In my launch post about the new Dewalt Tough Series tape measures, I asked should Milwaukee Tool be worried right in the title. Dewalt Tough Series is the brand’s newest product family, with tape measures being the first of many new premium and ultra-durable tools.
When I came across Dewalt’s 25-foot Tough Series tape measure at the local Home Depot, I bought it on the spot.
Nearby, they had a more basic standard-style Dewalt 25-foot tape measure, priced at $10. I am not a fan of this particular design, but I bought one of those on the spot as well. I figured that I’d see if they changed anything in recent years, and even if not, it would make for an interesting comparison.
Dewalt Tough Series 25-foot tape measure: $28
Dewalt “Standard” 25-foot tape measure: $10
Over on ToolGuyd’s Instagram channel, I asked followers in a story if they would spend 2.8X more for the Tough Series tape measure. The results of the poll were far different than I anticipated, with 52% saying they would “if it’s much better,” and 48% saying “absolutely not.”
I then sought to answer the following question: what does the Tough Series tape measure offer, aside from a 100-foot drop rating?
I am still working with the tape, and it’ll be some time before I accidentally or intentionally put its durability claims to test. But in the meantime, I put together a video that goes over all of the Tough Series features and differences.
Yes, these new tape measures cost a lot more than most of Dewalt’s other models, but you also get a lot more for your money – more than Dewalt’s durability-focused marketing would suggest.
I’m not a fan of Dewalt’s previous premium-priced tape measures (mainly due to their too-strong spring retraction), but I really like this one.
Please let me know if you have any questions. Hopefully the video answers most of them, and if not I’ll address them in a follow-up review after I put more time in with the Tough Series tape.
Buy Now: Tough Series via Home Depot
Buy Now: Dewalt Basic via Home Depot
See Also: Milwaukee Tape Measures
I found it interesting that the Tough Series packaging was entirely made of cardboard and cardstock, which Dewalt says will be an increasing trend.
There’s something else that caught my attention. Whereas Dewalt’s prior premium and flagship tape measures were made in the USA with global materials, the Tough Series tapes are made in Thailand, presumably at the same factory as the more basic tape. This has nothing to do with features or quality – I am in fact very impressed with both – but just something I found curious.
New Dewalt Tough Series Tape Measures – Should Milwaukee be Worried?
They need to make the clip stronger it bends way to easy on the new tape measures
That does look promising. I’d prefer an autolock, but otherwise looks good. I would look at a 10′, 12′ or 16′ version though, no need for a 25′ for me.
They have a 16’, but I haven’t seen it in stores yet.
Still waiting for the XP 16′ lol
Pretty sure this one is already brushless.
Thanks! I’ll keep an eye out.
Is there a place to store the magnet on the back or is that for a lanyard? Magnets are a nuisance most of the time so I’d normally leave it off. Without a place to store it it would get lost for sure.
Stuart mentions in the video there is no place to store it.
That’s an extra-large lanyard/tether loop.
The magnet has to be stored in its position on the hook, or some other safe place separate from the tape measure.
I would never pay $28 for a tape measure. Not while there’s very good ones for <$20, and some good ones even cheaper, particularly the komelon brand.
My main tape is a 16' stanley fatmax I paid $18 for, but the ones I use most often in the shop are 12' komelon fractional and inch/metric tapes. They were less than $5 each.
The quality of the skilled trade is directly related to the quality of the tools they use.
I will be purchasing one to try out just like I want to get a custom Martinez M1 someday.
I’ve been a FatMax 25’ user for 10 years and they’ve gone down in quality recently, so maybe this is what I’m looking for.
Agreed, I seem to be going through fat Max’s much faster in the last few years it seems. Either that or I’m working harder, but I doubt it. I had one split open from a 1 story drop a few weeks ago. And I feel like I’ve been getting nicks in the blade faster than I used to. My problem is I’ve been using one for 10+ years and I’m so used to look of the tape, it’s like second nature.
Overpriced. I might grab one if there’s a Christmas deal.
I have a neon green made in USA Stanley Leverlock from the 90’s. I have dropped it countless times over the years and it still works great. Were tape measures better made in the 90’s? Are standard “non-tough” tapes good enough? Are “tough/rugged” products hype or hero? I can’t say. What makes it rugged? Is it just the extra rubber over mold? Is the case thicker or a tougher material? It doesn’t say. It only says that it can survive a 100ft drop. If you’re a hundred feet up and are concerned you might break your tape if you drop it, you should get a dummy cord instead. Think about the guy on the ground that might get a nasty cut on the head from you dropping your tape. This reminds me of the story about WWII planes coming back shot full of holes. To improve the chances of safely making it back engineers put armor where there weren’t any holes. They explained that if the plane can get shot in the middle and make it back, then its not critical to put armor in that place. You put armor where there are no holes because no planes with holes in those places ever made it back. If you are dropping and breaking tape measures 2.8x more than usual, then get the tough tape. If not, save your armor. I mean money.
Menace to sobriety
I do steel framing and the komelon didn’t make it a week plus the hook is clunky for putting a knife in it to score drywall. For what I do it wasn’t a good tape. So far the $20 craftsman tapes have done fine and lowes replaces them with a new one if the blade breaks or gets cut… I miss the old Stanley FatMax.
My older Premium (Pre-XP) tape is still perfect for me… Well… Close enough anyways. Still looking for a fully Metric version of it. That’s what turns me off most of these tapes.
Frankly… Unless they have a fully Metric edition, I’m not interested in this round of DeWALT tapes… or any new tapes for that matter. I have an 8M Lee Valley/Veritas tape, and that’s what I resort to for most builds… but when I have to butt heads with Imperial users, I need my DeWALT 26’/8M Premium Tape.
About the only thing about the new Tough Series that is remotely interesting to me, is the detachable magnet. Sell That separately? I’ll buy 20. A couple for my tapes, and the rest as gifts to my adoptive Brothers and Brothers-In-Law who are similarly sick of not having a magnet at the end of the tape measure.
Is anyone else starting to see DeWALT hand tools do… well… truly weird things this release cycle? Like… Left-Field weird, not the normal “Oh look, the Marketing people are high on something again, and the campaign makes no sense again…” kind of weird.
The magnet won’t work with other tape measures, only this one.
There are ways, Stuart… Often involving glue, and stupidity, but there are ways to make them work. Still a nice little gift for these kinds of guys, intentional use or not.
Koko The Talking Ape
Right. Glue and maybe some soft iron or aluminum sheet. If you’re clever, I bet you could make one that adds exactly 1/4 inch to the tape, or some other round fraction.
I got the magnetic tip to work with the craftsman tape measure. I bet there’s one or two more that it’ll work with.
Someday there will be promos on these Tough ones, that will be the time to buy them. The standard one is regularly $15 it’s on promo for $10.
Not necessarily – the premium tapes weren’t discounted yet. Dewalt has specific models that go on sale individually and as part of 2-for-1 bundles.
So that big of bump in price without even trying to label it “Made (aka assembled) in America” with parts from all over?
Just a thought.
Correct, but the quality appears to be top-notch so far.
I bought the 25’ about a month ago and it’s already tearing around the 6” mark. It was a great tape until then but I wouldn’t pay the premium again.
Another option, more in line with the standard model:
I’m kind of a purist. Particularly, I’d still prefer a product that I like that’s made in usa, japan, korea, germany, switzerland, france, etc. to be made in their respective country. Having an extra like in the case of the Dewalt tape measure XP with the us flag on it adds to the flavor.