Brown & Sharpe BesTest Indicator

This Brown & Sharpe indicator (made by TESA) is still one of the best test indicators available. It is compact and has excellent repeatability. The black dial and orange hands have practically become a trademark for this gage. It's hard to imagine a better measuring instrument.

  • black dial models: -5
  • white dial models: -3
  • yellow metric models: -13

There are several new improvements to the 2017 models. The indicator model number is now etched on the cover of the case rather than on the dial. Unfortunately because many of the components are sourced from foreign countries, the indicator can no longer legitimately be labeled "Swiss Made".

Bestest indicator by Brown & Sharpe

B&S Bestest — America's most popular test indicator.

BesTest Indicator with black dials

Why are the black dials less expensive? Because they come with fewer accessories. You'll get a 1/4" diameter stem holder, contact point "wrench" (carbide .080" diameter point included) and a plastic box. Black dial models only come in the standard horizontal version.

BesTest 7033-5 is particularly popular. Notice that the graduations are sub-divided into .00005" but the accuracy is no better than the .0001" model.

  • The accuracy of .00005" and .0001" indicators is ±.0001"
  • The accuracy of .0005" and .001" indicators is ±.0005"
  • The repeatability of .00005" and .0001" indicators is ±.00002"
  • The repeatability of .0005 and .001" indicators is ±.0001"

These test indicators come with an unsigned statement from the manufacturer that the gage is within tolerance and that these are traceable to "national master standards". There are no data provided.

How do these compare to the competition? You will find out on our
indicator brand comparisons page.
Type Graduations Range Dial Ø Point Length Model
Black .00005" .008" 1.5" .5" 7033-5 check price
Black .0001" .008" 1" .5" 7032-5 check price
Black .0005" .02" 1" 1.4" 7034-5 check price
Black .0005" .02" 1.5" 1.4" 7035-5 check price
Black .0005" .03" 1" .5" 7030-5 check price
Black .0005" .03" 1.5" .5" 7031-5 check price
Black .001" .03" 1" .5" 7029-5 check price

Horizontal BesTest Indicator

These are the standard, white dial variety (yellow dials if they are metric) with carbide contact points.

Bestest indicators have a very lightweight body and excellent response. They come with one carbide point (installed), with 2 accessories (shown below) and a plastic storage box.

Note that the .00005" model dials are subdivided. Their accuracy remains at .0001"

  • The accuracy of .00005" and .0001" indicators is ±.0001"
  • The accuracy of .0005" and .001" indicators is ±.0005"
  • The repeatability of .00005" and .0001" indicators is ±.00002"
  • The repeatability of .0005 and .001" indicators is ±.0001"

These test indicators come with an unsigned statement from the manufacturer that the gage is within tolerance and that these are traceable to "national master standards". There are no data provided.

Rectangular bar [599-7047] is included but also available separately. It is 1/4" by 1/2" by 3" long. The fastening stud is 7/32" (.220") in diameter and will clamp into the Swivel clamp shown above. The bar can then be fastened on your lathe or to your height gage.
Swivel clamp [599-7045-1] is included with the horizontal models but also available separately. The clamp attaches to the indicator's dovetails. The clamp has two openings: 3/8" and 7/32" diameters.
Type Graduations Range Dial Ø Point Length Model
Horizontal .00005" .008" 1.5" .5" 7033-3 check price
Horizontal .0001" .008" 1" .5" 7032-3 check price
Horizontal .0001" .008" 1.5" .5" 7023-3 check price
Horizontal .0005" .02" 1" .5" 7030-3 check price
Horizontal .0005" .02" 1" 1.4" 7034-3 check price
Horizontal .0005" .02" 1.5" 1.4" 7035-3 check price
Horizontal .0005" .03" 1.5" .5" 7031-3 check price
Horizontal .001" .03" 1" .5" 7029-3 check price

Vertical BesTest Indicator

These are the standard, white-dial variety with the dial mounted on the end. This configuration is often referred to as Jig-Bore Style. Bestest indicators have a very light body and excellent response. These models come with a universal dovetail mounting attachment (see photo), .080" diameter carbide point, contact point wrench, certificate of accuracy and traceability and an ugly plastic box. Other stem attachments, turning holders, accessories, contact points and spare parts are also available.

BesTest does not make a metric vertical model but you can find an equivalent Tesatast indicator.

Universal test indicator holder
Universal holder 599-7054 is included with the vertical (end mounted dial) indicator but can also be purchased separately.

These test indicators come with an unsigned statement from the manufacturer that the gage is within tolerance and that these are traceable to "national master standards". There are no data provided.

