10 Best Tape Measures in 2019

Many different situations require a tape measure, making the best tape measure possible an essential part of the toolbox of anyone with an interest in DIY or any professional. There is a wide range of different types of tape measure available for measuring different things, and it is important to ensure that you have the best tape measure for the job in question in order to make your measuring task as easy and straightforward as possible.

The world of tape measures is a complex one, as there are so many different types and models available, and within each type many models can look very similar, making it hard to determine which is the best tape measure in each category. That’s why we’ve done all of the research and testing necessary, narrowing down the field to a list of our top 10 tape measures 2019.

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  • Reinforced BladeArmor coating
  • Mylar coating throughout
  • Heat treated spring
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  • Laser distance measure
  • 65-foot range
  • Easy to use
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  • Tailoring design
  • White on black for easy reading
  • Metric and imperial measurements

Below, you’ll find our best tape measure reviews, exploring why we like each of the top 10 tape measures, as well as a buyers guide that answers some of the most common questions about tape measures and provides helpful information to simplify your buying process.

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1. Stanley Tools 33-725 FatMax Tape Measure

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Featuring a wide range of innovative technical construction features, the Stanley Tools 33 725 FatMax Tape Measure is an exceptionally high performance, durable tape measure that promises excellent functionality and survivability in all situations. The entirety of the blade is coated with a mylar polyester film, keeping it protected from damage, paint chipping, rust, and corrosion throughout, and the first 3 feet are reinforced with a BladeArmor coating in addition to this, ensuring that the area of the blade that receives the most wear and tear is protected to the maximum.

The spring is heat treated for long life, keeping the blade recoil smooth and fluid throughout the long lifespan of this durable and well-designed tape measure.

Why We Like It
  • Reinforced BladeArmor coating
  • Mylar coating throughout
  • Heat treated spring
  • 25-foot length
  • Durable casing
Type
Tape rule
Length
25 foot
Weight
1.15 lb
Our Verdict

The Stanley Tools FatMax Tape Measure is straightforwardly one of the best tape measure options available on the market in 2019, topping most polls thanks to its excellent design and construction.

Editor Rating
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2. Bosch GLM 20 Compact Blaze Laser Distance Measure

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Despite not being a tape measure in the most traditional sense, the Bosch GLM 20 Compact Blaze Laser Distance Measure makes it onto our list thanks to its high precision and easy to use, compact design. Offering a maximum range of 65 feet and a precision of up to 1/8 of an inch, this laser measuring tool has a far higher range than most standard tape measures and an easier to use design than most larger and more awkward long-range measuring tapes. 

This measuring laser is an exceptionally easy to use piece of technology, featuring a user-friendly single button operation system, and is a small and light enough tool to easily fit into any standard pocket.

Why We Like It
  • Laser distance measure
  • 65-foot range
  • Easy to use
  • Real time measuring
  • Accurate to within 1/8 inch
Type
Laser distance measure
Length
65-foot range
Weight
3.2 oz
Our Verdict

The Bosch GLM 20 Compact Blaze Laser Distance Measure is a lightweight and compact measuring option for longer ranges, ideal for situations such as outdoor measurement environments.

Editor Rating
great value rating

3. RayTour Sewing Tape Measure

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The RayTour Sewing Tape Measure is a compact and flexible tailoring tape measure designed for sewing use that offers sufficient versatility and flexibility to make it an excellent choice for a wide range of different situations requiring measurement. Its 5-foot length may be relatively short, but this enables it to fit into a compact 2-inch diameter case, as well as being more than enough for most tailoring scenarios. 

The tape is double sided, with metric measurements on one side and feet and inches on the other, further increasing its versatility and suitability for a wide range of scenarios.

Why We Like It
  • Tailoring design
  • White on black for easy reading
  • Metric and imperial measurements
  • Retractable for easy storage
  • Compact case
Type
Soft tape measure
Length
60 in
Weight
8 oz
Our Verdict

Combining the flexibility of a tailor’s tape measure with the tangle free design of a measuring tape rule for easy use, the RayTour Sewing Tape Measure is an excellent choice for sewing or many other applications.

