Tape Measure is the most handy, yet an important tool in a woodcrafter's toolbox. Be it an occasional woodworker, DIYer to a pro-grade woodcrafter, this tool is helpful to everyone, especially when you are required to do some precise cuttings following a particular measurement. Another plus point about having this tool in your work kit is it costs within a reasonable budget. However, it is a challenging task to select one model out of the many such models from different manufacturers. So, we have compiled a list of 10 best rape measures to ease your product selection and purchase. A buyer's guide is also provided followed by three top picks in the conclusion to help make a purposeful purchase.
Review of 10 Best Tape Measures
Stanley Powerlock Tape Measure is known for its ultimate convenience in measuring wood logs of anything (both short and long lumbers). The sidelock beside the tape rule holds the measurement to avoid errors or slippage in taking readings. All the tape models of Stanley include a unique belt hook. The tape allows easy access to take quick readings. The tape rule is 3 to 200 feet long. So, you can use this model in any type of measuring requirement. This is a must have tool, typically for the contractors. The mylar coating on the tape blade makes it abrasion resistant and ensures durability that lasts ten times longer compared to other blade types.
The heat-treated tape spring also adds to the product longevity. The true zero end hook is self-adjustable to make readings; whether it is internal or external measurements. The rule is colored in two different shades on the either side, allowing clearer readability with fewer to zero measuring errors.
Kutir Tape Measure features a rule that is 25 feet long and 0.15 mm broad. The tape is sturdy with a matte finish. This tool can be kept in a homekit for general measuring applications. Other than that, if you are a pro-grade interior designer, carpenter, wood or metal professional, go for this tape. The tape housing is shock-resistant as it is made of high quality rubberized material. The tape has been lab-tested to ensure its quality of functionality.
The magnetic end hook made the reading-taking task way easier than before, that too single-handedly. This type of tape is most convenient for the metal workers, however, it is an all purpose measuring tape. The measurement indicators on the tape are easily visible for their bolded, enlarged numbers. In all fairness, you get the most precise measurement readings; be it in carpentry work, DIY wood projects. The rule features two units; metric and inch on either side so that you can take smaller to larger object measurements.
Komelon SM5425 Tape Measure is known for its revolutionary ergonomic cum compact design, whose blade has been further enhanced/labeled by the fractional graduations.
The tape rule is 25 feet long with an easy hold as the tape housing is fortified with a thick rubber case. The blade is coated with an acrylic layer and the fractional graduations helps you to take quick measurements.
Magnelex Tape Measure features a strong rule of 10 feet long. The tape is known for its longevity and impact-resistant. Therefore, it can withstand accidental drop. The tool has a wrist strap for convenient grip. included. The internal mechanism of the tape is smooth as it is easily retractable and it is a reliable measuring tool for any professional.
The lock button holds the rule tightly in position to which it was last extended, in order to prevent the slippage of the measurement and get precise reading. No hustle of slipping or sliding the tape reading until you unlock the release switch.
Quickdraw Tape Measure includes an inbuilt graphite-made dispensing wheel to take measurements. The tool enables you to take pinpoint readings with exact precision, freeing you from the trouble of using a pencil for on-board measurements. The blade is coated with a nylon layer for longevity. The tape measures up to 25 feet.
Komelon SL2825 Tape Measure includes a self-locking mechanism allowing the tape rule to smoothly extend. The tool also has a release button to reset the last taken measurement and rewind the tape smoothly.
The tool housing is coated with a rubberized housing that makes the product impact resistant. The blade is coated with a nylon layer ensuring durability.
Stanley FatMax Tape Measure has its first six feet fortified with blade-armor coating for extended longevity. You get a standout length of about 11 feet and include two stud markings of 16 and 19.2 inch which mostly help in simplifying the framing jobs. Theylar polyester coating adds to the blade durability.
The heat-tested spring renders smooth retraction if the tape blade. The tape rule is generally 25 feet long.
eTape Digital Tape Measure allows two in one facility to take measurements both in analog and digital modes. The tool can withstand any type of work environment. The polycarbonate plastic casing of the tool males it rugged and durable.
The digital display is broad enough to give you a clearer reading. You can take short term to long term measurement holding options. Plus, the scale reading can be converted to both inch and cm as required.
Lufkin Tape Measure features a both sided rule with consecutive graduations of up to 16ths (in inches) on each side with horizontal graduation on the back side while horizontal on the front side. You get a standout length of about 10 feet enabling easy reach and convenient measurement. Two different colors are used on the tape blade for better legibility in a lowlight work environment. High visibility green colored labeling on the tape rule gives a contrasting effect while taking the measurements.
The matte nylon finish on the tape blade coating ensures reduced glare, especially while implementing heavy wood projects outdoors. The dual end-hook feature guarantees hard grip on any side. So, making reading marks and taking quick measurements is now easier than ever. The sturdy rubber jacket on the product casing increases the tapes impact-resistance.
