Tools

Top 8 Best Coating Thickness Gauge Review

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Why Do We Need Thickness Gauges?

First of all, let’s find out what stands for a thickness gauge. A layer depth gauge or paint thickness gauge is one of the several conventional types of measuring devices. It used to control the cover condition.

Overlapping the cover with a layer requires measuring its thickness. An excess layer leads to unnecessary economic expenses. Furthermore, a thin layer will not correctly protect. The solution to the problem is a series of simple measuring instruments that will allow you to measure thickness during the varnish application.

There is no need to take separate control samples or make incisions. It is enough that a thickness gauge touches the surface itself, which makes the testing process very quick and straightforward.

Essential Facts About Coating Thickness Gauges

A coating thickness gauge measures the thickness of paints non-destructively. It works on ferric and non-ferric metal bases. The broad measuring scope of the layer depth measure offers advantageous. The cover thickness scale is used primarily to control quality. It is also a perfect equipment when buying a car, as it allows immediate inspection, and you can see if a car has been subsequently painted.

coating thickness measuring

Another advantage is the non-destructive measurement method. It allows you to determine if the vehicle has suffered an accident quickly. Furthermore, other one field where the use of the coating meter is applied is in the control of material input, which allows classifying a product or even a whole shipment as defective. The layer thickness measurement with an ergonomic design and with an integrated probe is a user-friendly device that allows you to scale quickly and accurately.

Things to Watch Out

The layer depth gauge is useful in the diagnosis of practiced cars to distinguish factory painted cars from repaired ones. Still, they are also used in professional paint shops to determine the quality of the coating finally. However, a coating thickness gauge is not always good enough. They may have some limitations.

However, not each and every layer depth gauges runs equally well in any situations. The choice of this type of equipment is extensive. To select the perfect tools, you need to look not at the prices, but to the technical specifications of the substance. So let’s review what is worth paying attention to?

Sheet Metal Type

Some layer girth measurements are very versatile and can estimate the depth of varnish on iron, on aluminum, as well as on other, less commonly used metals. However, often manufacturers of meters limit the ability of meters to simplify their plan and reduce the expense of supplies.

Measurement Resolution

When choosing a layer girth gauge, you should pay attention to its resolution. This is not the same as measurement accuracy because measurement error can also overlap display accuracy. Therefore, it is worth comparing the decision, but remember that it will be different for individual substrate metals. Moreover, in some models, it also happens that the measurement accuracy is granted for only one material, although the meter can be used for both steel and aluminum.

There are no universal values ​​here – theoretically, the higher the resolution, the better, but this does not always pay off for highly accurate measurements.

Measurement Range

For most counters, the measuring ranges will be close to 0-2000 microns. However, some very specialized meters have a shorter range, but higher accuracy. Cheaper models may have a measuring range of 0-1200 microns, and this is also sufficient for most applications, but you should always relate these ranges to planned applications. Theoretically, of course, a broader range gives excellent opportunities, but if they remain unused, then paying several dozens of dollars for a more expensive model may be unjustified.

Optional Equipment

To emphasize on its principle, calibration plates or thickness standards may be considered mandatory, but you should also see if the producer sells the varnish meter in convenient packaging. It is also worth seeing if the batteries are included in the selected kit. If so, the tool will be ready for use immediately after unpacking it of the box.

Technical Terms

Talking about cover depth gauges, one of the central values that describe how good it works is the depth of measuring that counts in microns. One micron or micrometer (μm) is an aliquot of meters, the basic unit of length. It is one-millionth of a meter or one-thousandth of a millimeter.

Various Types of Coating Thickness Gauges

Mechanical Coating Thickness Gauges

The origin of the detachment of an electromagnet is managed to estimate the depth of covers on iron. The thickness of the test coating affects the change in the magnetic power of the changeless attraction, which acts through the lid on the metal. The depth value of the test coating is read on a scale at the position where the indicator stops after the strong electromagnet is removed from the test layer. A serious drawback is the significant analysis error +/- (5-15%) of the measured value and the lack of calibration.

Electronic Coating Thickness Gauges

All electric meters based on the system of magnetic induction; they are used to estimate the girth of all non-ferromagnetic covers, such as varnishes, paints, plastics, enamels, rubber, ceramic, and galvanic coverings on iron. The form of the test samples can be unspecified. In accordance with the needs, probes are selected that allow testing the depth of covers at small and significant objects, pipes, gaps, and rods. The measuring ranges of the probes are also chosen depending on the needs of the user.

Eddy Current Meters

These meters are used to measure the thickness of insulating coatings on non-ferromagnetic metal substrates. Measured layers can be made of paint, plastic, enamel, or can be anodized.

Eddy current layer depth gauges, unlike mechanical meters, have additional functionality. In addition to gauging the thickness of the layer, they allow you to store the read data, their statistical processing, and to keep documentation of measurements in the style of printouts of the results. The data can be printed on a handheld printer or transferred to a PC in a whole way.

