A Tape Measure--A Rugged & Accurate, Must-Have Tool
Tape measures are versatile tools that find applications in various tasks across different industries, or even in DIY projects at home or in everyday life. You may need to make measurements when you plan to buy furniture, and you’d like a particular layout. Or it’s possible that you want to install flooring or affix wallpaper. And a cloth tape measure would come in handy if you want to measure body dimensions, fabric lengths, seam allowances, and the like.
Looking over the Best Reviews Guide list, we’ll see some tape measures with extra perks, such as being reinforced so that they don’t buckle, even if you extend them way out. There are also tape measures with a magnetized tip, which can come in handy if you want to lock the tip in place so that it doesn’t move while making measurements. And you can even find tape measures that give you a digital readout, besides reading the length off of the tape measure itself.
Whether you have to make measurements in a professional role, or just for projects and home improvement tasks, it’s a good idea to have a sturdy, easy-to-read tape measure on hand!
Is it really worth getting a laser tape measure?
Laser tape measures are accurate to within a few millimeters, even if you’re trying to measure a very long distance–as much as several hundred feet! They can also calculate area and volume based on the measurements. They’re also much easier to use since you don’t have to stretch out a tape measure over a distance. You can make measurements with only one hand! So, if you want to measure long distances accurately, or are looking for extra convenience, a laser tape measure might be for you.
Types of Tape Measures
There are several types of tape measures available, each designed for specific purposes. Here are some common types:
Standard Tape Measure: This is the most common type of tape measure used for general measuring tasks. It typically has a steel blade that extends out and can be locked in place. An example is the Workpro 25-foot Tape Measure. It has two scales, with one marking every 1/32”, and one marking every 1/16”.
Workpro 25-foot Tape Measure
Measuring Tape: Measuring tapes are similar to standard tape measures but often have a flexible tape, usually made of fabric or fiberglass. They are commonly used in tailoring, sewing, and other applications that require measuring curves or contours. Many will have a metal stud at the ends, to prevent the tape from fraying. An example is the iBayam 2-Pack Tape Measure Measuring Tape. You receive a 60”-long cloth tape measure with markings in centimeters on one side and inches on the other, as well as a retractable 60”-long black tape measure.
iBayam 2-Pack Tape Measure Measuring Tape
Long Tape Measure: There are also very long tape measures, which are designed for measuring longer distances. They have a longer blade that can extend up to 100 feet or more. These are often used in construction, surveying, and other similar professions. An example is the Champion Sports Closed Reel Measure Tape. It’s intended to be used for sporting events, such as a long jump, or for measuring during football or baseball.
Champion Sports Closed Reel Measure Tape
Digital Tape Measure: Digital tape measures have a digital display that shows the measured length. They often provide additional features like memory storage, and conversion between units, and can sometimes calculate areas and volumes. An example is the 16-foot long eTape Digital Tape Measure. The memory function allows you to make several measurements, without having to write down the results.
eTape Digital Tape Measure
Laser Tape Measure: Laser tape measures use laser technology to measure distances. They emit a laser beam that reflects off a target, and the device calculates the distance based on the time it takes for the laser to return. Laser tape measures are known for their accuracy and are commonly used in construction and real estate. An example is the Bosch Blaze Bluetooth Enabled 165ft Laser Distance Measure. It will give you a readout of the distance without actually physically having to stretch a tape measure over the area.
Bosch Blaze Bluetooth Enabled 165ft Laser Distance Measure
What reviewers say
We went over some customers’ impressions of the tape measure that they bought:
Check for a good locking mechanism: When you make a measurement, you might want to lock the tape measure in place, to allow you to copy down the reading. Customers are frustrated with tape measures that don’t have a good locking mechanism. Some even have an automatic locking mechanism: when you pull the tape measure out, it remains out until you press a button to retract it. You may want to look into a model like that, such as the Milwaukee 25-foot Compact Auto Lock Tape Measure.
Milwaukee 25-foot Compact Auto Lock Tape Measure
Reinforced blade: Certain tape measures have coatings and reinforcement, especially in the first few feet, which take most of the wear and tear. The Stanley FatMax 25-foot Tape Measure has a mylar polyester film on the entire blade, as well as a special coating on the first 6 feet, for greater durability.
Stanley FatMax 25-foot Tape Measure
Here are some tips and features to help you decide on which tape measure to buy:
Length: Tape measures come in various lengths, typically ranging from 12 feet to 35 feet or more. Consider the maximum length you might need for your tasks. Longer tape measures are useful for measuring larger distances but may be less portable.
Blade Material: The blade is the measuring strip of the tape measure. It's commonly made of steel, which provides durability and stiffness. Look for a tape measure with a sturdy blade that resists bending or collapsing.
Blade Markings: Check for clear and easy-to-read markings on the blade. Look for measurements in both imperial (inches) and metric units (centimeters) if you require both systems. Some tape measures also have additional markings for fractions.
Locking Mechanism: A reliable locking mechanism is essential for securing the blade in place once extended. Look for a tape measure with a sturdy and easy-to-use locking mechanism to prevent the blade from retracting while you take measurements.
Belt clip: Many of these retractable metal tape measures have a belt clip. This is a great convenience so that you can take the measure along with you when surveying a site.
Standout: You’ll see that different tape measures advertise the length of their “standout”. This is the amount that you can extend the metal blade of the tape measure without fearing that it will buckle or “snap”. The Klein Tools 25-Foot Heavy-Duty Measuring Tape has an amazing 13-foot standout! You can extend the blade to more than half its length without it buckling!
Klein Tools 25-Foot Heavy-Duty Measuring Tape
Retraction speed brakes: If you let the blade of the tape measure snap back too fast, it can cause the blade to buckle, or it may cut your fingers. There are tape measures that have a “brake” on them so that you can control the speed at which the tape retracts. The Irwin Strait-Line Tape Measure is a 16-foot-long tape measure with a finger-controlled brake, to let you retract it slowly.
Irwin Strait-Line Tape Measure
We went through some of the features of the best tape measures. Look at factors such as the maximal lengths that you’ll need to measure, the clarity of the markings on the tape measure, and the kind of durability that you’ll need. A tape measure is a necessity in every toolbox!