From DIY to Pro: The Best Feeler Gauge Set for Your Toolbox

When it comes to proper engine maintenance on your vehicle’s engine, small engine, or measuring around the house, accurate measuring tools are very important. After all, it can be pretty hard to measure the difference between 0.001” and 0.005”, you truly are splitting hairs. But the difference here can mean your engine running like a top and possibly not running at all. So what makes the best feeler gauge set and which one fits best in your toolbox

Thankfully we have done the work for you and searched for the best possible options when you are looking for the best feeler gauge set to use at home or work.

Unlike other websites you may have found, our reviews are different. We do not simply list the top sellers from amazon. We take our time to give you an accurate review of how the tool can be used and why you would select this tool.

feeler gauge set being used to make valve adjustment

Why do we think you will listen? Over 20 years of experience in the automotive industry. 

There is something about taking advice from someone that has used these types of tools everyday for years that allows you to trust us when we say, we know what we are talking about. 

Lets jump in and take a look at the perfect feeler gauge sets that are available or if you would learn more about finding the best feeler gauge set feel free to jump ahead and read more.

The Best Feeler Gauges-Detailed Review !

Lisle 68150 Go-No-Go Feeler Gauge

Lisle Go-No-Go Feeler gauge set

Perfect for valve adjustments!

Length: 3 1/2″

Material: Steel

Measurement Range: 0.002” – 0.025”

Number of blades: 15 blades

Pros

  • Easy to read etched numbers
  • Dual measurement blades
  • Perfect for setting valves

Cons

  • Dual measurement blades
  • Very specialized tool
  • Limited measuring range

This set of Lisle feeler gauges are a go-no-go gauge. This type of feeler gauge has a stepped blade that features 2 different sizes. For example, the tip of the blade will measure 0.004” and about ½” up it will then jump to 0.006”

This is to verify if the measurement that you are reading is between 0.004” and 0.006” quickly and accurately. The Lisle Go-No-Go feeler gauge is a perfect solution if you need to adjust your valves. 

This set has 22 blades that range in size from 0.004” to 0.027” so they are not meant to measure small clearances. Measuring at 3 ¼” long they are compact and easy to store in any drawer of the toolbox. This set of gauges also feature easy to read etched measurement numbers.

When buying a tool with a brand history like Lisle you can expect this feeler gauge to last a long time. The cheaper priced options that are available tend to have numbers that can wear off quickly depending on the manufacturer. Lisle tools have been proven and stood up to the test of time in automotive technicians hands for years. 

The quick use design of the blade makes this tool unique and a special measuring tool primarily used to set valve clearances. If you adjust valves  this is a must have set of feeler gauges to add to a standard set of feeler gauges that you already have. 

Proto J000TL 25 Blade Long Feeler Gauge Set 

Proto Automotive feeler gauge set

Long length for hard to reach areas!

Length: 12″

Measurement Range: 0.0015” – 0.040”

Material: Blend

Number of blades: 25 blades

Pros

  • 12″ Length
  • Metric and imperial markings
  • Large measurement range

Cons

  • Long length
  • Higher priced for specialized tool

Sometimes space is an issue when you are measuring with a straight standard set of feeler gauges. Other times you need to have a long blade to reach into areas that are otherwise inaccessible. The Proto J1000TL is the answer when you are looking for a long reach feeler gauge set.

This feeler gauge set features 25 blades that are 12” long. This allows you to reach into otherwise inaccessible areas. Like others that we have reviewed, the blades feature etched numbers that include both imperial and metric equivalents. 

The biggest disadvantage that this type of feeler gauge has is the length. The 12” blade length is good when you need the reach for measuring something like bearing clearances. But you will find that the blades damage quicker and easier due to this length when measuring things like spark plug gaps and piston ring gaps. 

The length of this style of feeler is its biggest advantage as well as its biggest disadvantage. You should consider what you are using the feeler gauges for before you buy this long length feeler gauge set. You may be better off with a standard feeler gauge set or you may end up adding this style of feeler gauge to your toolbox.

Spurtar 32 Blades Stainless Steel Feeler Gauge 

Spurtar automotive feeler gauges

Narrow feeler gauge set

Measurement Range: 0.001” – 0.040”

Material: 65 Manganese steel

Number of blades: 32 blades

Pros

  • Metric and Imperial markings
  • Easy to read
  • Manganese high quality stainless steel

Cons

  • Tapered tip
  • Numbers can be hard to read 

The Spurtar feeler gauges are an excellent addition to anyone’s toolbox. They are an affordable set of feeler gauges so you do not need to be afraid of investing a large amount of money to purchase a tool that you use only once in a while. 

All the blades are made of Manganese stainless steel that is a rust resistant steel. This prevents dreaded corrosion damage that can damage a set to the point that they are no longer usable. To prevent corrosion they stop there, they also come coated with Vaseline to prevent any corrosion during shipping.

