Best Magnetic Base Dial Indicators (How to Choose)

Published on: June 2, 2022
Written by David Rowan / Fact-checked by David Rowan

A dial indicator is one of the essential items in the toolbox of any racer or rodder. It utilizes everything from decreeing a cam to monitoring disc-brake rotor run-out, as well as a variety of other jobs. You must have a dial indicator if you own a speed shop and build race cars, street rods, custom motorcycles or other vehicles.

We utilize it for things like milling and lathe equipment because it’s mounted on the stand base. A standard indicator has several parts, but the main design consists of two faces with dials, clock-like hands, and a shaft for measuring.

magnetic base dial indicators

Furthermore, it is used as the reading scale of a bore gauge in an engine system. It’s not a good approach to hold it in your hand. A dial indicator’s proper use necessitates solid installation and absolute stability, both of which require the use of a stand. Without a stand, your measurement may be incorrect or unstable. Besides, with the proper settings, they can be used in both metric and imperial measure systems.

In fact, the base of the stand is magnetic. It will cling to the other ferrous object. Simply set the magnetic base on a ferrous surface and screw the dial indicator into place. You can conduct the measurement once the position is accurate. For precision, this equipment is essential.

As a result, the magnetic base’s quality must be considered. If it isn’t strong enough to hold the stand rigidly, the measurement will be wrong. If the quality is good, it not only helps with accuracy but also makes things easier.

This article is for you if you want the best magnetic base dial indicators. We’ll go over a few magnetic base dial indicators in this article, which will clearly give you the idea to choose the ideal one for you.

What Is a Magnetic Base Dial Indicator Used for?

Dial indicators are one of the most significant measuring equipment in the engine production industry. Deck clearances, lifter travel, crankshaft thrust and straightness, and other tests, including the distance between two surfaces, are commonly done with it.

Nowadays, most of the dial indicators come with a magnetic base that can clamp to a nearby surface. The magnetic base indicator holder can be changed to position the dial indicator to read movement in the correct direction when in use. We recommend that you read the dial face straight on to receive the most accurate reading.

How Does a Magnetic Dial Indicator Base Work?

A magnetic base device is a magnetic fixture with one or more permanent magnets arranged to allow the external field to turn on and off. It will be sticky when it comes into contact with the other strong magnetic base ferrous object.

Simply set the magnetic base on a ferrous surface and screw the dial indicator into place. You can conduct the measurement once the position is correct. When the quality of a heavy-duty magnetic base is stable, it helps with accuracy and makes things easier.

How Accurate Is a Dial Indicator?

The dial indicator has a plunger that measures how far the surface inflates the plunger underneath it. You can find two types of dial indicators in the market: analog dial and digital dial. Both give accurate readouts. A dial indicator’s most typical precision is 0.001′′.

Also, you can find additional 0.0005′′ and 0.0001′′ accuracy for your work. But the resolution of 0.001′′ is sufficient for most of the work. But depending on the skill of how you read a .001 dial indicator, the correctness also depends.

By combining high resolution and precision, you can accurately get the measurement. In the case of accuracy, the magnetic stand helps to keep the indicator in a place where it’s needed, and a fine adjustment will allow you to zero it. 

How Do You Adjust the Dial Indicator?

Most of the accuracy of the measurement depends on the adjustment of the dial indicator. For calibration of the magnetic base dial indicators, you’ll need a magnetic stand, a surface plate, and enough gauge blocks. Then follow the steps:

  1. Stable it by putting it on a stand on the surface plate, then calibrate it by turning the outer face until the hand points to zero.
  2. Gage blocks insert automatically when the dial indicator is set to zero on the dial.
  3. Place the bottom spindle against the item you’re measuring.

We suggest you test the measurement device several times to ensure the dial indicator reading is taken correctly.

On the market, there are numerous products. So it’s hard to give the best title to one dial indicator. Now you may have the question in your mind that What is the best dial indicator?

Don’t worry; we gather all the essential information of the top magnetic base dial indicators for you, which is now trending on the market, including both new and veteran manufacturers. It is essential to know all the buying factors you can find in the following writing.