Ultrasonic Coating Thickness Gauges 

These meters will allow non-invasive measurements of the depth of layers, synthetic, and other insulation layers on wooden, plastic, glass, ceramic, and other substrates, as well as polymer coatings on metals. A distinctive feature of these measures is the ability to measure both the total girth of the multilayer cover and the depth of stand-alone layers.

Damage Testers

Damage testers can estimate the depth of paint layers on alloy, timber, synthetic substrates, etc. It can also be manipulated to read the thickness of different layers in multilayer coatings. The piece is made by covering the ground with an alloy blade with a certain angle of inclination. A microscope built into the meter is used to determine the girth of the layer.

Comparison Table

ProductGradePC Interface Water ProtectionColor
Extech CG204 Coating Thickness TesterEditor’s ChoiceYesNoGreen
ERAY Digital Coating Paint ThicknessSolid ChoiceYesNoGray
Coating Thickness Gauge DPM-816 Professional Best ValueNoYesBlack

Products Review

ERAY Paint Coating Thickness Gauge

Packaging

  • 1x USB cable
  • 2x AAA batteries
  • 1x User Guidebook
  • 1x Aluminum plate
  • 1 x Ferrous plate

Description

The tool uses electromagnetic induction, it measures the depth cover on magnetic materials, such as aluminum, chrome, copper, lacquer, rubber, and paint on magnetic substrate (iron, alloy, metal, and magnetic stainless steel). It also measures the circumference of nonconductive cover layers wrapped in non-ferrous substrates, such as varnish, rubber, paint, fade, anodic-oxide synthetic, coating covered in a non-ferrous material.

Recommendation

The ERAY Digital Paint Thickness Meter LCD is an excellent choice for those that do not have any experience using these devices. The tool itself has a very well structured menu. It is managed in many different industries, such as manufacturers, master stores, factories, medicines, machines, aircraft manufacturers, and constructions. It is also proper for workrooms, studios, and outer use.

ProsCons
• Widely used
• Easy to use
• N- Probe
• F- Probe
• Does no work with aluminium
Coating Thickness Gauge DPM-816 Professional

Packaging

  • 1x User manual
  • 1x Calibration plate – 700µm thick
  • 1x Calibration plate – 1000µm thick

Description

The DPM-816 equipment is practiced to estimate the girth of different color coats. Also, it runs with non-metallic matters on a metal plate (iron, alloy, aluminum composites, etc.). For instance, it would estimate the depth of the paint coat on vehicle assembly panels.

Recommendation

You can run this equipment to unearth vehicle chassis components that underwent restoration and repainting. For more accurate estimation, the tool is provided with a force stabilization sensor.

Therefore, to obtain an accurate measurement, it is merely essential to have a little covering space clear of soil and filth. That will help you to evaluate the automobile assembly panels without cleaning the entire transport.

ProsCons
• Probe stabilization force
• Three operating forms
• Battery sign
• Iron Calibration plate
• No case for storing
Coating Thickness Gauge CM-206FN Digital Paint Meter

Packaging

  • 2x AAA batteries
  • 1x Bag
  • 1x User guidebook
  • 1x Batteries kit

Description

This new depth gauge layer is very compact and practical. It recognizes the material and has a measure that guarantees many years of conscious use. Thickness measure with instant recognition material, these innovative layer changes between iron and aluminum panels and is perfect for use in all weather conditions. It is an inherent device for professionals involved in the automotive inspection business, as it allows the user to identify vehicle damage reports quickly.

Recommendation

The CM-206FN Coating Thickness gauge is recommended using it on wet surfaces. Also, it can be managed on curved surfaces. The device is straightforward to use. It provides easy calibration that can be handled in a wide variety of temperatures with very high accuracy.

ProsCons
• Beneficiary external aspect
• Weather resistance
• Cutting-edge technological solutions
• High accuracy estimation documentation
• Hard to read the display on daylight
• Poor user’s guide

Digital Coating Thickness Gauge CM-205FN

Packaging

  • 2x Calibration sets
  • 5x Calibration flakes
  • 1x Container for carrying
  • 1x User’s manual 

Description

This depth scale CM-205FN is a highly reliable and small device managed to instantly and precisely estimate the depth of covering or layering on practically all sorts of alloy exteriors. The tool comes with a light LCD. Thus, you can examine determination results wherever and anytime.

This layer depth inspector does not require periodic calibration because it does not re-calibrate. However, if you want to calibrate the cover girth meter, all the needed equipment is given in the kit.

Recommendation

This equipment can be managed to discover the average depth of coverage on a vehicle. It can be handled by experts and also beginners. There are some features that the device has: electronic LCD for distinct reading, computerized identification for metal (ferrous) and aluminum (non-ferrous) metals, and programmed closedown function.

