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Best Tape Measures

last updated Aug 26, 2019

In your household, there are certain tools that are all but mandatory. To be ready for everyday household fixes, you should have tools such as screwdrivers, hammers, wrenches, and the like. But, without question, you can add tape measures to that list. Even though some of you may believe that only professional carpenters will have the need to own one, you would be surprised at how useful they can be around the home. Of course, if you only plan to use one occasionally (such as for moving your home around or for basic household tasks) you may not need the best of the best. Then again, those who plan to use one on a daily basis will need it to hold up to rigorous use. Either way, here are some of the best tape measures on the market.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 17 hrs of research

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Milwaukee Tool
98.8/100 our score
Accuracy
99
Durability
98
Features
99
Materials
99
Milwaukee Tool
Why is it better?

Designed to be heavy-duty

Made with a Finger Stop feature

Feels natural and comfortable in your hands

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Milwaukee Tool
Test Winner: Milwaukee Tool
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2.3k
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Hours Researching
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Products Evaluated
19
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
Melissa Coleiro
By Melissa Coleiro:

This buying guide for tape measures has been put together to show you the best researched and reviewed products are a flexible ruler that is used to measure distance. A great tape measure to keep your eye on is the Milkwaukee Tool. We love this tape measure because it is known for being designed to be heavy-duty and is made with a Finger Stop feature.

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Rating
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#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
98.8
Accuracy
99 %
Durability
98 %
Features
99 %
Materials
99 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.10.19)
Amazon Link
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97
Accuracy
97 %
Durability
96 %
Features
97 %
Materials
98 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.10.19)
Amazon Link
$12.99
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94
Accuracy
93 %
Durability
94 %
Features
94 %
Materials
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.10.19)
Amazon Link
$13.99
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91
Accuracy
90 %
Durability
91 %
Features
92 %
Materials
91 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.10.19)
Amazon Link
$11.99
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89
Accuracy
88 %
Durability
89 %
Features
90 %
Materials
89 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.10.19)
Amazon Link
$12.90
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.5
Accuracy
87 %
Durability
86 %
Features
87 %
Materials
86 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.10.19)
Amazon Link
$14.90
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85
Accuracy
85 %
Durability
86 %
Features
84 %
Materials
85 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.10.19)
Amazon Link
$16.99
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83
Accuracy
83 %
Durability
84 %
Features
82 %
Materials
83 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.10.19)
Amazon Link
$9.88
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.3
Accuracy
80 %
Durability
82 %
Materials
82 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.10.19)
Amazon Link
$19.99
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78.5
Accuracy
78 %
Durability
79 %
Features
79 %
Materials
78 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.10.19)
Amazon Link
$9.99

Top 10 Picks

1. Milwaukee Tool

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
98.8
Milwaukee Tool 48-22-7125 Magnetic Tape Measure
Amazon Link
Accuracy
99
Durability
98
Features
99
Materials
99
best offer for today
Amazon Link
Pros:

Designed to be heavy-duty

Made with a Finger Stop feature

Feels natural and comfortable in your hands

Cons:

A stronger magnet could make it even better

Ask any professional who has actually used this model from Milwaukee and they will, nine times out of ten, begin raving. As you will soon find out, there really is not a better option out there for those looking for the best.

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Accuracy and Precision
To increase the efficiency of this model, it has been engineered with double-sided printing with a blueprint scale. In addition, this measures 25 feet and has 1/8-inch and ¼-inch scales.

Durability
Without question, this is where this shines the brightest. With the awesome combination of the nylon bond protected blade and the five-point reinforced frame, this will both resist wear and protect against drops.

Blade Design
There are two key aspects to note of the nylon protected blade. First off, when staring into the sun, there is not much of a glare. But, if you accidentally make a pencil mark on the blade, it can be hard to get off.

Convenient Features
Integrated into this model is the innovative Finger Stop feature. When the blade retracts, this is going to protect your fingers from damage. Also, this is magnetic.

