When a person is going to buy a car from a previous owner, it definitely will be interested in a number of important points: visited whether the vehicle is in an accident, all body parts factory or some of them have been changed, repainted them, and if so, why? It is almost impossible to answer these questions correctly, even with a thorough visual inspection. Special equipment called a thickness gauge will help you do this. This device is designed to calculate the thickness of the paintwork.
It is not uncommon for sellers to try to hide the fact of replacing certain parts from a potential buyer. In order for the car to have an attractive appearance, the so-called pre-sale preparation is carried out, which consists in repainting body parts. This allows you to achieve an excellent visual effect, it will look like the car has not been in road accidents, has not been painted, and so on.
On the Internet, you can find the average value of the paint layer for each make and model of car. Armed with this knowledge, you can use a thickness gauge to determine this parameter on most of the main elements of the vehicle within a few minutes and calculate where the putty or an additional layer of paint was applied. Automotive stores today offer their customers a wide range of thickness gauges, which differ from each other in the principle of operation, functionality and a number of important points.
Buying the optimal model is not as easy as it seems at first glance. To make this task easier for you, we decided to dedicate our review today to this particular product. However, before we start considering specific models, let’s look at what the equipment works on, what capabilities it has, and so on. That’s where we’ll start.
- What do you pay attention to when buying a thickness gauge?
- Ultrasonic products
- 3. MEGEAN 19220
- 2. TEMP-UT1
- 1. Horstek TC 015
- Universal thickness gauges
- 4. CONDTROL Paint
- 3. Aktakom ATA 7156
- 2. CHY-115
- 1. Etari ET-111
- Best thickness gauges for paint
- 3. TM-20MG4
- 2. Etari ET-10P
- 1. Richmeters GY910
- In conclusion, a useful video
What do you pay attention to when buying a thickness gauge?
The simplest device for calculating the thickness of a layer of paint and varnish materials can be made with your own hands – take an ordinary magnet and wrap it in a cloth (this protects the paint layer from scratches). The principle of operation is quite simple – on normally painted surfaces, the magnet will hold, and from the plastered ones it will fall off. This is due to the weakening of attraction due to non-magnetic repair material. A serial arrow thickness gauge works on a similar principle. It is quite simply arranged, therefore, it will serve for a long time. The simplicity of the design ensures low cost, there is no need to provide power. However, such a product has a number of significant drawbacks that negate all its advantages: it is not very sensitive and is not able to provide good accuracy of indicators.
A more advanced design is an electromagnetic thickness gauge, which works by creating a magnetomotive force on the winding. Here, measurements are made by calculating changes in the electromagnetic field – a Hall effect sensor is used for this purpose. The accuracy here is much higher, as is the sensitivity of the device, but the cost also increases.
The most expensive, but at the same time the most accurate equipment, is an ultrasonic thickness gauge, the operation of which is not associated with the use of magnets at all. This device can measure the thickness not only on metal, but also on plastic elements of the body, for example, on bumpers. The principle of operation is based on passing a high – frequency sound signal through elastic and solid media and returning it back to the device-an echolocation base. Such products are usually used by professional craftsmen who are engaged in the restoration of body elements after an accident.
Choosing models for our rating of the best automotive thickness gauges of 2021, we were guided not only by the factors listed above, but also by user reviews, as well as the ratio of price and quality of equipment, so that it turned out to be affordable for most of our readers. Now is the time to analyze the useful characteristics of such devices.
3. MEGEAN 19220
This is a fairly compact and accurate product of domestic production, which is able to calculate the thickness of a non-magnetic coating within a few fractions of a second without any damage to it. The device is based on the principle of induction. When manufacturing the device, the most modern components of high quality and the latest software versions are used. This allows you to quickly and easily calculate the thickness of the paintwork, as well as many other materials. The device can be used not only for cars, but also at various industrial facilities, in chemical laboratories, in repair shops, and so on.
