How to Read a Height Gauge

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Height gauges are more accurate than measuring tapes.
Height gauges are more accurate than measuring tapes. (Image: measuring tape, industrial concept image by JoLin from Fotolia.com)

Height gauges are primarily used in workshops and factories to measure the depth of a feature or to measure a distance with accuracy. According to "Quality Digest Magazine," all height gauges consist of a base, vertical shaft, a measuring unit that travels up and down along the shaft, and an arm protruding from the measuring unit that directly contacts the material being measured. A home-remodeling enthusiast could use a height gauge to accurately measure out, and subsequently mark, an exact cut location on a pipe or beam.

Vernier Height Gauges

Lock the arm in place after positioning it on top of the piece being measured.

Find the "zero" ("0") on the vernier scale that traveled with the arm along the length of the shaft.

Record the number on the vertical shaft that falls opposite or just below the zero marking on the vernier scale. This is the first portion of your measurement.

Determine by eye which numbered line on the vernier scale most closely aligns with a line on the vertical shaft. This numbered line is the final portion of your measurement.

Combine the number opposite the zero line and the best-aligned vernier scale number to obtain the final height measurement of the object. If the zero line lands just past the 2.35-inch marking on the vertical shaft, and the best-aligned number on the vernier scale is "4," then the final measurement height is 2.354 inches.

Dial Height Gauge

Lock the arm in place after positioning it on top of the piece being measured.

Record the last visible number located under the measuring equipment on the vertical shaft. The numbers on the shaft are often in increments of 0.1 inches.

Record the measurement marking that the needle is pointing to on the dial face. The dial indicator on a height gauge typically uses a 0-to-100 scale similar to the dial face on a caliper, with each line being a successive .001-inch representation and every .010-inch increment being numbered.

Add the measurements from the vertical shaft and the dial together to obtain the total height measurement of the object. For example, if the shaft reads 1.2 inches, and the needle on the dial face is pointed to "53," the final height measurement is 1.253 inches.

Digital Height Gauges

Lock the arm in place after positioning it on top of the piece being measured.

Locate the digital display on the measurement unit.

Read the number on the digital display. This is the height measurement of the object.

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