ProsCons
• High-precision estimation
• Works with both ferrous and non-ferrous
alloys
• Large LCD 
• Easy to use
• Hard to get the right angle for measuring
Digital Paint and Coating Thickness Gauge Nicety CM8801-FN

Packaging

  • 1x Battery Indicator
  • 1x AAA battery
  • 1x user’s guide

Description

This is a depth measure to gauge the girth of professional paint layer on metals such as iron or magnetic metal and aluminum. Circumference in timber, rock, or mortar is not ranked. This overlay measure has two sensors. The accurate sensor that is picked for the metal that is measuring. It can be used to gauge the depth of the varnish powder layer, paint spray, or layer of metal parts.

Recommendation

It is suggested to use this device for amateurs due to the fact that it is very versatile and has automatic features. This means that the device does everything itself.

Features

  • Large, light LCD
  • Modes: Single & Continuous
  • Wide Measurement Range
Coating Thickness Meter Gauge, Crash-Test, Measurement Scale

Packaging

  • 1x tester (in shape of a pen)

Description

Magnetic meters do not need any energy accumulation. They are tiny, helpful, and provide many cycles of failure-free performance. The TOP lacquer tester is a magnetic checker with the retention of the latest stroke. The device stops at the prior analysis, which makes it more obvious to define the type of coat restoration. 

The checker has the form of a little pen (10 mm of thickness, 100 mm of length). It is manufactured from high-quality materials, resistant to common mechanical factors, weather situations, and petroleum outcomes. It is an excellent solution for checking the depth of overlay on new and pre-owned cars. 

Recommendation

This product is an examiner that is managed to discover the layers of cover on transports, which are invisible. Thus, you can verify if a car has been involved in an occasion and if the coating is original. It is much easier to arrange a more favorable cost when we can affirm that the vehicle has hidden shape defects.

ProsCons
• Convenient magnetic tip
• Color analysis rule 
• High accuracy of the instrument
• Water and dirt resistant
• No English user’s guide
Extech CG204 Coating Thickness Tester

Packaging

  • 1x USB Cable
  • 1x Pouch Case
  • 2x AAA Batteries
  • 1x User Manual

Description

The Extech CG204 is a transportable layer depth scale signed for non-invasive analyses. The checker uses the twofold method that grants the electronic identification of magnetic and non-magnetic coverings. Two evaluation methods are produced to satisfy the requirements of every customer.

Recommendation

This device is beneficial. You can use it for different materials such as powder layer, aluminum, bath attachments, bike blocks, arena chairs, outdoor huts, furniture, swing kits, chests and cupboards, workstations, machines, and even toys.

ProsCons
• Simple to view display
• The memory stores up to 400 readings
• Statistical report
• PC interface
• Requires frequent calibration
• Does not work on Mac 
• Does not have throw protection
ERAY Digital Coating Paint Thickness, Backlight LCD Display (Blue)

Packaging

  • 1 x Layer depth gauge
  • 1 x Aluminum plate
  • 5 x Approved foil
  • 2 x AAA battery
  • 1 x User handbook

Description

This tool is very similar to the first device of the product review. It has the same functions. It varies in how accurate it is, the scale, the resolutions, and different features like USB data download, data saving, and the statistics.

Recommendation

This equipment is recommended for those that want a hold a device that is not complex, and that is it only used for estimating the depth at the moment.

ProsCons
• Zero Calibration Function
• Easy to Use
• F-probe
• N-probe
• Widely used
• Not accurate measurements 
• No toolbox 
• No backlight 
• No data storing and PC interface 

The Best Choice

When choosing a layer depth meter, you should take into account different aspects. The initial one and the most important is the expertise using this type of device. Another point you need to consider is the place where this tool is going to be used. This is relevant because some car maintenance and repairing tools are more versatile in terms of their features, and others are not. 

Thus, we are about to give the best selection award to the Extech CG204 Coating Thickness Tester. It’s simplicity, feature-rich functionality and precious packaging provides the ability to use it for various purposes right out of the case. It is a perfect and universal solution that will work for a long period of time. 

FAQ

 Which coating thickness gauge should I pick?

While you are choosing a layer depth gauge, it depends on the girth spectrum of the layer, mold, and sort of substrate, the expense of the coating depth scale, and the importance of obtaining a correct determination. Thus, keep reading our article to choose the needed product just like that.

Is it hard to use coating thickness gauges?

It depends, some of them have a very complicated menu, which is very hard to understand. However, in most cases, cover thickness gauges made for not tech-savvy users with an easy-to-use interface.

Do all the layer thickness measures do the same function?

No, some of them use different thickness measurements. It means that they are used for various purposes.

Can I use a coating thickness gauge multiple times?

Yes, a coating thickness gauge can be used for many years.

 Does the tester damage the paint during the measurement?

Not, the coating thickness gauge tip is round and polished or with a flat magnet with a Teflon washer. The case also does not damage the paint because, during measurement, there is no contact with the surface.

Conclusions

A cover depth scale is not a complicated tool to use itself, what does it complex is the type of analysis and techniques and how it is managed. There is a wide variety of testing types. Some devices have one or a couple of them, and this is what makes them different from one another, also the scale and the materials where they can be used. There are many gauges on the market, so check our review one more time and pick the one that suits all your needs. Moreover you can pick another useful one – laser measuring tool from the our review.