As years progressed and as you entered the workforce as a professional carpenter or builder, you left that 16-foot tape measure behind and traded it for a 25 or 30-foot one. They’re larger and longer, and perfectly suitable for your job. They are also housed in durable plastic or chrome and can withstand impact and harsh elements.
But some good things never last, and now you’re looking for a new tape measure to replace your broken one.
In this review, we’re going to sift through the hundreds of measuring tapes that are available online and find the best tape measure for your specific application. We also have a buying guide that can help you choose the right tool for your hobby or work.
1. CRAFTSMAN Tape Measure, Chrome Classic, 30-Foot (CMHT37330S) 7 feet of standout* Classic chrome look Updated with modern rubber overmold for added grip Rubber overmold for added grip Durable blade coating to improve product life Limited Lifetime Warranty, refer to "Warranty & Support" section below for full details Check Price Below Buy on Amazon 2. Laser Tape Measure 2-in-1, Laser Measure 131 Ft, Tape Measure 16 Ft Metric and Inches with LCD Digital Display, Movable Magnetic Hook, Screwdriver, Nylon Coating for DIY, Construction - TM-L01 ▲2-in-1 MEASURE - This laser measuring tape combines a 131 Ft laser measure with a 16 Ft tape measure, which makes your work much easier; Long press the “UNIT” button 2s to switch unit among M/In/Ft freely, decimal and fractions can be displayed to satisfy your all needs; Supports self-calibration of distance with the front reference and the end reference function ▲EXCELLENT ACCURACY - It’s available with continuous measure, accurate distance can be read within the effective range while moving; Accuracy:±1/16 inch; Double sensing holes make the stability of measurement improve significantly; 2 scales with metric and imperial is perfect for accurate measurement ▲MAGNETIC HOOK - It can attach to any ferrous material sturdily, which greatly enhances the stability of the blade; Movable magnetic hook improves accuracy for measurement of inside and outside; The measuring tape can be carried to any place easily with wrist strap and belt clip ▲ENERGY SAVING & NYLON COATING - Laser will auto-off without operation after 20s and LCD can auto-off after suspending 150s, saving your energy; Press the button “UNIT” + “READ” to turn off the item; Nylon coating on double sided scale makes the tape measure more wearable and convenient for using ▲WHAT YOU GET - TM-L01 laser measurement tape; 2 AAA batteries; Screwdriver; English User Manual; Package Box; Service Card; 24 Months Service; Class II laser production<1mW power output Check Price Below Buy on Amazon 3. Komelon SL2825 Self Lock 25-Foot Power Tape Self locking mechanism allows blade to be extended smoothly Push button allows blade to be retracted smoothly Nylon coated blade for maximum durability Impact resistant rubberized case Check Price Below Buy on Amazon 4. Stanley Tools 33-730 30-Foot-by-1-1/4-Inch FatMax Measuring Tape Stanley - Black & Decker 11-inch tape standout; 16-inch and 19.2-inch stud center markings simplify framing jobs Mylar polyester film extends the life of the entire blade Heat-treated spring provides long life and smooth blade recoil Stanley's limited lifetime warranty; measures 1-1/4-inch-by-30-feet Check Price Below Buy on Amazon 5. FastCap PSSR25 25 foot Lefty/Righty Measuring Tape Eraseable notepad 25' standard and standard-reverse rule Easy-read fractions to 1/16" Built-in pencil sharpener Protective rubber boot Check Price Below Buy on Amazon 6. CRAFTSMAN Tape Measure, Self-Lock, 25-Foot (CMHT37225S) Self-locking blade stays extended for ease of use Blade can be locked for extra tension or unlocked for smooth, controlled retraction Fractions printed on the blade for quick and easy measurements Rubber overmold for added grip Limited Lifetime Warranty, refer to "Warranty & Support" section below for full details Check Price Below Buy on Amazon 7. Milwaukee Electric Tool 25Ft Compact Magnetic Tape Mea Nylon Bond Blade Protection 5-Point Reinforced Frame Finger Stop- Protects Finger During Blade Retraction Blueprint Scale- Calculates 1/4" and 1/8" Drawings Wire Form Belt Clip-Reduces Pocket Tearing Check Price Below Buy on Amazon
1. CRAFTSMAN CMHT37330S 30-Foot Tape Measure Pros: This is a heavy-duty 30-foot tape measure. The steel tape is encased in a shiny chrome housing. This is perfect for people who want the classic look of chrome. The sides are covered in rubber overmolding. This allows for a non-slip grip, as well as protects the tape measure from impact in case you bang or drop it. Cons: It only has US customary units. The steel tape is not rigid enough. It droops when you’re measuring longer distances. Sebring Tip:
You can’t go wrong with a classic. If you want a no-frills tape measure with the classic chrome look, then the CRAFTSMAN CMHT37330S 30-Foot Tape Measure is the ideal tool for you. The design might be basic and old fashioned, but there’s no doubt that it does the job.
