Regardless of your trade or professional inclination, a tape measure should never go amiss from your toolbox if you can help it. While most people own at least one, it is never a bad idea to invest in a new one or to add another one to your arsenal seeing how widespread and relatively inexpensive they are. In truth, you can never have too many tape measures considering their availability, nor should you rely on a single model to help you with your tasks.
It has to be said that despite being easily available, not all tape measures can be expected to meet the same structural standards. In fact, some are a lot more flexible, sturdy, and reliable than others, especially if you’re willing to spend a few bucks more for the real deal. To give you some pointers on what a decent tape measure should look like, we put together a list of the ten best tape measures the market has to offer for you to look at.
Best Tape Measures – Reviews
10Milwaukee Stud Tape Measure 25′
Equipped with the latest EXO360 Blade Technology, the Milwaukee 25 ft. Stud Tape Measure features a premium quality construction that is both ultra-durable and flexible at the same time. Made from strong materials, it comes with 10 times the resistance and is damage and abrasion proof. Equipped with a reinforced casing and frame, it comes with a 10’ tape standout and a heavy-duty hook for good measure. Thanks to its unique tape retraction mechanism, it allows you to stop the tape from retracting with just your finger. Featuring a handy wire form belt clip, it is also very easy to carry around.
9Stanley Tools 33-730 FatMax Measuring Tape
The Stanley Tools 33-730 FatMax Measuring Tape is a truly reliable model, one that features an 11-inch tape and 2 stud center markings of 16 inch and 19.2 inches each. Equipped with a heat-treated, high-quality spring, it helps in quick and easy recoiling and provides long-lasting durability. The tape also comes with a Mylar polyester film that helps extend the life of the blade. Measuring 1 and 1/4th inch by 30 feet respectively, this tape measure comes with its first 6 feet evenly coated with BladeArmor coating that adds to the reliability and makes the product robust.
8Champion Sports Open Reel Measuring Tape
The Champion Sports Open Reel Measuring Tape is a premium grade tool that features an open reel design and measures approximately 100 ft. long. Unlike most of its kind, this tape measure comes equipped with a sturdy hand crank mechanism that allows quick and easy tape winding once you are done measuring. The base of the tool features a robust metal spike that provides optimum stability while measuring. Made with vinyl fiberglass, it features a strong construction and is a great tool to carry on the go.
7SINGER 50003 ProSeries Retractable Tape Measure
The SINGER 50003 ProSeries Retractable Tape Measure is a 96-inch measuring tool that comes designed in a case with a handy key ring hole. Light in weight and compact in size, it is easy to carry and is built for easy attaching onto a lanyard or peg. Made from premium grade materials, it is crafted from heavy-duty vinyl and is known for its flexibility and long-lasting durability. Featuring both inches and centimeters, this tape measure is the ideal tool to have around the house.
6Komelon 4912IM The Professional Power Tape
Equipped with a high-end blade extension, this professional power tape from Komelon is a sturdy tool that is uniquely designed for tough contractors and construction workers. Featuring a metric measuring scale, this 12-foot long tape comes crafted in an ergonomically constructed chrome case with a triple-riveted hook at the end. Thanks to its superior internal spring mechanism, it offers a smooth, effortless operation. Made from premium quality material, it features a nylon coated blade that provides optimum reliability and durability.
5Komelon SL2825 Self Lock 25-Foot Power Tape
Another great measuring tape from Komelon is the SL2825 Self Lock 25-Foot Power Tape. Crafted with the latest self-locking mechanism, it allows quick and easy extension of the blade. Designed with a simple push-button feature, it helps in retracting the blade smoothly and effortlessly. Made with premium grade materials, it comes with a heavy-duty blade that is coated with nylon and a rubber casing that is resistant to impact and extremely durable by most standards.
4RayTour Retractable Tape Measure
Designed with a unique contrast of black and white, the RayTour Retractable Tape Measure features a flexible, retractable design and measures 60 inches in length. With precise markings in both inches and centimeters, this tape is easy to read and crafted for accurate measurements. Ideal for tailoring, sewing, body measurements, handicrafts and more, it comes with double-sided printing and easy to use. Made from high-quality materials, it is compact in size, light in weight and easy to carry in your bag or pocket.
3eTape16 ET16.75-db-RP Digital Tape Measure
Unlike other manual tape measures, the eTape16 ET16.75-db-RP Digital Tape Measure is designed to make your projects and tasks easy and effortless. Made with premium quality polycarbonate plastic, it measures 16 feet and is resistant to extreme weather and stands out as a fairly durable tool by most standards. Equipped with 3 memory settings including a short-term measurement hold and two long-term features, it comes equipped with a large display screen that shows your measurements digitally. Other features include a centerline calculation function and a re-zero option that you can use at will.