The equipment has several modes of operation – permanent, one-time and selective. Calibration is automatic, performed without user input: there is no need to configure anything in the device. You can use it to find out how much the thickness of the paint layer deviates from the norm. For ease of use, a special liquid crystal display equipped with led illumination is used, so the device can be used even at dusk or in complete darkness. The device operates on the basis of several batteries, and it will notify the user when the battery is low. Power is automatically turned off in case of prolonged downtime. Built-in memory helps you remember the results of your measurements.
- Quite an accurate device;
- High production quality;
- Availability of a backlit liquid crystal display;
- Included with the device is a case for storage and transportation.
- It’s quite expensive;
- It is not protected from the influence of magnetic fields.
This design is designed specifically for calculating the thickness of products made of homogeneous materials, such as metals, cast irons, alloys, plastics, paint coatings, rubber, and so on. Measurements can be made even if the product is only accessible from one side. In addition, this equipment is used to determine the speed of propagation of ultrasonic waves in the product environment. The thickness is measured by the contact method – the ultrasonic transducer is pressed tightly against the surface of the object, and there must be a layer of contact liquid. Its quality is water, alcohol, oil, various kinds of lubricants.
In the process of performing the work, you can use a variety of converters, and you do not have to configure the device in addition. The thickness sample is built-in, if necessary, the device is calibrated on a sample whose thickness is known in advance. The interface is intelligently clear, there is a convenient menu for selecting the operating mode. The device is characterized by insignificant overall dimensions and low weight. The device is quite economical – on one set of three batteries, it can last up to one year with regular use. If you do not plan to use it too often, then this period increases significantly. The liquid crystal monochrome display has a battery charge indicator. The device can work in quite harsh conditions – at temperatures from -30 to +50 degrees. The menu is Russified, the case is plastic, the Assembly is high-quality: all elements are tightly fitted to each other, there are no extraneous creaks and backlashes.
- Consumes a small amount of energy;
- Large internal memory – the product can store up to 1000 measurement results;
- The management interface is very convenient, in Russian, you don’t have to understand it;
- The case is simple, but well assembled.
- The equipment has a high cost;
- When working with new material, you will need to calibrate the device.
1. Horstek TC 015
A recognized leader among the best automotive thickness gauges based on ultrasound, this is a fairly budget, but at the same time accurate and high-quality model. It has gained such wide popularity both among motorists and among people who are professionally engaged in body repair. With this device, you can make measurements not only on metal, but also on aluminum coatings. You do not need to perform any additional configuration or calibration of the device before using it directly. The model is equipped with a black – and-white digital liquid crystal display. It has an anti-reflective coating, so it will be comfortable to use even in direct sunlight.
With the help of this device, you can calculate the location of the putty, therefore, it will immediately be clear that the body element has been repaired and painted – such problems are most common in broken cars (there are up to 80% of such cases). However, it should be noted that using this device, you will not be able to calculate the case when a new part was placed and painted instead of the native part.
- Reasonable price;
- Widespread use among consumers;
- High measurement accuracy;
- Returns the result quickly enough;
- It does not need to be calibrated or pre-configured before use.
- Allows you to define only the surface of the putty for replacement of the element body can not do anything.
Universal thickness gauges
4. CONDTROL Paint
An original device that is used to quickly and accurately calculate the thickness of the paint layer on ferrous and non-ferrous metals. This equipment has quite a lot of useful functions – it is well suited not only for motorists, but also for professionals. The product is able to independently determine the type of product under study, after which it selects the measurement technology. The thickness gauge can work both by eddy current and magnetic methods. The design is placed in a plastic housing, characterized by an ideal Assembly, when during operation there will be no backlash and creaks. The plastic itself has a matte finish, so it will not remain all sorts of dirt, fingerprints, and so on. Special shock-absorbing inserts are provided on the sides, which will not allow the product to slip out of the user’s palms.
