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34 Different Types of Measuring Tools and Their Functions

Discover the roles of different types of measuring equipment for a certain process and provide handy assistance in achieving a particular objective.

A convenient use of different measurement tools

We use tools for measuring many different kinds of things. For example, there was a time when body parts were used to measure the distance of the length of something. Fortunately, today we have accurate measurement tools, so we no longer have to rely on guesses. 

These tools measure a variety of things such as water pressure, speed, ingredients, distances, angles, dimensions, blood sugar, and temperature. They are used across various trades, including plumbing and design. 

It is not unusual to see the same tool used in multiple trades. Sometimes they are even called different names. However, they are critical to ensure that you have the correct measurement for your project. Otherwise, whatever you are working on could be built, designed, or timed incorrectly. 

Review this list of different measuring tools to understand how each is used. Then, you will be able to use the right measuring tools for your job to ensure accurate measurements.

Types of Measuring Tools and Equipment

1) Altimeter

A black frame altimeter with white numeric 
A black frame altimeter with white numeric that measures height.

An altimeter is a tool that is used to measure height. Specifically, it is the height above sea level that it measures. An altimeter is used for flight, climbing, parachuting, and other activities involving height. In addition, an altimeter is often found on special watches, making it a multi-purpose tool for climbers. 

2) Ammeter

An ammeter measures the current of electricity in amperes
An ammeter with a white casing measures the current of electricity in amperes.

An ammeter looks similar in shape to a voltmeter. It performs a similar task. An ammeter measures an electric current in amperes. The ammeter measures direct current or alternating current. This tool must be connected in series with the object it is measuring. 

3) Anemometer

A metal anemometer mounted on a high location with a spinning wheel
A metal anemometer mounted on a high location with a spinning wheel that rotates with the wind.

An anemometer measures the wind speed of a particular place. This tool is used by weather forecasters or the Geophysical Meteorological Agency

It has a propeller that is bowl-shaped that rotates when it is windy. This measuring tool can then convert the wind into numbers that reflect the speed. 

4) Angle Gauge 

A digital angle gauge is installed in the saw to measure the angle of an item.

Many professionals need to know or check the angle of a particular object. When it comes to angles, it is critical that they have the most accurate measurements and data. An angle gauge helps measure angles to ensure you have a true level.

An angle gauge is a digital tool that is relatively inexpensive, easy to use, and accurate. A digital angle gauge can also be used as a level making it a convenient and multi-purpose tool. You can also find an analog angle gauge if that is your preference.

An angle gauge has a base that is made of powerful magnets and calibration controls that are automatic. This measuring tool is often attached to the object it is measuring. It assists you with measuring angles properly. These are used to ensure you have accurate miter angles and bevels from power saws. 

5) Barometer

A barometer with a gold frame that measures air pressure
A barometer with a gold frame that measures air pressure with its points.

A barometer is considered a scientific instrument. It measures the atmospheric pressure of a room or an area. You will often find this tool in a biology or chemistry lab. They are used to determine the pressure when there is some type of reaction. 

A barometer uses air, mercury, or water to measure pressure. Weather forecasters use a barometer to help predict the short-term changes in the weather. A barometer indicates when a change in pressure alerts them to strong winds, pending bad weather, and other weather changes.

6) Beaker Glass

A liquid measuring beaker glass in milliliters
A liquid measuring beaker glass in milliliters.

A beaker glass measures the volume of liquid. This tool is most often used in a lab to measure liquid chemicals before or during research. A beaker glass has a scale on its side with lines and numbers to indicate how much liquid it contains. 

A beaker glass comes in various sizes and typically measures liquid in milliliters. It is typically made from glass. A beaker glass most often is a cylinder with a flat bottom and a wide mouth. Pouring from it is easy due to its small turned-out lip.

However, the primary function of a beaker glass is not measurement. Instead, it is primarily used for mixing, stirring, and heating liquids. 

7) Clocks

A clock walls for telling time
A variety of clock walls for telling time.

Clocks are one of the most common places and used measurement tools almost everyone uses. While a clock may not be the first thing you think of when thinking about a tool for measuring, it is an important one. 

Clocks measure the time needed to complete tasks, show up for appointments and meet deadlines. In addition, time is used for various activities, from baking to exercise or to pick up a child from school. 

There are many different clocks, but they all provide the same functionality. For example, there are digital and analog clocks. In addition, some clocks use batteries, while others use electricity or sunlight to keep time. 