Handling
Thanks to the inclusion of the rubber grip, this feels natural to hold in your hands. What is also nice is when your hands begin sweating, you can still achieve an optimal grip.

Overall
With its unparalleled level of durability, performance, and accuracy, it really does not get much better than this. Also thanks to the addition of the Finger Stop feature, it is also engineered for safety.

2. MulWark

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97
MulWark 26ft Measuring Tape
Amazon Link
Accuracy
97
Durability
96
Features
97
Materials
98
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$12.99
Pros:

Can stand out 13 feet vertically

The magnets can pick up other magnetic items

Double sided for easier use

Cons:

Can be hard to read

While some users may feel that Mulwark tried too hard to implement too many features into one design, it is hard to deny how compelling this specific tape measure is.

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Accuracy and Precision
In addition to the fact that the magnetic claw can be moved back to deduct its own thickness, the measurements are controlled within plus or minus 0.2 millimeters. Plus, this is double-sided.

Durability
Even when you drop this tape, the rugged and shockproof ABS housing is going to hold up very well. This molded hard rubber gives you peace of mind when you are operating this.

Blade Design
This is advertised to sand out vertically until 13 feet has been reached and this is reduced to seven feet when stood out horizontally. Additionally, the thick reinforced wear-resistant coating adds protection.

Convenient Features
Thanks to the powerful magnetic tip of the blade, the stability is greatly enhanced. But, the magnetic end is also strong enough to act as a tool to pick up magnetic metals.

Handling
Mulwark outfitted their model with a soft rubberized core and on top of being durable, this also, in conjunction with the contoured shape, allows it to fit naturally into your hand.

Overall
As you can see, this is an all-in-one tape measure that is fantastic for the right people. Then again, for casual users, the blade may be too difficult to read due to its complex nature.

3. Lufkin L1025B

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94
Crescent Lufkin Black Widow Black Dual Sided Tape Measure
Amazon Link
Accuracy
93
Durability
94
Features
94
Materials
95
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$13.99
Pros:

Has an integrated tether

It is ergonomically designed

Very easy to see in varied light conditions

Cons:

For the price, the blade is quite thin

When you dub your product the Black Widow, you better have the quality to back it up. It is safe to say, for the most part, that Lufkin designed their Black Widow to live up to its audacious name.

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Accuracy and Precision
One of the best features of this design is the high-contrast green markings as it improves the visibility in varied light conditions. Plus, the blade is double-sided for more precise measuring.

Durability
For longer life and superior resistance to breakage, the Black Widow has been designed with four heavy-duty rivets and 360-degree end hook grips. Also, the rugged over-mold case adds enhanced durability.

Blade Design
This 10-foot blade with a 360-degree end hook will make your life much easier. But, the one issue with the Black Widow is the thinness of the blade as it may not be ready for too much abuse.

Convenient Features
As opposed to lever-style lock mechanisms that can pop out of the locking position, this model is outfitted to lock the blade securely in place. This also has an integrated tether point for added safety.

Handling
There are two factors that make the Black Widow extremely comfortable to use. First off, it is ergonomically designed and secondly, its rubberized exterior prevents slippage in wet conditions.

Overall
Can you see why Lufkin had the gall to dub their tape measure the Black Widow? Of course, the thinner blade is not going to be suitable for users looking for daily and weekly professional use.

4. Opoutil Grip Pro

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91
Tape measure retractable 25ft double sided
Amazon Link
Accuracy
90
Durability
91
Features
92
Materials
91
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$11.99
Pros:

Designed with black and yellow striping

Both sides feature inch/metric scales

Can be used for a handful of projects

Cons:

Advertised with an auto-lock system but that is not the case

It is worth noting that as good as the Grip Pro is, there is a bit of false advertising at play. As some users have pointed out, this does not sport an auto-lock feature and instead simply a manual locking system.

