How to choose a thickness gauge

Auto and Moto

When buying a used car, you need to make sure of the quality of its paintwork and the absence of major repairs after road accidents. This will be helped by a compact thickness gauge – a device that allows you to accurately measure the paint layer and determine whether a specific body element has been repaired and painted or the car is in factory paint.

How to choose a thickness gauge

Best thickness gauge manufacturers

Due to the rather simple design, a variety of manufacturers have now begun to produce thickness gauges. Preference should be given to proven brands used by professional painters:

  1. Megeon

  2. Etari

  3. Keeper

  4. Horstek

  5. ADA

  6. Condrol

The products of these companies are distinguished by decent functionality and allow you to quickly carry out accurate measurements of the paintwork. User reviews of specific models can be found on the Internet.

Types of paintwork thickness gauges

Magnetic thickness gauges

Magnetic thickness gauges

The oldest type of device based on a magnetic field. A magnet is installed in the body of the device, and an arrow serves as an indicator. Depending on the thickness of the paint layer, the position of the arrow changes, due to which one can judge the state of one or another element.


  • Simple;

  • Does not require a power source;

  • Unpretentious;


  • Only ferromagnetic metals are measured;

  • Low accuracy of the results obtained;

Electromagnetic thickness gages

Electromagnetic thickness gages

The principle of operation is similar to that described above, the difference lies in the source of the magnetic field. The latter is a battery operated electromagnet. The electromagnetic field generated by it serves as an indicator of the thickness of the coating layer in the measured place.


  • Inexpensive;

  • Relatively accurate;

  • Reliable enough;


  • Battery replacement required;

  • Capable of measuring only ferromagnetic materials;

Eddy current meters

eddy current thickness gauges

Their principle of operation is based on the creation of eddy currents on the measured surface. The signal is processed by a special sensor and, depending on the strength of the eddy currents in a particular place, it is concluded that the factory paintwork or the car has been repaired.


  • High measurement accuracy;

  • Allows you to take measurements in any conditions;

  • Simple construction;


  • Designed to work exclusively with non-magnetic metals (aluminum, magnesium);

  • Expensive enough;

Ultrasonic thickness gauges

Ultrasonic thickness gauges

The most advanced type of device that allows you to accurately measure any metal and 'pierce' a layer of paint and putty down to 3000 microns. The principle of operation is based on ultrasound, reflected from a solid surface and returning back. They allow you to measure any type of material, including plastic.


  • The most functional, they measure all types of materials without exception;

  • Compact dimensions;

  • High accuracy of measurements – up to 3%;


  • High price;

The main criteria for choosing thickness gauges

After the buyer has decided on a specific amount that he is ready to spend on the purchase of a thickness gauge, and has decided on the class of devices suitable for his needs, it is necessary to pay close attention to the main technical aspects of the operation of these devices.

  1. Power supply. All models of thickness gauges, except for magnetic ones, operate from an external power source. Its functions can be performed by both batteries and a built-in accumulator. The latter are more preferable, since they allow you not to think about the need to buy batteries;

  2. Constructive performance. On sale you can find trigger-type devices and models equipped with a sensor. The first ones require pressing the trigger to take measurements, the second ones start measuring automatically as soon as the sensor touches the surface;

  3. Display size and backlighting. The larger the display size, the more readable the device readings will be, and thanks to the backlight, it is possible to perform measurements in the dark;

  4. Units. The most popular devices are those measuring in millimeters or microns. In principle, this is the same thing, only with a different gradation – a micron is a thousandth of a millimeter. Accordingly, devices showing in microns have a higher magnification and display more detailed information about the state of the car's paintwork;

In the following articles, we will tell you how to choose the right car alarm and what to look for when buying a used car.

Attention! This material is the subjective opinion of the authors of the project and is not a purchase guide.

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