The 5 Best Contour Gauges

Are you searching for a tool that can replicate irregular patterns or contour a certain object? Whether you’re working with flooring, siding, tile, or another material, you’ll eventually come across a door frame, a pair of pipes, or odd-shaped trim that you’ll have to work around. Consider utilizing a contour gauge instead of tracing the form with a sheet of paper and a pencil. 

A contour gauge is a tool for measuring the cross-sectional form of a surface. It is made up of a series of plastic or steel pins that are arranged in a frame. The frame ensures that the pins remain parallel in the same plane. Contour gauges are versatile tools that will make your next big project even easier.

In a hurry, here are our top picks.

Saker Contour Gauge (10 Inch Lock) Profile Tool- Adjustable...
VARSK Contour Gauge (5+10 Inch Lock) Profile Tool, Christmas Gifts for...
YOLETO Contour Gauge Profile Tool for Woodworking Hand Tools for...
Contour Gauge With lock- 2 Wide Pieces Pack - Contour Gauge Profile...
Product Name
Saker Contour Gauge - 10 Inches
Varsk Contour Gauge with Lock - 10 Inches
General Tools 837 Contour Gage
Contour Gauge with Lock - 10 and 5 Inches
Price
$25.49
$35.59
Price not available
$25.99
Rating
Saker Contour Gauge (10 Inch Lock) Profile Tool- Adjustable...
Product Name
Saker Contour Gauge - 10 Inches
Price
$25.49
Rating
View on Amazon
VARSK Contour Gauge (5+10 Inch Lock) Profile Tool, Christmas Gifts for...
Product Name
Varsk Contour Gauge with Lock - 10 Inches
Price
$35.59
Rating
View on Amazon
YOLETO Contour Gauge Profile Tool for Woodworking Hand Tools for...
Product Name
General Tools 837 Contour Gage
Price
Price not available
Rating
View on Amazon
Contour Gauge With lock- 2 Wide Pieces Pack - Contour Gauge Profile...
Product Name
Contour Gauge with Lock - 10 and 5 Inches
Price
$25.99
Rating
View on Amazon

Last update on 2021-12-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Things to Consider Before Buying a Contour Gauge

Contour gauges are also known as profile gauges and are used to “copy and paste” an object’s irregular shape. Profiling surfaces allows you to readily compare two surfaces or a standard profile to identify any material loss due to corrosion or other reasons. Metalworking, woodworking, and architectural restoration all make extensive use of contour gauges.

As contour gauges are made up of tiny pins, when you press the pins against an item, some of them will slide to follow the object’s horizontal contour. However, the contour can only be copied horizontally rather than vertically. Additionally, smaller pins allow you to precisely copy difficult or oddly-shaped objects. The movement of each pin is perpendicular to the plane and independent of the others.

Please keep in mind that this is not a contour measuring machine or tool. This is only a tool used in woodworking, metalworking, and home improvement projects, among other things. 

Some people prefer a longer profile gauge with deeper pins, while others prefer a 5-inch profile gauge. Some people require models with a locking mechanism. However, some users believe that a joinable contour gauge is more beneficial. 

There are several important factors that you should consider before buying a contour gauge. 

Length

When working with the size of an item, you must consider the length. A longer contour gauge is necessary if you want to duplicate a longer contour. A 10-inch contour gauge is recommended for larger projects and should work well for most jobs. Otherwise, a shorter version is acceptable.

Pin Depth

When attempting to duplicate pipe contours, the pipe may have a larger diameter. For large diameters, deeper pins are required. However, deeper pin assembly needs additional pressure to keep the pins in place. A strong locking system may be necessary.

Resolution

If you want highly accurate contour modeling, you must choose a contour gauge with the highest resolution. The higher number of pins per length, the higher the resolution. In other words, the higher the resolution, the thinner the pins. Metal pins are regarded as the highest quality pin in this scenario, as they provide the maximum resolution.

For example, suppose you had a 10-inch contour gauge with 158 total pins. The resolution would be 0.063 inches, calculated by dividing 10 inches by 158 pins.

Pin Material

The two most prevalent contour gauge materials are ABS plastic and stainless steel. You can benefit from both of them in various ways. ABS pins will not corrode, but they are thicker. As a result, the resolution is reduced. 

Stainless steel allows the pins to be thinner, resulting in higher resolution. Another factor to consider is that ABS plastic may scrape the surface when gauged, whereas stainless steel is less likely to cause a scratch.

Locking Mechanism

If the gauge’s pins are excessively loose, it can be extremely irritating. Users can benefit from a contour gauge with a locking option. 

Switch the knob to lock immediately after copying the shape. It will secure the pin assembly and will not slip easily. This allows you to simply relocate the gauge to any location without worrying about the pin assembly moving.

Joinable

A joinable contour gauge is a useful tool that offers versatility. When working with smaller objects, remove the gauge. Reconnect the components to manage a larger surface.

Magnet

This is an extra feature that may not be included on most gauges. The contour gauge’s magnet is an optional feature that you may choose if you need to attach or steady an object.

Adjustable Tightness

Being able to modify the pin tension is a bonus feature that proves to be highly beneficial. This new function allows you to specify your preferred pin tightness, allowing you to relax them as much as you wish. If your shape is highly uneven and difficult to reproduce, you can slightly release the pins to create an accurate copy.

5 Best Contour Gauges

1. Saker Contour Gauge – 10 Inches

Are you thinking about renovating your house?  The Saker Contour Gauge will aid you in this task. It is a versatile tool suitable for winding pipes, circular frames, ducts, and a variety of other items. Tile, laminate, carpet, and other materials can all be installed with ease while using this gauge. The tightness can easily be adjusted, and the contour duplication can be used for any type of job.

