Empire Level has announced a new lineup of upgraded tape measures.
Empire made tape measures? Yes. I remember buying one a few years ago at Sears, when they had a $5 off $5+ coupon. It was $5.00 and I got it for free. It looked a little like the new model shown above, but was covered with what I believe was a removable boot. I passed it along to an electrician buddy, who used it for quite some time before it wore out. The last we talked about it, he liked it a lot.
No, no doubt thanks to Milwaukee influences and R&D funds, Empire Level is revamping their tape measure lineup.
There will be Autolock and chrome tape measures, with nylon-coated blades. The Auto-locking tapes have a brake that holds the blade in place and provides better retraction.
Here are some keypoints from the press materials:
– Best-in-class performance durability and functionality.
– Nylon-coated blade resists contamination and abrasion.
– Reinforced 5-screw housing for increased durability against wear and tear and drops.
– Autolocking brake model holds the blade in place and provides better retraction for improved life.
– Easy-to-read fractional printing (Autolock only)
– Belt clip
The new tapes are said to have been designed to be more compact and ergonomic, and to provide a better in-hand fit.
Each also features a marking surface, for jotting down quick measurements and notes. (In the press images, the 12′ tapes seem to be lacking this feature, but the others, 16′, 25′, and 35′, have the marking surface at the rear side of the tape, as shown in the first image above.
Empire Autolock Tape Measures
- 12’ Empire Autolock Tape Measure (500AL-12) $7.99
- 16’ Empire Autolock Tape Measure (500AL-16) $8.99
- 25’ Empire Autolock Tape Measure (500AL-25) $9.99
Empire Chrome Tape Measures
- 12’ Empire Chrome Tape Measure (300-12) $7.99
- 16’ Empire Chrome Tape Measure (300-16) $8.99
- 25’ Empire Chrome Tape Measure (300-25) $9.99
- 30’ Empire Chrome Tape Measure (300-30) $13.99
- 35’ Empire Chrome Tape Measure (300-35) $15.99
ETA: The new tapes should start hitting shelves this month (January 2017)
While not a fan of fractional markings, at least Empire Level designed theirs to be unobtrusive and spaced out.
I remember taking a multiple choice test in junior high or high school once. It was a long one, where we had to number down the page in 2 columns. I thought I was being clever, staggering the answers for easier readability. The teacher hated it, asked me to redo it in a straight line. I find staggered answers easier to read and track through, they preferred straight down.
These days, I find staggered measurements, numbering, and other similar sorts of things easier to read sometimes, but on tape measures I prefer numbers to be perfectly aligned and well spaced out. Staggering the numbers to cram more numerals makes readability harder, in my opinion.
That’s why I think Craftsman’s new tape measure will likely clash with my personal preferences.
I don’t know how I’ll feel about the fractional markings on the new Milwaukee compact tape measures (look closely), or the ones on these Empire Autolock tape measures, but I’ll allow myself to be open-minded. At first glance, it looks like I could either like them or easily ignore them.
New Empire tape measures at low-ish prices? Sounds good to me. Curiously, the Autolock and chrome tapes are priced the same.
It’ll be interesting to see how big the tape measure housings are, and how long the standout is.
Will these new tapes convert Stanley PowerLock users?
Compare(25′ Stanley via Amazon)
I’ll await a hands on comparison but if I saw one in a store I might pick it up. I do however use and love my stanley autolock. I think I would like this one too
PS if that white strip is considered the marking area – then the non-autolocks have it too – according to the pic above. just harder to see.
I will say it looks like their backs are perfectly perpendicular – or more so than other tapes – like the stanley I mentioned above. That might make me give it another look since I jam up in a corner fairly often
Where are these being made? Stanley auto-lock are made in the USA. I like the look of the Empire a lot but COO does matter.
I’m curious why the COO matters if it’s a good tool? Not wanting to start a huge debate on domestic production I’ve just always been curious why it’s important to people where something is made.
To me it’s patriotic to support a company that supports our country with domestic jobs. Why support communism and the exploitation of cheap labor when you can pay a few more dollars and get a better product made domestically.
Where was the computer, tablet or phone from which you posted this made? Or your shoes, shirt, underwear, etc.
What stands out for me, when I buy Milwaukee or Empire — even if they’re tools “out of my league” is the large presence they have here in my home town. Marketing. Sales. Research. Engineering. Etc. Yes, the products aren’t made here, but what is any more?
Whiskey and wood
There’s plenty of things made in the US, you don’t always have an option, as most electronics are made overseas because of environmental issues with batteries and some rubber compounds and rapid scale up capabilities that factories in the US don’t have. That being said there are many products where you have a choice, many, including myself, will choose to purchase a product for its impact on the local economy, fair treatment of employees, improved environmental impact, etc. I don’t believe American made equals quality anymore, so I sometimes buy from Germany and other countries for the quality over an American made product, but 80% of my daily use hand tools are made in America. Channelock, woodpeckers, estwing, older Stanley, some husky stuff. I also have Milwaukee (china and Taiwan) and festool(Germany) and mirka(Finland?) and narex(Czech) stuff. And occasionally some cheap stuff from china and Taiwan as well.
