4. Increased scratch-resistance of crystal


  • It comes with a similar dovetail-mounted stem.
  • Nice size dial and interchangeable tips.
  • Measurement Accuracy 0.0002 in.
  • Included Test Indicator, 3 contact points, 2 stems, swivel clamp, holding bar, clamp ring.


  • Not have the swivel attachment included.

6. Miter slot dial indicator

miter slot dial indicator

51hBK3X76PL. AC SL1254

The MagSwitch Miter Slot Indicator Dial Indicator makes miter and table saw fence adjustments easy and accurate. The MagSwitch is designed to be used on any miter slot, and it easily attaches to the miter saw fence.

This Miter Slot Indicator is a handy tool to accurately set your table saw’s miter gauge slot. It’s easy to use and comes with a handy magnetic backing that allows you to attach it to your miter gauge.

It can be used to set your saw blade to the perfect zero-degree angle. The MagSwitch Miter Slot Indicator is a precision measuring tool for your miter saw. It can be used to set your saw blade to the perfect zero-degree angle.

This MagSwitch T32241 – Miter Slot Indicator is designed to help you accurately determine the height of your saw’s miter slot, which is critical when making precision cuts on a table saw.

The Magswitch Miter Slot Indicator uses a magnetic system that allows you to dial-in the precise depth of your miter slot, then check your depth and reset the indicator as needed.

Key features:

  1. Switchable magnets cling to any ferrous metal surface
  2. Attaches to the miter gauge bar to measure blade/miter slot parallelism
  3. Attaches to the table to allow micro-adjustment of the fence in any position
  4. Dual magnets are actuated quickly with the sliding pin
  5. Adjustable to work with a wide variety of table saws


  • very accurate and operates smoothly.
  • The magnet really holds well.
  • Works with ferrous cross fences for easy measurement of table and blade alignment.
  • Fast actuation of 2 magnets with a linked pushpin.


  • Beginners may find it difficult to read.

7. Starrett 25-2041J Dial Indicator

Starrett 25-2041J Dial Indicator

61uEoZuPb5L. SL1500

The Starrett Dial Indicator is perfect for any woodworker or machinist who uses a router. It is an essential tool to help you get the right depth or height for your cuts.

This is the only one made to meet your precision needs. It’s been used for years by machine shops and other industrial facilities as a quality control device for measuring depth and height.

This dial indicator is designed to give you a fast and easy way to take measurements with pinpoint accuracy. With its 0.05-inch graduation and 1/128-inch accuracy, this Starrett dial indicator won’t leave you guessing what your measurements are.

Key features:

  1. Has 0.001″ increments for precise measurements.
  2. The white-face dial with a scratch-resistant crystal face is easy to read.
  3. The dial indicator has a stainless-steel stem with a hardened steel spindle for durability.
  4. This indicator has a shockless, hardened steel gear train.


  • Lug-type dial back for mounting dial indicator
  • Dial Reading 0-10 
  • Jewel Bearings


  • Price is high

8. Harbor freight Clamping Dial Indicator

Harbor freight Clamping Dial Indicator

81Zo tc6oLL. AC SL1200

The Harbor Freight Clamping Dial Indicator is great for setting stops for your table saw and band saw. This tool is made for clamping onto the fence or rip fence and helping you to get accurate readings.

The machined aluminum body is connected to the shaft and has a clamp that holds the indicator in place against the object being cut. The indicator has a dial that is read to determine how far into the material the bit has been fed.

Measurements are easy to take and read using this clamping dial indicator. Simply clamp the indicator along the edge of a workpiece to identify the high and low points on a workpiece. An auto-locking feature holds the indicator at the set height. A rack and pinion gear system allows for easy adjustments. The stainless steel spindle and frame are corrosion-resistant. A 0.001-in. dial indicator reads to 0.025 in.

Key features:

  1. Mounts just about anywhere.
  2. Readout: 0.001 in. (outside), 0.1 in. to 1 in. (inside).
  3. Flex arm length: 12-7/8 in.
  4. Dial diameter: 2-3/8 in.
  5. Plier clamp length: 7-13/16 in.


  • The vise grip & flexible arm easy to configure.
  • it is convenient to adjust the neck to get the dial exactly where you need it.
  • Jewel Bearings.
  • price is low.


  • Some feel complicated while using.

Are dial gauge and dial indicator the same?

It is no secret that woodworkers need to know how to use their tools, and this is especially the case with dial indicator dial gauges. You see,  most people who use them don’t know how to use them properly. The reason for that is that these instruments are extremely useful, and have been widely used in woodworking tools for more than a century.

The terms dial gauge and dial indicator are often used interchangeably by woodworkers, but they are actually two different instruments. A dial gauge is a calibrated mechanical device used to measure the linear distance between two points on a piece of wood. A dial indicator is a mechanical device used to measure linear distance on wood, metal, or other material.