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4. Milwaukee Tool 48-22-7125 Magnetic Tape Measure

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The Milwaukee Tool 48 22 7125 Magnetic Tape Measure is a well designed, high-performance magnetic tape measure that features a number of valuable design elements that boost the performance and usability of this measuring tape significantly in a range of different situations. The dual magnet tip of this tape measure gives a strong grip on steel studs and other metal elements to reduce slippage while measuring, adding precision for situations in which you are using the full 25-foot length of the Milwaukee Tool 48 22 7125 Magnetic Tape Measure.

The blade is coated with a nylon bond layer to protect the markings from wear as well as reducing the risk of rust or other corrosion damage to the tape itself.

Why We Like It
  • 25-foot length
  • Finger stop
  • Nylon bond blade protection
  • 5 point reinforced frame
  • Magnetic tip
Type
Tape rule
Length
25 ft
Weight
1.6 lb
Our Verdict

Designed to last, the Milwaukee Tool 48 22 7125 Magnetic Tape Measure is a heavy duty magnetic tape measure that offers a high level of precision in its usage as well as a long-lasting and durable construction for intensive use.

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5. Komelon SL2825 Self Lock Power Tape

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The Komelon SL2825 Self Lock Power Tape may not look particularly distinctive, but its standard design hides some high-quality build features and a number of minor design elements that help it to stand out from the crowd a little. The nylon coated tape blade is designed to protect the markings from wear and tear, as well as being resistant to rust and other corrosion.

More importantly, however, the Komelon SL2825 Self Lock Power Tape features a self-locking design, smoothly extending and retracting comfortably while being easy to affix in position once extended.

Why We Like It
  • 25-foot length
  • Self-locking design
  • Nylon blade coating
  • Impact resistant rubberized case
  • Push button retraction
Type
Tape rule
Length
25 ft
Weight
1 lb
Our Verdict

The Komelon SL2825 Self Lock Power Tape is a durable 25-foot measuring tape with some handy extra features, making it one of the best self-locking tape measure options available in 2019.

Editor Rating

6. eTape16 ET16.75-db-RP Digital Tape Measure

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The digital screen element of the eTape16 ET16.75-db-RP Digital Tape Measure helps it to stand out from the crowd, offering added versatility as well as easier reading. The screen is exceptionally easy to read and offers a precise number, eliminating the uncertainty over smaller measurements inherent to physical tape measures, while the digital elements incorporate 3 different measurement memory functions: short term measurement memory and 2 saveable long term memories. 

In addition to this, the screen can easily convert measurements between metric numbers and feet and inches, adding to the versatility of this tool and reducing the need for calculating numbers on the fly.

Why We Like It
  • Digital readout
  • Weather resistant construction
  • Measurement memory functions
  • Metric and imperial measurement conversion ability
  • Durable casing
Type
Tape rule with digital readout
Length
16 ft
Weight
0.6 lb
Our Verdict

The precision and easy reading nature of the eTape16 Digital Tape Measure’s digital readout screen makes this an easy model of tape measure to recommend to almost any user, as it is easy to use and offers some handy extra functionality.

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7. Komelon PG85 Metric Gripper Tape

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The Komelon PG85 Metric Gripper Tape is a well designed and comfortable to use measuring tape with metric measurements marked on the blade. It is worth noting that this tape measure does not feature feet and inches, focusing instead on clear, legible metric measurements for ideal performance in situations in which millimeters are required. 

The compact case of this measuring tape is ergonomically designed to remain comfortable to hold even during extended periods of usage, while the rubber coating surrounding it serves the dual purpose of increasing grip strength and boosting impact resistance, helping this well built metric measuring tape to be comfortable to use and able to survive accidents effectively for a longer lifespan.

Why We Like It
  • 8 meter (25 foot) length
  • Metric measurements
  • Easy grip rubber shell
  • Compact case design
  • Triple-riveted end hook
Type
Tape rule
Length
8 m
Weight
1.6 lb
Our Verdict

Tape measure options with metric measurements on the blade are relatively rare, and there are certain situations in which they are essential. The Komelon PG85 Metric Gripper Tape is one of the best tape measures available for these situations!

