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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.
The 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 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 six best car paint thickness gauges you can buy for less than $150, which 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 only stands out from some of the panels and 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 the sensor. Realistically speaking, if the sensor is inaccurate, that device is no help to you. 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 ~ and 1500um, which is 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 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, as a user, you want to save time on unnecessary steps. The first thing that caught my eye is the micro USB port, which transfers data to your computer. This way, the user can 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 mites.
The ERAY P1 paint thickness gauge can operate to measure paint thickness in the range between 0 to 2000um. If you decide to buy this paint thickness measurement gauge, it will arrive in a convenient and sturdy case you can take wherever you want.
- USB Data Transmission
- Easy to Carry
- Offers single and continuous measurements
- 3 Probe mode
- Fixed battery cover
- Only one color is 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. Thanks to the large built-in memory, you do not need to delete your measurement immediately.
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 because it is small, so you can take it 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 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.
I wonder if there are real advantages over a black-and-white screen. Although in some situations, this can 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, do not panic because it has an automatic shutdown function. This means that the device will shut down after some time of inactivity. This saves batteries, which is commendable.
In terms of sensors, the accuracy of the sensor, according to the manufacturer, is ± 3%. This isn’t very commendable, to be honest, because I’ve seen more accurate sensors so far.
Also, this device automatically detects the material, which is necessary to measure the thickness of 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. This trend is slowly being adopted, and other manufacturers are going in that direction.
However, this paint thickness gauge, paint thickness meter, and the paint thickness tester’s most significant advantage is its built-in battery. In this way, you do not need to change the batteries constantly. Still, it is enough to plug the device into a USB connector that charges the built-in battery.
Of the other possibilities, it has a function that can announce the measurement results by voice. It is handy because you don’t have to look at the device’s screen constantly.
It also has an automatic shut-off function. The user can choose after how prolonged inactivity the device can be switched off.
The measuring range and working range are from 0 ~ 1300um / 51mil. While the user interface is similar to smartphones, you will quickly find your way around it.
- Built-in battery
- Color display
- Friendly user interface
- Higher price
What You Need To Consider When Buying A Paint Thickness Gauge
When buying a paint thickness gauge, several essential factors must be considered. Here are some key points to keep in mind:
Check the measurement range of the paint thickness gauge. Ensure that it covers the paint thickness range you will likely encounter in your specific application. Different gauges have varying ranges, so select one that suits your needs.
Accuracy is crucial for obtaining precise and reliable measurements. Look for a paint thickness gauge with a high level of accuracy, preferably within ±1-3% of the actual thickness.
Resolution refers to the smallest incremental change the gauge can detect. A higher resolution enables you to detect even small variations in paint thickness. Consider a gauge with a finer resolution for more detailed measurements.
Type of Coating:
Determine the type of coating you will be measuring. Some paint thickness gauges are designed specifically for non-magnetic coatings (e.g., paint, plastic), while others are suitable for non-magnetic and magnetic coatings (e.g., paint on steel). Choose a gauge that aligns with your coating types.
Consider the size of the probe on the paint thickness gauge. If you work on small or intricate surfaces, a smaller probe size will be more convenient and allow better access. However, larger probes may be necessary for larger areas.
Display and Interface:
Look for a gauge with a clear and easy-to-read display. The interface should be user-friendly and provide essential information such as measurement units, statistics, and calibration data. Some gauges may have additional features like data logging or connectivity options for transferring measurements to a computer or smartphone.
Calibration is essential to ensure accurate measurements over time. Check if the paint thickness gauge requires regular calibration and if it provides a calibration procedure or options for calibration adjustment.
Durability and Build Quality:
Consider the gauge’s durability and build quality, especially if you anticipate frequent or demanding use. Look for a rugged and reliable device that can withstand the conditions of your work environment.
Determine the power source of the gauge. Some models operate on replaceable batteries, while others have built-in rechargeable batteries. Choose the one that suits your preference and the availability of power sources.
Price and Brand Reputation:
Compare prices from different manufacturers and consider the reputation of the brand. Look for reliable and reputable brands that offer good customer support and warranty options.
Remember to assess your specific requirements and consider the intended application of the paint thickness gauge. Considering these factors, you can make an informed decision and select a gauge that best suits your needs.
What is a paint thickness gauge, and why is it important for car detailers?
A paint thickness gauge is a device used to measure the thickness of paint or coating on a surface. It is crucial for car detailers as it helps them assess the condition of the paintwork, detect previous repairs, and determine if any areas require additional attention. It enables detailers to make informed decisions about paint correction and ensure consistent, high-quality results.
What are the best paint thickness gauges for car detailers under $150?
There are several paint thickness gauges available in this price range. Some popular options include the Proster Digital Paint Coating Thickness Gauge, ERAY Paint Coating Thickness Gauge, ERAY Paint Coating Thickness Gauge, Digital Coating Thickness Gauge CM218, and the Tacklife CM02A Digital Paint Thickness Gauge. These gauges offer accuracy, user-friendly interfaces, and reliable performance within the specified budget.
What is the measurement accuracy of these paint thickness gauges?
The accuracy of paint thickness gauges can vary slightly between models. However, the gauges mentioned above generally offer accuracy within ±1-3% of the actual thickness. It is important to refer to the specifications of the specific model you choose for precise accuracy information.
Do these gauges work on all types of automotive coatings?
Yes, most paint thickness gauges in this price range are designed to work on various automotive coatings, including magnetic (ferrous) and non-magnetic (non-ferrous) coatings. They can measure the thickness of paint, clear coats, primers, and other common automotive coatings.
Can these gauges be used on curved or contoured surfaces?
These paint thickness gauges are typically designed for curved or contoured surfaces. They feature probes or sensors that conform to the surface and provide accurate measurements, even on irregular shapes.
Do these gauges require calibration?
Yes, paint thickness gauges require calibration to ensure accurate measurements. Most models provide instructions for calibration, and it is recommended to calibrate the gauge periodically or when switching between different surfaces or coating types.
Can these gauges store measurement data?
Some paint thickness gauges in this price range offer data storage capabilities. They can store measurements for later reference or allow data transfer to a computer or smartphone. However, not all models may have this feature, so you must check the specifications of the specific gauge you are considering.
Are batteries included with these paint thickness gauges?
Most paint thickness gauges do come with batteries included. However, checking the product description or packaging is always a good idea to confirm whether batteries are included or need to be purchased separately.
Are there any warranty options available for these gauges?
Warranty options can vary depending on the manufacturer and the specific model. It is advisable to check the warranty information the manufacturer or seller provides before making a purchase. Some brands may offer limited warranties that cover defects or malfunctions within a specified period.
Can these paint thickness gauges be used for other applications besides automotive detailing?
These paint thickness gauges can be used for various applications beyond automotive detailing. They are also commonly used in manufacturing, construction, and quality control industries to measure the thickness of coatings on metal, plastic, and other surfaces.
I believe that by now, you have already decided which paint, thickness gauge, and measurement of thickness gauge to buy. My recommendation is CM-205FN paint thickness gauge, 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 simultaneously affordable and high-quality device.
Don’t forget that if the thickness of the clear coat on your car’s painted surface is minimal, you can very easily damage the whole car’s paint during polishing.