There are two unique features that set this feeler gauge apart. The measurement markings come in both metric and imperial. This prevents you from having to buy two sets of feeler gauges or worse, doing the mathematical conversion on a shop rag.

The gauge blades themselves are tapered on the end. This allows easy access to measure things such as valves, and tappets but can also hinder accuracy if you are measuring something that requires a full width blade. 

The Spurtar stainless steel feeler gauges are very affordable and allow both measuring of metric and imperial with the same tool. This is a very handy addition to your tool collection when space inside of a small toolbox is limited.

Stainless Steel Offset Feeler Gauge Set

45 degree offset feeler gauge set

Offset feeler gauge set for reaching those hard to reach areas!

Measurement Range: 0.005-0.020”

Material: 65 Manganese steel

Number of blades: 16 blades with 45° offset

Pros

  • Clear and easy to read numbers
  • 45 deg offset blades

Cons

  • Limited measuring range
  • Only 16 blades
  • Offset can limit measurements

This Offset feeler gauge set makes our short list for its unique offset design. An offset feeler gauge set can be very helpful for setting valves or spark plug gaps.

The 45 deg offset allows you to quickly and easily check the valve clearance between the valve and the rocker arm. If you are measuring valve clearance often when engines are in the vehicle, which is generally how this maintenance is done, offset feeler gauges are worth their weight in gold. They can be the best feeler gauges depending on the space that you have. 

The limiting factor of this gauge set is the limited measurement range they feature. With only 16 blades the measurement range is only 0.015”. When compared to the other tools on the list this gauge set falls short when it comes to range of measurement. 

Even with this limited range, do not rule this gauge set out. If you are measuring valve clearance, the range that these gauges feature are perfect to get the job done. 

Clear and crisp markings allow you to read both metric and imperial measurements. The gauges are made of stainless steel and come pre-coated in rust preventive oil so they will show up ready to use. 

Starrett 66B Thickness Gage Set

Starrett machinist feeler gauge set

Machinist quality feeler gauge set!

Measurement Range: 0.0015”-0.035”

Material: hardened tempered steel

Number of blades: 31 straight leaves

Pros

  • Long lasting numbers
  • Measures as low as 0.0015”

Cons

  • Expensive

If you are looking for something of the same quality as your grandfather’s tools, this is the perfect steel feeler gauges that you are looking for. Starrett has been making tools since its founding in 1880 and makes precision measuring tools for various industries still today. 

While these feeler gauges are expensive they will stand up to rigorous everyday use. One problem that the cheaper feeler gauges can have is numbers that wear off. While this is not an issue when you use a feeler gauge once in a while on your own vehicle. If you use a set of feeler gauges everyday it tends to be frustrating. 

The tempered steel leaves have a unique locking device. This gauge has the ability to lock one or more blades in position for quick and easy measuring. The locking feature is very handy when checking piston ring clearance and valve clearances. The blades themselves are individually tested before they leave the factory for thickness to ensure your measurements are accurate out of the package.

The only downfall of this set of feeler gauges is the price. But, if you are looking for a tool that you can rely on day in and day out, consider this handy tool as a welcome addition to your toolbox even if you only use it to check the gap of a spark plug. 

Your grandkids will thank you when they get your toolbox after you retire it. 

Things To Consider When Choosing the Best Feeler Gauge Set

Some tools are better suited for certain jobs than others. This is why it is always important to make sure that you purchase the right tool for the job. Listed below are the features and benefits that we believe are important in choosing the right feeler gauge for the job. 

cylinder head removed from the engine needs valves adjusted

Features and Benefits of Automotive Feeler Gauges

Material of Feeler Gauges

The type of material that is used to create the feeler gauge is important. There are a few different types of materials that are used.

Steel feeler gauge

These feeler gauges are the most common gauge sets that you will find, they are cheap to purchase and accurate. However there are some drawbacks to this style of feeler gauge. If steel feeler gauges are not stored correctly they will start to rust. This rust build up causes the gauge to lose its accuracy and ends up with a set of feeler gauges being thrown into the garbage.

Brass feeler gauge

Brass is an excellent choice of material for a set of quality feeler gauges. One of the best advantages for the at home or professional tool box is the lack of special maintenance. Being able to throw a set of these feeler gauges in your toolbox and knowing they will not rust is important.

Brass feeler gauges offer other advantages as well. Brass is a softer metal than steel. This means if you accidentally scrape a cylinder head when you are measuring flatness or other important surface with the feeler gauges it will not cause any permanent damage. 

Most feeler gauges generally have one brass feeler gauge in the set. This is from the beginning days of electronic ignition. The electronic ignition had a reluctor that required the air gap to have a precise distance from the magnetic pickup. A brass feeler gauge is non conductive and allows it to be used without sticking to the magnetic pickup. This results in a much easier way to set the correct gap. 

Stainless steel feeler gauge

Feeler gauges tend to be one of those tools that get thrown in the top drawer of the tool box when they are done being used. 

