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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