“If your tape breaks downward at just 5-6 feet then it’s likely going to be a product that doesn’t last long in other areas as well.”. 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. Read on to learn more about what makes the best tape measure … We would not be surprised in the least if that was the case. Car Bibles is reader-supported. 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. It seems as though they literally catch the wind and the tape comes crashing down in a really thin heap of loud, flaccid steel.”. For the most part, these oddballs are geared to the trades. Keson fiberglass measuring tapes contain 40,000 fiberglass strands, giving … Nearly all of the Kobalts, and many others had this issue. This video contains Paid links that gives me a 6% commission if you click and buy any product on that website . With its ergonomic locking lever and durable blade coating, it was a contender, but the fact that it’s as tall as the PowerLock and as wide as the chunky FatMax made it difficult for smaller hands to grasp and use comfortably. Of the 16 tapes tested, only the FastCap Old Standby was off by as much as 1/32 inch. After hours of research and testing, we discovered the Crescent Lufkin Black Widow (available at Amazon for $26.29) is the best tape measure you can buy. Now you use the tape measure itself to make the marking line. The stand-out of a tape is the distance that the blade can extend unsupported from the case and not collapse. Again, this is nice and tough for an elongated lifespan. The best tape measures boast subtle design features that enable greater precision and ease of use. So aside from that ever-so-slight difference, the whole group is out of the gate with a good start. The markings are printed in a vibrant green which, when set against the dark background, make them easier to see in low light conditions too. A lot of the other wide-blade tapes were taken out of the running because of their massive tangs. Once locked, the tape didn’t budge as we bounced it on its own weight. We also recommended avoiding magnetic tangs. Measuring Blade & Markings Are a Little Small. The PowerLock has a fairly typical warranty. In late 2018, we tested two new tapes from Milwaukee: the 25 ft. Stud Tape Measure and the 25 ft Compact Tape Measure. It needs to be comfortable in your hand whilst also protecting the potentially delicate inner workings of the tool. The weakest part of any tape measure is the blade, and the PowerLock’s is more durable than nearly all the others' we tested. If there were one small complaint to make, it would be the fact the rubberized outer casing really smells strongly of rubber! We tested this model out too, and even though it sounds like it would be the superior tape, it pales in comparison to its more stable sibling. DeBoer had a similar experience with the DeWalt 16-foot version, but he didn’t test the Big J. 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. We’ve continued using the PowerLock since 2015 and are still impressed. Ever have the tape measure lock fail? The Milwaukee body has plenty of rubber over-mold on top and base. But dig a bit deeper and you'll see that the tool is actually one of the most versatile tape measures in its price range. For industrial usages, as well as outdoor usages, tape measures can extend to about 100 feet. I had a Klein 25' stand-out, that I really liked. Duck Max Strength is the best all-purpose duct tape. 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. This acts as a shock absorber when the tang comes slamming back into the case. 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. Still, we’re based in the US, so we only looked at tapes that use the standard imperial scale. As Clement said, “If the tape labels the inch gradations as fractions and that makes you happy, so be it. For one thing the digital screen allows for incredibly accurate measurements. Anything less than an inch, though, is going to be flimsy, while the fatter blades (those above the 1-inch mark) make for a much bulkier tool. But if you want the extra length of a 33ft blade, this is a solid if unspectacular offering. Kitchenistic helps you find the latest and gratest It’s also on the pricey side for a 1-inch tape. Every tape has a slightly different tang, and both Clement and DeBoer warned against large ones. Item #1437539. Larger tangs can cause other problems as well. 78 The Milwaukee Stud is gigantic and simply too massive to easily handle and grip. The Stanley PowerLock is the best tape measure for a number of reasons. It’s our pick after 50 hours of research and three annual updates to this guide. On the underside of the case, right where the tang sits, the PowerLock has a slightly loose piece of black plastic. 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. Accuracy is important too, but all of the tapes we looked at fell within an acceptable margin of error. That means that you could end up with a product that is easier to use in certain circumstances. This is a standard design on tape measures, and when clipped and unclipped repeatedly on a pocket, it starts to fray the fabric. However, this is only a concern if the tape is being used on a very regular basis. The tape measure body is encased in rubber. From there backwards the markings will increase as the tools base itself is moved away from the tip. A tape measure is the single most-used tool on a jobsite, and I’ve been using one on a daily basis for nearly 20 years. In other words, it’s perfectly manageable. It is a reference to the dark coloring that has been employed on the measuring tape. If you regularly measure long distances, this type is a no-brainer, as soft tape measures are designed to cover much shorter distances. They are available in fractional/decimal formats and lengths ranging from 50 ft to 200 ft making them ideal for many long distance measuring … In the intervening 50 years plus since then Stanley have not had to change the design at all. He ended by saying, “Overall, I highly recommend Stanley’s PowerLock tape measures, especially given that they’re cheap enough to replace if or when they’re dropped too many times.”, This last point he makes is worth emphasizing. A couple of them commented on how light the PowerLock was compared to the others, especially the 1¼-inch tapes (the PowerLock is 13¼ ounces, tied with the Keson for the lightest tape tested). 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. Its blade is a quarter-inch slimmer than most contractor’s tools, so it’s easy to lay flat for marking measurements, yet still stiff enough to stand out unsupported for nearly 8 feet, which is plenty. But the fact it has been built into the case of the tool means that it is very easy to make accurate markings. But for all the benefits you get in return, you will find the cost to be more than worth it. You will get laughed off a construction site, but not out of your own living room.”, Clint DeBoer, Review: Going the Distance—A Survey of Tape Measures, Pro Tool Reviews, June 14, 2013, Mark Clement, Tool Review: Stanley PowerLock 25 Foot Tape Measure, MyFixItUpLife, December 24, 2011, Stuart Deutsch, Stanley Powerlock Tape Measure Review, ToolGuyd, December 26, 2008. 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. If you need a longer tape measure, depending on your needs, it may be worth investing in a 100-foot tape measure like this Komelon. The thumb-operated blade lock is smooth, strong, and easy to operate with one hand, unlike some other more cumbersome models. I’ve seen it go off scaffolding, down stairs and off roofs. Tl;dr – the tape measure is supposed to be a little loose to help with accurate measurements so don’t try to fix it! For all of this goodness, the PowerLock still has a couple slight flaws. Are those laser distance measurers worth it? 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. But it is 1.83 inches wide, giving it more width than many other models on the market. But CarBible, we assume some of you may ask, I need to measure stuff that’s 27 feet long! Those with 1/32-inch markings are suitable for engineering tasks for which precise measurements are needed. More thoughts on those in a bit.). The PowerLock is easy to use, durable, affordable, accurate, and capable of doing its job without additional features that aren’t necessary for around-the-house work. Both the knobby rubber over-mold and the huge end clip made this one tricky to use compared to simpler models. Some tapes, like the Lufkin Hi-Vis Control Series Tape, have angled nail slots on each side of the tang so you don’t need to twist the tape as you’re making the arc or hanging the tape. It also has a wider tape (1¼”) and a greater stand-out (we got 11 foot, 3 inches). The belt hook is a standard but functional design. 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. But at the same time, no tape is indestructible. But is there a little more going on beneath the surface than you may see at first glance? Those with 1/16-inch markings are best for construction and general home use. This simple decision makes for a measuring blade that is nice and easy to read. Longer than 25 feet and the tape roll inside is getting heavier and bigger, making the tape measure less ergonomic and comfortable to use. 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