While we all use the measurement of time, many of us are no longer buying clocks. There was a time when you would have a clock in every room of your house. Now, we use watches, smartphones, or computers to give us time. 

8) Compass

A navigational compass with a silver pointing and case.

A compass is a critical tool for many trades. With a compass, you can draw circles and determine the distance between points. A compass is a common measuring tool used in architecture, carpentry, and shipbuilding. However, a compass is not used in everyday life to measure points. 

This type of compass has two pieces, or sides, that attach at the top. You can move them to increase or decrease the size of the circle. One side has a point that sticks to your paper, and the other contains a pencil that draws the circle around the point. 

There is another type of compass that is used for navigation purposes. This compass shows cardinal directions and helps determines geographical orientation. The military, sailors, and those who enjoy outdoor activities use this type of compass. 

9) Glucometer

A digital glucometer with a blue housing
A digital glucometer with a blue housing for checking blood glucose levels.

A glucometer is a medical device that measures the glucose level in the blood. This measuring tool helps determine the health of an individual. This device analyzes a drop of blood to determine if the glucose levels are too high or too low. 

People with diabetes use this to determine their blood sugar levels. They have to use it every day. This is a critical measurement for people with diabetes to help them maintain their health. Without this tool, they would be guessing at their blood sugar level. 

More modern versions of this tool can be used with smartphone applications glucometer to provide you with extra information. 

10) Graduated Cylinder

A graduated cylinder in glass with blue liquid
A graduated cylinder in glass with blue liquid inside.

A graduated cylinder is glassware often found in a lab that measures the volume of an object. A glass cylinder has marks along the side similar to those on a measuring cup. You determine the volume by reading the number on the glass where the fluid reaches it. 

Graduated cylinders are intended to make accurate measurements related to volume. To take a reading, you look at the numbers before an object is inserted and again after insertion. Take the difference between those calculations to determine volume. The numbers are also used to calculate density.

11) Hygrometer 

A basic square digital hygrometer
A basic square digital hygrometer measures room humidity.

A hygrometer is also called a psychrometer and measures the humidity in a room. It measures water vapor in the air or soil. This is commonly found in areas where the humidity in the room is essential, as in the food industry. When a food area is humid, it can cause the growth of mold on food.

12) KWH Meter

A square manual KWH meter cover in glass
A square analog KWH meter cover in glass is placed for metering used electricity.

A KWH meter measures the energy an appliance puts out in kilowatt-hours. You will find these instruments are often found in the front of houses. This tool is used to determine how much power the appliances use per hour. 

This tool can create a benchmark for the electricity bills for a particular house. For example, this measurement can determine that an appliance is 1,000 watts. This term means that it consumes 1 kWh of energy. 

13) Manometer

A manometer measures the gas pressure in an area with gas. This is typically in a tube or pipe. This tool is most commonly found in gas-producing industries. It is also used in industries that run on gas. It is often found in gas cylinders. 

14) pH Meter

A pH meter measures the acidity of the pink liquid
A pH meter measures the acidity of the pink liquid in a lab glass.

A pH meter measures the pH level of a particular material. The pH of the material indicates the wetness or acidity of the material. To use this tool, dip the pH meter electrode, which resembles a pen, into the object.

15) Pressure Gauge

An analog pressure gauge is useful for determining the amount of pressure
An analog pressure gauge is useful for determining the amount of pressure for its application.

A pressure gauge is an incredibly common and essential tool. You will find gauges in many different applications. In general, a pressure gauge determines the amount of pressure in a particular place and displays it on the screen. Pressure gauges look different based on their use. However, all of them have some area where you can see a number to indicate the amount of pressure.

One example of this is hot water heaters have pressure gauges to indicate the pressure of the water. Most people have used a tire pressure gauge at some point. This tool tells you how much air pressure is in a tire.

A blood pressure monitor functions in a similar way to a pressure gauge. This particular gauge pumps to measure the pressure in your veins. There are also analog pressure gauges. 

The most common types of an analog gauges are an aneroid gauge and a hydrostatic gauge. A hydrostatic gauge is ideal for sustained pressure but often has a delay. An aneroid gauge responds much faster but is not as accurate. 

16) Protractor

A mint green protractor ruler arch shape
A mint green protractor ruler in the shape of an arch.

A protractor is also called an angle ruler. Children commonly use a protractor at school to measure or draw angles. Most often, this happens in math class, often geometry, but it could be used in science class. 

