measuring tools
Measured success. Ralph Smith

Obsession is a love of decimal points. Minuscule measurements can make all the difference with persnickety processes like hanging a perfectly level picture, baking a Pinterest-worthy batch of cookies, or crafting a masterful cuppa joe. These digital tools can precisely perceive the tiny increments that can turn a merely good result into a truly great one.

1. Weight

A sprinkle of excess baking powder can ruin your confections, but the American Weigh AMW-SC-2KG digital scale uses strain gauges to meter ingredients—or anything else you can fit on its 4-inch steel tray—down to 0.01 ounce.

2. Color

Film, photos, and video games deserve accurate color. The Datacolor Spyder5PRO employs a light sensor called a colorimeter with seven built-in filters to detect changes in hue and brightness scarcely perceptible to your eye.

3. Temperature

Poke its 4.5-inch stainless-steel probe into a vat of homebrew for two seconds, and the Javelin PRO Duo will indicate temperature to a tenth of a degree, with a margin of error just under 1 degree Fahrenheit.

4. Size

Turn the thumbwheels on the Starrett EC799A-​12/300 electronic cali­per to get a read, down to 0.0015 inch, of anything between its jaws. Minute changes in electrical charge between two sliding plates map to lengths up to 1 foot.

5. Distance

The Extech DT40M laser distance meter replaces your floppy tape measure with a concentrated beam of light. Analyzing the laser’s reflection allows it to quantify distances between 2 inches and 131 feet within 0.08 inch.