Last updated: September 3, 2021

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Have you ever wondered how builders get their buildings so straight? For a building and all its elements such as carpentry, mechanics and electronics to be constructed at the correct angle, it is necessary to measure them using a goniometer.

Goniometers are designed be used with laser levels and inclinometers. They are a measuring instrument that should be in every professional’s toolbox. In this article we will explain some of the main characteristics of goniometers in order to help you buy the tool that you need.

Key Facts

  • The digital goniometer is a very simple and reasonably-priced tool that will allow you to perform a wide variety of tasks. This instrument has a semicircle or a circle which can be rotated 180 or 360º.
  • Goniometers are very simple to use. To measure any angle, simply place both pieces at the points you want to measure and you will see the measurement displayed on the screen.
  • The accuracy of the instrument is a critical factor to consider when choosing a goniometer, as you will see later in this article. These tools should offer a measuring range that covers angles from 0 to 90 degrees (º) at a minimum.

Our Selection: The Best Goniometers

You'll find a great variety of goniometers available on the market today. There are digital models that present measurements in a very simple way, as well as analog ones that require more precision. Unless you're an expert in this field, you'll probably struggle to work out which is the best model for you. To help you with this decision, we've compiled this list of the best goniometers around.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Goniometers

Whether working in construction, carpentry, or manufacturing machines or musical instruments, there are many tasks that require a high degree of precision. In these cases, a goniometer is indispensable, allowing you to exactly measure angles and the relationship between horizontal and vertical surfaces.

The digital goniometer is a very simple and economical tool, which allows you to achieve a range of tasks.
(Source: Elnur Amikishiyev: 99945512/

What is a goniometer exactly?

The goniometer has a semicircle or a circle which can be rotated 180 or 360º. These instruments have been used since ancient times to measure and determine angles. A goniometer allows you to measure the angle between two objects. Traditionally, they were used to measure between two points on a coast or the position of a star to the horizon, are were also known as sextants.

By using simple mathematical calculations, these tools are able to determine, with a reasonable degree of accuracy, the distance between two points. At present, these instruments have evolved and are used in construction, carpentry, mechanical manufacturing workshops and by DIY-enthusiasts.

What are goniometers used for?

Basically, goniometers are used to measure and check angles between two surfaces that have an edge, or point, in common. This could be two walls, for example, or a roof, the slope of a ramp in relation to a horizontal pavement or two sides of a prism that you need to weld. As you can see, these tools have many applications.

Digital goniometers, in combination with a tape measure and an inclinometer or a level are especially suitable for any construction work. They also serve to measure cutting angles when making furniture, machinery and even musical instruments. Goniometers are highly valued for precision work.

The digital goniometer, along with a tape measure and level, are essential tools for construction.
(Source: Edward Olive: 77334000/

What are tasks are goniometers usually used for?

As we have explained, goniometers can be used for a wide variety of tasks in different fields. You will commonly find them in the professional construction and carpentry sectors, as well as being used for home maintenance and DIY, since they make it a lot easier to work with precision and they are a great complement to other tools of measurement.

Here are some examples of the tasks you can easily do with your goniometer, whether you are a professional or simply using it at home:

  • Installing shelves and cupboards.
  • Installing door or window frames.
  • Decorating inside or outside the home.
  • Construction work in general.
  • Carpentry work in general.
  • Pipe installation.
  • Manufacturing musical instruments.
  • Manufacturing machinery.
  • Installing hinges for doors and windows.
  • Physiotherapy.

What are the differences between goniometers and laser levels?

Laser levels are used to control ensure a surface is completely vertical or horizontal. They can be either digital or analog, and either way they determine whether a plane is correctly leveled or not. Goniometers, on the other hand, provide additional functions, such as measuring distances and angles.

Goniometers are used to measure acute, right and obtuse angles between two planes. These planes could be two walls, a gable roof or the angle between two pieces that you need to weld or join together. Some digital goniometers also have leveling functions and many incorporate the traditional level bubble.

Besides measuring angles, what else can I do with goniometer?

In addition to measuring angles, the most important application of a goniometer is to find the correct angle you need. That is to say, it can let you take the angle of a beam or a column in respect to a wall, for example, and then use this to make a precise cut somewhere else.

