Sometimes if you want to buy tools for your woodworking workshop, you have the choice: Are you going for digital tools or are you gone to stay with analog tools?
Well, after reading this blog, I am sure that you will be convinced of the many benefits that digital tools can offer you.
Does this mean that you can just pass up your skills to use analog tools? No!
It is still important to have the knowledge to use analog tools.
Knowing how to use analog tools is basic knowledge that is not unimportant.
This knowledge ensures that you can understand how digital tools work, and how you can continue to work in the event that digital tools fail.
Digital tools will give you everything you can do with analog tools.
Only, digital tools can give you a lot of extra benefits for the projects you work on.
That’s why you should consider switching from analog to digital tools.
In this blog, you will discover everything about it.
- Why should you switch to digital tools?
- 7 Inexpensive digital tools for accurate woodworking
Disclosure: At zero cost to you, I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. I earn from qualifying purchases as an Amazon associate. Products featured are selected based on quality, performance, and reputation, regardless of affiliate relationships.
Why should you switch to digital tools?
To answer this question briefly:
Digital tools are easier to use, faster, and ultimately digital tools lead to a better end result.
If you read the statements below, it will certainly become clearer what I mean by this.
Are digital tools more accurate than analog?
Digital tools are not necessarily more accurate than analog measuring tools.
With both these devices, in most cases, you can achieve the same results.
The fact that I am a proponent of digital tools for my woodworking workshop, is because of the extra benefits they offer.
For example, the digital readout of the LCD screens will ensure that I am always sure of the measured values.
Also, deviating dimensions are much easier to set.
Take, for example, adjusting the saw blade of the table saw.
With a good square, you can place your saw blade perfectly perpendicular to the table.
But suppose you have to set the saw blade at an angle of, I will take a random example, 62.5 degrees.
With a digital tool, you can set this to a tenth of a degree, while with a square you cannot do anything in this case.
In such cases, a digital tool will always beat an analog meter.
You can always reset the same angle, regardless of the time and other settings that were between the two setups.
That’s why you get the same perfect cuts every time.
That’s why I am in favor of digital measuring devices instead of analog measuring devices. But there are more advantages than just these two examples!
Read on and convince yourself why you should switch to digital tools.
Why use digital tools in your workshop?
Using digital tools in your workplace comes with a few big benefits that will make a huge difference.
Although there is a small price difference between digital tools and analog tools, this will quickly disappear when you see what they can do for you.
Those numbers and lines on analog tools are so small that doubts can quickly strike.
Which degree line is that closest? Is it 12.3 mm or 12.4 mm?
Believe me, the older you get, the more it seems that these lines are closer together.
Even wearing glasses can’t help you anymore.
Digital tools offer much more clarity, by not having all the numbers and dashes on a tool that is much too small.
Even without glasses or guesswork, you can easily read the size you need from the LCD screen.
This is perhaps the greatest advantage of digital tools.
Switch on, measure, and simply read the screen.
In seconds, you know the exact size.
You will no longer have to stare at those small lines until you go cross-eyed.
Always get started with a size that you are entirely sure about.
Speed is an important advantage when you need a measurement.
Multiply this by the number of times a day that you have to take a measurement.
You will quickly see that you can save many minutes of time with this.
A correct readout, all the time:
When you measure something with an analog measuring device, the viewing angle on the device is important.
When you change the point of view, it can happen that you come to a different result.
With digital tools, you always have a correct readout and there is no doubt about it.
The LCD screen will never lie, even when you change the viewing angle on the screen.
In some situations, you are working with several people, which will make the readout even more difficult.
Everyone can read the value differently, depending on the angle of the eye or the speed at which it is measured.
With digital tools, the measurement will be the same by every person and from every angle.
With digital tools, you can repeat dimensions perfectly.
Even if you cut a piece in a corner with a special size last year, you can recreate exactly the same piece today.
7 Inexpensive digital tools for accurate woodworking
Now that you realize that digital tools are worth choosing, it’s time to think about which tools you can make the switch from analog to digital.
Below is a list that I have drawn up personally for my woodworking workshop.
I have already replaced most of the devices from analog to digital.
Other devices are on my wish list, and I will be purchasing them soon.
This is a basic list of the most needed digital tools I use in my workshop.
Once all items on this list have been bought, I can supplement them with other digital tools to make my work in the shop even faster and easier.
Let this list be a guide to use for your woodworking workshop.
The digital caliper is one of the most commonly used tools in my woodworking workshop.
As I was already convinced of the benefits of digital tools, I chose the digital version over the analog caliper.
When you need to measure accurate dimensions for projects, the digital caliper is an ideal and reliable tool.
With a caliper, you measure the inside, outside, and depth of your workpiece.
Because a digital caliper in a woodworking workshop mainly comes into contact with dust, it is best to choose this model.