Mitutoyo 64PKA079 Magnetic Stand With Dial Indicator


  • Measurement System: Inch;
  • Weight: 0.010 ounces;
  • Depth: 10.2-inches;
  • Resolution: 0.001-inches;

The top dial indicator on the market that we put in our first recommendation is built by Mitutoyo, a well-known manufacturer of precision measurement instruments. Mitutoyo 64PKA079 is the dial indicator for you if you want something high-quality and long-lasting.

The dial indication glass is hard coated to prevent scratches or accidental falls down. It also has appropriate characteristics, including a 1-inch maximum measurement range, 0.001-inch resolution.

The dial scale is immense, with a large diameter. It’s easy to read because of the number and line. Because each division is read at 0.001′′ and counts from 0 to 1oo in one spin, Calculating the overall reading is simple. The AGD type dial indicator can easily support any type of magnetic stand. Also, it has .375-inch probes, 6mm or 8 mm diameter stems and a 1/4-inch lug back diameter.

The magnetic strength of the Magnetic Stand is 132 Lbf, which helps to prevent damage to indicators and probes from accidental base fall-over. The On/Off switch allows for quick mounting and dismounting without damaging the indicators or work surface.


  • All in one magnetic base and dial indicator set;
  • Mitutoyo product with excellent quality;
  • Smooth and long-lasting functioning;
  • It has a mag base with a built-in On/Off switch.


  • Little more expensive than a similar product;
  • There are no jeweled bearings.

Clockwise Tools Dimr-0105 Dial Indicator with Magnetic Base


  • Measurement System: Inch;
  • Weight: 4.04 pounds;
  • Measuring range: 0 to 1 inch;
  • Resolution: 0.001inches;
  • Magnetic max pull 176lbs. 

Clockwise Tools DICR-0105 is the solution if you want a complete set of dial indicators that includes the base stand and is reasonably priced. You have the option of purchasing it without or with the magnetic stand. The range is zero to one inch, and the resolution is 0.001′′, according to the specifications. Graduations vary from 0 to 99, resulting in a total of 100 divisions each rotation.

Moreover, the precision, according to the seller, is 0.0012′′, which is rather good. It includes a calibration certificate from Clockwise Tools. This indicator can fit with either a lug back or a flat back. If you’re going to use the base stand, make sure it fits into the 6.5mm lug back hole.

The stand grips the stem instead of lugging it back. The stem diameter is 3/8′-inches, and the dial diameter is only 2 inches, so that it won’t take up much space. The position of the scale is easy to adjust without using the screw. Furthermore, the anti-dust cap and a rugged hard case keep it safe from damage. 

Overall, it is the dial indicator for the money considering its features and magnetic base stand. It offers good precision and resolution, which indicates satisfactory performance.


  • Lightweight and affordable;
  • It’s straightforward to read and use;
  • With a single knob, you can fix the placement;
  • The simple on/off switch for the magnet;
  • The pro-grade carbide anvil ball allows smooth movement.


  • The magnetic stand’s ball and socket joints are tough to lock;
  • There are just five divisions on a smaller scale.

Grizzly Industrial G9849 Magnetic Base Dial Indicator Combo


  • Measurement System: Inch;
  • Weight: 4.09 pounds;
  • Measuring range: 0 to 1 inch;
  • Resolution: 0.001-inch;
  • A formed case arrives with the set.

One of the most well-known producers on the market is Grizzly Industrials. They built the G9849 magnetic base dial indicator, which is excellent and precise. However, the top five goods outperform grizzly products in terms of other qualities.

The magnetic base can adjust with other different dial indicator models. Magnetic activities have two sides. Attachment of the dial indicator with the magnetic stand is much easier. The magnetic base can turn on and off as needed by simply placing it on and off. 

In addition, with a precision range of 0 to 1 inch and a resolution of 0.001 inches, the dial indicator is highly accurate. This indicator builts of stainless steel with a satin chrome coating to ensure its mechanical longevity and durability. Furthermore, the box weighs 4.9 pounds.

