Dewalt has a new ToughSeries tape measure on the way, a 25′ tape with built-in LED light, model DWHT35625S.
From what I can tell, the new Dewalt tape measure is identical to their existing ToughSeries 25′ tape, a fantastic albeit pricey tape measure.
Like the non-lighted model, this tape has a 17-foot reach (14 foot standout + plus 3 feet).
It features double-sided markings, with printing on the reverse side for easier overhead measurements.
The light helps the tape provide professional-grade performance in the darkest work areas.
It’s toggled on and off via a large power button on the bottom.
The built-in battery is charged via USB. It’s unclear what type of USB port this is, but let’s hope it’s USB-C.
Dewalt says the tape measure can withstand drops of up to 100 feet onto packed soil.
The belt clip design should be familiar to Dewalt tape measure users.
In case you missed it, Milwaukee also has an LED tape measure on the way.
That looks pretty good! Seems like there’s a lot of lighted tape measures on the market these days. It doesn’t look like adding the light affects the tool’s use as a tape measure, so why not have the option?
It seems like every tool with a build-in battery attracts critics, but I’d rather have that, rechargeable with an non-proprietary cord, than have to deal with some AAs or whatnot. It’s not like the tape stops working if I forget to keep it charged.
There are only a handful of models that I know of – Komelon, Kobalt, the upcoming Milwaukee, and now this one.
While not up my alley, I can see the convenience of lighted tapes for working in dark attics, basements, or other such settings.
Do contractors work in black/dark attics or basements or 3am graveyards without setting up lighting?
I frequently work in lit environments at night and I stand in the way of the light. It also wouldn’t hurt to have a quick light to point at a diagram.
I’m not a contractor, but a lot of work lighting tends to be at around human height and very concentrated, which makes it easy to shadow your own work.
Think of how handy it is to have a light on your drill/driver, even in otherwise well-lit environments.
Yes, even with lights it’s dark in an attic.
This helps a lot for people with mediocre eyesight. I have presbyopia, which can’t be treated by lasik and the glasses that help only have one focal distance, so you can read with them, but not see anything further than a book. Most old people get it sooner or later and there are a lot of DIY-ers with silver hair and extra money to buy a DeWalt vs the cheapest at the store. 🙂
Every bit of light makes things easier to see, even in decent light.
I can see well enough in any light I’d ever use this in, but the extra light allows me to read it faster.
I could see a lighted tape being useful even in lit areas. Sometimes a shadow falls on the wrong spot, or there’s too much contrast with the background. Either can make a tape hard to read, especially the smaller markings.
But I don’t think this is the best design. LEDs are inherently wide-angle emitters. Just slapping one on the front of this tape will illuminate the tape, but it will also glare everywhere else, including into your eyes when you happen to glance at it. That’s irritating, and can actually make the tape HARDER to see.
A good design would illuminate the tape, and JUST the tape. That would be easy and cheap to implement with a light pipe or simple lens. It would also mean the LED could be smaller and draw less power to achieve the same level of illumination. It would just take some thoughtful design. I imagine it would just a few weeks of additional work for a designer, and management that’s on board with the idea of good design.
The light pattern spread might be intentional so it can double as an impromptu flashlight – but I could see your design having advantages too.
It might be intentional, but the result is likely a crappy flashlight. And it actually DETRACTS from its use as a tape measure. Lose-lose.
A lighted tape would be cool, but also pretty fragile (without making it unreasonably expensive) with the constant rolling and unrolling. You might get a better result using a retro-reflector coating like that 3M stuff. I think I’ve seen some of those super-reflective tape measures, but not recently.
Maybe I wasn’t clear. I want an LED light, just like on this tape, but shining ON the tape (and nowhere else.) The tape itself wouldn’t light up.
I have a Komelon lighted tape and the light is something you don’t use 90% of the time, but is nice to have when you need it. Sometimes DIYers and even contractors need to make that one quick measurement in a dark corner and the light really helps. MIne is a nice balance of enough light to be helpful but not too ding or glaring. It also helps you see a pencil line in your shadow too. A pencil line has a bit of sheen that shows up well under a light.
I like how DeWalt gives us photos of dirty tools.
I drop, get wet, and lose too many tape measures to justify buying an expensive one.
I didn’t realise that tape measures in the USA only have inches and no metric.
In the UK they have both. I find feet and inches useful for rough measurements and mm for more accurate measurements.
Menard’s Masterforce band has one that includes both.
I would expect that outside US it would be available in metric & imperial. Here in Canada, depending on project, the drawings can be in either system, and sometimes both. Hence i never buy imperial only tape measures.
Just as with Milwaukee, not a universal tape … sigh.
That looks cool but I’m already invested in so many battery systems. Why didn’t they make it so it would work with their 12v or 18v batteries I already own?
If they did that the tape measure would have been enormous. I appreciate the fact that they made this tape measure illuminated and yet it’s not any bigger than a comparable model tape.
Hey Dewalt, you should have made it a Qi charging capable. No need to plug in, just lay face on a Qi/wireless surface charger.
Another thing to have a cord for… right?
A lot more people have USB charging cables and wall adapters than wireless chargers. Wireless charging also would have increased the size of the tape measure, not to mention the cost.
Wireless charging can be useful for certain products, such as toothbrushes and phones. But tape measures and other such tools?
I was hanging a shelf and a few pictures over the weekend, and even though I have more than enough tools to do this, I thought how great it would be to have a tape measure that has a built in level and laser. I looked online and saw only one that matched what I was looking for. Looks cheap and rebranded a lot. Lexivon has one with a laser but no level. I’m guessing it’s a reliability issue that’s preventing quality manufacturers from producing. The level and laser would need to sync perfectly. If you dropped it once, it would probably be the end of it as far as accuracy. Unless it could be recalibrated by a couple screws.
I use a laser for long shots, and put these on the lower edge of my install box levels: https://www.amazon.com/Wintape-Adhesive-Measuring-Self-Adhesive-Measure/dp/B07N39H56H/
I bought the “higher end” Dewalt tape about six months ago at twice the price of Stanley after being a dedicated fatmax man for the past 15 years. I’ve probably gone through 40 fat max tapes with an average lifespan of 4 months(new construction and remodeling). The dewalt tape lasted a week and a half. I will say about 8 or so years ago my fat max tapes started declining but I could be working harder? Probably not. Anyway I won’t be trying another dewalt tape anytime soon.
I tried a lot of tapes for a couple years, and settled on Tajima tapes for my use. The Gs series might be worth a try. They make a lot of variations, but that line has more metal on the internals.
The light would have come in handy for fractional marking tapes.