It’s that time of year, when major tool brands flood home centers with tape measure promo packs for you to snatch up at a bargain. Here’s a look at Black Friday 2019 tape measure deals from Milwaukee, Dewalt, Lufkin, and Craftsman.
Sometimes we see 25′ and 16′ tape measure bundles, but this year it looks the 2-packs are all of the two-for-one 25′ tape measure variety.
Inventories usually last a bit into December, depending on the brand. My local Home Depot has nearly sold out of their Stanley tape measure deals already, or maybe they just haven’t restocked the display yet.
Milwaukee came out with new compact wide-blade tape measures this year. With this promo, 48-22-0125G, you get two such tapes, and with magnetic hooks.
Dewalt’s DWHT79307GC1 25′ tape measure 2-pack seems to be a holiday season perennial. It’s a decent tape, and at a value that’s tougher to pass up.
Lufkin’s recent ShockForce Nite Owl tape measure 2-pack, L1125BSET2, can be found near the Pro counter of your local Lowe’s store, or at least that’s where they moved them to at my store. You can also buy them online.
This is what the blade looks like, with bold and highly visible numerals and clear markings.
P.S. It looks like this will be Lowe’s Pro Black Friday deal of the day on 11/19/19.
There is no shortage of Craftsman tape measure deal options this year.
This 4-pack of Craftsman hi-vis tape measures (CMHT82618Z) is always a good deal. Before Stanley Black & Decker acquired the Craftsman brand name, they had a similar set of Stanley tapes on sale. Before that, they had PowerLock tapes, but it’s been a while since I’ve seen that.
These are light duty tape measures, but they’re compact and, thanks to the color scheme, easy to find.
One of Craftsman’s priciest tape measures is featured in this $20 two-pack, model CMHT43241.
It has an auto-lock feature that can be switched to a manual-locking mode, and is made in the USA with global materials.
If you don’t quite need or want auto-lock functionality, this Craftsman 2-pack comes with more traditionally styled 25′ tape measures.
Stanley’s FMHT81023D tape measure 2-pack, FMHT81023D, is back again. This tape has been around for a while, in case you wanted to look up user reviews.
Stores around here have from a couple dozen tapes to more than one hundred in stock. My store is only reporting 16 of these two-packs in inventory, presumably because the gift center display went out on the sales floor early. You can also of course order online.
Other retailers might have it on sale as Black Friday nears, which has been the case in previous years, but there are never guarantees.
If you want the safest bet, this one’s it.
Will you be buying any tape measure promo packs this year?
I use mostly Milwaukee tapes nowadays, but I do enjoy my classic Fat Maxs. Milwaukee I think now has a 16′ wide tape that comes close to the Fat Max feel. I think readability is becoming more important of a feature for me. I like the Lufkin hi-vis look and liked that black on white tape you showed the other day as well. Some also are just printed better. I feel like some tapes are in 4k while others feel like they are 480i still. Those nice sharp lines are nice!
Speaking of measuring tapes … am I using them wrong???
I am right handed, so I write and mark with a pencil or pen in my right hand, only got one hand left, so that’s where the tape measure goes …
Without fail, all my personal tapes or anybody else’s I am borrowing on a project or site ( – and ALL the new ones I have looked at in store !! – ) … I am using it in a natural fashion hooking it somewhere towards the right, extending the tape to the left, and forced to read the markings upside down so I can mark and write with my right hand.
I have tried using measuring tapes every way around and unless I am using the typical tape measure in my right hand, hooking it on the left, extending it to the right, and marking it with my left hand ( slow and less accurate ) … the markings are always upside down … unless I use the tape with my right hand???
Am I wrong … or are all the tape measures made for left handed people? … so that they can use the tape in their right hand and write with their left hand.
Koko The Talking Ape
I make furniture, so this might not apply to other kids of work.
If I need to cut a longish piece of wood to length, I pull the tape out from left to right with my right hand, over my combination square. With my left hand I move the square to the right spot and hold it there. Then I retract the tape with my right hand, pick up a pencil or marking knife, and mark the cut.
That’s more accurate than marking a measurement (with either hand), then moving the square to the mark.
