One of the most valuable tools in my shop is my digital angle finder. Wixey makes the one that I chose for my angle-finding duties. It can be purchased through the Wixey.com site, on Amazon.com, or a variety of other sites for approximately $40 as of this posting. One bonus for buying through the Wixey site is free shipping.
The thing that I like most about using it is that the surface that it is being used on does not have to be level to begin with. To use it push the power button, place it on the reference surface (such as the table saw table, workbench top, or drill press table) and hold the zero button. This zeros the angle out. Then place it against the object that you want to find the angle for such as the table saw, drill press, or the project being assembled on the workbench.
One of the creative ways that I have found to use this is to clamp my miter gauge to the workbench, zero out the Wixey angle-finder, then hold it against the miter gauge bar. This enables me to obtain more accurate miters thus tighter joints and a more attractive finished product. If my miter gauge was not the cheap one with an aluminum bar I would not need to hold it in place while I lock in the exact angle.
The Wixey angle gauge features two small, but powerful magnets on the bottom to attach to any ferrous metal surface. The buttons are also easy to access and the digital display is easy to read. The one area that I found lacking is a back light on the display. This would make is easier to read. However, considering a shop should have adequate lighting to begin with, this has not been a very big drawback.
The Wixey angle finder reads 180 degrees and reads out to one-tenth of a degree. The accuracy is +/- 1 degree. The size of the unit is also very nice because the blade on a saw does not need to be raised too high to get a good angle read. The unit is two inches tall by two inches wide and about an inch and a half thick. The unit has an auto-shut off to preserve battery life. I store mine on a metal shelf in my garage where it has been subjected to 100-degree summer temps and –20-degree winter temps for 9 months now and the battery is still good.
The verdict – if you want to take your joinery and cutting accuracy to the next level a digital angle finder should be on your wish list. There are a few other brands out there, but I would recommend Wixey. They are a trusted name in digital measuring devices.