Editor Rating

8. Lufkin L1025B Black Widow Tape Measure

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A high quality 25-foot tape measure with a number of extra design elements for added usability, the Lufkin Black Widow Tape Measure is one of the best tape measure options in the standard tape rule design style. The 25-foot blade is designed with reversed colors, with brightly colored high vis green markings on a black background, giving exceptional visibility in low light conditions, far easier to read than standard designs.

In addition to this, the blade is coated with a matte nylon layer to reduce glare, helping to maximize visibility in higher light levels such as most daytime outdoor situations.

Why We Like It
  • 25-foot length
  • Matte finish
  • High visibility markings
  • Dual end hook grips on all sides
  • Durable casing
Type
Tape rule
Length
25 ft
Weight
0.98 lb
Our Verdict

The Lufkin L1025B Black Widow Tape Measure is a tape measure designed for maximum readability in low light conditions, making it ideal for use in poor visibility or other awkward measurement environments.

Editor Rating

9. DEWALT DWHT36225S Tape Measure

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The Dewalt DWHT36225S is a tape measure designed with a strong focus on toughness and durability to ensure a long operating lifespan even when used extensively in hazardous conditions such as construction sites or other sites in need of measurement. The durable outer case is made from impact resistant PC/ABC materials, promising to survive the impact of a 60-foot drop, while the hook end of the blade is reinforced with a heavy-duty thermoplastic coating for the final 9 inches, reducing the risk of breaking the blade at this end. 

As a further benefit, the entire blade is coated with a resilient coating that promises to reduce the risk of the measurements scraping off during even the heaviest of use, as well as to protect the metal of the blade from rusting and other corrosion damage.

Why We Like It
  • Integrated lock protection
  • Reinforced hook connection
  • Durable construction
  • 25-foot length
  • Rust and scratch resistant coating
Type
Tape rule
Length
25 ft
Weight
1.38 lb
Our Verdict

Designed for professional use, the Dewalt DWHT36225S Tape Measure is an exceptionally durable and well-constructed tape measure with added reinforcements to ensure that it can survive intense use in all situations.

Editor Rating

10. Komelon 6611IM Feet/Inches and Metric Fiber Tape Reel

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A durable, large scale measuring tape, the Komelon 6611IM Feet Inches and Metric Fiber Tape Reel is an excellent choice for anyone in need of something a little longer than the standard 25-foot measuring tape length. The 100-foot tape length is ideal for measuring rooms or outdoor projects, while the fiberglass blade and versatile end hook add further versatility and flexibility to your usage. 

In addition to this, the measuring tape itself is printed on both sides, with feet and inches on one side and metric measurements on the other, allowing you to use this tape measure however you prefer, no matter what your planned usage may be. 

Why We Like It
  • Tape reel design
  • Fiberglass blade
  • 100 ft length
  • Metric and imperial measurements
  • Heavy duty ABS frame
Type
Tape reel
Length
100 ft
Weight
1.6 lb
Our Verdict

The Komelon 6611IM Feet Inches and Metric Fiber Tape Reel is ideal for larger measurement tasks thanks to its extra long length and versatile end hook. This is a flexible and easy to use large scale measuring tape.

Editor Rating

Tape Measure Buyer’s Guide

Automatic Locking Tapes

Some models of tape measure feature automatic locking functions rather than a traditional locking button system. These automatic locking features automatically hold the tape measure firmly in place once it is extended, requiring a button to retract the tape in the place of the more standard locking button.

This is not a necessary element at all, and manually locking tape measures actually offer more control over their motion, making them a better choice for more confident users. That is not to say that automatic locking tapes are bad, however; these styles of tape measure are an excellent choice for anyone with limited hand strength or control, making it easier for them to have full control over the tool. 

How to Read a Tape Measure?

There are many different types of tape measure made from different materials, but all of them are read in the same way (assuming that they use imperial measurements in feet and inches; some are measured in metric units, which are different).  The good news is that this method is easy to use once you’ve got your head around it, and once you’ve learned it, then it’s easy to read any physical measuring device, from a simple ruler to a long tape measure.