But if there are left-handed tapes if you want.
Koko The Talking Ape
Here’s what looks like a nice left-handed tape measure.
Here’s a cheaper, and cheaper looking, one.
You can buy tapes marked opposite to those from Lee Valley.
I have done so am quite pleased with them….. not many options though.
You are wrong. With maybe a VERY few exceptions, a left handed person holds the tape in their left hand, and a right handed person, his right. That’s why toolbelts for lefties have the tape measure pouch on the left, and on the right side for righties. I am left handed, so I have to read the numbers upside down, but I never even think about it, it’s just as natural as reading them right side up. Stick with it, you’ll get the hang of it.
It is fairly natural to me to read upside down, text and numbers, but has been something I have been wondering about from time to time, when I’m trying to be accurate and efficient … that it isn’t always ideal, especially when dealing with the fractions, having grown up on metric.
Left handed people hold the tape in there right hand. They use there left hand to hold the pencil for marking. If you are right handed try holding the pencil in your left hand and mark an accurate mark. Same thing goes for lefty’s. I’m a left and I hold my tape with my right hand and it goes on my right hip.
Charles A Andrews
Same with me Matt. I hold the tape with my right hand and mark with my left. Never really gave it much thought. Chalk up a win for the lefty’s.
The vast majority of lefties use both hands with near equal proficiency, so it is not surprising for them to have differing approaches…a balanced brain thing.
Us righthand guys just can’t do it.
Yes there are left reading tapes. I have this.
Now only if i could find a left read with autolock…lol.
Thank you 🙂
Ordering one of those FastCap PSSR ones. More may follow 😉
Heh. I’m a southpaw, and the markings are always upside down for me too.
I’ve never really thought about *how* I use a tape before; it’s just something you do. But I’m pretty sure I start out with the tape in my left hand, pull it, and then transfer it to my right hand and write with my left.
It’s a little goofy, but when you take into account how you cut it makes some sense. Whether I’m cutting with a hand saw, miter saw or handheld circular saw, I’m using my right hand (I’m right handed). So the stock I want to keep is on my left and the cut off and kerf line are to my right. If I need to mark a cut line, I’m measuring from the far end of the board which is to my left, pulling the tape with my right hand from left to right and marking my cut. I use the blade lock to hold the tape out and use my right hand to make the mark, unless 1/16” here or there doesn’t matter, then I might use my left hand. To me the tape is oriented the right way when you look at the entire measure, mark and cut operation for right handed people. But the marking can be clumsy.
Very disappointed to not see any 16’ tapes.
Not a 16. But probably the best deal out of the bunch. I’d probably be happier with a 16′ just because it’s bigger and closer to the 25 I’m used to.
I am running out to my truck in a minute to look at my tape which i have no idea as to which way the numbers go. I will say for certain all the right handed carpenters myself included that i have worked with hold the tape measure in their left hand and mark using a pencil in their right hand. There are of course exception due to reach or access but I’m talking about being at the miter saw or cutting framing material on the ground or on saw horses. I’ve been a working carpenter for about 12 years now FWIW
OK I’m back. Yep I’ve just been reading upside down numbers. Never really bothered me enough to notice.
And amen to the 16 footers comment. I leave the 25′ and 35′ in the truck most days.
I have had enough crappy Lufkin tapes to last me a lifetime. (Old orange ones–they won’t retract as soon as they get a little use on them). These might be great, but Lufkin, you’ve soured me until proven otherwise.
Anything Craftsman is an unknown commodity these days.
I have 3 trucks and a tool trailer full of the early generation of Milwaukee tapes. One day I spent maybe an hour and removed the magnets off of all of them them; I HATE it when you pull one out and there’s screws, lags, nails, (whatever) stuck to them. They are nice, heavy-duty decent tapes, NOW….
I also dislike Autolock tapes.
Give me the Fatmax. I agree–the safest bet by far.
I several have old USA Made Lufkins and Stanley Fat Maxes but mostly use the Fast Cap Left/Right-handed 16 foot tape measure though I use the others whichever is closest to me.
