A new version of the ETape16 digital tape measure is hitting the market. The company released something similar a few years ago (as shown in this out-of-stock Amazon product), and it looks like they made a number of improvements to the design.
The ETape16 has a traditional tape, but also a large digital readout. There are two memory slots, an automatic inch and metric conversion button (the tape also has dual-scale markings), a hold button, a multi-functional midpoint and rezero button, inside/outside measurement selector, and blade lock button.
An interactive “how it works” demo shows all of the different measurement scales that are available.
It’s made with a polycarbonate case for durability, and rubber bumper on the top to help protect the LCD display.
- 16-foot length
- 3/4″ blade width
- Powered by a CR2032 Li battery
- 1/16″ or 1 mm accuracy
The company says that Bluetooth is optional, but doesn’t specify as to whether Bluetooth connectivity can be added via a module or accessory, or if a separate Bluetooth tape measure will follow.
This seems like a neat idea, but I wonder what the repeatability and reliability is like.
On their FAQ page, this is what they say regarding the trustworthiness of the readout out on the display:
The eTape uses patented technology to maintain proper calibration for reliable measurements and we are constantly making improvements to both hardware and firmware.
According to the product page, the ETape16 can display measurement data in multiple scales, including fractions (such as feet, inches, and fractional inches), decimal inches and feet, and centimeters. This seems like very useful functionality to have available.
I have become quite fond of Bosch’s GLM 15 laser measuring tool, which is a compact laser measurer that’s small enough that it can replace or easily pair with a traditional tape measure. I loathe ultrasonic distance measuring tools, and the new Bosch is the most affordable quality laser unit in my recent memory.
The ETape16 seems to read measurements from the bottom of the tape, which could present long-term durability concerns. But, if not, it might fill in the gap between traditional tapes and laser measurers like the aforementioned Bosch. I’d like to see the ETape in a 25′ version.
I find myself on the fence about the ETape. I want to embrace this as a 21st century measuring tool, but I cannot shake off the questions and concerns I have about how well and reliably it works. If you’ve used the previous version, or have seen the new one in action, what do you think about it?