Skip to Content

20 Different Types of Measuring Tools with Names and Pictures

Photo collage of measuring tools

Quicklist: Measuring Tools

  1. Calipers
  2. Micrometer
  3. Laser Measure
  4. Ruler
  5. Compass
  6. Square
  7. Measuring Tape
  8. Tailor’s Measuring Tape
  9. Angle Gauge
  10. Level
  11. Protractor
  12. Angle Locator
  13. Bubble Inclinometer
  14. Pressure Gauge
  15. Thermometers
  16. Clocks
  17. Speedometers
  18. Odometers
  19. Measuring Cups
  20. Glucometer

What are Measuring Tools?

Try to step back in time and imagine a world without measuring tools. In ancient times people used different parts of their bodies to size things up.

An inch was the width of a man’s thumb, a hand literally meant five fingers across, a span was the length of an outstretched arm, and a yard in the 12th century was the distance from King Henry I’s nose to the thumb of his outstretched arm.

The Egyptians measured the cubit as the distance from the elbow to the fingertips. This was how they measured the pyramids. The Greeks measured the distance from the tip of the thumb to the tip of the index finger and called it a lick.

Types of Measuring Tools and Their Uses

In our measuring tool guide below, you will find: All measuring tools and instruments, measuring devices, different measuring tools’ names and pictures, and examples of measuring tools for length, pressure, angles, levels, time, speed, volume, temperature, etc.

Chat Box

Home Expert (Bot)
Hello, how are you? Ask me anything about interior design, home improvement, home decor, real estate, gardening and furniture.

Calipers

Photo of caliper with digital display

Calipers are used to accurately measure the distance between two sides of something. It is a simple measuring tool that is very important when you need accurate data about an object.

This is one of the most common measuring tools that has been in use for thousands of years. Even if you’re not familiar with the term calipers, you have likely seen one of these in your lifetime.

The caliper shown above has a digital display making it really handy to read the measurements.

Learn all about the different types of calipers here.

Micrometer

MicrometerIn many ways, a micrometer is quite similar to a caliper in its design. You’ll find micrometers being used regularly in machine shops and in mechanical engineering circles.

It is used to measure the length and depth of an object, as well as how thick it is.

If you need to make accurate measurements for engineering purposes, then you will be familiarizing yourself with this tool soon enough. 

This micrometer is analog and will be a reliable tool for many years.

Laser Measure

Two construction workers are using the laser level to determine the suitability of the cement application.

Laser measuring tools, typically, are able to give accurate measurements of up to 30 meters. This particular laser measure is a digital model that is capable of measuring up to 80 meters.

It can be used like a tape measure, but it is more appropriate for calculating longer distances.

Ruler

Tailor's rulerA typical ruler will be useful in many different situations. Everyone knows how a ruler works, as you simply line it up with something to determine how long it is.

You have likely been using rulers since you were a child and should have a firm grasp of the concept. Rulers are used for much more than just school projects, though.

Professionals use rulers every single day to help with their work. Whether it is an architect using a ruler to help to design a building, or a construction worker determining if his work is straight, rulers are important tools.

Compass

A compass is often used to make architectural drawings.

A compass is an important tool for many different jobs. It is used to draw circles and can be useful for determining the distance between two points on a map. This is commonly used in shipbuilding, as well as carpentry.

This won’t be the most common measurement tool that people will use every single day.

Square

SquareA square is definitely something that will be used all the time by carpenters. It is going to come in handy when you are framing and when you need to find right angles. Everything from cutting lumber to making markings can be aided with the use of a square.

You will find a few different types of squares on the market. Some of them are triangular, but the most common type is the one shown above.

Measuring Tape

Stanley 25-feet Fatmax magnetic tape.

This is likely the most typical type of measuring device that you will think of when someone brings up a measuring tool. Measuring tape is a simple tool that calculates length or distance.

Measuring tools like this are commonly used in many lines of work, and you will definitely see one on the hip of most carpenters.

These tools are very convenient because they are so portable. You can fit them in your tool belt without a problem and some of them will have a clip so that they can be placed on your belt.

Most measuring tapes come with a handy switch that will lock the tape into place. Once you release it, the measuring tape will retract back inside of the casing quickly.

Tailor’s Measuring Tape

Measuring tape

A tailors’ measuring tape isn’t encased in a shell and it doesn’t extend or retract. This measuring tape is made of flexible material and is used to measure along curves as easy as possible.

