Best Tape Measure Reviews for 2017 – In Depth Guide
The proper tape measure can help you with measuring a room for new furniture or a wall for a new shelving unit. It is the extremely useful piece of equipment on a construction site where accuracy in dimensions is an absolute must.
If your tape measure is difficult to use, then you may end up with inaccurate numbers and it could also take a lot longer to take the measurements.
In some cases, it can even be painful if your tape measure is awkward to use as the edges could cut you or your hand could start to cramp up.
How to Use a Tape Measure?
How to Choose Best Tape Measure
When trying to decide on which is the best tape measure to get for your project, there are several factors that you need to take into consideration.
The material a measuring tape is made with will affect the weight and durability. A steel measuring tape will take a beating but weighs double that of a plastic one.
Rubber is durable and comfortable to hold, but can also weigh more. Unless it is made of steel, most measuring tapes are made with a combination of ABS plastic and rubber.
The locking mechanism is important if you plan on doing a lot of work with the unit without an extra pair of hands. An automatic lock will lock on its own when it is extended and stay in that position until you retract it manually.
This type of lock is useful because you don’t need to struggle with holding the blade in place and locking at the same time. Some locking mechanisms are completely manual and need to be pushed for the initial lock as well as retracting the blade.
While you can use these manual locks on your own, it is easier if someone is holding the other end still while you lock it into place.
Several factors make up the durability of a tape measure. The design of the outer casing is a big one. Some tape measures will be made of metal while some feature a plastic casing with a steel frame.
The different configurations in materials will mean the tape measure will either crack on impact when dropped from a ladder or will weather the abuse of a busy construction site. The best tape measures usually involve a metal case.
Other Factors to Consider
- Comfort- It is important for the tape measure to feel comfortable in your hand while using it. Otherwise, you may find that you lose your grip on it which could lead to an improper measurement and hand pain.
- Warranty – the warranty on a tape measure is a good indication of the trust the manufacturer has in the quality of its product. Lifetime warranties are the best.
Without further ado, Check our best tape measure list
1. 25' Foot QUICKDRAW PRO Self Marking Tape Measure
The unique feature of the Quickdraw is that it is a self-marking tape measure which means you no longer have to worry about carrying around extra pencils.
Some other useful features that might make this the right tape measure for you are as follows.
The heavy-duty graphite pencil that comes with this tape measure up to 2000 marks in one pencil and very quick to load. The graphite shows up well on almost any surface.
The Quickdraw Pro comes with a “wedge indicator” which acts like a gun sight. This pinpoints the exact location of your line so you will never be off the mark.
Another nice feature of this tape measure is the solid locking mechanism that will ensure you don’t have a slip when you are in the middle of using it.
Not only does it lock for straight lines but if you need draw a perfect circle to cut, then all you need to do is set your lock for half the circle radius and move the tape measure around.
The tape is coated in a durable material that covers the steel so when you extend it, there is no bending or collapsing. This makes the tape measure durable and rust-resistant so you can go longer without having to replace it.
- Very sturdy once locked so it doesn’t slip when marking
- Self-marking feature means you don’t have to struggle with a pencil while getting your dimensions
- The tape is 25 feet which should give you the length you need without having to mark and start over
- Comes with two refills so you don’t need to purchase anything extra right away
- High-quality steel tape eliminates bending while measuring
- Self-marking feature lets you draw perfect circles quickly and easily
- Tape measure is not built for rugged use but more for hobbyists
- Button for lock sticks and is difficult to use
- Design is bulky and awkward to hold
2. Trust Measuring Tape Measure 25 Foot by 1 Inch
The Trust measuring tape has an auto lock function which keeps the blade from slipping when you are using your hands for other things.
Here are some more unique features of this measuring tape that might help you with your choice when purchasing a tape measure.
This tape measure has M.I.D. certification so you can feel confident that the measurements on the tape are accurate for both metric and imperial systems. The markings on the tape measure are large enough to see for solitary use.
This tape measure makes it so much easier to work on your own especially if you are an independent contractor who needs to make quick measurements.
The magnetic end will stick to any metal surfaces like pipes, metal beams and ducts so that you no longer have to balance it in mid-air hoping it will stay rigid.
Easy to use
This tape measure has a special ergonomically designed case that doesn’t slip while you are using it and is comfortable to grip for extended periods of time.
This means your hand won’t cramp up while you are holding and makes it less likely to slip off the mark. The auto-lock feature is also very easy to secure into place and can be done with one hand.
- Well made design fits comfortably in your hands so you can use it for long periods of time
- Tape has inches and centimeters to make measuring easier
- The locking system will automatically lock and stay secure while you are marking your spot
- Tape measure will lock in place until released manually
- The tape measure is light despite being made of metal which makes it easier to hold up
- This tape measure has a magnetic end that makes it easy to hold in place
- The finish on the tape doesn’t have a glare so it is much easier to read than the shiny tapes
- Very durable and able to be used on a regular basis in moderate conditions
- Auto lock is not always reliable and won’t keep the tape extended
- Tape has a tendency to completely unroll from the housing and no longer retract
- Design is not great for rugged use
- The lock does have a tendency to loosen up so the blade starts to retract by itself
3. Stanley 33-725 25-Feet FatMax Tape Measure
While providing a magnetic end that will hold it in place when measuring metal objects, the FatMax has many other useful features that might make it the one for you.