First, look at the markings on your tape measure. There is usually a range of different numbers on the blade of your tape measure; the largest of these is typically the inch number, which is the most important option.  The distance between these numbers is an inch, and you’ll notice lines crossing the tape next to the numbers. Measure between the longer lines rather than the numbers themselves, as the lines are designed for precision!

Between these larger lines, you’ll find smaller ones, sometimes marked with numbers. These are fractions of an inch; most tape measures have two different scales of smaller measurements, one with longer lines, and another with shorter lines.

The distance between the longer lines is usually 1/8 of an inch, while the distance between each longer line and the shortest line next to it is commonly 1/16 of an inch. It’s rare to see measurements smaller than this!

What is the Black Diamond on a Tape Measure For?

You may have noticed a number of small black diamonds scattered across your tape measure, seemingly almost at random. It’s not at all clear what these black diamonds are, just from looking at them, but they do in fact have a valuable purpose in certain situations!

The black diamonds are a measurement tool designed for measuring between the studs in the wall of a house. This is because studs are usually evenly spaced following the rule that there are 6 studs in every 8 feet of wall. The studs are spaced evenly apart, a slightly inconvenient spread for measuring in inches, and the black diamonds are positioned to make it easy to find the location of each stud. 

These black diamonds are generally located at 19.2”, 38.4”, 57.6”, 76.8”, and 96”, giving an easy 5 points across an 8 foot space. This makes it easy to find the studs; the first stud lies at the end of the tape measure, the second on the first black diamond, and so on and so forth.

This is the specific purpose of the black diamond on a tape measure, and if you know how to use this, then you can easily find the studs in your walls without needing a stud detector!

How to Fix a Tape Measure?

If you use your tape measure a lot, or if someone uses it roughly without taking good care of it, you might find that the retraction system built into the case of your tape measure breaks, leaving the tape sticking out inconveniently and preventing it from easily retracting back into the case once you’ve finished using it for the day.

While it might be tempting to just throw out your broken tape measure at this point, it is actually surprisingly easy to fix a broken tape measure retraction system if you follow a few simple steps, reducing waste and saving you money!

To start with, use a small screwdriver to open the casing of your tape measure, being very careful with the contents. If the tape falls out of the housing and unwinds, you’re going to have a hard time getting it back in, so make sure you hold it in place carefully! A piece of tape can do wonders here, freeing up your hands for further maintenance and reducing the stress a little.

Once you’ve got the casing open, have a look inside to see if you can see an easily visible problem with the retraction system. If there’s some dirt clogging up the spring, or if the spring is in working condition but has simply detached from the tape, then you can just remove the dirt or reattach the spring before closing up the casing again.

If the problem is a bit more complicated than this, you’re going to need to remove the tape. Slowly and carefully remove the roll of tape from the casing, ensuring that it does not unroll in the process. Hold the retraction system in place while you do this, and carefully unhook the spring once the tape is out of the way.

Now you’ve got the tape out of the way, you should be able to get at the problem. In most cases, this is damage or breakage to the spring, and you will need to buy a replacement, ensuring that you purchase the same type of spring as the original – make sure you have the model number and size of your tape measure to hand when you buy!

Once you’ve replaced the spring, you can reattach the tape. Hook the end of the spring through the hole at the start of the tape, and hold it together with a piece of masking tape. Once you’ve secured that connection properly, the tape should slowly retract back into the case. Hold it carefully and guide it to ensure that no tangles occur in the process!

If everything retracts smoothly, you’ve fixed the problem and can now put the case back together. Remove the tape you’ve used to hold the system inside the case, and put the top cover back on again.

Tighten everything up with your screwdriver again, being sure not to overtighten anything as this can cause damage, and you should be all ready to use your tape measure again! If it still isn’t working, you might just need to buy a replacement tape measure, but this guide should help you to fix most common problems.

Expert Tip

Choose your tape measure based on the scale of your project. A tape measure for measuring clothes won’t be any use for measuring the interior dimensions of a room and vice versa!

Did you know?

The modern spring tape measure was invented in 1829, by James Chesterman, and then patented in 1868 by Alvin J. Fellows!