Have you ever wondered how builders make perfectly straight buildings? With the protractor! Or at least this is one of the indispensable tools and is used to measure angles, so that a building or even other elements belonging to the construction, carpentry, mechanics and DIY fields, are built or mounted at the correct angle.
We find mainly two types of protractors, the analog ones, and the other digital ones, the latter made by including other instruments such as laser levels and inclinometers. They are the measuring tool that cannot be missing from any professional’s toolbox.
Here we had selected some of the best digital protractors for you that are given below.
Buying Guide to Select the Best Digital Protractors
Many manual jobs, related to DIY, construction, the manufacture of machines, and the development of musical or mechanical instruments, generally require precision meters, such as protractors. This product will allow you to perform exact measurements of vertical, horizontal, and uniquely angular surfaces.
What Is a Protractor?
The protractor is an instrument in the shape of a circle, or a semicircle graduated at 360 ° or 180 ° that allows you to measure the angles between two objects and that has been used since ancient times.
Traditionally these tools were used to measure two points of a coast or the position of a star and the horizon. They can determine the latitude in which they are located with straightforward mathematical calculations to be performed very precisely.
Traditional protractors were also called sextants, while these days these tools have further evolved and are used in construction, carpentry, mechanical production workshops, and DIY.
What Is a Protractor For?
Protractors are used to measure and check the angles between two surfaces with a standard edge (a point). For example, they can be two walls, a roof, the slope of a ramp concerning the horizontal plane of the floor, or the two faces of a prism that you need to weld.
As you can see, the applications are various. Digital protractors, in combination with a tape measure, an inclinometer, or a spirit level, are especially suitable for any construction job.
They also serve to measure the cutting angle of the pieces used in the manufacture of furniture, machinery, and even musical instruments, and it is, therefore, a valuable aid in precision work.
What Is Your Usual Use of A Protractor?
As we have already mentioned, protractors can be used for a wide variety of jobs and in different sectors. It is common to see them used for both professional and minor employment at home, as they offer great ease in carrying out delicate jobs and can be used in conjunction with other measuring tools.
Below we list in detail some of the work you can do with your protractor, whether you want to use it in the workplace or to use it at home without any complications:
- Installation of shelves and cabinets.
- Installation of door and window frames.
- Decoration of indoor and outdoor spaces.
- Construction works.
- Carpentry works.
- Pipe installation.
- Production of musical instruments.
- Machinery production.
- Installation of hinges for doors and windows.
What Are the Differences Between Protractors and Levels?
The laser levels are used to control the verticality or horizontality of a surface. Their function, in fact, of both digital and analog models, is to determine whether a plane is correctly levelled.
On the other hand, these tools have other capabilities than leveling, such as measuring distances or angles. Protractors are used to measure acute, right, and obtuse angles between two floors that can be two walls, a gable roof, the angle between two pieces that you need to weld, or want to join. Some digital protractors may also have leveling functions, and many models incorporate the traditional spirit level.
In Addition to Measuring Angles, What Else Can I Do with A Protractor?
In addition to measuring, the most critical use of a protractor is the transport of angles. What does it mean to transport corners? It involves measuring an angle, for example, the angle of a beam about the wall or a column, and then carrying it on a cutting element to make a precise cut that adapts to the desired inclination.
This is a particularly important application for work with oblique cuts to be performed with a miter saw or with a circular table saw. These types of operations are prevalent in carpentry.
For example, when there is a need to adapt the measurements of a piece of furniture to a space that is located in a false square. The transport of corners is also used in construction and artisanal production.
What Are the Advantages of A Digital Protractor Compared to An Analog One?
Analog (traditional) protractors are little more than an angular conveyor with a ruler attached to the centre that rotates freely around its point of attachment. The base of the conveyor is applied to one of the surfaces while the ruler is placed on the other: the angle can, therefore, be measured by the central graduated disk.
Digital protractors avoid complicated dial readings as they show information on an LCD; in addition, many models offer other functions such as angle conversion. Here are some of the main advantages of a digital protractor:
- They show information on an LCD.
- They have a backlight so that you can work in low light conditions.
- They offer the conversion of angles into sexagesimal (most used), centesimal, or radiant degrees.
- They allow you to store measurements and download data to a smartphone or computer.
- They are faster since you need to apply them on the surface to be measured.
- Some protractor models have applications that allow you to use them together with other elements such as a laser level or a laser meter.
What Can I Integrate My Protractor With?
As we have just finished explaining to you, protractors work very well together with other measuring instruments such as spirit levels, inclinometers, and laser meters. Some models (the largest ones) usually have a space in one of the arms, designed to insert a laser meter, but can also be used with spirit levels.
A little known trick is to combine the protractor with a laser meter thus obtaining an arm of infinite length. To do this, place the main arm above the reference surface and the other arm above the surface to be measured. If you want to project the angle, place the laser meter on the same weapon to make it project the laser line with maximum precision.
Is a Protractor or An Inclinometer with A Laser Meter Better?
You must keep in mind that these two instruments perform very different functions: although some laser meters include inclinometer functions.
The angle measurements they offer will never be as precise as those of a protractor. This instrument instead provides an angle measurement exact and very reliable, unlike the inclinometer that detects the differences in height.
As we previously told you, it is possible to combine both devices to measure angles, level, and distance with a single instrument, but our advice is not to try to use one to replace the other. Protractors are very inexpensive devices, and it is worth investing in them to avoid problems.
What Kind of Maintenance Does a Protractor Require?
As these are precision instruments, protractors need to be treated with some care. Remember that a blow or a fall could damage its mechanism and block it or worse still make it malfunction. You can’t afford to take wrong measurements for important angles, so we recommend following some safety criteria.
Below we show you what these criteria concerning the safety and maintenance of protractors that will be very useful for you to preserve these tools optimally, also adding some tips are.
- Avoid forcing him or getting hit.
- When you open the arms to measure the angles, make sure not to push the mechanism.
- If the protractor has a brake, never force it. The tool must rotate freely.
- Always keep the protractor in its case.
- Store the instrument in a cool, dry place away from sources of moisture, sunlight, and corrosive products.