This tape measure is covered in a “BladeArmor” coating which eliminates tears and rips in the tape while using it. The reinforced tape will also stand out to 11 feet which makes it easier to measure when you are alone.
The FatMax has several design features that make it perfect for work on a rugged jobsite. The heavy duty spring attached to the blade dispensing mechanism means you won’t be sitting with 10 feet of extended tape that won’t retract.
The case itself is made with thick ABS plastic so it won’t crack easily and the metal grip is comfortable to hold.
The lock is easy to use and sits on the top of the unit for easy one handed access. While the Stanley is not an automatic lock, the design will ensure that once set, the tape will not move or slip and you will still get an accurate mark.
- Construction of the case is sturdy and comfortable to use
- The blade is wide and easy to read, the markers and numbers are written in large bold print
- The blade is reinforced on the first 6 feet which make it sturdier when extending all the way
- You can get your measurements without the help of someone else
- Great for taking free standing measurements up to 10’ because it will stay straight and rigid
- The clip on the end of the tape will latch onto to the starting point to make measuring on your own easier
- Good magnets keep the blade in place while measuring
- Only measures in feet so if you need metric measurements you will need to do the math
- The belt clip doesn’t work very well so you need to either keep holding it or putting it down
- The force of retracting the tape into the unit can cause it to crack
- The tape does have a tendency to collapse at longer distances
4. Magnelex Tape Measure 26-Foot (8m)
The following details some of the features that make the Magenelex a possible choice for you.
The Magnelex is “Impact Resistant” which means that if dropped from your ladder, you won’t end up having to replace your tape measure mid-job.
It also has a strong inner mechanism that will allow you to smoothly extend and retract your tape without very little friction. This means the tape measure will be effective for longer.
The case is made with a combination of thick rubber and ABS plastic for a comfortable grip that won’t slip in your hand if you get water or sweat on it.
The nylon coating on the tape covers both sides and eliminates the risk of crimping or ripping while you are using it. This also reduces the risk of cutting your hand if you have to grab the tape quickly.
The textured locking button is easy for one-handed use if you find yourself doing solitary work. This tape measure boasts a strong “stop button” which means the tape won’t slip if you set it to a certain length so your work is always accurate.
- Rubber grip makes this tape measure comfortable to use and feels high quality
- The mechanism for extending and retracting tape works smoothly
- The coils used for extending and retracting are high quality and durable so they will last longer
- Blade shows markings in metric and imperial which makes conversions easier
- Locking mechanism is effective and durable consistently through many uses
- The lanyard that is attached is great for hanging the unit up after use or attaching it to a belt clip
- Has all of the features of a higher priced tape measure with just as good quality
- The blade coating protects surfaces from scratches made while measuring
- Does not come with automatic locking so it will keep rolling up if you don’t hold it
- Can feel rigid when extended
- Belt clip is not made of good quality and will break after a couple of uses
5. Stanley Powerlock 25ft Tape Rule
Some other features of the Stanley Powerlock tape rule are below.
This tape measure comes with a high-impact steel casing which will resist dents and rust in extreme conditions.
While stainless steel may add a little more weight overall, it is the material of choice when contractors are looking at a measure that will hold up to the rigors of the construction site.
The blades on the tape are covered in a Mylar coating so that retracting the tape is smooth and prevents excessive wear over time.
It also prevents corrosion and rust, so your tape won’t start to stick or refuse to retract because of age. The “stand-out” on the tape is 7 feet so the tape will stay rigid long enough for you to make your marks without slipping.
The spring mechanism inside the tape measure is “heat-treated” so excessive use won’t cause too much friction and wear.
Unlike the FatMax, this Stanley tape measure has a manual button that locks the tape measure in place. The strength of the lock is why this unit has the name it does, it will not creep after you have secured it in place to take your measurements.
- Steel casing is very durable and resists dent and rust
- The design of the tape measure makes it perfect for job sites
- Belt clip is high quality and makes it easier to carry the tape measure when not in use
- The lock is very sturdy and keeps the blade in a locked position while you are making marks
- Lightweight design makes the tape measure very easy to carry and hold
- Very smooth when the blade is extended and retracted
- Material of the blade makes it very durable and also less likely to cut the skin
- The mechanism that rolls the blade out has a tendency to break which renders the tape measure inoperable
- The blade is thin and difficult to see at distances
- Does not show metric and imperial markings so you need to do your own conversions
- The measurements on the blade are off which h makes accuracy difficult
- Tape measure is bulky when on the belt clip which makes it difficult to bend
Clear Winner & Final Thoughts
The clear winner is the 25' Foot QUICKDRAW PRO Self Marking Tape Measure because of the unique design and ease of use. The built-in graphite pencil allows you to make perfect single line measurements as well as also perfect circles.
Unlike some of the other tape measures in this category, the Quickdraw Pro has an automatic locking feature that means it is easier to pull out and lock than the manual units. the to make your marks with or you can do it yourself.
The locking mechanism is automatic unlike some of the other tape measures in this category which just makes it that much easier for solitary work. This tape measure even compensates for extreme weather, making a darker more visible line on wet wood.