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Dial Indicator equivalent models with long travel

aka drop indicator—travel indicator

What kind of travel to use

It is common wisdom to not use any indicator which offers more travel than is necessary.

If you only need to measure up to 1/4" then you should stick with a 1" indicator at the most. If you need to measure over 1" then you have a number of options. These long range indicators have their own set of problems, are less accurate over their entire range, are more easily damaged, and beside being more costly, they will also cost more to have repaired—if you can find someone who can do this kind of work.

Do not confuse amount of travel with measuring depth. If you just need to go further into a hole or groove, use a longer contact point on your 1" indicator. Contact point extensions are available on page 133.

Whenever possible, hold the indicator by its stem. This will be the most rigid set-up. Also remember that the indicator reads accurately only when the stem is perpendicular to the measured surface. If you are off even by a couple of degrees you will start to notice reading errors. To convince yourself, just try it.

Most manufacturers instruct us to use these only in an upright position. Held horizontally or upside-down the spindle and the hand are likely to refuse to return to zero. It is simply a matter of gravity.

This page is designed to help you find equivalents to long range (more than 1" travel) dial indicators which you might own or want to replace. It will show the new models when others have become obsolete. It can also help you find better quality equivalents or—vice versa—cheaper alternatives.

We've taken the major parameters into account: the range, the graduations, the dial diameter and the stem diameter. We have included both inch and metric models for some of the most popular manufacturers currently available. Some indicators ship with a lug back, others have flat backs and lug backs need to be ordered separately. There will of course be some variation from one manufacturer to another. For a detailed comparison of manufacturers and brand names, refer to page 14.

Where they're made:

  • B.C. Ames: USA (85% made in USA)
  • Brown & Sharpe: Germany (made by Kafer)
  • Kafer: Germany
  • Mitutoyo: Japan
  • Starrett: USA
  • Teclock: Japan

By clicking on a linked model number, you will be taken to a page which has further details on that particular model. We do not pretend that this listing is complete. We have not included generic dial indicators or those which are generally unavailable in the U.S.


Many Mitutoyo models have bi-directional dials that run from 0 to 100 clockwise as well as counter-clockwise.


Caution if buying from Amazon: their product images sometimes do not match the product description. Read carefully!

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