Both Clement and DeBoer warned against tapes loaded with additional features like pencil sharpeners. Compare; Find My Store. Item #1437539. For household uses, tape measures come in 12 or 25 feet. In addition to the well-designed blade the end hook is also very well effective and should do a good job of gripping edges for easier measurements. A lame blade lock can be intensely frustrating. From there backwards the markings will increase as the tools base itself is moved away from the tip. It had a double hook with magnets and descent ability. It consists of a ribbon of cloth, plastic, fibre glass, or metal strip with linear-measurement markings. Now you use the tape measure itself to make the marking line. In our testing, we found that the 1-inch blades were the easiest to use overall, even if it meant sacrificing some stand-out. For all of this goodness, the PowerLock still has a couple slight flaws. The Milwaukee Stud is gigantic and simply too massive to easily handle and grip. That is very clearly the mantra that Staney are working to in the design of this product. Better tools can do better work. There's no spring or enclosure, so it won't get choked with dirt or sand. Are those laser distance measurers worth it? The solid feel of the tool and the smooth locking lever were also noted as high points. In late 2018, we tested two new tapes from Milwaukee: the 25 ft. Stud Tape Measure and the 25 ft Compact Tape Measure. Tape measures generally come in three different sizes. About ⅔ of the tapes that we tested had this feature, but the Stanley was one of seven that kept this measurement to an easy-to-use 3 inches. Keep it clean.”. I’ve personally had a lot of experience using this tape and can attest to its brute durability. With a wider tape, longer standout, and tougher parts than our pick, the FatMax balances rugged performance with a body that’s (just barely) not too big to be manageable. Lets start with the outer case. DeBoer pointed out that the blade also rubs the point of entry every time it retracts. But again, those tools didn’t fare well in other categories. The PowerLock is a very basic tool and its pared-down simplicity makes it very light and easy to handle. Here’s the list of the 10 best tape measures in 2019. To start with we have a high quality chrome coated ABS case. Of the 16 tapes tested, only the FastCap Old Standby was off by as much as 1/32 inch. 100 ft. Closed Reel Long Tape Measure. Its design allows for a measure of great length to be easily carried in pocket or toolkit and permits one to measure around curves or corners. Before you make a … Aside from that stand out feature, there’s not too much else to get excited about here. My experience is that tapes below $8 or $10 aren’t worth the cheap plastic they’re made of, and no tape measure is worth more than $20. This is a standard design on tape measures, and when clipped and unclipped repeatedly on a pocket, it starts to fray the fabric. That does mean that you may end up with creasing on the measuring blade over time. It’s not uncommon for a room in a house (or a hallway) to have a wall longer than 16 feet, and you might need to measure the square footage for painting or size up a potential hall runner. Whilst it may on the surface seem quite a simple design, it is actually packing quite a number of high quality design points. Tape width generally ranges from ¾ inch up to 1¼ inch. It has a durable blade, a functional tang, a solid stand-out, a strong locking lever, and a convenient belt hook. Now you’ve got a circle with approximately a 20-inch diameter. Also, if you use a standard tape and you’re looking for a quick hold on the blade, it is very easy to “auto-lock” it by shifting your forefinger forward until it rests against the bottom of the tape. Before you worry about anything else, a tape measure has to be accurate. We performed this three times with each tape. But as cool as they sound, they can only measure areas that have a positive edge (like a room). Check out our range of Measuring Tape products at your local Bunnings Warehouse. Frequently referred to as surveyors' tapes, these professional quality tools come from brands like Stanley, Bahco and Lufkin, range from 10m to 100m and are available with fantastic savings over RRP! Along with the button-stop system, blade durability was a weak point for the FastCap, as was the thumb-operated belt clip (it works like a snack bag clip and is tedious to use). The Best Tape for Long-Distance Measuring An 'open reel' tape is perfect for long measurements. Each inch of the length of the tape is divided into 16 equal parts. But they seem to have been replaced on the shelves by Stanleys. Wirecutter is reader-supported. The hook end is point 0. After that, we’ll take a look at how best to use your new tool and answer some of the most frequently asked questions about this extremely useful product. The measuring tape itself also boasts a number of very impressive features. Komelon claim this is to reduce glare on the tape, making it easier to read. If, for whatever reason, you think that 25 feet of tape is not going to give you the measuring capacity you need then take a look at this product from Magnelex. The third tape measure to make the list today is this entry from Komelon. Accuracy was a piece of the puzzle, but in reality just a very small piece. Simply press the zero button on the case and you can measure again. In the PTR round-up, DeBoer writes, “believe