I tend to only buy the Milwaukee 16 ft ones with the wire clip. Wire clips will not destroy you pants pocket like the flat metal ones do. I find it weird that not many others feel the same way and have not produced more with the wire pocket clip.
I just bought a handful of new tapes. Lowe’s has to make room for these new deals so they put last months tapes on clearance. Less than $2 per. Home Depot had a rack of Milwaukee stud tapes on clearance.
I went through four DeWalt tapes in 3 months after buying them (one blade delaminated and ripped in half, on another the blade dettached from inside the unit, and the last two the lock mechanism broke).
I haven’t used these Milwaukee tapes, but the other holiday special pack of Milwaukee tapes also had the same problems as the DeWalt.
The Fatmax tapes have been doing well, though one blade did separate from the roll inside. The only disappointment with the Fatmax is that their hooks are two shallow so it’s hard to grab them sometimes… For the price, the Fatmax are the best you can buy.
I personally will only buy double sided tapes, it really does make life easier. My go two is the komelon powerblade II and the lufkin black widow.
I looked long and hard for imperial + metric and Milwaukee was the only brand that had them readily available.
I looked at Milwaukee tapes (imperial+metric) and was really disappointed – lock doesn’t hold tape in extended and locked position well. Lufkin Power Return – I have 2223CME (3m) 2049CME (9m) – are great tapes, with excellent locks. Fastcap PMS-12 (3.5m) is a n excellent tape too.
Thanks, I’ll check them out
I’m a Metric user, so I always have trouble with tape measures. But, that said… I’ve yet to buy a tape measure that doesn’t last me for ages.
So… I know being an inventor/DIYer is an unusual class of worker, and my usage won’t be the same as the rest of you. I have to ask though… Out of curiosity… How long do most of your measuring tapes last for you?
I’m always seeing so many posts about Tape Measures around the holidays (EVERY Holiday, year round.) and retailers selling packs of them, anywhere from 2-4 in a pack, sometimes with “Buy 3, get the 4th free!” types of offers for those packs. Is there something… I dunno… disposable? About most tape measures? Is that why they’re so much of a go-to item to sell in multiples?
I paid $12, something like 8 years ago now, for my Lee Valley 8M Metric tape, and right around $30 for my DeWALT 8M/26′ DWHT33991 Tape. Neither has failed, neither is damaged, both have clear readings, nothing has worn out, the springs are intact… I think the only problem I have is when the DeWALT needs to be locked down, the slide button APPEARS to be down, but is only in the half-way position. You have to double-check that you pushed it all the way into the lock position. Which is an extremely minor gripe, not worth replacing the tape for. Even tapes I’ve had included in kits that I’ve bought early in my tool-using career are still functioning, and have been passed on to others as junk-tapes for when they don’t need it to survive the job, they just need a measurement.
So… What’s the deal? Does typical wear and tear on tape measures by more…well… viggorous users… Truly make buying Tape Measures a common or regular thing?
I think with common DIY, home improvement, and up activities there are tape failures, where the spring fails to retract the tape properly, the tip gets bent, the hook breaks off, the casing breaks due to a drop, the lock fails, print may wear off due to grit and dirt getting on board with retraction in an outside environment, paint may delaminate …
Then people may want an extra one for the kitchen drawer, truck, …
Don’t forget these to be easy picks for people as gifts to others.
Tape measures typically last me a few years with intermediate use.
Compared to some of my mechanical design stuff that is now 40 years old, because it has no moving parts, only gets used behind a desk, …
Knock on wood, some of my small universal 12ft tapes keep good, but they’re never directly used in construction. Only for detail work.
I totally understand the “I want another one for X” reasons. Gifts, Apprenticeship, Parenting, “It’s always out of arm’s reach, so I’m putting one everywhere I need to Reach for one” are all completely common sense to me. Considering most of them fit in the palm of your hand, or fist, it’s kind of a given property of the things that you would want one very often in your life.
Where I’M a little unsure is… How long are they SUPPOSED to last? Are they actually built to last that long, or has the failure rate increased with the latest few generations of tapes from the bigger makers out there?