The steel tape has a large black on white print that makes the numbers easy to read. It also comes with a basic locking mechanism and rubber overmolding.
This tape measure’s total length is 30 feet, so it might be heavier compared to ones with shorter blades. The price is pretty affordable, so if you want something basic but still does the job, then this is it.
2. TACKLIFE 2-in-1 Laser Tape Measure Pros: It has a conventional steel tape measure plus a laser one for added convenience. The laser tape measure can measure up to 131 feet and can provide measurements in imperial and metric units. The steel tape has a magnetic hook. You can pick up some screws, pins, or tiny nails with it. It comes with a belt clip and a wrist strap. It has a convenient LCD display. Cons: The steel tape is not as durable as expected. Sebring Tip:
I have to admit that this is my favorite tape measure on the list. The Tacklife 2-in-1 Laser Tape Measure combines the accuracy of a traditional tape measure with the convenience of its laser counterpart.
Both imperial and metric measurements are printed on the steel tape measure, so you can use whichever you’re comfortable with. 16-feet is probably enough for most professionals, but if you want to measure longer distances, then its laser function is definitely helpful.
This tape measure is more expensive than most. It probably doesn’t make sense to buy it if you’re a DIYer or hobbyist, but this is a good investment if you’re a professional builder or carpenter.
3. Komelon SL2825 Self Lock 25-Foot Power Tape Pros: The blade has a total length of 25 feet. That’s plenty enough for most carpenters, furniture-makers, and builders. The numbers printed on the blade are huge. The sides of the housing are covered with a rubberized overmolding to protect it from impact. It has a self-lock mechanism. Pull the blade out and it will automatically stop at your desired measurement. The blade is nylon coated for added durability. Cons: The spring mechanism sometimes fails and you have to manually push the blade inside. Sebring Tip:
This Komelon SL2825 Self Lock 25-Foot Power Tape is a reliable partner for carpenters, crafters, builders, and DIYers. Komelon might not be the most popular brand, but this is the little tape measure that could.
The numbers are printed clearly on the blade. Plus, the prints are larger than the usual, so you don’t have to squint especially if you’re working in low light conditions.
It also has a self-locking mechanism which makes it easier to work with than your regular tape. The price is pretty reasonable too.
4. Stanley Tools 33-730 30-Foot-by-1-1/4-Inch FatMax Measuring Tape Pros: This Stanley Tools tape measure has a total length of 30 feet. The blade is coated with Stanley Tool’s proprietary BladeArmor® to resist wear and tear. The blade has a width of 1 1/4 inches. The measurements are printed clearly and are easy to read. It has a belt clip so you can bring it anywhere. Cons: The blade is less rigid than older Stanley Tools tape measures. Sebring Tip:
This Stanley Tools 30-Foot Tape Measure is a nice tool to have whether you’re a regular homeowner who occasionally does his own DIY projects or a professional builder who needs a tape measure that can go a long way.
The blade length is adequate for most tasks, but keep in mind that it doesn’t have metric units. The housing is made of durable ABS plastic. It’s not indestructible, but it’s sturdy enough to survive a drop or a bang now and then.
The price is kind of steep for a tape measure, but it’s not a problem if you have the money and you’re willing to splurge.