it or not, we found the Stanley PowerLock to be the epitome of how a tang should move—forward and backwards with almost no lateral movement. This means that you can’t pull the tang out by coming at it from the side. 25-foot simply seems to provide the best middle ground between a useful length of measuring surface set against the desire to keep this a small, handheld tool. The people we asked to handle the tapes had similar experiences. We’ve continued using the PowerLock since 2015 and are still impressed. There are tapes that will make a mark for you, tapes that have telescoping measuring rulers, and others with centering scales that show you the center point of any measurement. affiliate commission. If you need a longer tape though, they are out there! We have a very interesting design for you next. Problem was it only lasted 5 months. As mentioned earlier, when I pressed on the Keson’s tang bumper, the seam at the bottom of the case opened up a little. While we liked the added blade durability, the loosey-goosey blade lock was too frustrating. The largest portion of our tape measure testing consisted of using the tools as we completed a number of carpentry projects. If it was there, great. To do this, pound a nail in at your center point until the head is just barely above the surface and hook the slot into the nail head. This is, as we will discuss below, basically the accepted standard for the length of the measuring blade. Another cool thing about the screen is that you can switch back and forth between Metric and Imperial measurements. They have not had to change it because it remains as popular a tape measure as any other in the market. It also has a wider tape (1¼”) and a greater stand-out (we got 11 foot, 3 inches). It’s our pick after 50 hours of research and three annual updates to this guide. If you need quality, look no further. The thumb-operated blade lock is smooth, strong, and easy to operate with one hand, unlike some other more cumbersome models. More thoughts on those in a bit.). But, take a look at the built in features here, and it’s easy to see why they don’t need to make any changes. Is this the most accurate tape measure on the market? When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an The FatMax is more expensive than the PowerLock, but that additional cost gets you a wider blade with a longer stand-out and a rubber overmold that provides greater protection as you’re watching it fall out of your second story window while measuring for a new air-conditioning window unit. Secondly, they attract all manner of metal shavings, filings, and debris, making them difficult to keep clean. Everyone except for Empire is dead on at the 6″ mark on our Lixer Master calibration tool. They have settled on the measuring blade itself as being worthy of a redesign. We were also very impressed to see that the first 3 feet of the tape blade has been treated with a BladeArmor coating. The Stanley PowerLock is the best tape measure for a number of reasons. And while we’re interested in performance here and not historical status, the fact that the PowerLock was good enough to be packed on the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission means that it’s probably good enough for your kitchen drawer. Larger tangs can cause other problems as well. By making that whole process easier, it could be argued that this tool makes a good case for being one of the most accurate tape measures you could get. Longer than 25 feet and the tape roll inside is getting heavier and bigger, making the tape measure less ergonomic and comfortable to use. We also recommended avoiding magnetic tangs. We should point out that this tool does come with a premium price tag, and is in fact one of the most expensive on the list. It doesn’t cover any user wear and tear, but if there is something inherently wrong with the tool, they’ll give you a new one. The best tape measures boast subtle design features that enable greater precision and ease of use. At the complete opposite end of spectrum from the Stanley Powerlock, which hasn’t changed in over 50 years, this tool represents a very innovative and cutting edge design. When it came time to select the best tape measure to make our list, we decided to go for the Stanley 33-245 Powerlock. This indicates the quality of the tang as well as its relationship with the tape blade. The tape itself is steel with an acrylic coating. These are not spring-loaded auto-retracting tapes like their smaller cousins. So aside from that ever-so-slight difference, the whole group is out of the gate with a good start. In other words, it’s perfectly manageable. You get all that for less than 10 bucks too, very good value for money. The case is rubberized so it feels great and adds protection. The minimum width of tape will be around 1 inch and they can be up to 2 inches in width, sometimes more. This model is the famous Stanley Fatmax tape measure. You don’t have to be in the building trades to need this tool, though—anyone doing demanding work at home, from renovating a room to cutting lumber for carpentry projects, will soon appreciate its tougher design. This simple decision makes for a measuring blade that is nice and easy to read. The PowerLock has a blade stand-out of 7 feet, 10 inches, which is on the upper side of the limit indicated by Clement and DeBoer. Nearly all of the Kobalts, and many others had this issue. Find the top 100 most popular