A plastic case is included in this beautiful set for protection and usefulness. This Grizzly model holds an outstanding reputation in the market for its reliable services, so you can instinctively rely on it.


  • Precise and straightforward;
  • Affordable and comfy;
  • High-resolution and high-accuracy;
  • It’s simple to attach to the magnetic base;
  • The magnetic base is sturdy and can be used in any position.


  • There are no additional features, such as contact points;
  • Sometimes it’s hard to adjust with the base.

Fowler 52-520-199-0 Magnetic Base Dial Indicator


  • Measurement System: Inch;
  • Graduation : 0.001 inches;
  • Measuring range: 0 to 1 inch;
  • Travel range: 1-inch;
  • Weight:0.705 ounces.

Fowler FOW52-520-110 is another good spec dial indicator on the market that we’d like to recommend. It is an excellent budget option because of its specifications and quality. It isn’t flawless, but it should be a dial indicator for the money that is worth it.

This is a continuous model with a 1-inch travel range and 0.001′-inch resolution. Its added features like red pointers, white markings, black faces, lug back, tolerance markings, and 0-100 markings make it popular. It becomes simpler to read as it combines with red pointers.

You don’t have to think about its sturdiness because it builts of strong stainless steel, and the spindle rack is solid. The gear wheels are built of hard brass, and the contact point is rigid stainless steel. Added to this, the magnetic base in the shape of a V is perfect for mounting on spherical surfaces.

If you believe the specifications of this Fowler indicator fit your needs, you should choose it without hesitation. As previously stated, it is a perfect product that is worth your money.


  • The zero reading at any location; 
  • Have an adjustable bezel and dial;
  • Metallic body and gears;
  • Stable reading and durable service;
  • Lightweight and inexpensive;
  • White markers and red pointers for easy reading.


  • Getting the arm to tighten is challenging;
  • The place of contact is not carbide.

All Industrial Tool Supply TR72020 Dial Indicator with Magnetic Base


  • Set of 22 indicator points;
  • Measurement System: Inch;
  • Graduation : 0.001 inches;
  • Measuring range: 0 to 1 inch;
  • Stem diameter: 3/8-inch.

The dial indicator with a magnetic base from All industrial tools is our next choice. Three types of precise equipment are contained in one attractive red plastic moulded box. In this case, it comes with a magnetic base, a dial indicator, and a box of 22 plunger contact point sets.

And another thing, it has a magnetic force of 130 lbs and can hold any precision equipment. The 22 different sorts of touchpoints are one of the most appealing features among others. All 22 contact points meet AGD (American gauge design) specifications.

Beyond that, this dial indicator has a measuring range of 0 to 1 inch and a 0.001-inch resolution. The stainless steel ingredients and satin chrome polished body ensure mechanical durability and stability. We strongly recommend this model if you are looking for a geared dial indicator with a magnetic basement. Because this indicator offers an affordable price range, precise results and a solid on/off magnetic base.


  • Accurate, straightforward, and easy to use;
  • All in one 22 contact points in this set;
  • Inexpensive but of good quality;
  • Meet AGD specifications; 
  • The set includes a durable plastic case.


  • It doesn’t come with complete guidebooks;
  • Changing the contact points is complex.

Khcraft Professional Magnetic Base Dial Indicator 


  • Set of 22 indicator points;
  • Measurement System: Inch;
  • Graduation: 0.001 inches;
  • Measuring range: 0 to 1 inch;
  • Bottom and Back two magnetic faces.

Our last best pick is the KHCRAFT professional precision instrument. This model includes three precise toolsets: a dial indicator, a magnetic base stand and 22 contact points. The magnetic base weighs 130 pounds and consists of a strong rod and a dial holder.

The magnetic stand is ideal for securing a firm grip while measuring the accuracy of work. It can deliver hundreds of precise measurements by using 22 pieces of AGD standard contact point. The dial indicator measures from 0 to 1 inch and has a resolution of 0.001 inches.

In addition, it is composed of solid steel that has been hardened and polished in satin chrome, ensuring its stability and longevity. A lug back cover and a plain rear cover are also included with the model as a bonus. The manufacturer KHCraft claims that every final dial indicator is individually tested to ensure the highest level of accuracy.

