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If you wanted to polish or compound your car recently, someone probably told you that you should check how much clear coat is on the paint. To check that, you’re going to need the paint thickness gauge.
In today’s article, I decided to show you the 6 best paint thickness gauges for car detailers that cost less than $150.
Best Paint Thickness Gauges under $150 are:
- BEST OVERALL: The CM-205FN thickness gauge (check the price on Amazon now)
- BEST BUDGET: ERAY Paint Coating Thickness Gauge (check the price on Amazon now)
Paint thickness gauges are an essential piece of equipment, especially if you’re a professional car detailer. You just can’t do the job properly if you don’t know the thickness of the clear coat.
If the clear coat is too thin, you’ll burn through it and damage the car paint. Hence, using a paint thickness gauge, you can know exactly how thick the clear coat is and how “deep” you can go with the polisher.
TOP 6 Car Paint Thickness Gauges Under $150
Finally, here’s my list of the 6 best car paint thickness gauges you can buy for less than $150, which I think is very affordable.
1. Coating Thickness Gauge CM-205FN Automotive Paint Thickness Measurement
The CM-205FN thickness gauge (check the price on Amazon now) is definitely my favorite. It comes from a reputable company in the automotive industry. So, I’m not surprised that this product is a best seller.
In the package, in addition to the device itself, you will receive the following parts: instructions for use in English, a calibration set required to calibrate the instrument before first use, you will also receive several aluminum foils, and of course, a bag in which you can safely store the device.
In terms of dimensions, the paint thickness measuring device does not stand out from the others. In terms of screen, the screen is 2.2 inches with a backlight. Thanks to the backlight, you can work in less-lit rooms.
Of course, the most crucial part of this tool is definitely the sensor. Realistically speaking, if the sensor is not accurate, then that device is no help to you. In fact, it can only cause you unnecessary damage due to incorrect data.
The CM-205FN only needs AAA batteries to get started. It can measure layer thickness in ferrous and non-ferrous metals. Its measuring range is between 0 ~ 1500um, which is really impressive.
- Super High Accuracy
- Can work in all conditions
- It can work on a wide range of temperatures
- Ergonomic design
- It can work with ferrous and non-ferrous materials
- Battery status
- Sound helper
2. ERAY Paint Coating Thickness Gauge
ERAY Paint Coating Thickness Gauge (check the price on Amazon now) is another in a series of paint thickness gauges, which is very similar to the first one.
However, it is expected that there are specific differences which are certainly an advantage. Because with these functions, it is easier to work with the ERAY P1.
Also, you as a user don’t want to waste time on unnecessary steps. The first thing that caught my eye is the micro USB port, which is used to transfer data to your computer. In this way, the user can very easily view all measurement results on the computer.
Besides, the sensor is additionally more sensitive, which allows you to have more accurate results. The device is very easy to use thanks to the user interface.
Before you start working, you can choose the mode of operation and what type of material you want to measure. For example, it is also very convenient to adjust the unit of measurement you will use between um, mm, and mits.
The ERAY P1 can operate in the range between 0 to 2000um. If you decide to buy this paint thickness gauge, it will arrive in a convenient and sturdy case that you can take with you wherever you want.
- USB Data Transmission
- Easy to Carry
- 3 Probe mode
- Fixed battery cover
- Only one color available
3. Coating Thickness Gauge CM-206FN
CM-206FN Coating Thickness Gauge (Check the price on Amazon now) has a fascinating design in black and green. I have to admit that it’s really cool to see the unusual design because it was all monotonous until now.
You need two AAA batteries to use the CM-206FN, which shouldn’t be a problem. The housing is very resistant as it is made of silicone.
The measuring range of this device is 0 to 53.2 mils or 0 to 1350 μm.
According to the experiences of others, the calibration of the device itself is straightforward.
I’m very impressed that it can work or measure when the material is wet. Which we have not seen so far. You do not need to delete your measurement immediately, thanks to the large built-in memory.
The only downside to us is that it doesn’t have a USB port to transfer data to your computer.
- Weather resistance
- Tine and cost-saving
- Record high precision
- No USB port
4. CARSYS Coating Thickness Gauge DPM-816
Like the instrument before, this CARSYS DPM-816 Paint Thickness Gauge (check the price on Amazon now) also has a beautiful design.
However, this type of design was not chosen for no reason. First and foremost, it is convenient due to its small size, so you can take it with you wherever you want. You can even hang it on your work pants.
Like the previous device, it can work in all weather conditions, such as cold weather, and when the material is wet from the rain.
The device has an automatic detection function, i.e., the device can automatically detect the material in question.
The calibration process takes only five seconds, while the sensor accuracy is 1% + 0.04 mils.
- Automatic detection
- Works on wet surfaces
- 3 colors to choose from
- No USB port
5. Digital Coating Thickness Gauge CM218
Digital Coating Thickness Gauge CM218 (check the price on Amazon now) is the first paint thickness gauge (in this list) to have a color screen.
Now, I don’t know if there are real advantages over a black and white screen. Although in some situations, this can really be an advantage.
The measuring working range of this CM218 is 0 ~ 1300um or 0 ~ 51mils.
If you accidentally forgot to turn off this device, then do not panic because it has an automatic shutdown function. This means that after some time of inactivity, the device itself will shut down. This saves batteries, which is really commendable.
In terms of sensors, the accuracy of the sensor according to the manufacturer is ± 3%. This isn’t very commendable, to be honest with, because I’ve seen more accurate sensors so far.
Also, this device has the function of automatic detection of the material, which is necessary to measure the layer’s thickness.
- Simple calibration
- Large color display
- Works on wet surfaces
- Lower accuracy of the sensor
6. Coating Thickness Gauge Meter Paint Tester
This Coating Thickness Gauge Meter (check the price on Amazon now) also has a color screen. Obviously, this trend is slowly being adopted, and that other manufacturers are going in that direction.
However, this thickness gauge meter paint tester’s most significant advantage is that it has a built-in battery. In this way, you do not need to constantly change the batteries. Still, it is enough to plug the device into a USB connector that also charges the built-in battery.
Of the other possibilities, it has a function that can announce the measurement results by voice. This is very handy because you don’t have to constantly look at the screen of the device.
It also has an automatic shut-off function. The user can choose after how prolonged inactivity the device can be switched off.
The measuring working range is from 0 ~ 1300um / 51mil. While the user interface is very similar to that of smartphones, you will find your way around it very quickly.
- Built-in battery
- Color display
- Friendly user interface
- Higher price
Below I want to give you some guidelines, which you should specifically pay attention to when buying paint thickness gauges.
Things to pay atention to:
- The first thing you need to look at is what materials the device works on and whether it has an automatic material detection function.
- You should also check if the device is working in all weather conditions, such as rain.
- It’s also good to check if the device has a built-in battery or you will need to purchase extra rechargeable batteries.
- Of course, the most important thing is the sensor’s information, i.e., its measuring range and how many possible deviations are in the measurement.
As you can see, it is definitely advisable to be well informed before buying.
I believe that by now, you have already decided which paint thickness gauge to buy. My recommendation is CM-205FN, but any device from the list will do the job, and you shall be satisfied with it.
Namely, this article aims to help you choose a device that is at the same time affordable and high quality.
Don’t forget that if the thickness of the clear coat on your car is minimal, you can very easily damage the car during polishing.