Just because you don’t recycle 100% doesn’t mean the recycling you do doesn’t matter, every bit helps.
That is the issue dude
Who produces phone, tablets, or computers for that matter in the U.S.? None that I know of. When the option is presented I do my best to justify the added cost of American products.
For me at least as an american manufacture its just to support other american manufactures. Quality can be made anywhere and so can garbage. Alot of it is pride.
If I’m not mistakeen Empire was bought by Milwaukee which is owned by TTI which is a Chinese company.
No, it is still made in China, Sir
If the tool is good then COO is less significant in term of quality. The general consensus is tools made in the usa, Japan, Germany, etc. are generally made to higher standards, using better materials, and undergoing better quality control. Yes, there are tools made in China that perform just as well, but not consistently. You can’t know for sure until you try or spend time researching other people’s reviews. Another aspect to consider is some factories in countries like China don’t operate under safe conditions and observe protocols that protect the environment. Again you don’t know for sure. Whenever I can I would like to buy things they are well made, have less harm in the environment in the making, and no one has to suffered in the factories. It’s a personal preference, so I tend to look for the COO. If the products are only made in China, and I need them, well in that case, it’s a simple choice, isn’t it? With tools, you always have better options, though.
If you have to ask than it’s something you won’t understand
Nick G Helton
It matters because we want to support our own country and keep companies in the USA not China and any of our other enemies that work against us steal from us it damn sure matters to me where something is made it should matter to every American
Never use tapes with the fractions called out that way. Too busy to look at all day long. The tick marks on a normal tape are cool enough.
What’s with all the fractional markings these days? I’ll just stay w my Komelon auto locking tapes.
How about some decent Metric tapes? You know, for the other 95.6% of the world.
Whiskey and wood
There are plenty of metric tapes, but since this is targeted to the US market, they aren’t going to be advertising metric tapes. There are some good options on Amazon, and if those don’t suit you, try ordering a metric tape from a company based in a country that uses the metric system as their primary measurement system. Also, many imperial tapes have metric as well, I know some of mine do.
Your obviously not American! My mind would boggle having to devide 7 and 7/8ths Into 2! But fair play they are sticking to there guns on the imperial/metric debate.
It does get complex fast, but 3-8/16 + 7/16 = 3-15/16. Half of that? 1-16/32 + 15/32 = 1-31/32.
Decimals are more a pain, but that’s what phone calculators are for.
Metric would be so much easier for a lot of things, but who knows if we’ll ever make the change in a country-wide initiative.
Mike aka Fazzman
As a machinist and fabricator we use both metric and imperial. Its very simple to convert the two. As long as you know 1.00 inch = 25.4 mm and vice versa. We rarely use fractional other than for welding. For machining nearly always decimal dims. For machining tolerances fractions generally mean +/- 1/16 or .0625 inches anything more than .005 is a mile 🙂
I don’t use tape measures that aren’t marked in both. If I’m finding the center of a piece of 2″ flat, inches it is. If I need to drill four evenly spaced holes on a 23-17/32″ length of that flat bar, the math gets way easier switching over to milli-meters.
I like the Stanley 16′ Powerlock tape measure for everything except framing. That tape measure is marked in both units, and it isn’t a massive block hanging on my belt.
James, where do you find decent combo tape measure? Online of course, as I have to import them.
Does anyone know of a good brand of “left handed” tape measure?
I Mark & WRITE with my right hand and hold the tape measure with my left hand.
I’m pretty sure Lee Valley sells this. Not sure on the brand though but they don’t seem to sell iffy products.
Mike aka Fazzman
I wanna say ive seen these before because im a lefty. I wanna say Fastcap or Komeleon makes some. Ive been really liking the Milwaukee tapes ive picked up over the holidays.
back to the square ness of the back end – I’d also like to add they make the thing into some relatively even units mark if you have to measure inside to the back strap.
IE – corner of the tape is a solid 90 degrees – and the additive measure is 3.5. or 4
Not 3 3/8 or 3 13/16 or something odd like that – just for ease of use. I mean OK so you added an 1/8 to the body – golly.
Their levels suck so why would I trust their tape measure
I have a 24″ level from them that I love and a 7″ speed square. I would be open to trying one of their tape measures for sure.
Man, I have such fond memories of that $5 off $5 coupon at Sears. That Emprire tape was great as a go-to when you couldn’t find anything else just over $5 that you wanted but didn’t want to leave empty handed. I still have one in my box, works great to this day. I don’t really like slide-lock tapes, but for free, sure.
I’ll probably pass on the new Empire tapes if the only choices are auto-lock with fractions, or slide-lock in chrome. Heck, I wonder if the chrome is really chromed metal or chromed plastic. I’d rather have a lever-lock tape without fractions, but would potentially try out an auto-lock without fractions on it. Seems really, really stupid for Empire not to have that. Or a metric tape. Geez.
I have 2 of the auto locks tapes and although I prefer a white tape the auto locl a feature stopped working on both tapes after 3 days