Our content is meticulously curated through independent research, testing, reviews, and AI-driven recommendations, all designed to present you with the finest product choices. When you make a purchase through our links, it could result in us earning a commission.
Accurately measuring items is an important part of any construction or DIY project. When working with wood or a weekend home improvement project, a measuring tape can make all the difference between one day versus multiple.
For such a simple, old-school tool you’d think finding the best tape measure in 2024 would be a walk in the park, right? Think again. Modern enhancements and tech have drastically changed the landscape and that’s why we asked our entire team to test out the 7 products listed below and determine which one is the best. Whether you’re a professional tradesman, a novice DIYer, or just a homeowner who is always updating their space, we’ll be sure to help you find the perfect tape measure for all of your needs.
This was hands-down the best tape measure that we tried. We couldn’t help but think about the thousands of times that we wished we’d had a self-lockingtape measure on our belt. It’s simple, it’s smooth, and it works perfectly.
Our team ranked Komelon number one on our list because it felt like more than a measuring tape (actual quote from our team); the slick feel and features almost make us want to measure everything in sight!
Max Length: 30 feet | Blade Material: Nylon | Lock Type: Self | Batteries Required: No | Other Features: Nylon case, Dual hook
Klein Tools has always put out quality products that are going to last and their tape measure is no different. A few of our team members voted it number 1 on their list and pointed out how much more heavy-duty the hook is than our best overall pick; the difference came down to the lock type.
Still, we highly recommend this tool and support giving it our “heavy-duty” award. We also considered it for having the best retraction control, but believe knowing the durability potential is more relevant.
Max Length: 25 feet | Blade Material: Alloy steel | Lock Type: Magnetic | Batteries Required: No | Other Features: Metal and nylon case, Large measurement print
Let’s keep it simple: This is probably the first image in your head when you think of a tape measure. Stanley’s PowerLock is a classic and lives in the toolbox of millions of Americans. There are dozens of variations in length and we almost guarantee this thing will outlive you.
Sometimes the old ways are still the best. While we love self-locking tape measures, our team all agreed: Everyone needs to start with a Stanley.
Max Length: 25 feet | Blade Material: Alloy steel | Lock Type: Positive | Batteries Required: No | Other Features: Made in USA
We’re willing to say that Craftsman made a great tool here and put our support behind this tape. Being self-locking gave it some extra points and we liked the different size options plus bundles that Craftsman is offering related to this tape measure.
Two points that stand out amongst the crowd? Extremely lightweight (less than 1oz!) and we really liked the easy-to-read fraction markings that are on the blade. Craftsman is offering a quality tape measure at a good price and its added rubber grip makes it an asset in any toolbox.
Max Length: 25 feet | Blade Material: Nylon-coated | Lock Type: Button | Batteries Required: No | Other Features: Rubber case
Our only new-world tape measure, our team will probably fight over using this until they finally break it.
With a laser that will measure up to 135ft and a magnetic, double-sided blade we could read this tape measure upside down or sideways. Like we said in the intro of this review: Modernity has even made the most simple tools even more useful.
One note to make is that the laser provides decimal points instead of fractions. So, instead of 44 3/8in it reads 44.4in; this isn’t insignificant and might turn more novice wordsmiths away.
Max Length: 16ft blade, 135ft laser | Blade Material: Nylon | Lock Type: Lever | Batteries Required:Lithium-Ion | Other Features: Backlit display, USC-C charger
A great tape measure from Stanley with several different lengths to pick from, it’s tough to go against this measuring tape. Our team noted how compact the case is and how easy it is to relock the blade.
We also liked how light (6.4oz) it is and we liked the large number indicators on the blade; easy to control and easy to read. Tough to find anything that turned us off of it.
Max Length: 16 feet | Blade Material: Polymer-coated | Lock Type: Lever | Batteries Required: No | Other Features: True-Zero hook end
Maybe not relevant for woodworking or most projects inside the home, but without a doubt necessary for projects outside or sports teams, and that’s why we included it. Our team agreed that there’s nothing to knock and noted how simple it is to wind back up for another day.
A nice feature we like is that one side is in standard units and the other is in metric; for sure significant when looking at the world from a macro-level.
Max Length: 100 feet | Blade Material: Fiberglass | Lock Type: Hand crank | Batteries Required: No | Other Features: Hook at end for staking
Not having a measuring tape that fulfills almost all the needs is the pain point of many professionals. If you own a measuring tape that is not even able to measure your required length, then what’s the use of having it? When purchasing a measuring tape, you’ll need to get one that will fit your requirements.
There are a lot of options available on the market, which makes it difficult for a person to choose the best tape measure. We have curated this buyer’s guide to help you make the right decision.
Tape Measure Features
To make sure that you choose the best tape measure, here are some essential features to look for:
Stand out blade
It refers to the length that the tape blade can extend without collapsing. The blade of some tapes falls even after a little extension. On the other hand, some tape measures can extend to quite a long distance without external support. So, a better stand-out means that the tape measure should reach further as it is critical for a contractor, carpenter, or any other intense job. For simple DIYs or home projects, you can even ignore this factor.