items in Amazon Home Improvement Best Sellers. for pricing and availability. The Komelon, Lufkin, and Snap-on extend their ample rubber over-mold up to the nose of the tool so that it directly acts as a bumper. When looking at conventional tape measures, it’s hard to get a true apples-to-apples comparison. For length, we only looked at 25-foot tapes. The tang was very large and had a vertical piece that could hook from underneath. There is really no tape that will last forever under all circumstances. First, the magnets are usually so powerful that they stick to everything, so don’t even try to take a measurement near your refrigerator. Accuracy is important too, but all of the tapes we looked at fell within an acceptable margin of error. As you will no doubt have noticed, so far in our list we have mainly been looking at tape measures that come with a 25ft length. One handling issue that we had with these tapes is that the over-mold extends down from the case and covers the sides of the tang. The tape measure body is encased in rubber. Two out of the three Johnson tapes I looked at—the Professional’s Choice and JobSite—had weak blade locks, and the third, the Johnson’s Big J, had a massive tang and a fairly stiff locking toggle. But is there a little more going on beneath the surface than you may see at first glance? © 2021 Wirecutter, Inc., A New York Times Company, Stanley 33-725 25-Feet FatMax Tape Measure. Coming with a double-sided print that shows decimal foot and fractional inch readings, it is easy to get consistent and reliable measurements at a glance. If the hook is placed over the edge of an item for an outside measurement, the hook will wriggle back on it’s rivet. It wiggles on its rivets to make up for the space the hook takes up, depending on how the tape measure is being used. For one thing it can remain rigid without any support for up to seven feet. Finally, everyone has different hands, so in order to test general ergonomics I gave the top contenders to my wife and some other friends to play around with and considered their feedback. In short it means quality and a very solid construction. Of the tapes we tested, only the Johnson Big J had a significant amount of metal in the case and at no point did we get the sense of any significant added durability. We’ll finish up our list with this model from Lufkin. On some tapes the coating and printing came right off, but others held up admirably to the abrasion test. The FatMax has a top-hooking tang. On many of the other tapes, like the Johnsons and the FastCaps, the printing came off like we were erasing a pencil mark. Milwaukee close reel long tapes deliver onMilwaukee close reel long tapes deliver on best in class durability. If you’re truly so uncomfortable with reading a tape measure and doing the basic math that it takes to know where you’re at in any given inch, these two fractionalized models are probably worth a second look. It is also right at the premium end of the price tag, and is the most expensive tape measure on the list today. It’s one of the taller tapes, with a classic “D” design, but it’s not unwieldy. This black matte finish is designed to cut down on glare in high light situations. It is in the iconic Stanley Powerlock shape, and provides a superb degree of high impact protection to the inner workings of the tool. Magnelex Tape Measure 26-Foot; Kutir Measuring Tape (Our Top Pick) Stanley 33-425 Tape Measure Stanley is back to make their second entry on the list. DeBoer also picks up on the cost analysis in the PTR piece. After all, as we pointed out in the review of this product above, this design originated way back in 1963. It was the MOST Stable of all … DeBoer said that he primarily uses a 16, but he feels safer knowing that he has a 25 close by. Fortunately, it’s not just the best tape measure that we find to be accurate. The Best Laser Measuring Tools (Review & Buying Guide) in 2020, The Best Laser Levels (Review & Buying Guide) in 2020, The Best Digital Calipers (Review & Buying Guide) in 2020, The Best Measuring Wheels (Review) in 2020, The Best Bucket Caddies (Review & Buying Guide) in 2020, Help us to show you Next up we have this product from Kutir. It looks quite plain, but it actually a decent if somewhat basic plastic case. We would not be surprised in the least if that was the case. You don’t have to fumble around holding the tape measure in one hand, searching your pockets for that pencil you were sure you just saw five seconds ago. 1,691 thick blade tape measure products are offered for sale by suppliers on Alibaba.com, of which tape measures accounts for 5%. On the sides at the top of the tang are two slight horns that stick up above the concave side of the tape. That starts with the case itself. But unfortunately it was discontinued. As this map shows, the US is one of the only countries that doesn’t use the metric system. It makes sense to just learn that little trick and then have the full range of tape motion if you need it. For the diagonals, we planted the tang at the lower corner, extended the tapes, and then bent them over with a twist in order to read the upper corner. We actually heard it laughing at us.” DeBoer, in the PTR roundup called the FatMax “the rugged ubiquitous tape to beat.”