Stainless steel is a perfect choice of material for a set of feeler gauges. This metal is resistant to corrosion and will not corrode inside of the toolbox. This is one of the main reasons why it is used in the restaurant industry and many other industries. 

Round wire feeler gauge

wire feeler gauge checking spark plug gap

This type of feeler gauge is different from the normal “leaf” style feeler gauge that most people are familiar with. Where regular feeler gauges use thin flexible leaves that are used to measure, the wire style feeler gauge uses a wire that is supported on both sides. 

Round wire feeler gauges are used for special measuring purposes. The most common use that you will see with a round wire feeler gauge is gapping spark plugs. This is sometimes why this type of feeler gauge ends up being called a spark plug gap feeler gauge or spark plug gap gauge. 

Plastic feeler gauge

These feeler gauges are specialized and work great in certain types of environments. Because they are plastic they are non-conductive as well as have a high resistance to corrosive environments. 

Depending on the type of measuring you are trying to accomplish, this may be the only set of feeler gauges that will work. The largest downfall to this type of feeler gauge is plastic can wear out quickly. Depending on the type of measuring you are doing, such as checking spark plug gaps, the plastic can gouge or wear down resulting in inaccurate measurements. 

Plastic feeler gauges have a different type of marking. Instead of a stamped or etched numbering, they use color coded blades that indicate different sizes.

Measuring range

The range of measurement is an important consideration when choosing the best feeler gauge for your use. If you are completing general measuring I would suggest that a feeler gauge measuring from 0.001”-0.040” would fit your needs the best. 

There are special feeler gauges that are for specific jobs that have what would be considered non-standard measurements. For example, a set of Go-No-Go feeler gauges that allow for quick and precise adjustment of valves.  

Length of blade

A standard set of feeler gauges generally range between 3 ½” and 4” long. There are long reach feelers available. These are the perfect feeler gauges for reaching hard to reach areas that the standard feeler gauges can not reach. 

Long reach feeler gauge sets can reach up to 12” long to ensure that even the hardest to reach measurement can be completed easily and accurately.

Unit of measure

Feeler gauge sets come in two different standards of measure. If you guessed standard and metric you are correct! 

When you are buying a feeler gauge make sure that you check to see what measurement units they use. I will tell you first hand, I have made the mistake of accidentally buying a set of metric feeler gauges. 

It is pretty hard measuring 3 thousandths of an inch in metric…

Etched numbers

The numbers on a steel feeler gauge are etched into the blade. This is a process where a laser burns the numbers into the blade of the feeler gauge. When the feeler gauges are new the numbers are easy to read. Over time the numbers wear off and make the numbers hard to read.

Feeler Gauge Tips and Tricks

These precision measuring tools are generally one of the most abused measuring tools in a toolbox because they are not used often. With a few quick tricks you can extend the lifespan of a set of feeler gauges.

Coat in oil before storage

This may be an unpopular tip that we have given out to our loyal readers, but it works. Most steel feeler gauge sets come pre-oiled from the factory, this is for a reason. 

Uncoated feeler gauges made out of standard steel can rust quickly if the conditions are right.

When you are done using your feeler gauges, coat them in a light machine oil or even WD-40, and place them in a ziploc bag. This will make sure that your toolbox does not get all full of oil and protect the feeler gauges from the outside air. 

When you go to use them, it can get dirty using the oily tools. Spray them down with brake cleaner before use, but always make sure to re oil them before putting them back in storage. 

Correct Use

feeler gauge set being used with machined straight edge to check cylinder head flatness

There is a right and wrong way to use a feeler gauge, make sure you always use a feeler gauge in the correct way to prevent unneeded damage to the tools.

When measuring a surface for flatness make sure you lift the straight edge and place the feeler gauge under the straight edge. Measuring for flatness this way will increase the lifespan of your feeler gauges as they are not constantly bending as you try to “force” them under the straight edge.

Never “force” the feeler gauge under the object you are measuring. This can be tempting when checking spark plug gap width so be careful with your steel feeler gauges.

Can these feeler gauges work on guitar set ups?

Yes, these feeler gauge sets that are reviewed will work perfectly fine for setting up your favorite guitar. Please be aware that we are not guitar experts and do not know what features are important for this use.

Do feeler gauges need to be calibrated?

It is important to check the thickness of your feeler gauges after purchase and every six months afterwards. In the automotive repair industry the accuracy of feeler gauges is within 0.001″ of a inch which does not cause us issues when measuring. If using feeler gauges in a precision machinery application 0.001″ can mean the difference of a part within tolerances or going in the reject pile.

Can you stack feeler gauges?

No, it is not recommended to stack up feeler gauges when completing measurements. Stack up tolerances can cause issues when feeler gauges are stacked causing them to be inaccurate when used together. They are designed to be used individually.

John Morris
John Morrishttps://autoknowit.com
John Morris is the technical editor for AutoKnowIt.com. His years of experience in automotive repair as well as an automotive professor have prepared him to ensure that even the most technical information is accurate and concise at all times.

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