5. FastCap PSSR25 25 foot Lefty/Righty Measuring Tape Pros: The blank space at the middle of the label doubles as an instant notepad. The units are printed on both sides of the steel blade. This allows both lefties and righties to view the measurements easily. The fractions are printed on the steel tape measure. It comes with a built-in pencil sharpener. Cons: Be careful when pulling the whole tape out of the housing as the spring mechanism is not as durable. Sebring Tip:
There are moments when you come across a product that has some of the most clever features, and you wonder why some of the leading manufacturers haven’t thought of them first. The FastCap PSSR25 25 foot Lefty/Righty Measuring Tape is one of those innovative tools. It might look basic at first glance, but look closer and you’ll be impressed.
It has a very useful blank space in the middle where you can write some measurements. You don’t have to reach for your notepad to write them down — just jot away and transfer the measurements later on to another notepad or your phone. Just remember to use a pencil or an erasable pen so you can write on it again and again.
The measurements are printed to accommodate both left and right-handed users. The price is also very affordable. If you’re on a budget or you’re a hobbyist who has no use for a pricey tape measure with all its bells and whistles, then this is a good choice.
6. CRAFTSMAN CMHT37225S 25-Foot Tape Measure Pros: The total length of the tape is 25 feet. Because it is shorter, this is lighter than your typical 30-foot tape measure. It has a unique self-lock mechanism. Want to unlock it? You just have to press the thumb lock to retract the blade. The measurements are printed clearly on a stark white blade. It takes the guesswork out of taking measurements as the fractions are already printed on the blade. Blade standout is at 7 feet (2.3 meters). Cons: It sometimes doesn’t retract easily or smoothly. You have to force it in sometimes after pressing the button to get it to retract. Sebring Tip:
If you need a light and durable tape measure to carry around at the jobsite, then the CRAFTSMAN CMHT37225S 25-Foot Tape Measure is a good candidate. It only weighs 0.395 kg — light enough to be carried around in your toolbox, jacket, vest, or around your belt.
The self-locking mechanism is one of its best features. This allows you to measure and take notes with both your hands instead of just one. Just press the thumb lock that is conveniently located on top to retract it.
This Craftsman tape measure is one of the most affordable items on the list. If you’re looking for a fairly reliable tape measure without spending a fortune for it, then this might be your ideal tool.
7. Milwaukee Electric Tool 25Ft Tape Measure Pros: This 25-foot tape measure has an ergonomic design. It molds into your hand for a no-slip grip. The sides are covered with rubber overmolding to protect it from impact. The numbers on the steel tape measure are larger than the usual. It has a built-in belt clip. You can also loop a wrist strap or lanyard into it (not included in the package). The magnetic hook ensures that the tape stays in place while you’re measuring something. You can also pick up tiny nails, screws, and paper clips with it. Cons: The steel tape feels flimsy. Sebring Tip:
Milwaukee Electric Tool has always been a leader when it comes to creating the best tools on the market. You can expect nothing less with this 25-foot compact magnetic tape measure.
The premise and design are pretty basic, but you’ll see some unique touches here and there that makes it stand out. It molds and fits into your hand neatly, and it is easy to handle even with just one hand. The rubber overmolding both ensure that it won’t slip from your hand while working. It also protects the whole housing from impact.
It’s pricier than most, but it is a good investment thanks to its durable body and easy readout.
Tape Measure Basics
Believe it or not, every part of the tape measure is there for a reason.
A tape measure’s most important part is the steel blade because this is what you use to get your measurements. If you’re living in the US, you’ll notice that the units printed on your measuring tape’s blade is the US customary units or the imperial system.
If you’re living in other parts of the world, then your tape measure will have both the imperial and metric units printed on the blade. Some tape measure manufacturers print fractions and corresponding lines on their blade, while fractions are only indicated by lines in other tape measures.
The metal hook at the end of the blade is used to grab onto the edge of the surface or object that you are measuring. Tape measures are spring-loaded, so the hook also prevents the blade from retracting automatically while in use.