Tailors need to be able to measure the inseam of a client’s legs and other areas for fitting. The tape needs to be able to move with the curves of the human body to make accurate measurements.

Angle Gauge

Wixey WR300 Type 2 Digital Angle Gauge with Backlight

Source: Amazon

An angle gauge is capable of measuring angles so that you can determine if everything is at true level. This angle gauge is digital and aside from checking angles, it also functions as a level, making it a convenient two-in-one tool.

Level

Level isolated on white background.

A level is a measuring tool that verifies the horizontal (level) or vertical (plumb) planes of a surface. There are many different styles of levels with the model shown above capable of giving three different readings. 

Protractor

ProtractorIt’s possible that you might be familiar with protractors from your time in school. These tools are used in mathematics to measure angles and will prove useful outside the classroom for certain purposes.

This convenient measuring tool is pretty simple to grasp but it can help to make complex determinations possible. Physicists and scientists often use protractors for varying purposes, so it is a tool that is definitely crucial to many people.

Most protractors that you will find on the market are simply made of plastic. Sometimes you will find more durable protractors that are made of metal.

Angle Locator

Johnson Level & Tool and Tool 700 Magnetic Angle Locator

Source: Amazon

An angle locator is used in construction or carpentry most of the time. It is different from an angle gauge in a few important ways. This is a manual tool with a digital display. You will need to position the two ruler-like ends of the angle locator and use the readings you get to determine the angle.

This is going to work very well for determining an angle in cramped spaces. There will be times where you will need to find an angle inside of a closet or somewhere else where there isn’t a lot of space to maneuver.

Bubble Inclinometer

Bubble inclinometer

Buying an inclinometer is going to be a smart choice if you need to determine how steep a particular incline is. In many ways, this is giving you the same information as your angle locator would that is mentioned above.

The bubble inclinometer differs in the way that it determines and delivers the information. Just by taking a look at this measurement tool, you will be able to tell that it functions differently.

It somewhat resembles a kitchen timer, and it works like a level normally would. You place it near the joint that you want to measure. Set the bubble inclinometer to zero, and then determine what the difference is as it goes through its changes.

This may not be as simple to use as some of the other measurement tools due to the way that you have to read it, but it does work quite well.

Pressure Gauge

Pressure gauge

Pressure gauges are a really common and crucial measuring tool. These types of gauges are used in many different things, and you will find that owning one will come in handy. The measurement tool being shown here is a water pressure gauge.

It determines the pressure of the water that you’re using and is commonly attached to a hot water heater of some sort.

You will also find pressure gauges being used to determine air pressure. The most common air pressure gauge that most people will own is a tire gauge.

These convenient little tools are necessary when you want to air your tires up to the exact point where they’re supposed to be. Determining both air and water pressure is very important, so you will certainly find a use for pressure gauges in your daily life.

Blood pressure monitors actually work in a similar fashion as well. These pressure gauges are crucial for people suffering from hypertension.

If you have one of those blood pressure monitors that pumps up to check your blood pressure, then you own a pressure gauge. It’s an important measuring tool that is used for many devices.

Thermometers

Instant read thermometer

Thermometers are another measuring tool that you might own already. Of course, thermometers are used to measure the temperature. They can be used to measure the temperature outside but you may also use thermometers to measure body temperature.

Many people like to put thermometers on the sides of their houses to keep an eye on the temperature outside.

Body temperature thermometers come in different styles. There is the traditional thermometer that is meant to be placed under the tongue, and these are likely still the most common.

You will also see digital readout thermometers that work more swiftly than the older thermometer styles. Either option should work great for your purposes, so buy whichever one makes you the most comfortable.

The model being shown here is one of the digital thermometers. It will work well to measure the body temperature of both adults and children.

You will be able to get a quick and accurate reading using this device. It can be used in any of the traditional orifices that you would use to take someone’s temperature, so it is quite versatile as well.

Clocks

Round maritime clock with a deep brown, plastic frame.

It might seem obvious, but the clock is definitely the most important measurement tool that humanity uses every single day. Clocks are used to measure time and you need to be able to do this to properly complete many tasks.

Everyone uses clocks throughout daily life. Whether it is to determine how long you need to bake a cake, or how many minutes you have walked on your treadmill, you will have used a clock before.