Protractors are simple to use. They are a piece of transparent plastic or glass in the shape of a half-circle. You may even find one made from metal. The protractor itself is marked with degrees. There is some more advanced protractors that will measure in radians. They are commonly used in mechanical engineering, and by scientists and physicists.

17) Odometer 

A black color odometer is used on automobiles
A black color odometer is used on automobiles to display kilometers or miles traveled.

An odometer measures how far an object has traveled. Just about every vehicle has an odometer inside of it. It will tell you in kilometers or miles how far you have gone. 

You can attach them to bicycles to know how far you have ridden. In addition, they capture helpful information for exercise needs. Most odometers are already installed in a vehicle or a standalone version for a bike. 

18) Speedometer

A speedometer device in automobiles
A speedometer is a device found in automobiles.

A speedometer is used to measure speed and how fast an object is moving. If you have driven a vehicle, you have seen a speedometer and know how it works. Most speedometers are found in cars. In the past, speedometers have been round dials with numbers and a bar to point to your speed.

Today, many speedometers display a digital number to tell you how fast you move. Police officers also use speedometers. They do not look the same as the one in your car, but it does measure how fast you are moving. 

The type of speedometer a police officer uses looks like a gun and is often called a radar gun, a speed gun, or a speed velocity gun. 

You can also purchase a standalone speedometer to add to your bike. Adding a speedometer to your bike tells you how fast you move. You can often find it on an instrument that measures other items, like distance.

19) Sound Level Meter

A portable digital sound level meter with a black cover
A portable digital sound level meter with a black cover on the microphone.

A sound level meter is a tool that measures the noise level in a room or building. These are commonly used in areas and industries that have a lot of loud noise. These areas include shooting ranges, shooting training areas, and airports. 

These instruments measure the noise of an area to ensure that it is within the acceptable limits for noise. Outside of these limits, you are not in a healthy range and noise can negatively impact ear health.

20) Stopwatch

A classic timepiece top button
A classic timepiece with a stop button.

A stopwatch is another instrument that measures time. Typically, this tool measures seconds and determines reaction time, speed, heating time, or the amount of time to work on a project. 

A stopwatch only goes up to one hour. Sometimes, people attempt to use their watch as a replacement for a stopwatch. While this is possible, it is not recommended because a stopwatch is much more accurate.

21) Tailor’s Measuring Tape

A flexible and long measuring tape
A flexible and long measuring tape in white and black.

A Tailor’s measuring tape is often referred to as a measuring tape. It looks similar to a measuring tape you find on a job site or a contractor. The most significant difference is this tape is not contained in a shell. 

A tailor’s measuring tape is soft and flexible, allowing it to measure along the body’s curves. It is often made of some type of fabric. The tape measure is often hard and does not bend well. 

22) Theodolite

A yellow theodolite with the tripod stand
A yellow theodolite with the tripod stand in the field.

A theodolite is an important tool that measures and maps the distance from one point to another. It can determine both horizontal and vertical angles between the two points. A theodolite is often used but building workers.

23) Voltmeter

Voltmeter with direct and alternating current ports
A digital voltmeter with direct and alternating current ports.

A voltmeter is an instrument that measures how much voltage is in a unit of volts. The voltmeter is connected in parallel with an object. Once connected, the needle on the meter moves depending on the electrical voltage of the object.

24) Waterpass

A water pass with transparent tubing filled with water in the middle
A yellow water pass with transparent tubing filled with water in the middle.

A water pass is used when you need to understand the alignment of objects. You can also use it to determine the alignment of objects with other objects both horizontally and vertically. 

A waterpass contains water which is the foundation for the alignment of the objects. In the water of the waterpass, there is a bubble. The object is aligned if the bubble falls between the lines and stops moving.

You will find a waterpass most commonly used during the construction of the foundation of a building or when there are objects that require alignment.

Measuring Tools in Carpentry

The term carpentry is used a bit loosely. It can mean tools used for woodworking, workshop measuring tools, or across industries. These types of measuring tools are used in various applications, but also found in carpentry. 

25) Angle Locator

A stainless angle locator is presented for measuring the angle of certain objects.

An angle locator is often used for carpentry or construction projects. It is a manual tool with a digital display. They work well when trying to find the angle of something in a small space, such as a closet. 

This tool is often referred to as an angle finder. This is because it allows for easy measuring at a glance for angles from 0 degrees to 90 degrees. 

26) Calipers

The caliper contains an easy-to-see numeric display that allows you to read measurements quickly.