This is especially important for working miter cuts with a miter or a circular table saw. This type of work is very common in carpentry, for example as well as for a variety of other tasks. This technique is also used in construction and in artisanal manufacturing.

What are the advantages of a digital versus analog goniometers?

Analog (traditional) goniometers are little more than an angle conveyor with a ruler attached at its center that can rotate freely from the joint. The main part of the tool is put on one of the points to be measured, and the ruler placed on the other. The angle can then be measured using the central circle or semi-circle.

Digital goniometers do not have complicated dial readings, as they display the information simply on an LCD screen. In addition, many digital goniometers offer other advantages, such as angle conversion. Here are some of the key advantages of digital goniometers:

  • They display the information on an LCD screen.
  • They have a backlight, so you can work in low light.
  • They let you convert angles to the sexagesimal system ( which is the most common), as well as to centesimals or radiants.
  • They let you store measurements and upload them to a smartphone or a computer.
  • Are faster, since you just have to place it on the surface you want to measure.
  • Some goniometer models let you combine them with other tools such as a laser level or a laser meter.

A goniometer is used for general carpentry tasks.
(Source: Elnur Amikishiyev: 122999629/

Which is better: a goniometer or an inclinometer with a laser meter?

It is important to remember that these two tools have very different functions. Although some laser meters have the same functions as an inclinometer, the angle measurements they offer will never be as accurate as those of a goniometer. The goniometer provides accurate and very reliable angle measurements, while the inclinometer detects unevenness.

As previously mentioned, you can use these tools together to measure angles, level and distance to a high degree of accuracy. However, it is not a good idea to use one as a replacement for the other. Goniometers are very reasonably-priced, so it is worth investing a little and avoiding future issues.

Goniometers are also used in construction.
(Source: Caifas: 92645793/

Buyer's Guide

Precision work requires quality tools that make your work easier and guarantee the best results. Therefore, it is important to know how to choose the best tools for the job. To help you, we have prepared a guide to the factors you should keep in mind in order to choose the best goniometer available.


The size of a goniometer you need will depend on the work you plan to do with it. For example, larger models with longer arms are suitable for construction and masonry, with an abundance of different models and types available in this category. Some can also be combined with meters or levels.

If you want a goniometer for precision work such as carpentry, adjustment of mechanical parts or manufacturing and DIY tasks, you’re best off with a small goniometer. These instruments are far more manageable, which is critical if you are working in tight or narrow spaces.

Digital goniometers can store your measurements and then upload the data onto you smartphone or computer.
(Source: Ian Allenden: 42638520/


These tools are primarily designed to measure and advance angles, but it is also worth checking if they have extra functions. If you’re planning to use your goniometer for construction, masonry or plumbing work, you should choose a model that has a leveling function, as this will let you work more efficiently, as well as saving space in your toolkit.

Another very handy function that some goniometers have is memory storage. This lets you save your measurements and therefore work across multiple angles in the most precise way possible. This is very useful for construction and carpentry work. The very best goniometers can even export your measurements to a smartphone or computer.


Accuracy is arguably the most important factor when buying a goniometer. If the measurement of the angles is not accurate, the quality of our work will leave much to be desired. Therefore, it is important that you choose a tool that covers as many angles as possible. Most goniometers have a range between 180 and 360º, with 360º being the better choice.

Measurements should be accurate to 0.1 to 0.3 degrees maximum, with a variation of no more than 0.1 degrees. With these measurements, the higher the number, the lower the accuracy. It is also important that you have an angle converter, allowing you to work more easily.


Goniometers, although very simple tools, are indispensable for a wide variety of construction and carpentry tasks. They let you achieve the best results when cutting angles or measuring surfaces. Use them in your DIY projects for consistent, high-quality results. When it comes to value for money, the goniometer is unbeatable. This tool is very low-priced, yet is a simple, precise and necessary tool, which is a  must-have for your toolbox.

If you found this article useful, leave us a comment and share it with your friends and family so that they can also find the best goniometers out there!

(Source of Featured Image: Alexandr Loskutov: 2074986/