How do you use a dial indicator on a table saw?

A dial indicator is a simple tool that can help you to mark on a table saw blade the position of a specific line or point on the blade. It’s meant to be used before you cut a particular piece of wood, so you can make a cut that has the desired shape and size.

How do you use a dial indicator on a table saw

It is a mechanical indicator used to measure the runout of a blade. They are used to check the runout of the blade and align the blade to the miter slot. The main advantage of using a dial indicator for measuring the alignment is that it’s accurate and easy to use.

To use a dial indicator in a table saw, you need to set up the indicator on the miter slot and position the indicator downwards to the saw. Now rotate the saw blade and read the number to calculate. That is the way to use a dial indicator to table saw.

Dial indicator setup (how to set up a dial indicator)

When you take your dial indicator out of the box, the first thing that you’ll notice is you need to move the dial indicator arm from its current position to the 90-degree position.

To do this put your finger on the ball tip and press. After you do that, you can assemble the rest of the unit by sliding the articulating arm through the hole and tightening the thumbscrew. 

To make a good solid base for your dial indicator, lose the stem slightly so you can put the dovetail of the adapter over top of the dial indicator. Take a small screwdriver to tighten the base. Now take the stem of the adapter and put it into the black articulation arm, tighten that securely using a pair of needle-nose pliers. 

When you put it inside your bell housing that small ball tip will run around the inside of the register hole. Remember, when you’re putting this on your flywheel make sure that you take the little point off the bottom so that the magnetic base will adhere to the flywheel.

Dial indicator for table saw, Why would you use a dial indicator on a table saw blade?

A dial indicator is a highly accurate measuring device used to check the runout on a table saw blade before you run your stock through the machine. The tool is often used in combination with a feeler gauge to check the thickness of sheet goods, but can also be used manually to check blade alignment and runout.

Most people have gotten by in the past with a set of calipers (which are typically used for measuring lengths and diameters of a variety of objects) and a feeler gauge (a small steel strip that slides in between the parts to be mitered and then stays there until released). These instruments are simple and accurate, but they lack two critical things.

What is the difference between a dial indicator and a dial test indicator? (Dial indicator vs test indicator)

In several ways, both indicators are similar but the key difference is that a test indicator has lever-type contacts while a dial indicator has plunger-type contacts.

In general, both dials and testers are primarily comparative devices, but testers are better at consistently measuring than comparative ones. Most commonly, they are used to explore relatively broad parts in one or two dimensions, such as measuring variations in height, flatness, and roundness. On such a surface plate, the test indicator is mounted to a height stand and the workpiece or stand is moved freely on it.

Dial indicators are a type of inspection tool used to test machined surfaces. The term refers to the mechanism that turns the machine on and off. Unlike a dial test indicator, a dial indicator uses a lever that turns a spindle-type contact over its shaft.

Instead of a needle, a dial indicator has a spindle with a hole through which the lever can ride. The spindle rotates while the lever is in contact with the hole and conveys motion to the contact. One end of the lever has a knob or knob-like protrusion that the operator turns.

The other end of the lever is the contact, which is usually a spindle with a hole through which the operator can turn the lever. The spindle rotates while

The device in question is a dial indicator, which is used to determine if the part is flat. The reason for having a dial indicator is that it can be used to measure very small angles.

Table saw dial indicator jig

Today’s table saws feature an intricate system of dials and gauges that allow the user to align the saw blade and fence accurately. This is done with the slots for the miter gauge.

This setup is critical to the safety of the saw, and also critical to the accuracy of the saw’s performance. A properly aligned table saw results in a saw that is capable of cutting accurate, straight, and square boards and a cut that is square also means that the board will follow the lines of the saw blade.

A table saw’s accuracy and alignment are vital to keeping your saw in good working order and one of the most important tasks when maintaining the condition of a saw is measuring the slot’s width between the blade and the fence.

How to make a dial indicator JIG?

How to lubricate a dial indicator?

The noise will be eliminated after you lubricate the dial indicator with sewing machine oil. Thanks to the old-timers here, I was able to get the correct way to do this without resorting to the wacky methods offered by the YouTube video and some other forums, which I found to be pretty vague.

How to use a dial indicator with a magnetic base?

If you ever want to insert a dial indicator into a chuck, you will need to use a magnetic base. Otherwise, you will most likely have to use a stop block and possibly a dial indicator holder. With a magnetic base, you just need to drop the indicator into the chuck and clamp it down.

When working with machined parts, it is very important to know the precise differences between the components to ensure that the pieces are exactly the way they are supposed to be.

That is why it is important to use a dial indicator since it can perform accurate measurements and can be used to check the linear distance between components. It is the best tool to determine the differences between components and can be used with a multitude of different thicknesses and materials.