Ever noticed that the hook seems a bit loose? It might seem that the manufacturers made a mistake, but this gap has a purpose. The thickness of the hook’s latch, as well as the space between the latch and the edge of the steel blade, is 1/16 of an inch. This gap is created to ensure that the measurement you get is accurate whether you latch it to the edge of the surface or you set it flush against the tip of the object you are measuring.
Some tape measures have self-locking mechanisms that lock the blade in place once you have reached the desired measurement. On many tape measures, on the other hand, the user has to push the thumb lock down to lock the blade in place. Just pull the thumb lock upward to release the lock.
The case houses and protects the steel blade and the spring mechanism inside. Some measuring tapes have ABS plastic cases, while others have chrome-plated cases. The case is often covered with textured rubber overmolding at the sides to protect them from impact, as well as make sure it doesn’t slip from the user’s grip.
Lastly, there’s the belt clip. You can hook it around your belt to ensure that you can access the tape measure anytime, anywhere.
Check out this video to learn how measuring tapes are made.
Curious about that black diamond on your tape measure? It’s not just some random marking. Check out this video to learn why there’s a black diamond printed on the blade, as how to properly read a tape measure.
Tape Measure Buying Guide Length of the Blade
Tape measures are available in different lengths. The shortest tape measures have blades with lengths between 6 and 10 feet. These are ideal for hobbyists and homeowners who have minor household projects now and then.
DIYers, builders, carpenters, and other professionals use longer tape measures (16-feet, 25-feet, and 30-feet tape measures). Surveyors use even longer tape measures with lengths that range from 50 feet to 330 feet.
To get an accurate reading, make sure that the scales printed on the steel or fiberglass tape are large and readable. Choose a tape measure with a wider blade and larger numbers printed on it so you don’t have to squint to get the measurement.
Tape measures are relatively lightweight, but it can also add some weight if you’re also carrying other tools in your tool bag or vest. Get a shorter tape measure (a 16 or 25-foot one would suffice) if you don’t want to deal with additional weight while you’re working or transporting tools.
Some tape measures have a self-locking mechanism that allows you to lock the blade in place in your desired measurement. While it is helpful for some users and there’s no doubt that it is a clever feature, it’s not really necessary. It’s not really that hard to push the thumb lock down to lock the blade in place.
Most tape measures sold in the states only have US customary units printed on the blades. But if you want to save time when converting the measurement or you work for an international company, then it doesn’t hurt to get one with the metric and imperial/US customary units printed on the blades. There isn’t much price difference between US customary only and US customary plus metric units tape measures anyway.
They say that the more durable the product, the pricier it is. This is true for the most part. But there are expensive tape measures that don’t hold up to the durability test, so there’s not much sense in buying a very expensive tape measure if pricey doesn’t always equal sturdy.
You can find reliable tape measures that are priced below $20 online. If you’re willing to invest in a more expensive tape measure, then you’re better off with a 2-in-1 laser and conventional model, such as this one from Tacklife that is also included in our best laser tape measure review.
Stand-out is the distance which the steel blade can extend without drooping. Stiffer blades mean longer standout length. The longer the standout, the higher or longer you can measure. You can find the standout information on the product description or specification.
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All of the tape measures we’ve reviewed performed well during the tests. I’m tempted to choose Tacklife’s tape measure for incorporating a laser feature, but in the end, it’s too expensive for the ordinary hobbyist or homeowner. Fastcap’s tape measure also performed well and is budget-friendly, but it’s more of a hobbyist’s measuring tape than a professional’s.
So, what is the best tape measure on the list?
I think the best measuring tape is the CRAFTSMAN CMHT37330S 30-Foot Tape Measure.
What makes it stand out? Let’s start with the exterior. It has a chrome-plated housing that reminds me of tape measures of yore. If you’re the old school type who likes the shiny look of chrome, then this is the tape measure for you. The textured rubber overmolding prevents it from slipping from your hand.
It has a standout length of 7 feet. Plus, the units and tape measure markings that are printed on the blade are clear and easy to read.
The price is very reasonable, too. If you’re like most tradesmen, then you’re probably looking for something basic but durable and budget-friendly. This 30-foot tape measure definitely fits the criteria.
I hope you’ve learned a lot from our tape measure review and you’re ready to purchase your next measuring tape.
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