The kit includes a case for storage and transportation, which will additionally protect this equipment. When the set range is increased, a beep will sound. On the front side there are two buttons that can be used to set the minimum and maximum thickness of the paintwork. The display is liquid crystal, equipped with a very convenient led backlight. The device’s memory is designed for the last 80 measurements, and the data will not only be stored there, but also undergo special processing, on the basis of which usage statistics are formed. The product comes with a cable that allows you to connect the device to a personal computer and transfer data there using special software. In addition, there are two samples (one made of steel, the second of aluminum) that allow you to calibrate the equipment.
- When turned on, the device performs a self-diagnosis, and it takes only a couple of seconds;
- There is a backlit display for easy operation;
- Despite the operating technology, the accuracy of the data is quite high;
- There are samples that can be used to configure the equipment;
- All received information can be transferred to a personal computer if necessary.
- For eddy current and magnetic devices, it is quite expensive.
3. Aktakom ATA 7156
Like most universal devices, this thickness gauge uses two main principles in the course of its operation – eddy current and magnetic. The first one is designed to work with non-ferrous metals, the second one is used for steel. The product is widely used among mechanics that carry out car body repairs. This equipment is often used by independent appraisers, who are very important to quickly determine whether the car was in an accident, whether it was repainted. With the help of this product, all data will be reliable, and it will not take much time to get them.
In addition, the versatility of the device is achieved largely due to the possibilities of its operation-continuous and single. By selecting this mode, you can localize a specific area of the surface and check its condition spontaneously. One single measurement group can include up to 80 indicators that will be stored in the device’s memory – this will be quite enough for working with one vehicle, especially since most similar equipment cannot offer the user at least half of these features. The product is supplied with a cable for connecting to a computer and a software disk. According to experts in their reviews, this device is quite serious equipment, it can be used for complex diagnostics. In particular, these products are perfect for service centers where a large flow of vehicles passes through.
- It is possible to connect to a computer or laptop;
- The measurement results are very accurate;
- Large internal storage capacity;
- There are single and continuous operation modes.
- Measurements can be directly affected by extraneous magnetic fields.
This is a multifunctional device that is used to calculate the thickness of the paint layer. The device is a trigger-type product that is equipped with a digital liquid crystal display. It has a fairly bright backlight, thanks to which all readings will be clearly visible even in absolute darkness. With the help of the product, you can measure the thickness of ferrous metals, as well as non-ferrous metals and their alloys. The accuracy of the obtained data is comparable to professional. This is achieved thanks to a simple calibration procedure that is performed before working with a new material. The product can use the continuous measurement function during operation.
If the paint layer is larger or smaller than the preset parameters, an audible alarm will indicate this. About 255 recent tests can be stored in the device’s internal memory. The battery charge is saved by automatically shutting down the product when it is idle for a long time. The device has a comfortable and ergonomic body shape, so it is practically not felt in the hand, and it can also be used for a long period of time. The liquid crystal display will display all important information for the user, including information about the remaining battery charge. Test results are also displayed here. Calibrate the device using a special washer that comes with the kit.
- Good ergonomics of the device and attractive appearance;
- Excellent measurement accuracy;
- Decent amount of internal memory;
- It is possible to connect to a personal computer;
- It is possible to make measurements in continuous mode.
- The interface is not Russified;
- Due to the influence of an extraneous electromagnetic field, the readings may be slightly distorted.
1. Etari ET-111
The best universal thickness gauge of the year was this German-made product. The kit includes a very convenient fabric cover that closes with Velcro and prevents damage to the surface of the device case during use and storage. At the back of the cover there is a special hook, for which the product can be hung on clothes and unload your hands. As the owners of this product note, it has an excellent Assembly. The case is made of reliable plastic with a matte finish. Its overall dimensions are 120x40x29 mm with a weight of about 100 grams. The product is additionally placed in a rubberized case, which will well protect the device from damage caused by a fall.
The thickness gauge is powered by two 1.5 V finger batteries, which can be easily replaced if necessary. According to the manufacturer, the device is able to work on batteries alone for about 17 hours, even if the display backlight is turned on. Two washers are supplied with the thickness gauge to calibrate the product. One is made of steel, the second is aluminum, and you can also find a standard calibration plate in the kit. The new device is completely ready for use after it is removed from the box, and you don’t need to calibrate it. The thickness gauge has a built-in flashlight and ultraviolet illumination, which help to see the vehicle in almost any conditions.
