A measuring instrument is a device for measuring a physical quantity. In the physical sciences, quality assurance, and engineering, measurement is the activity of obtaining and comparing physical quantities of real-world objects and events. Established standard objects and events are used as units, and the process of measurement gives a number relating the item under study and the referenced unit of measurement. Measuring instruments, and formal test methods which define the instrument’s use, are the means by which these relations of numbers are obtained. All measuring instruments are subject to varying degrees of instrument error and measurement uncertainty. These instruments may range from simple objects such as rulers and stopwatches to electron microscopes and particle accelerators. Virtual instrumentation is widely used in the development of modern measuring instruments.
There are a lot of different tools that help in measuring. Each one measures its own thing. Since the order of importance of tools is determined by what your job is, we have alphabetically listed 14 different kinds of measuring tools and what they measure. There are some that many people have never heard of, so we have given a quick description of how they work.
1. Angle Gauge
An angle gauge is a digital tool used to measure angles.
2. Angle Locator
Angle locators are used to measure angles in hard-to-reach places. They are shaped like a pie. The rounded side, the crust of the pie, is where the protractor is located. The straight arms fold in and out to adjust the degree of the angle; it can measure up to 90º. Once you have the tool at the angle you want to measure, simply make adjustments until both straight arms are flat on your surfaces. When they are flat, pull the tool out and read the angle on the protractor. That is the degree of the angle that you just measured.
3. Bubble Inclinometer
Bubble inclinometers are used to measure how steep the grade of something is. Simply put the inclinometer close to the joint that you want to measure, set the dial to zero, and open the joint until it is fully extended. The tool will tell you the range of movement that the joint made.
Calipers are used to measure the distance between two sides of something. They look like a double “F.” One side of the tool has a large “F” that is used to measure the outside of an object. The other side is the small “f” that is used to measure the inside of an object. The center mast has measurement markings on it that allow you to get the perfect size of opening for your project. You can see our rundown of the best digital calipers of 2019 here.
A compass looks like two metal pencils that have been connected. These pencils can be opened up or closed to measure the distance between two points on a map. They are also great to use when you need to draw a perfect circle.
6. Laser Level
A laser measure tells you how far away something is. It measures the distance between itself and any chosen object.
The level is used to make sure that your projects are level. Place the level on top of your project and make adjustments until the bubble is in the center of the leveling vial.
Micrometers measure the length, depth, and thickness of an object.
9. Pressure Gauge
Pressure gauges measure the pressure of water and air. For example, a water pressure gauge will tell you the amount of pressure coming out of your faucet. An example of an air pressure gauge would be the tire gauge that almost everyone has used to check car or bike tires.
Protractors are small, usually plastic, tools that are used to measure the degree of an angle. Since you are depending on the human eye to read the protractor, there is room for error. If you need to be precise, use a digital measuring tool.
Rulers are usually 12 inches long, though you can find them longer and shorter. They are marked to measure inches on one side and centimeters on the other side.
- Combination Square
A combination square is great for drawing lines to cut on, or for putting marks where a notch needs to be. It measures both 45º and 90º angles.
- Drywall Square
A drywall square has a four-foot blade that is used to draw out the lines showing where you want to cut your piece of drywall. It can then be used as a fence by placing it on the line and cutting flush against it.
- Framing Square
Framing squares are L-shaped and are used to draw straight lines on material that you want to cut. They also have 90º angles, so you can make sure that square items will fit in the square box with the same-shaped corners.
- Sliding T-Bevel Square
A sliding T-bevel square has a blade that moves, allowing you to copy an angle to use on another item. It does not measure the degree of the angle; it simply copies it for another use.
- Speed Square
A speed square is placed against the edge of an object and allows you to draw either a perfectly straight line, or a very precise 45º angle. These are the only two measurements that this tool can measure. Once your lines are drawn, you can use the square as a fence to cut your material.
13. Tape Measure
A tape measure is a thin metal tape that is marked to measure per inch. It is flexible, so it can measure just about anything. Tape measures come in a lot of different sizes, but once you get over 25 feet, it can become hard to get them to recoil back inside the tool.
Thermometers measure temperature. There are different kinds of thermometers that measure different things, so they all have their own unique look. Some things you can measure with thermometers are the temperatures inside or outside of a building, or of materials.
You can see by the list above that there is a huge assortment of things to measure and different tools to measure each one. We hope that this list will point you in the right direction in finding that perfect tool for your job.