Various types of clocks exist, but they all provide the same function. Whether you purchase an analog clock or a digital clock, you’ll be using them to tell the time in a similar way.

Analog clocks can function mechanically without the use of batteries in some situations, which makes them unique. No matter what type of clock you want to purchase, it will definitely be something that you passively use throughout your day.

In modern times, people don’t buy specific clocks as often as they used to. Everyone carries around smartphones with them everywhere in the modern era.

Wristwatches were once quite popular but have become a less common sight due to simply not needing them to tell the time. Most people just look down at their smartphone to determine the time of the day as conveniently as possible.

Speedometers

Illuminated speedometer

Speedometers are very important for determining the speed of objects. Obviously, these speedometers are most popularly used inside of automobiles.

If you couldn’t measure the speed that your car is traveling, then it would be very difficult to stay within safe speed limits. Speedometers can be used outside of vehicles as well, for scientific purposes.

Police officers use speedometers that are shaped like guns in order to determine if someone is speeding down the road. People also buy standalone speedometers to mount on their personal bicycles.

This allows them to determine how fast they are going on their bikes. Measuring speed is definitely an interesting thing, and it is crucial for modern society.

Odometers

Glowing car odometer

Odometers are used to determine how far something has traveled. You should have an odometer inside of your vehicle. This is the gauge that tells you how many miles or kilometers you have traveled.

Odometers can also be mounted on bicycles to determine how far someone has traveled while on a bike. This is useful information to know for fitness purposes.

Most odometers that you will see on the market are digital in nature. The one being shown here is a digital odometer that is very simple to place on a bicycle.

You won’t see too many standalone odometers that aren’t meant for placing on bikes. They do exist, it’s just that this is the most common thing that people purchase an odometer for outside of their vehicles.

Measuring Cups

Measuring cup for wet ingredients

Another important measurement tool that should not be overlooked is the measuring cup. You can buy sets of measuring cups if you need to measure your food.

Measuring cups are most often used for culinary purposes, but there are other applications for measuring cups too. You will find that chemists use measuring cups that are similar to what bakers use in certain situations.

The idea behind measurement is going to be the same no matter what purpose you have. Regardless, you’re likely going to want to buy measuring cups for your cooking.

Determining how many cups of milk you are pouring into that dish you’re making is very important. Without measuring cups, it would be quite difficult to cook things properly.

Glucometer

A lady is using a digital glucometer to check her blood sugar level.

Some measurement tools fall under the category of medical devices. The glucometer above is a good example of an important measuring tool that people rely for their health.

A glucometer is capable of analyzing a droplet of your blood to determine whether or not your glucose levels are too high. This is the measuring tool that diabetics use on a daily basis.

Best Measuring Tools For Various Purposes

Best Woodworking Measurement Tools

A man using tape measure for woodworking.

For any serious woodworking, it is imperative to have the correct measurement tools. These are the top-rated measurement tools for woodworking projects.

  1. Tape Measure – This tool is one of the basic instruments for woodworking measurements. They can be made of plastic, metal, cloth, or fiberglass.
  2. Laser Measure – The electronic laser measure is popular in any woodworker’s inventory. Capable of straight-line readings of up to 50 feet with instant feedback.
  3. Folding Rule – A wooden folding rule is often used to measure longer distances. The ruler has hinged sections to unfold as necessary to measure the required length.
  4. Speed Square – The speed square is also called a triangle square, rafter square, or rafter angle square. This triangle-shaped rule combines many woodworking functions into a single device.

Best Baking Measurement Tools

A cook using measuring cup for baking.

Choosing the right ingredients is essential in baking. But having the right measurement tools is the real key to baking success. These measurement tools are in most baker’s kitchens.

  1. Kitchen Scale – One of the most critical measurement tools for the baker, it is imperative to have a good scale. Scales are much more accurate for measuring flour, sugar, or other ingredients.
  2. Measuring Cups – Baking requires exact measurements of both dry and liquid ingredients. Every successful baker has a set of measuring cups appropriate for the ingredients. Liquid measuring cups are used for liquid measurements. And dry measuring cups are for dry ingredients. They do have different measurement requirements and values.
  3. Kitchen Thermometer – Baking requires exact measurements, including temperatures. One tool essential for any baker is a digital kitchen thermometer. It is important to have accurate temperatures for recipes and oven temperatures.
  4. Kitchen Timer – In this digital world, I can find time anywhere. The only problem is, did I track how much time had transpired? Kitchen timers are measuring tools for managing time, which is critical when baking.