Length of the tape
The length of the tape measure is a very important factor because if you buy a measuring tape and it is shorter in length than what you need it for, then the tape is useless for you. You should carefully look into the length of the tape before making your purchase.
The readings of measuring tools are a significant factor. Available in both standard or imperial units and also in metric units, the readings of tape measure need to be very clear and properly marked. The readings are critical because if the tape is not labeled correctly, the data or the measurement measured will come out wrong and mess up your work. The marked readings in a standard tape measure also have to be very prominent so the user can check the measurement.
Belt holder or clip
If you plan to get your hands on cased tape measures, you should know that these are often equipped with a nylon or steel belt clip attached to the pocket or tool belt. Some professionals and DIYers might find the clip a bit annoying as it adds bulkiness. Moreover, the clip makes it harder to hold or stow a tape measure in your pocket. However, some models come with the option to unscrew the clip whenever needed.
When you are working alone or the space is congested, tape measures that automatically lock when you pull them out come in handy. For instance, the blade will lock into position when you measure inside a cabinet. Thus, it will ensure that you get an accurate reading. There is no rocket science to it. You just need to press the button, and the blade will fully retract or shorten, depending on when you are releasing the finger.
If you want to learn more about tape measures, such as the markings of the tape measure, check the video below by TightWadDIY.
Different Types of Measuring Tapes
You shouldn’t choose a tape measure at random. Different tape measures work best for different types of projects.
Cased tape measures
It is the most versatile and popular design—the fiberglass or metal measuring strip in a metal or rubber holder houses the blade. You can easily clip it to your tool belt or stow it in the pocket. The standard size of a tape measure is 25 feet which can be used for crafting or DIY projects.
Open reel tapes
Such measuring tapes are usually used by contractors, engineers, and builders. These come with a hand crank for retraction and are typically made of coated fiberglass. These can be 25 to 500 feet long, having markings on both meters and feet.
Synthetic measuring tapes
Similar to open reel tapes, these can measure long distances. Because of their ability to stretch and distort accurate measurements, they are more often used than tape measures containing steel when measuring around hazardous areas, such as railroads.
These are usually used to measure circular objects or columns. A D-tape is somewhat similar to a cased tape measure but has an ultra-flexible metal or cloth blade that you can wrap around poles or pipes. These tapes provide accurate measurements using pi to calculate area. You can find D-tapes in a variety of lengths, ranging from 12 inches to 50 feet.
A vinyl or cloth model is more suitable for sewing projects as you can mold them easily to take measurements around the body. These come in a range of lengths from 60 inches to 120 inches. Sewing tapes can be simple strips having metal ends or housed in a retractable case.
Laser tape measures are specialized measuring tools that send out pulses of laser light to a defined target and then record the time it takes to get a reflection of light. This way it records accurate readings over very long distances. A laser tape measure is considered more accurate than the traditional fractional tape when you record heights, widths, and lengths not exceeding 198 meters.
In addition to the types discussed above, a simple cloth tape is used as a bandage, for sealing walls, and for electrical and plumbing tasks. On the other hand, durable metal tape is effective for covering thermal insulation or shielding.
Key Tape Measure Purchase Points
One of the most important features to look for in a measuring tape is its durability. If you work in construction, home renovation, or simply find yourself completing many woodworking tasks throughout the year, you’ll need a tape measure that withstands constant usage.
The retracting system of a measuring tape also needs to be smooth, and it also needs to be durable, so it doesn’t break down.
Common Tape Measure Questions
How do I use a tape measure?
Using a tape measure correctly is essential for accurate measurements: start by placing the end hook against the fixed point you want to measure from, then keep your body behind the scale to avoid pinching it; hold the beginning of the blade by its base firmly against said fixed point and pull outwards until the desired measurement is reached – if necessary use other hand’s free index finger/thumb to help guide blade down as far as possible before reading off specific mark indicated!
Why is a tape measure curved?
The tape is curved and has a concave design which helps to keep the blade straight when extended. The curve helps you read the measurement accurately.
What do all the markings on a tape measure mean?
Standard markings found on most general tapes include inches (measured in fractions), both sides calculated up in 1/16” increments; metric (calculated out in millimeters & centimeters) which follows the same principle except using decimals instead – may also find additional notches cut into the blade itself at different points—these act as handy reference markers when trying to estimate size ranges quickly without having rely solely upon actual scales imprinted onto surface itself!
Why are there 16 inch marks on a tape measure?
Wall studs are separated by 16 inches as per standard US construction practice. It makes it easier for a carpenter or contractor to use the tape for its requirements.
The Woodsmith Review Team’s product reviews and in-depth guides are here to help you choose the best tools and gear to build great-looking projects confidently. The content is created by The Woodsmith Review Team. Woodsmith’s editorial staff is not involved. Woodsmith is reader-supported: When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. The Woodsmith Review Team is composed of authors, editors, and woodsmiths. Large language models (like Artificial Intelligence) may have been used in the research and creation of the content.
Inquiries regarding specific articles or product testing should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org