Paint coating depth gauges help you test the thickness of the paint coat on your car, helping you to determine if you need to add another coating of paint to your motor before running a polisher over it or doing more detailing, potentially harming the body of the vehicle. These little electronic devices are also perfect for checking the condition of paintwork on a car on the spot, which is ideal if you're looking to buy a car and want to make sure the paintwork is as it should be.
Simply place the electronic device on the car part that you want to check the coating levels for and let it work it’s magic. Accurate readings with the distance between your tester and car body part should be displayed on your screen, with the accuracy of the depth reading depending on the quality of the gauge you buy. We’ve selected 5 of the top paint gauges and testing devices for checking car paint levels accurately below.
Best Car Paint Thickness Gauges and Testers in the UK Reviews
0 to 2000um
#1. ERAY Car Coating Paint Thickness Digital Meter
This smart digital testing meter not only provides information on a backlit LCD display screen, but also has the ability to hold up to 80 readings which can be downloaded and analyzed on your PC.
It has a very good measuring range of 0 to 2000um and an accuracy of ± (2.5%+1um), making it a very reliable and accurate choice for getting paint coating readings from your car.
Even although the tool itself has more features than standard testing devices, on the whole, it is easy to use and work.
The screen has a backlight and is large enough to read from, but also fit in your hand comfortably.
The best quality gauge overall in terms of accuracy, quality of build, ease of use and options available for testing coating car coating thickness.
- Great accuracy on readings
- Well designed device
- Lots of storage settings
- Can connect to PC with software
- Backlit LCD screen
- Some options or settings be may confusing
#2. CARSYS Coating Thickness Gauge DPM-816
This simple little handheld tester has a very impressive measuring range of 0-3000 mkm and is also very accurate in gauging paint coat levels.
Although it doesn’t have as many features and options as the #1 choice on our list, it’s one of the best in terms of performance for taking readings.
It’s a very small and lightweight little handheld unit that’s perfect for carrying around if you’re going to be testing car paint thickness on a regular basis.
The screen is also one of the best for reading from and has a nice backlight that makes it perfect for reading in any light setting.
If you’re looking for a no-thrills, easy to use tool that gives one of the most accurate thickness readings out of all the testers, then providing you have the budget, the CARSYS DPM-816 should be your choice.
- One of the best accuracy readings out of any of the gauges
- Very simple and easy to use
Portable and very light
- Doesn’t have as many features as other picks
#3. BSIDE CCT02
One of the more budget-friendly options for checking car paint thickness levels is the small, blue BSIDE CCT02 gauge. It has a reasonable measuring range of 0-2mm and an accuracy of F ±(2%+0.02mm) and N: ±(2%+0.01mm).
The unit is easy to use, it has 3 different probe modes and also has the option of switching between um, mm and mils.
The screen and unit itself is very small and light, weighing just 45g but does not have a backlight for use in low light conditions.
Overall it’s a great little budget option that still has the potential to compete with higher-end gauges.
- Simple to use
- Light and portable
- Not as many features as other models
- Measuring range might not be enough for some
Neoteck has a good reputation in the motoring world for having some of the top testing and charging devices, so it’s no surprise their automotive paint thickness tester makes it onto our list. It has a measuring range of 0~1500um and an accuracy of ±(3% + 2um).
This gauge is a little larger than the other picks on the list, with a larger screen that is really intuitive and nice to use. It is also the heaviest pick on the list at 105g.
Although it is a little larger, it’s design overall is probably one of the best out there. Ergonomically it fits your hand nicely and is comfortable to use.
Overall a middle of the road, well-designed model that is designed to last and be reliable.
- Quality manufacturing and design
- Good ergonomics for holding
- Screen is nice for reading from
- Lower measuring range
- Bigger and heavier than most other picks
#5. GAIN EXPRESS Digital Tester
The last pick and another outside budget option worth considering is from Gain Express. This simple little paint thickness testing device that has a measuring range of 0~1.25mm and a display resolution of 0.02mm/1mil.
The device is definitely on the larger side of things and is heavier than most of the picks at 99.8g, but is still portable enough to be carried around and has a black pouch provided with it.
With the screen being a little larger and not having a backlight, it can be tricky to look at readings from the screen in some conditions.
Overall a simple, cheap and easy to use gauge that’s average in terms of reading accuracy.
- Simple and easy to use
- Not the best in terms of measuring range and accuracy
- Quite a chunky model
- Screen not the best looking
Automotive Coating Depth Gauges Buying Considerations
The measurement range of each model is different as some devices are stronger than others for detecting the distance between the sensor and the car panel you want to check. The distance in microns that your chosen tester can measure depends on what you want to check.
Depending on the quality of the paint thickness tester you buy for your car, you will be able to check different things and distances. For example, one model might only do a basic sensor to body panel measurement, whereas another gauge will be able to tell you the distance from the sensor to different panels on the car. Some higher-end meters will also have the ability to test different things at once and store the information for later use.
The accuracy will also depend on the quality of the measuring tool you buy. Most manufacturers state the approximate accuracy at which the tool can measure to, though there are certain other factors that can affect the accuracy such as temperature. Most models will also state the operating temperature levels at which they work at.
The temperature and humidity of the environment you plan to use the thickness gauge needs to be considered, as if there’s a lot of extreme temperatures either way, then you’ll need something with a better accuracy rating. The majority of average paint testing tools are only designed to give a rough reading, so you might have to splash the cash for something more professional and accurate.
Because all the depth readings are presented on a screen you want something that’s easy to read in the setting you plan to use it. If you’re using it in a dark garage setting for example, you may want a model with a backlight on it. If you’re using it outdoors quite often then it needs to be easily readable in both bright and low-light conditions.
Simply put, any screen should be easy to read your measurements from as well as being easy to work and navigate. You shouldn’t have to look up YouTube videos to work out how to use the screen, although some devices have more options than others.
The nature of these devices is that they are handheld, therefore, they need to be comfortable holding them up to the car. Most average users won't bother about this so much as they’re just casually checking the paint thickness of a single car, but if you’re a professional or checking cars on a regular basis for their condition, then you may want to consider one with a good shape and comfortable grip.
The Final Word
Car paint testing tools are perfect for getting a quick insight into whether a car is in the condition you think it should be in or not. If you’re looking to buy a car and are unsure if everything is as it should be and the history matches up, then a little check of the paintwork on the spot can be done with one of these devices.
They're not just for professionals though, If you’re a keen detailer, knowing where you are at in terms of the paint coating on your car is also imperative. Our list of the best car paint thickness testers and gauges should combine accuracy, performance, features and cost to help you choose a meter for your automotive paint depth testing.
Last Updated On: March 11, 2021.