Measuring Tools

What are measurement tools?

Measurement tools are simple instruments or machines that allow us to compare the magnitude of an object, a piece, generally with a pattern defined by the international system of units.

Due to the large number of different magnitudes that we can find, there is a wide variety of measuring instruments. This is why it is important to know which measurement tool to use in each situation. Below we will detail and explain the different measurement tools.

Examples of measurement tools

When we talk about measurement, we can be talking about the measurement of different magnitudes, such as length, time, weight, among others, so the instruments used to measure each of these magnitudes are different .

Length measuring instruments

Measuring tape

This instrument consists of a flexible tape, which is graduated with the meter scale divided into centimeters. Both straight and curved surfaces can be measured.


It is similar to the tape measure, only it is not flexible, it is usually made of plastic  or metal , which does not make it possible to measure on curved surfaces.


Length measuring instrument that can be used to measure both outside and inside diameters as well as depths. They have a much higher precision (on the order of tenths of millimeters) than the tape measure and the ruler, but you must know how to use them.


Its operation is based on a graduated screw that is screwed up to the dimension of the part, yielding a value with high precision (on the order of hundredths and thousandths of a millimeter).

Comparator Clock

This measuring instrument is used to compare heights, that is, the distance between two points. The reading is done indirectly through 2 clock hands, so it is necessary to have prior knowledge to perform the measurement. It is accurate to hundredths or thousandths of a millimeter.


This instrument uses light waves to make measurements. There are different types, depending on what you want to measure. It is widely used in agriculture, biotechnology, forensic science, medicine, among other areas.


The odometer is a measuring instrument that calculates the distance traveled by an object in meters, miles or kilometers, depending on how it has been configured. It is widely used in taxis and cell phones to measure the steps taken.

Time measuring instruments 


It measures the passage of time in days, months and years. It is used to organize activities chronologically. There are several types, but the most used is the solar calendar.


The stopwatch is a type of watch that allows you to measure the passage of time in seconds, minutes and even hours. They are high-precision watches, since they are certified by some precision control center.


The clock is a natural time measuring instrument. This is that it allows to measure the days, years and even the lunar phases, in units of hours, minutes and seconds. It is mainly used to know the current time, although it can perform other functions.

 radiometric dating

Radiometric dating is an indirect measurement instrument, since it is a process that, through mathematical demonstrations, is capable of determining the age of rocks, organic and mineral remains .

Angle measuring  instruments


The protractor measures angles in degrees. There are two types, those that come in the shape of a semicircle and measure up to 180 °, or those with a circular shape that measure 360 ​​°. They have an accuracy of 1°


The goniometer is an angle measurement  tool  , which can be semicircular or circular. Allows you to measure angles between two points. It is used to know the elevation of the sun at a certain time of day.


It allows the measurement of angles between two points. It comes in the shape of a semicircle and is also used to know the elevation of the sun with respect to the horizon.

temperature measuring instruments

They serve to measure the thermal energy radiated by a body or substance; The different measurement tools will depend on their function, the body to be measured, the parameter temperatures , the technology, etc.


It is the common thermometer that each person has in their home in order to measure body temperature. Although it is one of its main uses, it also has other purposes, such as measuring the ambient temperature, depending on how the scale is graduated.


It consists of the union of two different metals , which, when detecting a temperature difference, generate a very small potential difference that is then measured digitally.

Pyrometer – It is an instrument capable of measuring the temperature of an object with a particularity over other instruments: It is capable of measuring the temperature without being in contact with the object, through thermal radiation .

mass measuring instruments


The most common instrument for measuring the mass of an object is the balance. Initially, it consisted of a lever with two equal arms that allows you to compare the mass of two objects. Today through the operation of a spring , it displays the weight of the object on an analog or digital clock.

Scale – With the same properties and purpose as a scale, with one small difference: The scale is for small volumes (kitchen scale: up to 2kg; personal scale: up to 150kg), and the scale is for large volumes (load scale: up to 1500kg; transport scale: up to 45t.).

mass spectrometer

This measuring instrument allows the composition of different chemical elements to be analyzed with great precision.


