I hold in my hand one of Dewalt’s new XP tape measures, a next generation tape that’s made in the USA with global materials, and choc-full of fancy new features. Its model number is DWHT36225.
The XP part stands for Extended Performance.
In a nutshell, here’s what the new tape offers:
– Tougher Case
– Tougher Blade Coating
– Tougher Hook Construction
– Dual Spring Retraction System (“Dual-Core Technology”)
Dewalt says that the new XP tape measure was designed to stand up to the harshest jobsite conditions and extreme use.
- 3-1/8″ tall
- 3-3/8″ wide
- 2-9/32″ deep
- Weighs 1.25 pounds
- Hook is fastened by 3 rivets
Dewalt says that the new tape was designed with an impact-resistant and rubber-overmolded case, and can withstand drops from up to 60 feet. Yes, 60 feet. I at first saw 60′ on the packaging but read it as 60″. 60 feet and 60 inches (5 feet) is a big difference.
There’s an integration lock protection that guards the lock button when dropped. This is a feature I kind of like about some of Dewalt’s other tape measures, but not all the time. On this tape, it’s been perfected.
Basically, the lock button has a sort of hollow rubberized design that cushions the inner part of the button in case of impacts. It also gives the button a softer (but still firm) feel.
The blade has 9″ of thermoplastic (plastic) coating, helping to reduce breakage near the hook. The rest of the blade features Dewalt’s “toughest coating” to help protect against abrasion, wear, and rust.
The blade is 1-1/4″ wide. Blade standout is said to be 13′, and the standout is said to be “straighter” compared to Dewalt’s premium DWHT33975 tape measure, also made in the USA.
Yes, the tape definitely feels solid and durable.
New and Notable Features
The belt clip isn’t springy – it simply juts out a little to create an opening for your belt. Slide it onto your belt, and the tape’s clip will sandwich the belt between the outer metal hook and inner plastic component that also serves to hold the clip locked to the tape measure’s housing.
Upside: It is easy to slide onto my belt, and grips it with confidence. Downside: The clip provides a loose hold when it is instead attached to my pants pocket.
Time will tell if this is an improvement contractors like, or an attempt at differentiation that they hate.
The front hook is large, but doesn’t feel as oversized as with other premium tapes that have come out these past few years.
There’s a lanyard slot, in case you want it.
I find the tape to be very easily readable. This is Dewalt’s image of the first few inches. The numbers get larger after that.
The entire tape is coated with a film. It’s obvious if you look closely – I can see small bubbles and irregularities. This won’t affect anything at all, it just seemed worth mentioning. There is a slight transparency right at the edges of the blade, which I think could cut down on small nicks that lead to broken blades.
Additional First Thoughts
When doing some early tests on the blade, it whipped back and the hook took a tiny piece of skin off my knuckle. The spring on this tape is STRONG.
I have the habit of sticking my pinky finger behind 25-foot tape measures. I don’t remember how or why this started, but it could be to help improve my grip on larger tape housings. My running theory is that I developed the habit to help provide leverage for pushing down stiff blade locks on larger tapes.
After a few minutes or back and forth with the tape, my hand was fatigued from the recoil. Switching my grip helped.
This tape has a very nice and grippy housing. Shifting my grip on this tape is easier than I thought, but we’ll see if I feel the same way with time. But so far, so good.
Actually, once I switched my grip a little, the locking button became even easier to operate.
There is still noticeable recoil, though. Maybe there’s no more recoil, but it feels stronger because it’s faster.
The recoil is worth mentioning, but it doesn’t sour my feelings about the tape. Ask me again in a few weeks. Either this becomes my go-to tape, or it frustrates me and I toss it into my drawer or forgotten tools.
I will say this – if you see it in-store, give it a try. You might just like it.
ETA: July 2017 (USA), May 2017 (Canada)
In addition to this 25-foot model, DWHT36225, there will also be a 35-foot tape, and a 26-foot/8-meter tape.
Is it Worth the Hype?
Judging from the look of the tape, the way it’s packaged, the microsite Dewalt created to promote it, and the nice branded box that the review sample came in, I think that there will be a lot of marketing surrounding the tape’s release.
There’s bound to be a lot of hype. Is it worth the hype, of is this a fluffed-up product that’ll catch your attention and ultimately disappoint?
I think that there’s some good innovation packaged into this tape. Stanley Black & Decker has a lot of experiencing designing and manufacturing tape measures. For this tape, they decided to try several new things all at once.
The belt clip? It think I’m going to like it. It clips to my belt and pants waist nice and tight, and easily too. I can forgive it for being loose when clipped to my pocket. Well, it’s not loose, it’s just not tight. Good thing I don’t clip tapes to my pocket very often.
The hook seems to be an improvement.
The housing is pretty darned nice. It feels sturdy, and it’s comfortable to grasp. This is said to be a more compact tape, and it feels compact. It’s not noticeably smaller than a 25′ Stanley I had within reach (STHT33596 via Amazon, via Lowes).
The dual spring mechanism is very quick, and it really does need to be strong. The blade is wide and thick, and when fully extended it’s bound to weigh a lot. It whizzes the blade back as if this was a 16-foot tape with a thin flimsy blade.
I couldn’t quite get 13 feet of standout. And when approaching the upper limits of standout, the blade arced and drooped as bad as any premium tape with thick blade and bold standout claims.
But at the 7-8 feet point, the standout did indeed seem to be unusually straight and easy to guide.
What I’m trying to say is that yes, there’s a lot of hype surrounding this tape measure. My initial take is that it IS deserving of at least some of that hoopla.
Thank you to Dewalt for providing the tool review sample unconditionally.