Irwin has announced a new line of Strait-Line tape measures, in 16′, 25′, and 35′ sizes.
Notable features include a finger brake for retraction control, extra large hook, extra large number markings, double-sided markings, and a reinforced housing that can withstand drops of up to 80′ onto packed soil.
The online product descriptions add that there’s an additional 6-inches of tear protection near the hook.
Irwin says that these new Strait-Line tape measures are built from the ground up for the hardworking tradespeople who build our homes and infrastructure, keep the lights on, and keep our water flowing.
All 3 sizes have a 1-1/4″ blade width.
The 25′ and 35′ tape measures are advertised as having 17′ of reach, and 16′ for the 15′ model for obvious reasons. We understand “reach” to mean “max standout plus 3 feet.”
Pricing is said to be $17.98 to $39.98, depending on size.
Irwin also adds that their Strait-Line product family with expand further, with new chalk reels coming this winter.
Pricing and Availability
Pricing is accurate as of the time of this posting.
16′ (IWHT39391S): $19.88
25′ (IWHT39393S): $25.98
35′ (IWHT39395S): $35.98
25′ 2-pack (IWHT39396S): $44.98
Irwin, a Stanley Black & Decker brand, is not new to the measuring and layout market, and these are not their first-ever Strait-Line tape measures.
However, unless I am mistaken, these are Irwin’s first new tape measures under Stanley Black & Decker ownership.
As readers might know, Dewalt and Irwin are both Stanley Black & Decker tool brands.
I have really been liking Dewalt’s new Tough Series tape measures, and I found their Atomic tapes to be appealing enough to buy a couple for testing. If Stanley Black & Decker engineers designed these new Irwin tapes to be on-par or close to those Dewalt tapes, this could be the start of big things to come for and from Irwin.
Lowe’s pricing seems a bit high at the moment, and I would bet we might see promotional pricing in a couple of months as the winter holiday season nears. Or, at least that’s what I am expecting.
Dewalt can sell 16′, 25′, and 35′ tape measures at $23, $29, and $40 respectively at Home Depot. Can Irwin sell the same size of Strait-Line tapes for $20, $26, and $36, respectively at Lowe’s?
I like the look. Does the opening at the bottom where the tape is exposed serve any function?
I’m guessing a finger stop? I really like that feature on other tapes
Thanks! That does seem useful.
Finger brake/stop, for controlling retraction.
Ah! I see.
You said “finger brake” in the article too, but for whatever reason I was thinking that meant the thumb lock (which I thought was strange of you to point out when, except for auto lock tapes, that’s basically on all of them). That makes way more sense.
Is “Packed soil” really the meaningful condition for drop tests for tape measures? Seems it would inflate the numbers versus on concrete. How much of tradedmens’ time is spent working above packed soil versus a concrete foundation, or tile, or another harder surface?
“Packed soil” seems to be the norm for such claims.
I always mention whatever qualifier or context is provided.
Pretty sure packed soil is an iso standard test measurement, so it should at least give consistent relative values.
I have tried numerous tapes but my favourite by far is my Milwaukee with a finger stop. Being able to control the tape with my index finger in the natural position iso in front of the housing makes a noticeable difference for me.
Klein and crescent make two of the best tapes I’ve ever seen and used. Solid and built like a Sherman
Did everyone else know Greenworks has a boat motor? It works with their 40v batteries.
Personally I wish it came from a more reputable company – but it seems pretty novel.
You could show the belt hook thats a big deal, some only clip on thin sections and they need a good lead taper.
So far, there aren’t any images showing the belt hook.
I requested a test sample, and that’s one of the things I plan to test and show in photos.
For just a bit of history – Strait-Line Products Company of Costa Mesa California was an early patent holder on chalk box designs. That was back when The Irwin Auger Bit Company (Ohio) held the patents on the solid center auger bits that competed with the double spiral style from Russell Jennings. Cordless drills at that time came in the form of muscle powered hand drills, breast drills and bit braces (the best of which were made by North Brothers). Well Irwin acquired Strait-Line, Stanley bought both Russell Jennings and North Bros. and later acquired Irwin.
