From measuring the length of a piece of furniture to measuring the size of a door opening, a tape measure is certainly a practical tool to have on hand. Whether you are a novice do it yourselfer, you are a professional contractor, or you just want to have a reliable measuring tool on hand for any other reason, finding a good tape measure can be a challenge. There are so many different types of tape measures, and so many different features. So, how can you be sure which type of tape measure is the right one for your needs?
To help make the process of finding the best tape measure a bit easier, we have created this handy buyer’s guide, which is packed with valuable information that we know will help to make the task of buying a tape measure a successful one.
Types of Tape Measures
There are several types of tape measures, and each type offers a different benefit:
- Pocket tape measures
- Surveyors tape measures
- Key ring tape measures
- Auto lock tape measures
- Magnetic tape measures
- Digital tape measures
Pocket Tape Measures
A pocket tape measure is, as the name suggests, a tape measure that can be tucked into or attached to the side of your pocket. They are very portable, which means that you will always have a tape measure on hand when you need it and won’t have to worry about searching for one.
Surveyors Tape Measure
Also known as long tape measures, this type of tape measures are made of fiberglass or steel and are enclosed in a length. They come in much longer lengths than a standard tape measure, ranging from around 10 m to 100 m. The extra length makes this type of tape measure ideal for measuring large spaces, such as a piece of land or the square footage of a building.
Key Ring Tape Measure
If you want to always have a tape measure on hand, but you don’t want to carry one that is as bulky as a pocket tape measure, a key ring version may be a good option for you. As suggested by the name, a key ring tape measure is attached to a key ring, and the tape measure itself is small and lightweight, which allows it to easy attach to a set of keys.
Auto Lock Tape Measure
If you don’t want to worry about having someone at the end of a tape measure to hold it in place while you are using it, an auto lock version is an excellent option. When the blade of this type of tape measure is extended, it automatically locks in place and stays locked until you release press the release button.
Magnetic Tape Measure
If you often measure items that are magnetic and you want to keep the tape measure still, opt for a magnetic tape measure. This version features a magnetic hook (also known as an end piece or tip,) that will magnetize the end of the tape measure to the magnetic item you are measuring.
Digital Tape Measure
If you want to make sure that the measurements you are taking are completely accurate, opt for a digital tape measure. Featuring a digital display area that showcases the length of the item the tool is measuring, you will never have to worry about the accuracy of the measurements you take again.
Tape Measure Considerations
To ensure that the tape measure you choose will provide you with the proper measurements, there are certain factors that you are going to want to take into consideration before you buy one. By considering the following factors, you will be able to find the best tape measure to meet your needs.
What will you be measuring?
What you are going to be measuring with this tool is the most important factor to consider when purchasing one. What you will be measuring will determine the length, the size and the type of tape measure you will need.
Are the objects you will be measuring a standard length, or are they extra long? The length of the objects you will be measuring plays a huge factor in determining what length you need your tape measure to be. Buying one that is too short will make the task of taking measurements much more complicated and difficult.
Ease of Use
The easier a tape measure is to use, the easier it will be for you to take accurate measurements of the items you intend on measuring. Different tape measures offer different features, which can make the tool all the more easier to use.
The material of the blade is important, too. Typically, there are three types of materials that are used to make tape measure blades: Steel, stainless steel and fiberglass. Steel is the most commonly used material because it is durable and practical, and because it is also inexpensive. Stainless steel is a great material if you are going to be working in wet or damp environments, as it won’t rust or corrode. Fiberglass is typically used for long tape measures because they offer a high tensile strength, they are flexible and they resist heat and abrasion. Fiberglass is also easy to clean.
The material of the case that hoses the tape measure is also an important factor to consider. Typically, tape measure cases are constructed of high quality plastic or of stainless steel, and they also feature a rubber like material, which not only helps to absorb impact, but also allows the tape measure to fit more comfortably in your hand.
Diameter of the Blade
The wider the diameter of the blade, the easier it will be to read the measurement, and to make markings; however, the wider the diameter of the blade, the bulkier the tape measure will be.
The hook is attached to the very end of the blade, and it’s an important feature, as it allows you to attach the tape measure over the end of the object you are measuring. The wider the items are that you will be measuring, the larger the hook you will want.
Tape measures vary significantly in price. Typically, the larger the tape measure and the more features that it offers, the more expensive it will be. Keep this in mind when you are shopping so that you don’t choose one that exceeds your budget.
Tape Measure Features
For all intents and purposes, tape measures are a pretty basic tool; however, there are several features that a tape measure can boast that can take this ordinary tool and turn it into something extraordinary, making it one of the handiest devices in your toolbox. Some of these features can make using your tape measure a joy; however, some of them may not be needed, which means that you could end up spending money that you don’t need to. Understanding these features and knowing which ones will truly be handy for you will allow you to avoid buying one that offers features that you don’t really need.
If you don’t want to have to worry about having a pen or pencil handy at all times when you are using your tape measure, look for one that features a marking tool. With this feature, you will be able to easily mark your measurements directly from your tape measure. Talk about making life a lot easier!
A brake lock will help stabilize your measuring tape, making it easier to control while you are taking your measurements so that you don’t have to worry about the tape snapping back into the storage house.
Rubber Tipped Hook
The hook is one of the most important features of a tape measure because it allows you to hold the end of the tape measure in place when you are taking measurements by yourself. The more secure the hook is, the more stable the measuring tape will be, and the more accurate your measurements will be. A hook that is coated with a rubber tip provides even more stability while you are measuring.
If you are buying a digital measuring tape, look for one that offers memory functions. With this feature, the dimensions of the measurements you have taken will be stored directly into the device. Ideally, look for a measuring tape that offers a long term and short term memory function.
For added satisfaction, security and peace of mind, you may want to look for a measuring tape that features a warranty. Should anything happen to the measuring tape or you are unsatisfied with it for any reason during the term of the warranty, you will be able to have it replaced or refunded.
Top Measuring Tape Brands
In a sea of measuring tapes, it can be difficult to determine which brands are the best. Which one will meet all of your needs and offer the features that you want? To help assist you with finding the best brands of measuring tapes, we compiled tested them out ourselves, compared reviews and did extensive research. In the end, we found the following brands are the best of the best.
Stanley is one of the most trusted and well known manufacturers of measuring tapes in the world. This company has been making high quality measuring tapes that deliver an array of features for several generations. We really liked how durable their products were and how reliable the results were that they delivered.
DeWalt is a powerhouse in the tool industry, and their measuring tapes hold up to the reputation that this company has developed over the years. DeWalt provides a wide range of measuring tapes that offer a wealth of features and will suit any budget. This company uses the highest quality materials to ensure that they deliver exceptional products that will last a lifetime.
Since 1909, Tajima, a Japanese-based developer of hand tools, has been making steel tape rulers. In fact, measuring tapes is what this company first started producing. Over the years, they have perfected their designs, and they continue to perfect them, so that they can provide their customers with outstanding results that they can always rely on.