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Accuracy and Precision
To ensure your work is kept as precise and as accurate as possible, the Grip Pro is designed based on MID II accuracy. In addition, the two-sided inch/metric scale makes measuring much easier.

Durability
There is little doubt about it; this is going to last a long time. This is thanks to the anti-slipping, wear-proof and anti-deformation thick rubber jacket that protects the Grip Pro from drops of moderate heights.

Blade Design
Not only does this unit as a whole possess strong durability, so does the blade. Because it has been bonded with heavy-duty nylon, it too can handle abuse. Also, high-visibility black and yellow striping make viewing much easier.

Convenient Features
Although this is not an auto-lock design, despite some claims to the contrary, the thumb catch system does ensure that manual locking feels natural. Additionally, the back hook of the Grip Pro makes carrying a breeze.

Handling
While the anti-slipping rubberized grip aids in durability, it also aids in handling. Even when your hands begin to sweat, you will still be able to achieve an optimal grip no matter.

Overall
The Grip Pro lacks very few key features and makes it one of the best models in the world. Still, an auto-lock design, for those who absolutely require it, would have made this an even better design.

5. Magnelex Solidrule

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89
Inches and Metric Measuring Tape
Amazon Link
Accuracy
88
Durability
89
Features
90
Materials
89
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$12.90
Pros:

Protected with impact-resistance

Designed with a smooth recoil mechanism

It is easy to see and read

Cons:

The blade itself does not remain flat on surfaces

Magnelex designed one of the most impressive tape measures on the market when they released their SolidRule. With the combination of its durability, blade, and handling, it simply is superb.

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Accuracy and Precision
First off, this was designed in certification with CE and also meets MID standards of precision and accuracy. Also, there are both inches and metric measurements.

Durability
Let’s so you accidentally drop this from a ladder, or something, depending on the terrain it lands on, it will probably not break. This is thanks to the impact-resistant rubberized case.

Blade Design
On top of the rubberized case, the blade itself features durable nylon coating on both sides for ample protection. Plus, until you release the switch, the blade lock will stay in place.

Convenient Features
To ensure that the blade never gets stuck while you are releasing it, it was designed with a smooth recoil mechanism.

Handling
As you probably guessed, the rubberized case aids in handling as well as durability. In nearly all conditions, it is going to be easy to hold, easy to grip, and will not slip in your hands.

Overall
You would think this is absolutely flawless. Around 95 percent of the design is but due to the awkward nature of the blade itself, it can be hard to use at times. Still, it will last a lifetime.

6. Kutir

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.5
Measuring Tape Measure By Kutir
Amazon Link
Accuracy
87
Durability
86
Features
87
Materials
86
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$14.90
Pros:

Features a powerful magnetic hook

The magnet is plated in chrome to prevent rusting

The blade is made out of stainless steel

Cons:

Measuring within two inches is a pain as the magnet is in the way

One of the better features about this next design is its magnetic hook at the end of the blade. When measuring any metal surfaces, it will lock onto it and make the overall task a breeze.

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Accuracy and Precision
This has been awarded the certification from MID for accuracy. However, despite both in inch and metric scale, the measurement only comes from one side, leading to potential inaccuracies.

Durability
Let’s just say that Kutir has done everything to ensure their model stands up to abuse. With the magnet plated in chrome to prevent rusting and the case designed with top-grade rubberized material, this is certainly protected.

Blade Design
Up until seven feet of the total 25 feet, this blade will stand out. In addition to this, the blade itself measures 0.15 millimeters in thickness and is sturdy and durable in its own right.

Convenient Features
Indeed, the most convenient feature of this entire design is the magnetic hook. Thanks to the powerful magnet, in the end, it can make measuring metal surfaces much easier.

Handling
As one buyer pointed out, the housing and the overall shape will fit naturally into your hand. Then again, they also mentioned that it has a bit of heft to it (though nothing too extreme).