Will it eventually have an autolock?
Maybe? I suppose it depends on how well these sell.
What’s the best way to learn how to read /use ? Not a handyman or math guy. :/>]
Tape measures are fairly intuitive – they’re basically coiled-up rulers. For most users, the hook on the end is your primary reference, and moves to compensate for inside or outside measurements, such as the length within a door frame or the length of a piece of wood.
For learning “how to read an inch ruler,” there are many excellent references online and on YouTube. If you are bad with fractions, a metric tape measure might be easier.
I’m using a Fatmax for example. Look at the marks. Within 1 inch space, you’ll notice many marks of different lengths; and the lengths are symmetrical around the 1/2 mark. There’s meaning behind that. We’ll work from the longest mark down, because you can be reasonably close, you’ll be good enough. The smallest marks are the 1/16ths, which is precision not always required in rough construction.
The one which spans across the tape represent whole numbers. 1, 2, 3, 4 … The numbers are listed to the left, and the mark goes from edge to edge.
The second longest mark indicates halves.
That should be easy. So now you’re able to read 8-1/2″, 4″, 21″, 144-1/2″ and so on.
Then half of halves the tick marks shrink down to quarters. The quarter marks would be the next longest after the half mark. The first quarter is simply 1/4. The second quarter mark is after the half mark, and is 3/4. Not bad.
Then half of quarters are 1/8ths. Eights are usually what get people tripped up.
All these fractions are read simplified so it’s an odd number on top (numerator), and a even number bottom (denominator). So odd on top: 1, 3, 5, 7. And because I’m talking about Eights, the denominator will be eight.
If the mark is before the 1/4″, it’s going to be 1. That’s 1 for the numerator, and 8 for the denominator. If it’s after the 1/4″, it’s going to be 3. That’s 3/8ths.
If the mark is before the 3/4″, it’s going to be 5 (for the numerator), and if the mark is after 3/4″ it’s going to be 7 (for the numerator). The easiest way for me to remember the eights are this. The first tick mark of the eights length nearest the beginning of the whole number (whole line) will be one. We start counting at once. the tick mark of the eights nearest the end of the whole number will be 7. Because 7 8 9. That’s my memory trick.
And reading eights will be enough for most times. What tradesmen do for the 16ths, which is the smallest mark, and toughest to read is that they’ll read the 1/8ths quickly and say heavy or light. That would be the next nearest 1/16th.
For drywallers, they’ll read all measurements in 8ths. If a guy screams down 56_3, he’ll mean 56 and 3/8 “. Same for measurements which could be simplified to quarters or halves. So 84_2 would mean 84 and 2/8. But 2/8th isn’t on the tape measure because it simplifies down to 1/4. And for measurements landing on the smallest marks on the 16th, they’ll say 95_6 heavy. Which means 95 and 6/8 heavy. That would be tick mark after 3/4″ or 13/16.
That simplifies much of the math.
If you’re able to quickly memorize or commit to your knowledge the basic fraction simplifications up to an eight, you should be able to read a tape measure. Those fraction simplifications would on the eights, so 1/8th, 2/8th (which is 1/4″), 3/8th, 4/8th (which is 1/2″), 5/8th, 6/8 (which is 3/4″), and 7/8”.
I am an electrician by trade, and we do use sixteenths (1/16th, the smallest tick marks) sometimes when laying out conduits, but the vast majority of our measurements, we can go to eights precision, at least when bending pipe.
I’d buy it. I love SBD’s Fat Max tape measures but they’re very basic in terms of features. They’ve see Milwaukee push the envelope in terms of advances such as the finger grip, dual sided printing, larger clip. And many fatmax users are the type who won’t go for the new bells and whistles. So it makes sense for SBD to use another brand to experiment new features with the same Fatmax build quality. (The truth is that, Milwaukees and Komelons tapes don’t last as long). If there could be anything next, a neon color tape would be better than the classic yellow, because it’s so much easier to read in dim conditions.