Best Sewing Measurement Tools

Tape measure used for sewing.

Sewing requires exact markings, cuts, and stitching. Sewing measurement tools are necessary to create a sewn garment. Some of the best tools for sewing are:

  1. Measuring Tape – Every sewing project will need exact measurements. So, a cloth or plastic measuring tape is indispensable for measuring fabric.
  2. Fabric or Chalk Marker – Essential for sewing, fabric and chalk markers have many uses. One of their most important functions is to transfer patterns to the cloth. The fabric marker is usually a better choice than chalk markers, which need a darker fabric.
  3. Seam Gauge – Although some seamstresses can judge seams by eyeing them, others may need a seam gauge. This simple metal tool provides a way of making sure your seams are exact and even.
  4. T-Shirt Ruler Guide – A transparent guide specifically designed for creating correct t-shirt necklines. The see-through guide has multiple gauges for various sewing jobs.

Best Construction Measuring Tools

An elevation measurement for construction uses.

The construction industry requires many measurements with the best construction measurement tools. Precise measurements are key for successful construction. These measurements include knowing the correct elevations, dimensions, and other metrics.

The following are some of the best construction tools for measuring:

  1. Tape Measure – One of the most basic measurement tools in any construction worker’s tool belt. Tape measures are ideal for measuring distances around corners or other odd angles. This type of measurement is impossible with linear laser measuring devices.
  2. Elevation Measurement – Rotary Lasers and Zip Level tools are elevation measurement devices.
  3. Distance Measurement – Measuring Wheels and Laser Range Finders are often used. These devices are easy to operate and indispensable for distance measurement.
  4. Utility Locator and Measurement – Construction sites must be aware of underground utilities. These utility services include power, water, telecom, or gas lines. Utility locator devices locate underground services and their depth.

Best Electrician Measurement Tools

A man using volt meter for a motorcycle.

An electrician works with electric current daily and often checks electrical flow. These are some of the best electrician measurement tools.

  1. Volt Meter– This is an indispensable tool to check the electrical flow and voltage.
  2. Non-Contact Voltage Tester – Valuable tool tests the presence of any electrical current.
  3. Circuit Finder – This device is a must to find buried or hidden electrical lines in walls.
  4. Circuit Analyzer – A handheld digital tool to analyze circuits and the status of outlets. This status includes voltage, polarity, etc.

Top Measuring Tool Brands

Measuring tools are critical whether you’re hanging a piece of artwork on the wall or remodeling a kitchen. While most homeowners aren’t involved in massive projects that involve tearing up cabinets or knocking down walls, it’s critical to have measuring tools available for the small jobs around the house.

The quality and precision of the measuring tool are critical to ensuring the job is completed accurately. This starts with purchasing measuring tools from the best brands in the industry, which include:

Bosch

BOSCH GLM20 Blaze 65ft Laser Distance Measure With Real Time Measuring

Source: Amazon

Bosch is a well-known name in the construction and DIY industry, producing various measuring tools, from calipers to tape measures. One of their best and most advanced measuring devices is the GLM 20 Compact Blaze 65’ Laser Distance Measure.

While this may seem like a complicated mechanism, it’s a reasonably straightforward tool with basic functionality. The GLM 20 is well-priced compared to the competition and features a clear, bright digital display that makes measurements simple to read.

Also, the vivid and robust laser measuring capability can provide accurate measurements from an eighth of an inch to a 65-foot distance. Best of all, this unit is small enough to fit into your pocket for the ultimate mobility around a chaotic project site.

DTape

Laser Measure, DTAPE 328 Feet Digital Laser Tape Measure M/in/Ft Unit Switching Backlit LCD and Pythagorean Mode, Measure Distance, Area and Volume - Hand Strap and Battery Included DT100

Source: Amazon

DTape is not a well-known measuring tool brand but offers a precise, high-quality 2-in-1 laser tape measure. Although on the expensive side, part of that cost is due to the rechargeable lithium battery.

This allows you to utilize the tool with all features for lengthy periods without replacing the batteries or plug them in to operate constantly. Also, this unit’s shell is waterproof and dustproof, plus the laser measurement can accurately reach 131 feet.