2SINGER 00258 Extra Long Vinyl Tape Measure
Measuring 96 inches in length, the SINGER 00258 Extra Long Vinyl Tape Measure is a manual measuring tool that is flexible, and durable and made from premium quality vinyl. Ideal for measuring round and flat surfaces, it makes a great accessory in every tailors sewing kit. Designed in a vibrant yellow with black printing, it shows both inches and centimeters and provides accurate measurements. Thanks to its heavy-duty tabbed edges, it prevents fraying and can be expected to withstand an awful lot of abuse before showing signs of damage.
1SINGER 00218 Tape Measure
The SINGER 00218 Tape Measure is a 5-foot long measuring tool made from high-quality soft vinyl. Known for its durability, flexibility and high quality, this tape measure is ideal for measuring flat and round surfaces with ease. Featuring a pink background with black printed markings, it features both inches and centimeters. Manufactured by one of the most popular brands across the globe, it is the perfect tool for clothing design, production, and household use. It also comes with a high quality tabbed edging that ensures the tape does not fray at any given time.
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Finding The Perfect Tape Measure
Depending on your trade, you might be looking for different things in a tape measure, and yet we can all agree on the necessity for a decent tape measure to meet all the basic standards of durability and reliability. We’re talking here about the strength of the tape pull, the capacity to withstand abuse, and its rolling smoothness above all else. Now, despite the fact that most tape measures are built for roughly the same purpose, there are certain particularities that set them apart from one another, especially towards the high-end part of the price spectrum. Let us then find out what makes a good tape measure and what to look for when buying one.
The length of a tape measure is among the first things you must consider, perhaps the most important aspect for some. There is quite a bit of diversity in regards to the length of tape measures, as they come in lengths ranging from 10 feet and up to 300 feet or more. In this regard, the length mostly depends on what you need it for and whether you plan on using it for something else farther down the line.
We refer here to the type of increments along the tape’s blade and how that affects the way you measure according to the task at hand. It used to be that tapes would be divided into inches and feet whereas modern tapes are somewhat leaning towards metric divisions (millimeters, centimeters, and meters). It isn’t unlikely to find tape measures that use both the imperial and the metric system.
It is common for tape measures to come in one of three materials for the blade part, mainly steel, stainless steel, or fiberglass. We should point out that each has its own advantages and disadvantages, which mostly depends on what you use them for. While the blade has to be particularly strong, fast, or bendy for some professions, DIY enthusiasts generally prefer a more versatile tape measure for practical reasons.
- Steel – This is perhaps the most commonly used material for tape measure blades, mostly due to its durability. It not only withstands abuse very well but it also offers great value for money seeing how inexpensive most of these tape measures are. For the most part, these tape measures come in a bright yellow construction with high-visibility coating along with black or red markings across the blade.
- Stainless Steel – Perfect for people who work in humid environments, stainless steel tape measures benefit greatly from being resistant to rust. This makes them highly practical long-term as they also incorporate somewhat stronger markings. Almost entirely resistant to corrosion, these tape measures also resist salty environments and being used intensively out in even the harshest weather conditions.
- Fiberglass – A bit more expensive than the other two models, fiberglass tape measures are usually much longer as well. Used by professionals across a wide variety of jobs in different industries, they are commonly valued for their high tensile strength, flexibility, and capacity to withstand heat and abrasion. Due to the fact that they generally come with open reel cases, they are also very easy to clean and look after.
The case material of a tape measure usually reflects its capacity to withstand damage and to retain their usefulness in harsh environments. This is perhaps one of the most important things to consider when buying a tape measure as it must absolutely resist the rigors of everyday usage. Bear in mind that some tapes are more robust than others and that those made from impact resistant plastic are slightly weaker in strength than stainless steel models. Interestingly enough, the market has seen an increase of measure tapes with bi-material cases in recent years, with either steel+plastic as their build or rubber+steel+plastic in a more limited capacity.
Needless to say, a tape measure should meet the most rigorous accuracy standards for you to even consider it. You should never settle for anything short of perfect accuracy with any measuring instrument or tool and this includes tape measures. When it comes to tape measures, they usually fall under one of three classifications – either Class I, Class II, or Class III, with Class I being the most accurate. That said, we should point out that the margin of error is usually fairly small and that it will not really affect your work in most cases.
One should always consider a tape measure’s locking mechanism when determining its overall functionality as it can negatively affect your work if it’s not reliable. This mechanism allows the user to quickly and effectively lock the blade in place once it has reached a fixed point so that its measurements can be safely read when the tool is removed from the object or area being measured. For the most part, tape measures employ an ‘auto-lock’ feature that enables the user to push a button to safely lock the blade in place when needed.
Last but not least, you should always consider a tape measure’s hook as it enables you to hook it over an object for a more reliable measuring process. It has to be said that most tape measures use such a hook these days and that they rarely differ in shape, although the good ones always employ slightly bigger or stronger hooks for practical reasons. Not just that but a hook will also allow a single user to reach out farther when measuring a large object without the need for a second pair of hands to hold the blade safely in place.