. FastCap tapes are available with a variety of marking styles, from the standard 1/16 scale to the Lefty/Righty explained above. A: Reading the tape measure is of course one of the most important skills to pick up when using these tools. Any time you consistently need long measurements, one of these can save you a tremendous amount of time. Most tapes have some sort of protective coating, but over time, it gets worn off. Ladies and Gentlemen, say hello to the Lufkin Black Widow. Some tapes have markings on the underside side of the tape as well as the top, but Clement sees this as a “solution without a problem.” For myself, in a decade of construction work, I don’t think I ever used or felt I needed markings on the back side of the tape. In fact, the PowerLock is one of the least expensive tape measures that we’ve looked at. Typical tape measures are good for spans under 25 feet in length, but the DeWalt 300-Foot Measuring Tape is the tool of choice when you have a large distance to measure efficiently. Could there possibly be a tool that is quite as useful but at the same time underrated as the humble tape measure? Because of the 1-inch blade, the body of the PowerLock is a slim 1½ inches wide. Learn more. At the very least, it is a … Well, never say that we don’t listen to you all out there! Of course, the best digital tape measure costs a bit more than your average tape measure. It is a reference to the dark coloring that has been employed on the measuring tape. Find out all you need to know about tape measures in this article. Whether you have a tape measure and want to get an extra one or you’re purchasing your first tape measure it’s suggested that you get the best one. Because the PowerLock has been the standard tape measure for so long (and the one that everyone’s dad owned) it seems to have become what people are comfortable and familiar with. This jobsite standard has proven its durability on countless occasions, and its wider 1¼-inch blade not only stands out unsupported farther than our pick, it also has a tougher coating and a larger tang that can grip an object from more positions than our pick. We curate, you discover! Using the DeWalt, you have to add 3¼ inches and the Snap-on makes you add 3⅛ inches. It’s not as loud as a power drill, it’s not as high tech as a laser guided table saw and it doesn’t come with multiple interchangeable parts like a multi-tool or a socket set and wrench set. The belt hook is a standard but functional design. In our research, we found that many longtime users of the PowerLock wistfully long for the days of the metal case. For a Popular Mechanics article, I threw tape measures off a garage roof onto an asphalt driveway to test for durability. It does however feature a rubberized material coating. A tape measure is a simple machine that has been part of our toolbox since the 1860s, but there are some very important specifications to consider before you set out to buy yourself a new one. Most tangs also have a ¼-inch slot along the front face that allows you to hang the tool off a nail or easily mark a circle with the tape. Everyone thought that the 1¼-inch tapes were bulky and heavy. It’s nice to have the option to jot down some measurements, particularly for the carpenter. It’s worth pointing out that only inch markings are clearly labeled. Rolson Tools 50569 may seem basic. The other tapes, which cost more, all had failings—a poorly protected blade, a gigantic tang, a lame stand-out, or an impossible belt clip. In Clement’s experience, “they tend to roll the tape over when you’re extending to hook something. We also tested the strength of the locking mechanism by locking each tape at 24 inches, dangling it from the tang, and bouncing it. A button, located where the normal toggle would be, retracts the tape. The case is not chrome coated, but instead is made of ABS plastic with a rubberized exterior. No, eTape have looked at the traditional style of tape measure, and wondered what improvements on form and function a digital screen could bring to the table. I’ve also written specifically about tape measures. Source . Best Uses for Fiberglass Measuring Tapes. Everything we recommend for mounting heavy stuff on a wall or ceiling. Most tape measures are of course highly accurate, at least in terms of their markings, and errors are more likely to be made by us, the users. S&R Surveyors Tape Measure Fiberglass 100m / 330 feet Double Marked Tape Reel, Extra Long Builders roll Tape, Width 13mm 4.5 out of 5 stars 205 £25.78 £ 25 . The PowerLock handled this repetitive bending and kinking with no problems, but we were surprised at how quickly this task worked over some of the tapes, like the Keson and the Tajimas, which quickly developed slight warps and wrinkles in the thin blades. That is really going to help to extend the useful lifespan of the product, especially as it is the first sections of the tape measure blade that get the most use and abuse. Again, this protects the inner workings whilst also making the tool comfortable in the hand. In this guide we are going to help you to find a tape measure that will be a loyal and effective tool for you for a long time to come. Unlike metal blades, the fiberglass tape won't kink or break when you step on it. The best tape measure in the ergonomic category was the Milwaukee. But they also produce a lot of support tools too, including, drum roll, tape measures! They resist breakage and damage under the toughest field conditions. It was dead-on accurate when we tested it with the Lixer Calibrator, meaning both the push and pull measurement are right where they’re supposed to be.