The 3rd annual Metal Supermarkets Trade School Scholarship is now accepting applications. We're offering $10,000 to students attending a Trade School in 2024. APPLY NOW

Got Your Gauge? – How Metal Thickness Works

What is a metal's gauge?
What is a metal’s gauge?

After determining what type and shape of metal you need for your project, you will need to figure its gauge. A metal’s gauge refers to its thickness, which greatly affects its resistance.

When figuring out a metal’s thickness, keep the following facts in mind:

  • Sheet gauges start at .010” and go up to .170” (or 7 gauge)
  • The thickness for plate sizes can be from .188” and up
  • All sheet gauges are sold by the gauge or decimal equivalent and normally require a caliper or feeler gauge to determine thickness

Select a Shape

Flat Sheet Plate

What Metal Gauge Do I Need?

Not sure what gauge of metal you need? No need to worry, there are several ways to solve the puzzle. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Use a Caliper

A Digital Caliper

The most precise way to measure a metal’s thickness is to use a caliper. Calipers are hand tools designed to precisely measure the distance between two points. Just fit the two tips of the caliper around the metal you need to measure to determine its thickness.

This method is most useful when replacing an existing piece of metal, since the thickness of the new piece has to match this measurement. Additionally, calipers can be fairly inexpensive, a simple caliper can be bought for as little as $8.

2. Use our Metal Reference Guide

You can find a gauge chart in the back of our easy-to-navigate, Metal Reference Guide (PDF). The Metal Reference Guide provides you with the necessary information on available grades, shapes and sizes as well as their mechanical properties.

3. Visit or Contact Us

As the “convenience stores” of the metal industry, we are here for all of your small quantity metal needs. If you don’t know the type, grade or size of metal you need for a project, we will be more than glad to help you in determining the perfect gauge for your metal.

Metal Supermarkets

Metal Supermarkets is the world’s largest small-quantity metal supplier with 125 brick-and-mortar stores across the US, Canada, and United Kingdom. We are metal experts and have been providing quality customer service and products since 1985.

At Metal Supermarkets, we supply a wide range of metals for a variety of applications. Our stock includes: mild steel, stainless steel, aluminum, tool steel, alloy steel, brass, bronze and copper.

We stock a wide range of shapes including: bars, tubes, sheets, plates and more. And we can cut metal to your exact specifications.

Visit one of our 120+ locations across North America today.

Related blog articles

Shopping from the UK?

Visit our UK website for our stores, online ordering and product availability.