What is a Height Gauge – A Simple Guide


What is a height gauge? As the name suggests, it is a device for measuring the height of an object. Their roots can be traced back as far as 1631 when Pierre Vernier, a French scientist and mathematician, invented the “Vernier scale”. This gave mechanical engineers the ability to measure and manufacturer with much greater precision than ever before. Verniers system of dissimilar scales was the founding of precision measurement, and nearly 400 years later we still use Vernier’s principles.Mechanical Height Gauges

Height gauges are typically used in conjunction with granite surface plates or tables such as those in our Crown Windley range. Granite surfaces are a must for accurate measurement as they provide a flat and stable surface for inspection.
There are a number of both mechanical and digital height gauges available. Which you decide to use will depend on your budget and your measuring needs.

Mechanical Height Gauges

Mechanical height gauges have been used for many years for a wide variety of purposes. There are three basic types of mechanical heights gauge;

Vernier Height Gauges: Named after the man himself, which highlights the importance Vernier had in the precision measurement field. This type of height gauge is available in sizes from 6 inches to 6 feet in height. Relatively simple to operate, their main advantage over other height gauges is the range of sizes they come in meaning they can be used to accurately measure a wide range of workpieces. Typically, two scales are shown on the beam of the height gauge. The main scale is engraved on in millimetres (in the case of a metric scale). Also shown is the Vernier scale which can read to an accuracy of 0.01 mm.

Dial Height Gauges: This style of Gauge is generally only available in smaller sizes below 12 inches / 30 cm. The dial makes reading the device easier than a Vernier scale, and they are often used as personal height gauges.

Digital Counter Height Gauges: This style of mechanical height gauge comes with both a dial and dual digit counter fitter. Again, the dial makes reading the height gauge easier than a Vernier. The dual digit counter allows one to be set up as a reference datum while the second is used a floating zero.

Digital Height GaugesWhat is a Height Gauge

Digital height gauges were first developed in 1968 by the Trimos Company, and this started a rapid development in precision measuring equipment. Today, digital height gauges can be split into three distinct groups, which are largely based on their accuracy.

The first group are relatively basic and have accuracy levels similar to those of the mechanical height gauges described above. They will typically use an inch/metric scale along with floating and absolute zero.

The middle group of digital height gauges are effectively an upgrade on the first. They share all the features of the first group but have several additional settings such as ID/OD measurement and probe compensation. Height gauges within this group will have far greater accuracy than those in the first.

The final group offer another big step up in accuracy as well as a host of additional features. You can expect a computer interface, air bearings, motorised probing operation and 1D and 2D measurement capability. The Vertex VMS digital height gauge is a great example of how advanced devices in this group have become.

If you’d like to know more about digital height gauges and how they can be used to support your business, then the team at Eley are here to help. Our Vertex VMS is supported by UKAS Certification and is available in three different sizes allowing us to cater for a range of different industries and requirements.