General Tools

General Tools LTM1 2-in-1 Laser Tape Measure, LCD Digital Display, 50’ Laser Measure, 16’ Tape Measure, Gray

Source: Amazon

As a leader in precision instruments and specialty hand tools, General Tools focuses on ingenuity, which helps make users more productive, measure more accurately, and work smarter.

Their LTM2x Laser Tape Measure 2-in-1 does that by offering a backlit LED screen with a large print and a highly visible laser, even in the brightest conditions.

Also, with this model specifically designed to be used with one hand, accurate measures are achievable, even when holding another tool in the opposite hand.

MulWark

MulWark 26ft Measuring Tape Measure by Imperial Inch Metric Scale with Both-Side Metal Blade,Magnetic Tip Hook and Shock Absorbent Case-for Construction,Contractor,Carpenter,Architect,Woodworking

Source: Amazon

Another high-quality brand is MulWark, which offers a highly affordable tape/laser measurement tool.

In addition to being two tools in one, this tape measure boasts memory capabilities, so if you’re working on a project that must be measured at several lengths, you can program two short- and two long-term memory options, so the laser automatically reaches those lengths.

This tape measure also boasts a large LCD and can measure in English or Metric units.

Tacklife

Tacklife produces high-quality and accurate measuring products such as the TM-L01 2-in-1 Laser Tape Measure, which is the ideal option for those who need a manual and digital laser tape measure. This combination tool is more expensive than others because it’s two tools in one.

The physical measuring tape has a distance of 16 feet, while the precision laser can measure 131 feet with accuracy. The instrument also boasts back mounted magnetic hook for easy storage.

Another excellent measuring device from Tacklife is the 16-Foot Rechargeable Digital Tape Measure, which features a large backlit LCD screen.

You can easily measure with straightforward, easy-to-use, well-labeled buttons on the side of the unit. Also, this model can store up to 10 measurements, so there’s no need to keep remeasuring the exact distances.

Where to Buy Measuring Tools

Measuring tools, like calipers and tape measures, are critical to any construction job, regardless of size. Having a high-quality set of measuring tools that are durable, strong, easy to use, and deliver pinpoint accuracy is crucial to your toolbox.

However, there is endless brick-and-mortar or online retailers to choose from; each with pros and cons that you should consider. These are some of the best retailers for purchasing measuring tools:

Brick and Mortar

For those who prefer to touch measuring instruments before purchase, brick-and-mortar stores will save a lot of shipping and returning. The best physical locations include:

Home Depot

Like other stores on this list, Home Depot has hundreds of locations across the United States, so chances are there’s one near you. In addition, they have dozens of measuring tool brands in their aisles, so if you plan to visit, you may spend hours in the store looking at all the brands.

Also, Home Depot’s staff is well-trained across various home improvement projects, so if you talk to an associate, they can find the best measuring tool for your job.

Lowe’s

Lowe’s is another big box store, like Home Depot, with dozens of tools brands. Although smaller than Home Depot, they offer a broad selection of well-trained staff to help answer your questions about a specific job, brand, or tool.

Online

For those seeking the convenience of online shopping and don’t need the measuring tool on the same day, consider these retailers:

Acme Tools

Acme Tools is a significantly smaller online retailer compared to Amazon or Walmart. This company specializes in tool storage, hand tools, and power tools, so you may find a more extensive selection of measuring instruments than Amazon or Walmart.

Also, the measuring tool prices are competitive, if not less expensive, and Acme features regular promotions and deals.

Amazon

Amazon is on every list when considering purchasing a product online. They have an extensive hardware collection, including endless measurement tools for you.

Best of all, most products have thousands of user reviews to help you decide. The only downside is if you want the device in two days or less, you must pay for an Amazon Prime subscription.

CPO Tools

CPO Tools is a different type of online retailer in that they sell refurbished and reconditioned tools, which means lower prices with the same quality as boxed solutions.

In addition, their measuring tools ship quickly and occasionally have promotions if you can wait. CPO Tools is an excellent option compared to independent sellers because of the shipping.

Walmart

With thousands of Walmart locations across the U.S., if your local store doesn’t have a tool, you can purchase it online and have it shipped to your home or store. Like Amazon, thousands of home improvement products are available online with reviews. On most products, Walmart has two-day shipping without requiring a subscription.

Chat Box

Home Expert (Bot)
Hello, how are you? Ask me anything about interior design, home improvement, home decor, real estate, gardening and furniture.