The precision is quite good compared with other similar models. The package weighs roughly 4.8 pounds and measures 11.2 x 7.8 x 2.9 inches in dimension. This All-in-one set can meet all of your measuring needs accurately.


  • High-resolution and high-accuracy;
  • The magnetic base support is simple to secure;
  • Heavier and shock-proof material;
  • Package including a sturdy blow mould case;
  • No lug on the back cover;
  • Comes with a rear cover with lug as a bonus.


  • The contact points are clingy and difficult to change;
  • It arrives without an instruction manual.

What to Think About When Purchasing a Magnetic Base Dial Indicator

Because the primary function of the Dial Indicator is to measure accurately, we should be cautious before buying one. In addition, there are several other vital variables to consider when selecting magnetic dial indicator. Take a quick look at the below factors before opting for a new one:

1. Range of Precision:

The precision range is the highest distance we can measure the value from. Most of the products in our ranking have a precision range of 0 to 1 inch. We recommend an accuracy of 0.0001 inches for professional use, and for hobbyists, we recommend an adequate accuracy of 0.001 inches.

The lower the accuracy value, the better you get the result. We recommend you buy a NIST-approved dial indicator to improve the tool’s calibration to ensure that it has the expected precision. This is the only reliable method of obtaining the indicator’s genuine spec.

2. Accuracy Limitation:

The majority of dial indicator items have a 0.001 inches resolution. Some professional dial indicators have additional 0.0005-inch and 0.0001-inch resolutions in a different price range.

It depends on the work requirement; if you need more severe measurement, then opt for higher resolutions. An accurate measure would be created by combining high resolution and accuracy.

3. Magnetic Base:

A magnetic base usually has a basement and an indication holder. When operating a dial indicator, you must ensure that it is stable and securely fastened with a magnetic base. The magnetic power is the most crucial factor because the measurements will be inaccurate if the indicator shifts.

The magnetic base gives the facility to adjust and place the dial indicator to read movement in the correct direction when in use. The majority of the magnetic bases we selected here have a power of 130 lbs, which is adequate for holding any precision equipment.

4. Substance:

 A magnetic base dial indicator should be built with sturdy material to get the most accurate reading and use the tool for the long run. Material is essential to consider when it comes to the pinion, contact point, rack, body case, bearing and gears. We suggest avoiding using plastic.

Although plastic does not rust, it can readily wear out and cause inaccuracies. In terms of durability and precision, high-grade stainless steel or alloy-made products are superior. Instead of using plastic, you can use this option.

5. Lug Back: 

The lug back features extremely useful when measuring in a challenging position. The existence of a lug back allows the indicator to be attached to the stand base. The majority of lug back holes are 1/4-inch in diameter.

But before buying, ensure that your bottom meets these requirements. When there is no center lug back, another option is to grasp the stem. The majority of stems are 3/8′′ in diameter. In rare cases, you can adjust the indicator by holding the stem rather than the lug back.


When it comes to performing linear measurements, the dial indicator is the most reliable tool. Mostly metalworkers use dial indicators as regular measuring devices. When you use the indication, the needle displays the readings to illustrate the measurement. They come in a variety of price ranges and from several different companies.

Finding a magnetic base dial indicator is not as complicated as you thought. But it is essential to choose the perfect one to avoid measurement errors. In this case, we hope that this article will assist you in narrowing down your options and expediting your search for a dial indicator with a magnetic base. Please let us know if there’s anything we’ve missed. Best of luck!

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About This Writer

david rowan author

Hello, I am David Rowan. I am a professional contractor with 10 years of experience in home building, different tools used, construction, home remodeling, and other home improvement work. I have already built many custom homes and continued to do several woodworking projects along with how to deal with all categories of tools.

Hello, I am David Rowan. I am a professional contractor with 10 years of experience in home building, different tools used, construction, home remodeling, and other home improvement work. I have already built many custom homes and continued to do several woodworking projects along with how to deal with all categories of tools.

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