At NPS18, Milwaukee introduced their new Stud tape measures with two dramatic demonstrations. In the first demonstration, the rep stepped on a competitor’s folded-over tape measure blade. This crimped the metal and caused the blade to break.
Then he performed the same stunt with a Milwaukee Stud tape. The blade just snapped back into shape and retracted into the tape measure without incident. It was an effective demo, and I added a video of the presentation below so you can see it for yourselves.
The new blade coating that allows this kind of abuse is called Exo360. It is a nylon coating that wraps around the entire blade (thus 360), and not just the front and back. This coating also makes the blade more abrasion resistant, which keeps the markings legible through more abuse.
The second demonstration was pre-recorded because they didn’t have a 60 foot drop available in the building, but they showed video of the Stud tape measure being dropped from 60 feet onto grass.
To survive drops like this Milwaukee says the tape has a “fully reinforced frame and impact-resistant overmold.” The tape measures are actually rated to withstand an 80′ drop on “packed soil.”
Other features of the tape include a 10 foot standout, a finger stop for the blade, lanyard hole, and wire belt clip.
There are two models of the Milwaukee Stud tape measure that will be available September 2018: the 25 ft tape (48-22-9925) for $25 and the 16 ft tape (48-22-9916) for $20.
Available: Sept 2018
Price: $20 – $25
Here’s the presentation video from NPS18 that I mentioned before:
Right after I submitted this post for Stuart to publish, I received a box from Milwaukee containing two 25′ Stud tape measures, so I thought I’d add an addendum to the post with my first impressions.
The first thing I noticed when I pulled out the blade was the weird noise it makes — almost like rubbing your fingernails over corduroy. This is most likely due the the nylon coating on the blade and the diamond pattern shown below.
The second thing I noticed was how smooth the blade lock engages. On many tapes I’ve used, the blade lock moves easily then gets harder to push as it begins to lock the tape. The Stud blade lock starts out with a slightly higher resistance and continues at that resistance until it stops. It is a minor thing, but it is obviously engineered to be that way.
The third thing I noticed was a little troubling at first and still confuses me after using the tape a bit. If you hold the tape measure level and pull the blade out past 4′, the blade won’t retract. I’m used to this happening with some other tapes, but it usually doesn’t happen until the blade is extended much further.
I just tested a bunch of other tapes I own and the only other tape measure that behaves similarly to this is the Milwaukee 25ft Magnetic tape measure. It seems to have a similar coating and also has the same corduroy rubbing sound when you extend it.
At this point I’m guessing that the diamond pattern nylon coating on the Stud tape measure creates enough friction against the mouth of the tape to overcome the force of the retraction spring much earlier than other tape measures.
With over 4′ of the blade extended, it stays put without the engaging the finger or blade lock, until you point the tape measure downward to reduce the friction of the blade against the mouth. Then the blade will start retracting. Both of the Stud tape measures I received behave this way.
Again, I’m not sure if this lack of retraction with so little of the blade extended is a feature, a consequence of the design, or an oversight. I can see that under some circumstances this could be handy, and in others frustrating.
The tape itself is pretty fat, despite only having a 1″ wide blade. It feels a little large in my hand, like I’m a kid again playing with one of my dad’s tools, but it is still functional.
Original First Thoughts
While the first demonstration was effective because it was in person, the video of dropping the tape wasn’t as convincing. We we basically had to take their word that the tape survived and operated properly.
And while I can understand that it is certainly possible to drop a tape measure from 60 to 80 feet while framing or working on a commercial site, what are the chances it is going to land on “packed earth.”
If the tape measure is really that tough, I think a more realistic test would be dropping it onto concrete or plywood from a 16 foot ladder. I think the expectation is that if you drop your tape from 60 feet, you’ll be buying a new tape, whereas if you drop it off a ladder, you should be able to pick it up and use it again.
The 10 foot standout seems underwhelming for a tape of this class. I wonder if they had to sacrifice stiffness for tear resistance.