Which tape measure is best?
Tape measures are a must-have item for anyone’s at-home tool kit, making it easy to measure rooms, furniture or other large items. And while measuring tapes are standard in most tool kits, many are missing bonus features that can make a huge difference, such as improved hooks, multiple units of measurement and heavy-duty tape.
The Kutir 25-Foot Tape Measure includes a handy magnetic hook that makes measuring metal especially simple, as well as a sturdy tape that doesn’t bend as easily as others.
What to know before you buy a tape measure
If you plan to use a tape measure for work, consider what kind of work you’ll use it for and what features could be useful. Whether you’re working on a home improvement project or using it for your job, most tape measures include the basic functions needed to measure items with ease. However, depending on how you plan to use it, you may also appreciate a measuring tape with added features such as self-marking and a magnetized hook.
Standard vs. digital tape measure
The two main types of tape measures are standard and digital. A digital tape measure uses a laser and display interface for measuring without the physical use of tape. While digital tape measures tend to be convenient for spaces without a lot of room, they’re also quite a bit pricier than physical tape measures and don’t always include incremental measurements.
Tape measure recoil
It’s important to note how a tape measure recoils the actual tape since this can cut or harm you if you’re not careful. It’s fairly standard for tape measures to automatically recoil the tape whenever you release it. Most also include some kind of locking function that can make it easy to avoid accidentally recoiling the tape, though it’s worth being careful around them, too, since the tapes are often sharp and can be dangerous.
What to look for in a quality tape measure
The tape, sometimes called the blade, varies significantly from one model to the next. The longer tape is deployed from the housing unit, the more likely it is to break or bend. Ideally, it’s sturdy enough to be run in a straight line without breaking or bending. You can find tape measures with different lengths, ranging from 5 to 100 feet.
Many tape measures include just one kind of unit, often measuring only in inches. However, if you expect to work in multiple unit types, look for one that displays both inches and centimeters or standard and metric.
Most tape measures get the job done, but certain accessories can make measurements easier. It’s common to include a locking button or self-locking features so you don’t have to hold the tape in place while measuring. You can also find features such as double-sided hooks, magnetized hooks, belt clips, built-in pencils for drawing and marking lines, or a digital readout display.
How much you can expect to spend on a tape measure
Tape measures can vary significantly in price, with cheap ones costing as little as $4 without housing or up to $10 with it. Mid-tier tape measures around 25 feet often cost $10 to $15, while those with added features, multiple units or extra-long blades can cost over $20.
Tape measure FAQ
Can a smartphone be used as a tape measure?
A. Most smartphones have an augmented-reality feature that lets you use it as a tape measure when checking the dimensions of a space or an object. However, some people prefer the tangible use of measuring tape.
Do they make tape measures for sewing?
A. While they aren’t specifically designed for sewing, many prefer to use tape measures without housing or with an adhesive back for sewing. These usually come with just the tape, which can be extended manually using your hand.
What’s the best tape measure to buy?
Top tape measure
What you need to know: This is great for heavy-duty jobs, with a magnetic hook to make the work easy and measurements in both metric and standard.
What you’ll love: It has a sturdy tape that won’t bend too much, even at longer lengths. It’s also very smooth to retract and deploy the tape, and there’s a shock-proof case that can withstand drops.
What you should consider: This tape measure is heavier than most others at this length.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top tape measure for the money
What you need to know: This is a pretty basic tape measure with a soft rubber case and measurements in inches, but it comes with a price tag that’s hard to beat.
What you’ll love: It includes a locking button to make retracting the tape easy, and it’s coated with a soft rubber case to make it more durable. It comes with a one-year warranty against manufacturer defects.
What you should consider: It doesn’t have metric measurements printed on it.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This unique self-marking tape measure comes with a built-in pencil, making it ideal for carpentry or contractor work.
What you’ll love: It makes it easy to draw straight lines while measuring, especially on drywall and wood. Its heavy-duty brake lock makes it simple to make precise measurements.
What you should consider: This tape measure is bulkier than many others, and the tape is more flimsy than some buyers had hoped. It only measures in inches.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Peter McGuthrie writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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