This gauge enables you to achieve a stunning cut finish. Regardless of how many times you use it, the contour gauge will serve you well. The pin depth is around 2 inches deep, and the product’s entire length is 10 inches. 

We believe that this dimension is appropriate for most users. Don’t worry about the pin arrangement moving while you’re trying to transfer the form, it’s constructed with a locking clamp that will tighten the pin arrangement.

Specifications:

  • Plastic lock mechanism
  • Length of 10 inches
  • Adjustable tightness

Pros

  • Great lock mechanism
  • Adjustable lock tightness

Cons

  • Less pin depth

2. Varsk Contour Gauge with Lock – 10 Inches

The best contour gauge with a lock is the Varsk Contour Gauge. This contour gauge allows you to work efficiently and quickly. The tool’s finest feature is that it includes an updated heavy-duty metal lock that ensures a fantastic locking mechanism to secure the pins during the job. This enables you to make an accurate duplication.

Another advantage of the Varsk Contour Gauge is the ability to adjust the pin tension to your liking. You can adjust the tension with an Allen wrench supplied in the box. The lock allows you to copy the object’s form securely and effortlessly, resulting in a more exact contour duplication. This tool has a thickness of 0.05 inches for a single pin to offer smooth marking. 

This device offers an extremely tiny plastic pin. The smoother the line you put on the surface, the lower the resolution of the pin. Furthermore, it has a 2.5-inch pin depth, which is sufficient to copy most item outlines correctly. The 10-inch length gives extra adaptability to cover the majority of applications.

Specifications:

  • Metal lock 
  • Length of 10 inches x 5.1 inches
  • 0.05-inch pin thickness
  • Pin depth of 2.5 inches
  • Flexible tightness

Pros

  • Deep pins
  • High-resolution pins
  • Adjustable tightness

Cons

  • No magnetic block

3. General Tools 837 Contour Gage

The contour gauge by General Tools is a great option, as it has the thinnest and deepest pin assembly for an exact duplication. The contour gauge simplifies measuring and cutting. The tool, which resembles a hair comb, has a row of long, thin, adjustable teeth and a perpendicular housing that keeps them in position while they take an impression of the surface.

This contour gauge is perfect for measuring moldings for reproduction, duplicating spindles on a lathe, fitting flooring around moldings, reproducing curves, and a number of other contour matching activities around the house and shop. This all-purpose tool removes the guesswork when it comes to irregular form proportions. 

This contour gauge ensures perfect duplication of the copied form with 35 leaves-per-inch. It can measure profiles with depths of up to 3-1/2 inches. The stainless steel pins are rust-resistant and provide higher precision than plastic teeth. This template tool also incorporates one-inch increment ruler marks on the tool body.

Specifications:

  • Length of 6 inches
  • Depth of 3.5 inches
  • Resolution of 35 pins/inch 

Pros

  • High-resolution
  • Deepest pin impression
  • Durable

Cons

  • No locking system

4. Contour Gauge with Lock  – 10 and 5 Inches

The LionZ contour gauge is the next best option on the list. This choice provides you with two gauges of varying sizes, indicating a low-cost alternative. One is 10 inches long, and the other is 5 inches long. 

Whenever you are dealing with a narrow space, you should use the 5-inch contour gauge. Similarly, employing the 10-inch gauge makes long duplications easy.

It is operated by a metal locking mechanism that tightens the pins after the copying is complete. This tightening capability ensures that you always make precise duplications without pins moving throughout the process.

Specifications:

  • Metal lock
  • Length of 10 inches and 5 inches

Pros

  • Tight lock mechanism
  • Adjustable tightness
  • Two gauges for an affordable price

Cons

  • No magnetic block

5. YOLETO Contour Gauge Profile Tool 

This contour gauge can readily replicate the shape of irregular items and the contour line of an angle. Items with high precision measurements can be measured and cut easier using this device. 

It is intended to measure irregular objects such as winding pipes, auto metal sheets, circular frames, pipes, tile, laminate, and wood planking. Various types of modeling like carpet fitting, tile measurements, and more are made easier by using this gauge. 

The pins of the profile gauge duplicator are flexible and simple to manipulate. This will undoubtedly save you a significant amount of time and avoid the need to waste efforts drawing up templates for difficult cuts and curves. Simply press the profile gauge’s teeth section against the target item and record the form. 

This irregular shape copy tool is composed of high-grade ABS plastic, which has outstanding strength, durability, anti-rust properties, and ensures long-term usage without cracking or distortion. The form tracing template measuring ruler is 10 inches long with centimeter and foot measurement readings on both sides, making it clear and easy to read.

Specifications:

  • Blue color
  • Size of 10 inches

Pros

  • Can readily replicate the shape of irregular items
  • High precision measurement
  • Clear and easy to read

Cons

  • A bit stiff

Final Verdict

Overall, contour gauges are among the most effective tools available. Whatever you’re repairing or building, you’ll have to mold around a pipe, corner, or angle at some point. This is when a contour gauge comes in handy. Another significant advantage of this tool is its ease of use. 

To acquire the contour of an object’s angle or corner, all you have to do is push the tool against it. Then, you should lock it and transfer the shape. It’s really that simple. There are no difficult calculations or formulas required. 

These gadgets are also inexpensive and long-lasting, making it easy on your wallet. Hopefully, we have made it easier for you to choose the best contour gauge for your next big project.

Last Updated on November 10, 2021 by Tom Bradly

Tom Bradly
 

My entrepreneurial journey started in 2006, when I dropped out of university. I wanted to work with my hands, to build things. Now I mix my background with computers with my first-hand experience with woodworking to provide insights into the tools I like best. I love everything about woodworking and have been building stuff for over 20 years of my life. I hope to pass some knowledge and expertise. See more at TomBradly.com