Calipers accurately measure the distance between two sides of an object. Calipers are a simple tool that provides accurate data. You will find them in digital and analog versions. 

You adjust the tips of the calipers to fit across the object you are measuring. After that, you remove the calipers with an integrated ruler to get the total distance. They are used by metalworkers, mechanical engineers, scientists, carpenters, and doctors.

27) Laser Measure

A tripod-mounted gadget with a bright blue laser
A tripod-mounted distance measurement gadget with a bright blue laser.

A laser measure is also known as a laser level. They are used to measure the distance between the level and another object. This measurement helps determine how far away something is. These are digital and are used as an alternative to a tape measure. 

A laser measure is best suited for measuring long distances. However, they can get expensive quickly. This tool sends out a colored laser beam so that you can see it is vertically and horizontally level. Using a laser measure is an accurate method of measurement. 

28) Level

A bubble level device with three water-filled tubes
A yellow bubble level device with three water-filled tubes.

A level is a tool that everyone should have. It is simple to use and affordable to purchase. While this is a tool for carpenters, anyone can benefit from it. A level is especially helpful when trying to hang something on the wall.

A level determines if an object is balanced and level. There are many different types of levels. The simplest form is a standard beam level. You place it on top of an object, and the air bubbles in the liquid will show you if it is level. 

29) Measuring Square

A black measuring square on a wood surface
A black measuring square on a wood surface for measurement.

A measuring square is also referred to as a carpenter’s square. They are two rulers joined, so they make a right angle. There are many different types of measuring squares.

Combination squares have interchangeable angled heads for the rulers. Drywall squares are extra-large to allow you to make markings for cutting drywall. 

Framing squares are also called steel squares. They create perfect right angles in carpentry. Speed squares are a blend of a combination square and framing square in one tool. 

30) Measuring Tape

A yellow measuring tape with a hook and a lock
A yellow measuring tape with a hook and a locking button.

A measuring tape is also called a tape measure. This item is likely the most common tool for measuring. It is a simple design that allows you to measure the length, width, or height of an object or space. Measuring tapes are used in a variety of industries.

They are portable and can be hooked on a tool belt or even a regular belt. A switch on the measuring tape allows you to lock it in place. When you release the lock, the tape retracts back into its housing. 

31) Ruler

A ruler that measures in inches and centimeters
A wooden ruler that measures in inches and centimeters.

Just about everyone has used a ruler at some point in their lives. It can be used in various settings and situations. For example, you line up the ruler next to whatever you want to measure. It can also help you draw a straight line. 

While your first experience with a ruler was most likely when you were a child, professionals use them every day. They are also referred to as straightedge or a line gauge. They are used in construction, architecture, and many other fields. 

Kitchen Measuring Tools

32) Measuring Cups

A set of colorful kitchen tools for measuring cups or a spoon
A set of colorful kitchen tools for measuring using cups or a spoon.

Measuring cups are one of the most important measuring tools you can have in your kitchen. They are inexpensive, and you can buy them in sets. Measuring cups are made out of many different materials, including plastic, glass, and metal. 

Typically, measuring cups are measuring a cup or some fraction of a cup, like 1/4 cup or 1/3 cup. However, you can also find a measuring cup that is one large cup that can measure as much as 2 cups or more. These have handles and look more like a mug.

While they are most commonly found in the kitchen, you can also find them in a chemistry lab. 

33) Scale

A metallic scale used for weighing
A gray metallic scale used for weighing items.

Another standard tool for measurement is the scale. It is used in the kitchen, the bathroom, the doctor’s office, and many more industries. A scale measures the weight or mass of an object. 

There are numerous types of scales, including body scales, sitting scales, digital scales, hanging scales, and three-arm scales. In addition, scales can be found that measure in units other than pounds. 

34) Thermometer

A thermometer with a digital display
A gun thermometer with a digital display.

Another tool for measurement is a thermometer. This one is used to measure temperature. Thermometers measure the temperature inside the body, of food, and in the air. 

There are many different thermometer styles. For example, some thermometers are placed under the tongue, in the ear, or across your forehead for body temperature readings. 

Some thermometers can take your temperature at a distance. You point them at a person’s forehead and pull a trigger to get the temperature. 

The under-the-tongue thermometer is the most commonly used, but it is quickly being replaced with other versions. 

Most thermometers used today are digital because they are more accurate and easy to use. There are different versions of food thermometers also. They all contain a probe that is inserted into the food. The thermometer gives you a readout with the temperature.