What should be avoided while using a dial indicator?

You may notice that the dial indicator even has a “setting” which is the distance from the stem to the indicator. If a set screw is used to lock the dial indicator in place, and this is not done properly, the holder will actually bind the indicator.

This will cause the dial spindle to become sluggish and sticky. Sometimes, this is only a problem during a shipment, but it can be a problem during actual use.

In the world of dial indicators, people often fall into two camps: those that advocate clamping a dial gauge against the stem and those that do not. While the former group can correct most sizing problems with their single clamping method, the latter says that the single-clamp method is too dangerous.

It is not uncommon to see the single-clamp method on the Internet use a pair of pliers to clamp the dial indicator against the stem. A second method is the use of a set screw to hold the dial indicator against the stem. While this works, it is less efficient than a single clamp because the set screw is effectively an extra clamp.

The main features of many dial indicators consist of a lever and indicator, which when moved causes the indicator to move with it. However, these features have some serious limitations, especially with regard to safety.

Dial indicators are precision mechanical measuring instruments commonly used in metallurgy and other technical fields to measure the dimensions of a part that is under tension. The mechanism is very precise in that no matter how much the part is compressed so that the indicator rotates, the indicator’s reading

never deviates more than 0.001 inches from the original reading. The accuracy of a dial indicator is dependent on the quality of the workpiece and the alignment of the measurement point.

How much does it cost to get an indicator fixed?

When it comes to the dial indicator, it can be difficult to figure out how much you will have to pay to repair the system. The cost of a bulb replacement can vary greatly, due to the age of the dial indicator (the indicator bulb, in this case) and how much labor is involved with the installation. So how much do you think an indicator bulb replacement will cost? This may cost around $20 to $30.

How accurate are dial indicators?

While dial indicators are super precise, they also don’t do as great a job at measuring over small distances as some other measuring tools. Besides, dial indicators are far from foolproof, as even the most accurate models occasionally measure slightly off. So, how accurate are dial indicators?

Dial indicators typically measure ranges from 0.25 mm to 300 mm (0.015in to 12.0in), with graduations of 0.001 mm to 0.01 mm (metric) or 0.00005in to 0.001in (imperial/customary).

How do you zero a dial indicator?

A dial indicator is a tool used in machining, measuring, metrology, and more. There are two basic types of dial indicators, the cylindrical and the spherical versions. This is the cylindrical type, which consists of a straight shaft with a series of prongs and a needle.

When the shaft is rotated, the needle moves through a series of measures, and the direction of rotation is indicated by the needle’s orientation. The spherical dial indicator’s advantage is that the needle always points to zero, which simplifies measuring.

Dial indicators are used to accurately measure the dial setting or travel of a dial indicator that is used to indicate the zero position of a dial scale. Dial indicators are commonly used in applications that require exact measurements, such as dial testing, scale calibration, and dial indicator adjustment. Dial indicators allow for measurements that are not possible using the common scale, dial, or measuring instruments.

Dial indicators were invented in the late 1700s. Early devices were typically powered by hand cranks that rotated a set of weights around a pivot, creating a force applied to a set of calibrated dials. A later innovation was the zeroing of the dials.

This was where the indicator was zeroed to the stationary needle and the dials of the indicator were set to the full range by turning the dial. This refinement made it possible to measure small scales without having to use the dial and knob separately.

Some dial indicators have a rotatable face, which allows the user to zero the dial before taking a measurement. Rotating the face of the indicator with a dial indicator is not difficult, but sometimes the indicator may turn in a direction where the dial needle is pointing at (over) the zero mark. If this situation occurs, rotate the dial indicator in the opposite direction of the needle so that the dial is zeroed.

How do I clean my dial test indicator?

Dialing in a dial test indicator is a somewhat tricky task since you want to keep the indicator’s needle in the middle, but also clean. First, if your dial indicator is a “deadbeat” or “feeding” indicator, then you will want to add some sewing oil to the needle, to keep it from sticking to the plate.

Next, it is best to dust off the needle with a light brush after each string test, to remove any dust or debris. However, if the dial indicator is a “blind” or “straight” indicator, then you should not add any oil to the needle, since the needle will not need lubrication. Also, if you plan to use the indicator in a humid environment, then it is

How do you maintain a dial test indicator?

To keep dust and moisture out, store dial indicators in a safe, dry location and cover them. At regular intervals throughout the day, test indicators under gaging conditions. A part can be gaged twice and the results are compared to a master part. Dials should be cleaned with soap and water, benzene, or a soft eraser.

Final words

if you are not a heavy user, you should go for the basic option of dial indicator which is listed above. else you can go through all other Best dial indicator for woodworking options we have raised.

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