My Lee Valley tape, for example. Metric Only. Has about a 3.5 Meter Standout, a pretty standard hook, not very wide, but well marked and easy to read. $12. MAYBE $20 now. If I destroyed this tape somehow, I wouldn’t shed a single tear replacing it with the exact same one. But it has lasted quite long, with how little I get to use it. And my DeWALT of the same length with both Metric AND Imperial? About $30. I think it was at Home Depot for $36 or something, and I wanted it, because it was their “New Premium Series” tape at the time. Again… Very good little bastard… And if they still made THIS model, I would not shed a tear in replacing it if I had to.
But I’m looking at these deals, and tapemeasures are not expensive, especially around holidays. (All holidays. Black Friday, Christmas, Easter, Dwali, Grandparent’s Day, even Rememberance/Veterans’ Day from time to time.) So I really have to wonder, is there some sort of… Expiration Date on Tape Measures? Not literally, but… An average amount of time that a tape will last, given its intended use? I get shop and precision tapes will probably last longer, because they’re in very controlled environments. Construction and Rugged tapes will last a little less, because they’re in very destructive environments, and the “Rugged” nature is so they actually survive their first use instead of making them last forever in these situations. And for that matter… what is the upper limit for how expensive a TAPE MEASURE can get? Are there Multi-Hundred dollar exotic material tapes that are meant to last a century or more? I know specialty tapes, like a Tailor’s retracting fabric tape, will often fetch weird prices due to how narrow the market for them becomes. But… The STANDARD Tape Measure… That is one that I wonder about. Lifespans for Tape Measures are all over the place, so I’m wondering what the AVERAGE is supposed to be?
Hell, my Mother has this tiny little metal tape with a plastic housing that is older than I am, and it still works fine. And I’ve seen some people at a work site grab their tape measure, fresh from a new package, and it falls apart the second they start extending it. (Not an exaggeration. Happened to the building crew who built the housing units next to my apartment building. I was walking by when it happened. Side popped off, spring and tape went flying.)
A lot of pro users break tape measure blades or abrade away the markings.
It just takes a nick to create a weak spot that eventually breaks.
The Craftsman tapes are decent, though the auto lock doesn’t after a few uses. The conventional locking Craftsman tapes are my go to now.
There’s a tape measure made by fastcap called the lefty righty it comes 16′ or 25′. It’s the only ambidextrous tape measure that I’ve ever seen. Check it out. https://www.amazon.com/FastCap-PSSR25-Lefty-Righty-Measuring/dp/B0001GUE3Q
Picked up a set of the Lufkin Shockforce tapes at Lowe’s yesterday. They caught my eye a month or so back as I was browsing but I didn’t pull the trigger because my DeWalt XP tape was still kicking after a year of hard use (I work at a Lumberyard and am using a tape all damn day.) Fast forward to last week and a few particularly nasty spills, my XP gave up the ghost, with a nasty kink before the 1ft market and no longer retracted all the way. The Lufkin sounds nice on paper, but I’ll see how much use I can get out of one. I can tell you right away that the retraction spring is nowhere near as strong as the spring on the XP. This isn’t inherently bad though, I’ve crush my finger with the hook on the DeWalt more times than I can count.
Also, it’s blade feels much thinner than the DeWalt, but again not bad if it will last. I like the matted feel and look of the blade and that the foot marks are highlighted in yellow. It’s substantially lighter than the XP which I can appreciate. Fingers crossed she’s a good one.
I have a Stanley Lever Lock which is my favorite. I have a bunch of others of various vintage and none are horrible.
What i have been looking for is a tape measure i saw on a youtube video from a carpenter in New Zealand (Scott Brown Carpentry). What makes that tape measure unique is it had a 3rd scale in the center of the tape that actually takes into account to distance of the tape measure case itself. Not sure if it is available in the US or not. But would definitely be interested if it was. Every since i saw that I want one and now every time i have to make an “inside” measurement between two studs for instance.
My Dad was a carpenter til he retired, I started as an electrician and I followed what he used and that was the old standby Stanley Powerlock 25 footers you know the chrome ones. They have never let us down durable and light weight.