Type Graduations Range Dial Ø Point Length Model
Vertical .00005" .008" 1.5" .5" 7038-3 check price
Vertical .0001" .008" 1.5" .5" 7024-3 check price

BestTest Side Mounted Dials - Parallel Style

Ideally suited for work with height gages and transfer gages. They come in a plastic storage box, together with:

  • 1 contact point 1/2 in with a .080 in dia.
  • 1 rectangular bar
  • 1 swivel clamp
  • 1 contact point wrench

Note: these specialty models are not always in stock in the U.S. You may have to allow 4-6 weeks for delivery. Prices in effect as of April 4, 2023

Side mounted BesTest indicator
BesTest does not make a metric parallel model but you can find an equivalent Tesatast indicator.

Type Graduations Range Dial Ø Point Length Model
Parallel .0005" .030" 1.5" .5" 500-7021-3 471.00 … order now
Parallel .00005" .008" 1.5" .5" 599-7022-3 532.00 … order now


Q: Why is the hand not set at 12 o'clock or 6 o'clock?

  • At rest, the hand is set at 5 o'clock on the BesTest indicator. This insures that you get the full range of travel. You will be adjusting the position of the indicator in such a way that the hand points to zero when you take readings. Now you will be able to read deviations in either direction. In the following example, you will be able to read .004" clockwise and .004" counter-clockwise, plus a little bit of overtravel. dialrotation

Q: I am looking for a suction tool to remove crystals. I have several old B & S gages that I will need to replace the crystals; however, I am lacking the suction tool. Can you please let me know what it is called and where I might find one?

  • If you have really old models you won't need a suction cup but if you have the new ones we find that this method really doesn't work. You are better off breaking the crystal to install a new one. Detailed repair instructions are available in our Repair Manual for Swiss-made BesTest and TesaTast Indicators.

Q: I purchased several B&S 599-7032-5 about 3 months ago. Some of them are already sticking. I just think they are not jeweled and wear faster (this may be a total fantasy – but as you are the expert here, I thought I’d throw it out). Is B&S Bestest better than I think?

  • Sticking on the Bestest is due to only one of two things: oil has gotten inside and is causing the hair spring to malfunction or severe shock can break a tooth on the crown gear and cause the hair spring to coil up permanently. The Bestest indicator is perhaps a little more sensitive than the others but it also has excellent response and repeatability. It is fully jeweled. You can take a look by removing the cover plate (if you have a screw driver small enough). Unfortunately there is nothing you can do to clean it, except send it to a repair shop.

Q: I have a Brown & Sharpe BesTest 7031-5, and needs to have the crystal face replaced (cracked and cloudy). If I buy the replacement part, how do I change it? Or, do I need to send it out for repair?

  • You can replace the crystal if two conditions exist: 1. You are able to remove the old crystal. 2. The bezel is still in perfectly round, undamaged condition. In that case, the new crystal can usually be pressed in place with the thumbs.

Q: One of my coworkers bought a BesTest indicator two months ago and it is already malfunctioning. My best guess is at some point oil or moisture got inside and is making the needle stick and not repeat accurately. Is this covered under warranty?

  • Liquids are any test indicator's worst enemy, regardless of the brand, BesTest or otherwise. Once it gets inside, any indicator will stop repeating. If you can not keep liquids away from the indicator, then you should find another means of taking measurements. This can not be considered a warranty issue.

Q: I read that you guys recommend the white face on the Brown and Sharpe indicators unless people have experience with the black face. Why is this?

  • The red hand on the black dial may be hard to see for people with diminished vision or people who are color blind. Also, red is a hard color to see in dimmer lighting. Some red hands will wash out over time and become pale orange or even white. Sticking to the black hand / white dial avoids potential problems.

Q: I have a Federal Testmaster LT-111 which looks like it's the same as your 7033-5. Can it be repaired?

  • It is the same as 7033-5 and 7033-3 because it was made by the same manufacturer. It will use all the same parts including the same contact point. The Federal Testmaster indicators are no longer available but you can readily replace them with the Brown & Sharpe models.

Q: I believe that I have gotten in over my head so to speak. I have repaired these indicators in the past with good results, but have never replaced the hair spring before. Is it possible to purchase the bezel plate with the hair spring and anchor pin as an assembly?

  • This assembly is not available but you can find detailed instructions on hair spring repair, with photographs, in our Bestest repair manual.

Companion Reference Guide for Test Indicators — 2020 Edition
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Long Island Indicator Service
Long Island Indicator Service was founded in 1960. We provide professional repair service for precision measuring tools and gages with an emphasis on Swiss made test indicators, dial indicators, dial calipers and micrometers. We are pleased to be a recognized service partner for Brown & Sharpe.

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