Swanson SVPS25M1 Tape Measure is yet another but not the least option on the list. The tool features a retractable cum innovative scribe guide for taking measurements conveniently; be it a radial marking or length. The guide also prevents painful splinters. The blade is
1 to 1/16 inch wide blade with 8 feet standout length. The tape rule displays enlarged numbers printed at both the top and bottom promising easier readability. With this tool, you can easily draw or make circles on the surfaces with the scribe containing a centering pin.
The product housing is made of high quality ABS plastic ensuring firm grip on the tool. The rubber molded jacket adds to the product durability. The scribe guide structure makes it suitable for using to measure plywood and OSB (Oriented Strand Board) sheets.
Buyer's Guide: How to Choose the Tape Measure Right for You
Although there are a number of factors you may check in a tape measure, here are the most primary ones to consider.
The housing of the tape measure should be ergonomic to hold and should be designed in such a manner that its delicate interiors stay intact and undisturbed. Therefore, make sure that your chosen tape measure has a comfortable design and is made of ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) plastic and/or rubber material, ensuring protection of the tool.
If your tap measure includes a heat-tested spring (which the tool generally has), then it is a good one to go. Additional processing of the tape spring makes it a tougher tool with extended durability.
Generally, a tape length of only 25 feet is widely available in the market for regular purposes. However, you even get the one with a maximum length of 200 feet, typically for carrying out major wood projects.
The tape width mostly varies from 1 inch to 2 inches. Sometimes, the width may be even more. The broader the tape measure, the more accessible the markings on the tape will be. Consequently, it will be easier to take the readings/measurements.
The types of hook used in any pocket size tape measure are not the same. Every pocket-sized tape includes a self-adjustable piece of metal hook that can move both in and out, thereby enabling the tool to be suitable for both internal and external readings. This is one such factor which varies from one model to another.
The low cost tapes feature a fairly flat cum small hook that can be clipped to the object(woodpiece) to be measured, giving a clearer view of the measurements when seen from the top. The costly tape measures, on the other hand, feature multi-directional end hooks, allowing the woodworker to buckle the tape onto the wood piece from below, above, or sideways. The expensive tape models are typically for the crafters who prefer doing the task alone and so, require a tool that could render proper and vivid measurements, when taken in any direction.
Other than the low cost and high cost tape measures, the surveyor tape is another type which comes with different hook designs to choose among. Out of all the end hook types, the one with a folded metal hook having teeth or prongs is the most-sought after tape hook type. The prongs on the hook lets you anchor the tape onto the object or into the ground. Other costly tapes feature a loop type end hook (perfect for taking ground measurements by anchoring the tape with a peg) while another tape type comes with a loop only.
There are 4 categories under which the accuracy standard of the tape measure is split. The regular commercial tape measures widely found in the local hardware stores or in the superstore of a DIY hobbyist fall into the "not classified" category. In simple words, the level of accuracy or precision in measuring the workpiece has yet not been tested to set an accuracy standard for the tool.
However, the unavailability of a precise accuracy value does not indicate the inaccuracy in the measurement of the tool. The unclassified tape measures types are generally perfect for taking rough measurements, where the measurements may vary from the original reading by a few millimetres only. The tape with the utmost precision is important while you need to take some intricate or exact measurements.
The tape blade is generally made from steel, stainless steel, or fiberglass. Each of these three material types has its ideal characteristics and peculiarities, making it fit for most applications whereas unsuitable for only a few (as the case may be).
- Till now, steel is the most common type used in making the tape measure blade. Steel is quite robust and durable, plus it has got a reasonable par value in the market, which makes this type the most-sought after by the tape measure manufacturers. Steel blade is generally used in making pocket tapes of almost any type.
Note: The quality of the thickness of the steel tape blade along with the protective layer put on it, regardless of the product brand or model.
- The tape blades made of stainless steel are rarely made and in a limited number as the cost of stainless tape is quite high. However, the product is corrosion-resistant, which adds to its expensiveness. There are only a limited number of manufacturers that produce good quality tape tools. Stainless steel is comparatively softer than the conventional steel. If your wood projects mostly deal with water in the process, purchase a stainless tape for the measurements.
- Fibreglass is the third blade type, mostly used in making surveyor tape measures. The tape features adjustability and is resistant to stretch, water, heat, and tear. This all-in-one tape enables you to take lengthy cum precise readings/measurements even in a messy work environment. Moreover, being water-resistant, any sawdust, debris or mud particles are easily washable under a running faucet. If there is anything that affects the tape mechanism and its markings/labelings on the tape measure blade, it is the debris that shortens the lifetime of this measuring tool.
So, while making the choice among all the above mentioned blade types, check on the quality, longevity, budget of the tool, and your purpose before the purchase.
Having gone through the above guide, we hope your product selection cum buying process will be easier than it was before reading this review article. Though all the above profiled tape measures are unique with their own set of pros and cons, here are our top three recommendations:
- Stanley Powerlock Tape Measure
This tape measure is for those who are expecting a durable tool that guarantees minimal to zero error in the measurement.
- Quickdraw Tape Measure
This product is for those who are looking for prp-grade nylon coated tape blade for extra product longevity.
- Lufkin Tape Measure
This tape alternative is for those wood professionals who are always on the move. It is perfect for outdoor applications and is impact-resistant.