- Excellent measurement accuracy;
- Extended functionality of the device;
- The interface is designed specifically for the Russian person;
- Attractive appearance, high-quality Assembly;
- There is a backlit display, a flashlight and an ultraviolet lamp;
- The cost is quite reasonable.
- Not detected.
Best thickness gauges for paint
Designed to measure the thickness of paint coatings on both ferromagnetic and non-magnetic substrates. The device is based on an induction-type Converter. The product has a built-in stand-alone memory designed for two hundred measurements, there is also a connector for connecting to a personal computer, and a software disk is supplied. This model was included in the state register of measuring equipment, it has a certificate of accuracy, that is, each product undergoes an appropriate test during the manufacturing process. This is one of the most modern and reliable devices that allow measuring the depth of paintwork down to the micrometer. It is worth noting that with the help of this device it is also possible to measure the galvanic layer of the material – galvanizing or chrome plating.
This product is widely used in such industrial areas as the manufacture of electrical equipment and mechanical engineering. According to the available reviews, most users were very satisfied with how effectively this device works. It allows you to easily detect deviations in the thickness of the paint layer, which is an undoubted sign of the restoration of car body parts after an accident. The device is ergonomic and Autonomous in operation, and on batteries alone it can work for quite a long time.
- Reliable and very easy to use product;
- High build quality and long service life;
- With its help, you can achieve excellent measurement accuracy.
- It is quite expensive.
2. Etari ET-10P
One of the most budget versions among the products of this class. The device is capable of operating only on ferrous metals that have magnetic characteristics. The product works very reliably, it resembles a pistol in shape. The interface is fully Russified, the device is able to work normally at temperatures from -25 degrees. It can be used not only to check the thickness of the paint and varnish coating layer, but also in industrial production in order to check the thickness of various kinds of coatings applied to magnetic substrates.
Switching on and making measurements is carried out by pressing the trigger type key. Calibration is performed independently – a special button is provided for this purpose, which will have to be held for quite a long time, so it is almost impossible to reset the settings. The fact that measurements are made exclusively for ferrous metals does not interfere at all, since this function is quite sufficient for most cars on the domestic secondary market. The maximum measurement error of such a device is only 1 micrometer, and the built-in memory is enough for 255 measurements.
- It can be used in a wide range of operating temperatures;
- Quite a comfortable handle;
- Decent amount of internal memory;
- Minimum margin of error.
- It is only used for magnetic materials.
1. Richmeters GY910
The leader of this year’s best thickness gauges section, designed specifically for measuring the depth of the paint layer, is this simple and very compact model that perfectly copes with its functions. If the device has been calibrated, then the error in its operation will be only 1 micrometer. This parameter allows you to use the design in industrial conditions, and it is also well suited for vehicle maintenance. However, most often these products are used in the secondary market of vehicles.
With this thickness gauge, you can make measurements on both metal and plastered surfaces. In addition, the gadget is also suitable for freshly painted elements. The design works on the basis of electromagnetic induction, and it is also possible to operate according to the eddy current principle. You can use the product at a temperature from 0 to +40 degrees and a relative humidity of no more than 90%. The case is made of reliable matte plastic, the buttons are silicone, pressed tightly, until they click. Compact dimensions – 117x30x22. 5 mm, weight is 65 grams.
- Very attractive appearance;
- Easy and convenient to use;
- Insignificant maximum error;
- Compact overall dimensions;
- Reasonable price.
- Not detected.
In conclusion, a useful video
The review of the best automotive thickness gauges of 2021 is nearing its end. We have collected the maximum amount of information for each model, so we expect that you will be able to choose the best model for yourself. If for some reason you didn’t manage to do this, then ask us in the comments if you have any questions. We will try to respond to them as quickly as possible and provide you with comprehensive information.