In this case, the catarometer is an instrument used to measure mass, but of a mixture of gases.

Dynamometer  – It allows to measure the weight of an object, it does it through the resistance of a spring, which when stretched moves an internal cylinder; all part of Hooke’s Law.

pressure measuring instruments

Barometer – Instrument used to measure atmospheric pressure, this is the force exerted by the environment or the atmosphere per unit area.

Manometer – Unlike the barometer, the manometer measures the pressure of fluids enclosed in a container, regardless of atmospheric pressure (gauge pressure). Depending on whether gases or liquids are measured, two different types of manometers can be distinguished.

Pitot tube – This is an indirect measurement instrument since after some mathematical calculations it allows us to obtain the total pressure of a fluid, also called stagnation pressure.

Instruments for measuring  electrical properties


The ammeter is an instrument that allows to measure the intensity of the electrical current , which circulates in a certain electrical circuit .


The voltmeter is an instrument used for the measurement of voltages. Widely used in homes to control that the voltage delivered by the network does not exceed the tolerances supported by the equipment connected to the network.


The galvanometer is an instrument very similar to the ammeter that allows to measure the intensity of the electric current that circulates through an electrical system.


The multimeter is a device capable of measuring many electrical properties such as resistance, potential difference, electrical intensity, among others.

Potentiometer – It does not measure voltage (to know the data), but it measures and regulates the voltage of a circuit; Depending on the type and position of the chips, we can give or remove power, thus regulating a circuit.

Luxmeter – Instrument that allows us to know the light (or luminosity) that exists in a certain environment or space; the measurement, in lux, will allow us to make decisions of various kinds.

Speed measuring instruments


It is an instrument that allows obtaining an aliquot of a liquid, generally with a lot of pressure. The aliquot is a volume portion that is taken from a liquid for laboratory tests.

Test tube

The test tube is an instrument used to  measure  volumes, consisting of a graduated cylinder, depending on the graduation of each one, the precision of this instrument will depend.


The burette is an instrument very similar to the cylinder. It consists of a container with an elongated and graduated tubular shape. It measures more accurately volumes than the cylinder.

volumetric flask

The flask is a glass container with a spherical base and a long, narrow neck, which provides great precision when measuring, since a small change in volume translates into a large change in height.

Other measurement tools

gauge blocks

To be able to measure correctly, we will need perfectly calibrated tools ; to verify that this is so, we will use the pattern blocks ; if they are well calibrated, perfect; if they are not well calibrated, they will be useful to recover the original measurement.

Gyroscope – It is capable of measuring the direction in space in which an object is located; It is equipped in smartphones, GPS, airplanes, ships, etc.

Accelerometer – Sensor used to measure the acceleration rate of a device (not only between points, but also to measure vibration and movements as such); its use is normally combined with that of gyroscopes.

Characteristics  of measurement tools

The measuring instruments must meet the following characteristics to obtain a good result:

  • Precision: It is defined as the ability of an instrument to give the same results in different measurements.
  • Accuracy: Ability to measure a value without margin of error.
  • Appreciation: It is considered the smallest measure capable of detecting with the eye in a measuring instrument.
  • Sensitivity: The relationship between the measurement made and the real value.

Care of measuring tools

It is important to take good care of the measurement tools, since misuse or use in poor working conditions can dramatically decrease the useful life of these instruments. Some tips for caring for these are:

  • Avoid knocks: If the instruments are knocked, it is very likely that they will become discalibrated, making inaccurate measurements.
  • Avoid measurements considerably greater than their nominal value : Measuring instruments have a scale on which they make their measurements. If the measurement considerably exceeds this scale, the instruments are forced and can become uncalibrated and even break.
  • Take into account the temperature to which the measuring instruments are subjected: Mostly with instruments that measure at high pressure, it is important that the temperature is controlled since they can make incorrect measurements at other temperatures.

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