Make accurate measurements. A staple for any home, office, or classroom, a tape measure is a must-have for those of all professions and hobbies. When choosing yours, keep in mind the length of tape you need as well as size and weight, especially if you plan to travel frequently with your tool. You should also take note of design details like a strong blade lock, a durable case, and a reliable belt clip. Whether you’re a crafter or a pro woodworker, there are plenty of options on the market, from the digital to the magnetic. Browse our roundup of the best options below.
1. Stanley Powerlock II
In 1963, the Stanley PowerLock Tape Measure was one of the first of its kind. The design hasn’t changed much since: Why meddle with a good thing? A tried-and-true design, this tool boasts features including a lockable blade, a belt hook for easy access, a hooked end for a precise read, and a heat-treated spring that increases the tape’s lifespan. This particular product has a Mylar-coated blade for added durability and abrasion resistance, plus a built-in point in the hook that works as a pivot for drawing circles and arcs. Measuring 25 feet, the tape blade has a seven-foot stand-alone capacity for hands-free working.
2. Singer ProSeries Retractable Tape Measure
From the famous maker of sewing tools and equipment comes this retractable eight-foot tailors’ tape measure. The tape itself is made of vinyl for flexibility when measuring for fit and shows measurements in both inches and centimeters. It retracts very smoothly, and though thin, it features numbers in dark ink that are clear and easy to read. Small enough to slip into a pocket, it can also be attached to a key ring or a lanyard, making it a perfect accessory for a sewist on the go.
3. Craftsman Tape Measure
Easy to spot among your tools, this bright-red tape measure comes in three sizes: 16, 25, and 26 feet. The hard plastic case with a grippy rubber overmold makes it comfortable to hold, and the steel tape retracts smoothly without being prone to bending. We especially like this option because the tape is white with black markings for clear visibility; it also has fractions printed in red to help you immediately register and record measurements.
4. Komelon Powerblade Tape Measure
Best for all your heavy-duty projects, this retractable 26-foot tape measure gets the job done. The end hook has a sizable magnetic tip that grips firmly onto metal surfaces, and the blade locks into place with an effortless push by the thumb for added accuracy. Another special feature includes high-visibility blade printing for speedy reading, plus vertical blade markings on the tape’s underside. The steel tape is coated with nylon for longevity, and everything is housed in a sturdy ABS case.
5. eTape16 Digital Tape Measure
This is a high-tech option for those in the market for a traditional product with a contemporary twist. Made of polycarbonate plastic, this tape measure is weather resistant and durable and features a large digital display. As you pull out the 16-foot blade, a numerical measurement appears on the display screen for a no-brainer read. Functions include a centerline calculator, short-term measurement hold and two long-term memory holds, standard and metric conversion capabilities, and an auto-shut-off action. The coin battery lasts for up to 64 hours of continuous use.