Coating Thickness Gauges: What They Are, How They Are Used, and Which One is the Best for You

Coating Thickness Gauges: What They Are, How They Are Used, and Which One is the Best for You

Posted by Ritesh Patel on on 29th Nov 2021

What is a Coating Thickness Gauge?

Coating thickness gauges are non-destructive testing instruments used to quickly and accurately measure the thickness of the outer layer of a surface consisting of paint, epoxy, metal, or other materials. This is an extremely valuable tool in the quality control process in the coatings industry because it ensures that the dry film thickness (DFT) is precise and consistent across the surface of the product.

Knowing the exact thickness of a coating can help reduce the cost of materials and guarantee finish quality. Failure to apply a coating accurately can result in a decrease in performance, appearance, and the lifetime of the finished product. In many cases, a proper coating thickness is also necessary in order to comply with a host of standards and regulations.

How Do You Use a Coating Thickness Gauge?

The operation of a coating thickness gauge may vary depending on the model that you are using but they are generally quite simple to use. For instance, a typical digital coating thickness gauge will either have a probe on a cord attached to the device or on the device itself (usually located on the bottom). Simply place the probe, or the device, against the substrate you want to test and an LCD display will give you a thickness reading. Keep in mind, some calibration and zeroing might be necessary prior to measuring in order to get the most accurate reading possible.

Some advanced models, such as the Reed Instruments R7800, have the ability for a user to input parameters and LED lights on the device will indicate when measurements are below (red), above (yellow), or within set parameters (green). Click here to see a quick demonstration of how a coating thickness gauge works and learn more about this product.

Which Coating Thickness Gauge is Best for You?

Selecting the right coating thickness gauge that fits your needs depends on your industry and the type of coating you are testing.

For example, if you are in the automotive industry and you wish to test the thickness of paint on vehicles, a digital thickness gauge such as the R7800 or CM-8822 that is capable of testing ferrous and non-ferrous substrates is the best choice. These types of coating thickness gauges are also popular in the industrial manufacturing, metal processing, scientific research, and aerospace industries.

If you are measuring the thickness of metal pipes or pressure vessels for example, you will need an ultrasonic thickness gauge such as the Reed Instruments TM-8811. These are great for testing the thickness of materials such as steel, wood, cast iron, aluminum, red copper, brass, zinc, quartz glass, polyethylene, PVC, grey cast iron and nodular cast iron.