Overall
Many consumers will be gleaming at the sight of this measuring tape. For the most part, it is one of the most consistent designs out there with accuracy, durability, and versatility.

7. Stanley Fatmax

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85
STANLEY Inch Auto Lock Tape Measure
Amazon Link
Accuracy
85
Durability
86
Features
84
Materials
85
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$16.99
Pros:

Features both a manual mode and an auto-lock mode

Will stand out as far as 11 feet

Designed with a detachable framing hook

Cons:

Can be slow when retracting

Stanley is one of the more recognizable brands in this field of technology and their FatMax is one of their best. In fact, it is one of the only designs with an auto-lock and an 11-foot standout.

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Accuracy and Precision
Thanks to the 11-foot standout, making precise and accurate readings is a little easier. However, this Fatmax model features only an imperial scale and not metric.

Durability
When you measure straight, the blade is very durable and sturdy. Potential issues arise, though, when you measure at an angle. When doing so, it will “break” a little too easily.

Blade Design
To ensure the blade lasts much longer than it would otherwise, Stanley coated it with Blade Armor. Plus, as mentioned earlier, it will stand out even as far as 11 feet.

Convenient Features
For your convenience, there is both a manual mode and an auto-lock mode. On top of this, there is a detachable hook for storage and carrying (which will easily grab studs when you need).

Handling
What is extremely ironic about the FatMax is it is just that, fat. As one buyer sarcastically pointed out, the FatMax needs to lose a little weight as it definitely feels hefty in your hand.

Overall
While there are some problems with the FatMax, Stanley has a strong reputation in this field for a reason. You know, at the very least, their FatMax tape will get the job done for you and will last a lifetime.

8. Stanley Powerlock

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83
Stanley 33-425 25-Foot by 1-Inch Measuring Tape
Amazon Link
Accuracy
83
Durability
84
Features
82
Materials
83
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$9.88
Pros:

Coated with Mylar

It is easy to read

The hook doubles as a pivot

Cons:

The standout begins to bow at 5.5 feet

Speaking of recognizable, how about the Powerlock from Stanley? But, then again, it is worth noting that the Powerlock is probably only suitable for recreational and not commercial use.

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Accuracy and Precision
As a typical measuring tape is, this is graduated in 1/16-inch. Overall, the yellow blade and black markings make achieving the right measurement fairly simple and accurate.

Durability
Here is the main reason this probably is not optimal for commercial use. The high-impact ABS housing, while not bad, is plastic and may not hold up to vigorous use.

Blade Design
The blade itself is nice and durable and is protected against abrasion thanks to the Mylar coating. But, as one consumer noted, the standout will bow at around 5.5 feet.

Convenient Features
In addition to the lockable blade, the Tru-Zero belt hook, while being nice for storage, also doubles as a pivot for drawing arcs. Plus, it will automatically adjust to handle both outside and inside measurements.

Handling
There have not been too many users who have complained about the handling and at 13.6 ounces in total weight, it does not feel massive in your hands.

Overall
Though the blade is as durable as they come, the same can’t be said about the housing. But, high-impact ABS is certainly not a bad material but for hardcore use, some may want to look elsewhere.

9. Quickdraw

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.3
QUICKDRAW DIY Self Marking 25' Foot Tape Measure
Amazon Link
Accuracy
80
Durability
82
Materials
82
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$19.99
Pros:

Has a built-in pencil

Rugged nylon coating for the blade

Backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons:

The tip of the blade may not last

As good as this next model is, there have been a few buyers who have reported issues with longevity. That said, this is probably ideal for casual use but not so for extensive use.

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Accuracy and Precision
There is a built-in pencil into this measuring tape and it makes making your mark quick and easy.

Durability
There have been a few buyers who have shared their experience with the blade of this model. As they mention, the tip of the blade tends to get loose and will break after too much stress.

Blade Design
While the tip of the blade could have been designed better, there is a rugged nylon coating that does add durability for the entirety of the blade.