In addition to being dustproof, it is also water and oil-resistant.
Digital angle ruler
The digital angle ruler consists of 2 straight pieces that are connected on the end and are hinged.
These pieces can rotate 360 degrees.
This allows you to use the digital angle ruler to stake out any angle you need for your project.
Rectangles, hexagons, and many other shapes are no problem at all to make on the table saw with this digital angle ruler.
Since I got used to using this easy-to-read digital tool with the table saw, I can’t do without it.
But there are more possibilities than just using this digital angle ruler on the table saw.
For example, adjusting the angle of a drill press or a band saw becomes a piece of cake.
Hand Plane Digital Depth Gauge
When working with a hand plane, you need to have the correct blade depth.
Maybe you have checked the depth of the blade by turning it over and looking visually along the bed.
Once you think you have set the correct depth, you will have to make test cuts followed by a whole series of micro-adjustments.
With this digital depth gauge, that guesswork and the many minutes it takes to set the blade to the correct depth are a thing of the past.
Using this digital depth gauge, precise plane iron settings are a piece of cake.
To set the depth, place the digital depth gauge over the blade and then adjust the blade to the desired settings.
You can also fine-tune lateral changes with this digital depth gauge.
To do this, place the digital depth gauge on one side of the plane, adjust it if necessary, and repeat on the other side. This gauge features strong magnets that hold the digital depth gauge on the flat bottom.
Once set, you can check the depth of cut and parallelism.
Digital Angle Finder
With this digital protractor you can put your table saw, band saw or miter saw at the right angle easily.
The digital protractor is very user-friendly and very accurate.
It is magnetic at the bottom, making it easy to stick to your saw blade or any other metal surface.
Just set the perfect angle by reading the degrees on the LCD screen, and you’re done.
If you have a digital tool like this, you will never have to doubt its accuracy again.
This angle finder will not hold you back from resetting your device again and again.
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Digital Height Gauge
If you want to set up a router and/or a table saw blade, this digital height gauge is a useful tool to have in your woodworking workshop.
With this digital height gauge, you can measure very precisely how far or how high your saw blade or router protrudes above the worktop.
This measuring instrument has an accuracy of 0.1 mm, so you always get an excellent end result.
This digital height gauge is equipped with a ruler.
A pin is attached to the ruler.
With this pin, you can easily measure in narrow grooves.
Measuring with this digital height gauge is super easy.
Place the digital height gauge on the surface of the device.
You calibrate the pin or ruler by pressing the on/off button, then slide the ruler until it touches the top of the saw blade or router bit.
The difference appears on the display.
The display shows the measure in millimeters, inches, or fractions.
Saw Fence Digital Readout
The table saw is by far the most commonly used power tool in the woodworking workshop, and usually the centerpiece of the shop. The table saw is used for almost every project. Actually, you should keep up how many times a day the fence is set.
You would be shocked to see how many times this happens.
When you set up your fence, this is always accompanied by precision measurement work.
You want your workpiece to be perfectly tailored, right?
Unfortunately, setting up a table saw fence takes time, a lot of time.
Imagine having this digital meter on your table saw, how much time would you save by setting the size you need in one movement?
Of all the digital tools discussed here, this is the most expensive device.
However, you can save minutes with this digital meter every time you have to set the fence up.
That is why this is perhaps the most profitable tool to buy.
I don’t have it myself yet, because I’m considering switching to a new table saw.
Once I buy that new table saw, this digital meter will be bought at the same time for sure.
To know when the wood is dry enough to use for your woodworking projects, use a moisture meter.
It is therefore recommended having a quality moisture meter in your woodworking workshop.
With that moisture meter, it is best to always check the wood for moisture levels before you start using the wood.
After all, you don’t want the wood to crack after you build something with it, don’t you?
If you want to know more about drying wood, you can learn all about it in the blog 4 Correct ways to dry lumber (fast). Be sure to check out that blog before you build something with wood!
Moisture meters come in 2 types: pin or pinless. If you want more options to choose from, you can check out my article Top 5 Best Moisture Meters On The Market: The Ultimate Buying Guide.
If you like to have a pinless Moisture meter, then you can choose from the 5 best ones in my article The 5 Best Pinless Moisture Meters For Your DIY Projects (Expert Tips).
How to build your workshop on a budget?
Building a workshop can be daunting, filled with trial and error. Believe me, I’ve been in those shoes.
But it was “The Ultimate Small Workshop” course, a gem I discovered and now endorse on Christofix.com, that provided insights unparalleled to any other. This expertise empowered me to invest wisely and save substantially.
I really suggest it to all of my fellow DIYers and creators!
I hope this information about digital tools was helpful, and that this blog and video inspires you.
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Christophe, founder of Christofix.com
Woodworking | DIY | Home decoration