I'm very clumsy person so I like to buy tools that are just short of bomb proof. I want a pair of digital calipers. So I was wondering is there an equivalent of ip rating for being drop proof to say a 1 or 2 meters.

  • $\begingroup$ Delicate instruments need care - this is why they come in padded boxes. Dropping a digital caliper designed to work to 3 decimals of accuracy will mean it no longer works to that accuracy or functions at all. $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Apr 18, 2017 at 14:52
  • $\begingroup$ @SolarMike That doesn't mean they couldn't manufacture products that already protect the delicate instruments. I know what you are saying, but it seems like there would be instrumentation designed for worse conditions. The problem I can think of would be the costs due to how niche of a product it would be. $\endgroup$
    – JMac
    Apr 18, 2017 at 15:58
  • $\begingroup$ Well, my son is now doing his apprenticeship and using measuring instruments - his calipers cost 500Chf and they have all been warned that if they drop them it is up to them to pay for the replacement... A fancy box is fine, but they need to come out of the box to be used - they have ground edges etc for the accuracy. $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Apr 18, 2017 at 16:38
  • $\begingroup$ @SolarMike Those are not designed for environments where they could be damaged, so they are told to be careful. I am saying it seems reasonable that a company would manufacture a version with built in protection to be in place even when used (obviously the finished surfaces would still need to avoid damage during use). Obviously most instruments aren't designed that way because it would be prohibitively expensive. I'm just saying there is probably specialty equipment for this in situations where you would expect the instrument to get banged up in transport or regular use. $\endgroup$
    – JMac
    Apr 18, 2017 at 17:14
  • $\begingroup$ So, as in a workshop environment where they are machining, milling, welding etc??? Toolmakers take care of their equipment - especially the measuring calipers etc as they have to be calibrated regularly to make sure they are reading correctly. $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Apr 18, 2017 at 17:19

1 Answer 1


Mil-Spec, or US Military Standards is one type I know of. You frequently see cell phones marketed with mil-spec drop tests, etc. Mil-Specs come in all types, so they don't necessarily cover what you were hoping they did.

My main initial test for if a tool is reliable is its online user review rating. People use tools in a variety of situations at different expectation levels. A high user approval rating means that even some of those people that abuse it were happy with the performance. I find this to be a much more reliable metric than any lab preformed tests.

An alternative to taking good care of measurement instruments is to calibrate them often or seek an accuracy 10 times less than the designed accuracy of the device. I have a pair of harbor freight digital calipers that gets all the dirty work and occasionally gets dropped. They hold up well. They measure out 3 decimal places, but just I round to two decimal places and get out the nicer calipers out when I need the additional accuracy.


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