Convenient Features
Thanks to the built-in graphite dispensing wheel, which was mentioned earlier, you do not have to waste any time fumbling over a pencil to make your mark.

Handling
While the housing feels good in your hand, the built-in pencil can actually be a little tricky to use. It does not help that the instructions offer very little guidance.

Overall
If you can accept the fact that the tip of the blade of this model may not last a long time, you can really enjoy this tape measure and its built-in pencil.

10. Komelon Self Lock

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78.5
Komelon SL2825 Self Lock 25-Foot Power Tape
Amazon Link
Accuracy
78
Durability
79
Features
79
Materials
78
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$9.99
Pros:

Designed ergonomically

Features a built-in clip

Is an auto-lock system

Cons:

Too weak for commercial use

Right along the same line as the previous model, this last tape on this list is probably not going to cut it for construction use. But, the unique patented design will do wonders for the right people.

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Accuracy and Precision
Depending on your needs and the scale you prefer when measuring, there are multiple sizes and scales available.

Durability
The impact rubberized case is nice and is not the portion of the design you need to worry about.

Blade Design
While the blade does extend smoothly, the nylon coating is not sufficient enough and the blade remains fairly flimsy.

Convenient Features
Both the integrated clip and auto locking system will be appreciated by anybody who operates this bad boy.

Handling
Komelon designed this with ergonomics in mind and that is apparent with the case.

Overall
There is a lot to like here for the average consumer including ergonomics, an auto-lock system, and the clip. Yet, the blade is not designed to handle extensive projects.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Accuracy

Would you simply automatically assume that all tape measures measured with the same accuracy? Well, if you do then you may want to think again. First and foremost, each model may fall under a different classification of accuracy. In the UK, it goes according to the European Weights and Measures Regulations. Typically, you will either see Class I or Class II tapes sold with the former being the most accurate. In addition to this, though, you also need to know how long you want the blade and the measurements you desire.

For smaller tasks, blades that measure five to 10 feet may suffice. But, for more precision, you may need blades in excess of 50 feet. Also, do you require the metric system? This would be measurements such as centimeters, meters, and millimeters. If you need ultimate precision, you may need to measure down to the nearest millimeter. Along the same line, look for other features such as high-contrast markings that are easy to read and also a double-sided blade.

Durability

At their core, these tools are pretty simple and really do not require much exertion on your part. But, that does not mean that their longevity and overall durability are not going to come to the fold, because they will. While the design of the blade will be addressed in a minute, to enhance their durability, look for protective coatings. As you have seen in this guide, this could be with Mylar, nylon, or any other material that will protect the blade from abrasion and damage. Yet, what happens if you drop the entire unit? Well, this is where the housing needs to be addressed.

The housing, or simply the case itself, is the body of the tape measure and is the so-called foundation of it. Sometimes, you will see cases made up of ABS plastic and other times you will see stainless steel. Yet, some of the best models that are being manufactured today are integrating a bi-material for their housing. To start, the case will either be made with ABS plastic or steel. But, it will then be protected by a rugged, rubberized material that will add shock absorption when the measuring tape is dropped.

Features

There are still two extremely important features in regard to the blade that need to be addressed. The first one is the locking mechanism and while all tapes will have some sort of lock, from model to model, it is going to alter a little bit. For example, some models will have an auto-lock function in which you need to hit a small button to lock the blade in position. However, others will merely be designed with a thumb blade lock in which you merely flip the switch into the lock position. Of course, other models will automatically lock into place when you extend the blade.

The second feature is the hook, which is the portion at the end of the blade that allows it to stay in place for you. While working alone, these hooks can play a vital role as they will provide enhanced security. For added grip, you may see some designed with rubber and sometimes magnets. With the latter, it will attach to magnetic objects which can be another vitally important feature.

