Another one of Lee Valley’s free shipping promos ended recently. They hold these promos a couple of times each year, and there’s a $40 minimum to get free shipping.
As usual, I ordered a couple of random tools and odds and ends this time around, including the recently discussed Pocket Wrench. One of the other tools I ordered was a folding ruler.
It’s been a long time since I’ve used a folding ruler. There are benefits to folding rulers, mainly as complements to tape measures. Folding rulers don’t twist, although they can flex if you want them to, and they stay put a lot easier than many tape measures do.
Over at Lee Valley, they carry Swiss-made LongLife folding rulers in 1 meter (~39-1/4″) and 2 meter lengths. I bought the 1m version, which has metric and inch markings. The 2m version that they carry only has metric markings.
Both folding rulers have spring-action pivots, and the 2m ruler has a sliding extension that’s useful for inside measurements. The 1m ruler is ~5″ long, and the 2m ruler is ~9″ long.
I bought the 1m folding ruler for two reasons. First, it’s pocket sized. Having one in my hand as I write this, I can confirm that it is indeed quite small. This would be a great ruler to toss into your pocket, a tool bag, a work bag, or urban exploration bag (aka your man purse).
The 1m folding ruler feels smaller than a tape measure, but if you anticipating needing to measure anything longer than 3 feet, you might be better off with a compact tape, such as the 10′ Komelon tape mentioned in our 5 essential tools for college students guide. That Komelon is $9-10 via Amazon.
I love that IKEA supplies shoppers with ~1m paper tapes around the store. They can be useful, and I wish other stores did this too. Heck, there are times when I wish I had a ruler at the supermarket.
For example, I recently bought a kitchen bin that was advertised as being 6″ wide. I wanted to keep it on the kitchen counter to keep formula bottles in, for easier access. Those bottles are 5-1/2″ tall, and so I figured they’d fit. Wrong. The “6-inch” bin has tapered sides and cannot fit the bottles. If I had a ruler with me at the supermarket, I would have known the bottles wouldn’t fit.
While I wish I could say I travel everywhere with a tape measure, I don’t. It’s simply impractical to carry a large tape “just in case.” I have a couple of small Stanley tapes, but they pretty much suck. They’re okay in a pinch, but are too small and flimsy to be of regular practical use. One of these days I’ll buy the small circular 10′ Komelon tape.
Second, these rulers are only $6 each. That’s not a lot of money for something as useful as this. That’s for the 1m size; 2m rulers are $12.50. At $6, these rulers are a real bargain, especially for something that’s made in Switzerland. I’m pretty pleased with the quality so far and might buy another to keep in the car or travel bag.
I DEFINITELY recommend these rulers. Next time Lee Valley has a free shipping promo, I’ll probably even buy a couple extra to send around as gifts.
It slipped from my memory, but a former ToolGuyd contributor reviewed something quite similar 4-1/2 years ago. Jeff reviewed a Wiha MaxiFlex version of this folding ruler. Wiha offers additional models beyond the two that Lee Valley carries.