Materials

Alright, now it is time to assess the design of the blade. Before we assess the major materials that are typically used, this is a good time to address standout. This is a common term that is associated with this tape measuring technology and it is one that is vital to know. Basically, this term refers to the blade’s ability to remain extended without breaking. In other words, if the standout is 10 feet, the blade will extend 10 feet without bending. For extensive work, the longer, the better. Now, for the materials. You will typically see the blade made from steel, fiberglass or stainless steel.

Steel is nice as it combines practicality and durability very well. For the most part, you will see a vast majority of tape measures with a steel blade. As for fiberglass, this is a nice material as it makes for a very flexible blade. But, it still remains strong and has a high resistance to heat and abrasion. Lastly, for stainless steel, they are all but corrosion-proof. Because of this, they are ideal for wet and muddy environments and will not have you swapping models every several months.

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Care

Caring for one is not a complicated and complex task. First off, make sure to control the blade, in this sense. You should never recoil the blade in a violent and unsafe fashion. Besides actually being a slight safety hazard, this can cause damage to the end hook and the blade markings. Also, if the blade is exposed to water then you need to dry it off before storing it. Remember, metal can rust. Oh yeah, and keep it away from direct sunlight as excessive heat can cause the blade to stretch and expand.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: What do the Markings Mean?

a:

For the record, this is addressing an imperial scale and not a metric. So, for these types, you will typically see inches, half inches, quarter inches, eight inches, and sixteenth inches. Once you get the hang of one you will be able to instantly tell where your measurement is at but just starting out, it can be tricky. With sixteen markings in-between one small inch, there is a lot to take in. But, it all starts with the inch lines and these will be straight down the blade. For the half-inch marks, they will not be quite as long as the inch but will be longer than the other markings. Also, they will be right in-between the inch marks.

As for the remaining, they get smaller and shorter (with the shortest being sixteen-inch marks). Just know, though, that there will be sixteen markings in all (if the blade uses a 1/16-inch scale).

q: How Does the Thumb Blade Lock Work?

a:

This was mentioned earlier and thankfully, with a model that integrates a thumb blade lock system, it is very simple to wrap your head around. Here is the deal; a tape measure is designed to be operated with one hand (not including the blade). So, activating the thumb lock will be as easy as extending the blade to your desired position and then flipping it into the lock position. It really is as simple as that. But, remember, to extend it again or retract it you must flip the switch back down. Of course, look for tape measure models that make this easier as if you can’t use your thumb, it may be a nuisance in the long run.

q: What to Check for in Regard to Damage?

a:

Okay, so we mentioned how you should care for this type of tool. Yet, what happens if some damage arises? Well, the logical step would be to figure out if this damage is detrimental or merely a little blimp on the radar. To do so, let’s address some of the more common issues that may have happened. Firstly, always assess the numbers and markings. If they have become faded or have worn away, it may be time for a new model. Also, inspect the blade for noticeable damage such as kinks or tears. Any defect like this can cause inaccuracies.

Next up, check the hook and make sure it is moving the way it should (not too loosely or tightly). Lastly, make sure the blade is still straight as if not this can also lead to poor readings.

q: Why are the Blades Curved?

a:

If you have owned quite a few of these measuring tapes in the past then you have probably noticed an underlying theme. That theme is that the blades are always curved. Have you ever stopped and wondered why that is? Well, the reasoning behind it is actually very logical and not at all a coincidence. First off, the concave design of a blade will increase its strength. But, when placed on a surface, it also makes it easier to read when taking measurements.

q: Why is the Tip Always Loose?

a:

It is quite amazing how common this question truly is. It is not as if it is merely a rhetorical question that everyone in their right mind should know, it is just a little surprising how many consumers across the globe bring it up. Probably the most ironic part of this entire question is the answer. Would it shock you to know that tape measures are actually designed with a loose tip purposely? The reason for this is the tip is designed to slide a distance that is equal to its own thickness as this will ensure more accurate measurements.

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