Jason wrote in, asking for help in tracking down a tape measure brand that offers lifetime guarantees. He wrote:
Hey Stuart, I just recently found out that Husky was bought by Stanley and they have recently stopped selling Husky Tape Measures at Home Depot, they were replaced with Stanley Fat Max and the Stanleys are not “Guaranteed Forever” like all Husky brand products so they will let you trade in a husky tape for a fat max, but once the fat max dies, you have to buy a new tape. Are you aware of any other tape measures with a lifetime guarantee? As a commercial electrician, I go through a lot of tapes…
Unfortunately, I don’t know of any tape measures that still have lifetime guarantees.
Husky is still a Home Depot house brand, and what I suspect is that Home Depot and Husky followed in Craftsman and Sears’ footsteps.
A few short years ago, Craftsman discontinued their tape measures as well, and Sears restocked empty shelves with Stanley tape measures. If Husky tape measures are in fact disappearing from Home Depot store shelves nationwide, and are being replaced by limited-warranty Stanley Fat Max tape measures, then it’s probably for the same reasons Craftsman and Sears made the change.
A lot of users were aware of Craftsman lifetime guarantee policy, and so they would buy one tape and trade them in for replacements over and over again.
Back in 2008 when I purchased a new Craftsman red and black-colored 25-foot tape measure, only the case was covered under Craftsman’s lifetime warranty. If the tape was worn, broken, or damaged, users could buy replacement tapes.
But… word on the street is that users started breaking their tape measures purposely to escape having to pay for replacement tapes. Since Craftsman and Sears didn’t cover the new tape measures’ tapes but did cover the cases/tape measure housings, a broken or defective housing often meant a free replacement tape measure.
I imagine that – if Husky tape measures have been discontinued nationwide and not just in Jason’s locale – Home Depot’s decision to replace Husky tapes with Stanley ones was based on the same reasoning as Sears and Craftsman’s, and is an attempt to stem losses.
There might be other tape measure brands that still have lifetime guarantees on hand tools, but many if not all almost certainly have warranty clauses that only cover tools that are found to have have design or manufacturing defects. Broken or worn tapes usually don’t qualify for free replacement under those terms.
I don’t know of any tape measures still covered under lifetime guarantees. Do you?
At Menards, the ToolShop brand are guaranteed forever, and I believe the Mastercraft ones are as well. I recently had a ToolShop tape measure replaced at Menards, the tape was damaged, no questions asked. They are cheap tools, but the warranty sort of makes up for it.
Not for nothing, but they usually get lost or stolen first.:)
I have no experience with lifetime guarantees on tapes – but (a bit off topic – so I apologize) I read in Wood Shop News that Swanson – Savage brand is now introducing tape measures that are said to be able to grip round objects. I found this link:
I don’t think I’ve heard about that tape before, but it does seem like a good idea, at least in theory. In practice, I would be worried about play being introduced by the pivot. This has the potential to affect repeatability.
I bought a Swanson Savage dual tape set, with the pipe version (Gripline), and a more regular version (Proscribe), for about the price of one @ Home Depot (online).
When the spring broke on the Gripline, the total warranty process was easy and quick. Emailed (to the address they gave me on the phone):
* a photo (proof of ownership[?])
* the problem description
* and my address.
Received a new tape in about a week. Very good company, in my experience.
PS – their tapes are numbered on both sides!!! They also have 2 good magnets in the blade tip for measuring from a metal surface.
I recently bought a Milwaukee Tape Measure and it had a limited lifetime warranty.
Yes, but here are the conditions:
Source: Milwaukee Warranty Page
kobalt tool pretty good and never have to have proof of purchase just bring it in and they exchange it tapes especially ,razor knives etc.was in a tight spot bought milwaukee tape it broke 3 weeks old proof of purchase is gone now can not exchange
Lowes got rid of cobalt no sound craftsmen tools
Milwaukee just replaced my tape measure. I emailed customer service and sent them the required pics of the damage, item number off the case, and proof of purchase.
Some home depot stores like mine will swap out Milwaukee hand tools at the store if defective. I’m talking about after the 90 day period. Employees at my store even claim they will swap ridgid and Milwaukee batteries too. Not sure if all home depots will do the same but it’s worth a try
frankly I don’t blame them for not covering tape measures those are the most used and damaged items out of any other tool
Tape measures are in the hand tool category at Harbor Freight so they have a lifetime warranty. I have replaced a few there and it’s as easy as it gets. Just bring in the broken one and they give you a new one, no paperwork.
I just get a free one at Harbor Freight every time I buy something. Doesn’t matter if it breaks. If I need to buy one, they only cost $3.
I work at Lowe’s and I take back any Kobalt tape measure no questions asked (as long as there is something wrong with it). That even goes for the all too common “broken blade” that clearly met a miter saw. It says ‘No Hassle Guarantee’, I’m going to honor it, and if we don’t currently stock the one being returned, we’ll give the customer the most comparable.
I stopped buying Kobalt hand tools a while back because I could never get a straight answer on the “lifetime” guarantee. I was sometimes told I’d need to bring in a receipt, or that I’d need to send it to Kobalt HQ. The salespeople on the floor didn’t know. and the managers I talked to didn’t know. I was hoping for a program similar to Sears – bring in a broken wrench, and get a no question replacement.
Have they made their policy clear to employees? If so what is it?
And I think a lifetime replacement on a tape measure is bogus; it’s a consumable product. My 2 cents.
I’ve had two Kobalt tapes die and Lowe’s replaced them without hassle. The tapes don’t last long but I guess they know that and so make it easy to replace them.
Plus it gets you in the store again and more likely to buy something else while you are there for getting a $15-$30 tape measure replaced.
Same here, my kobalt tape tore so I walked into Lowes with it and they replaced it… No hassle and no questions asked… Same thing with my automotive kobalt portable air compressor… Maybe you’ll have better luck @ a different Lowes…
HAND AND MECHANICS TOOLS
Sockets, Ratchets and Wrenches Lifetime Hassle Free Guarantee
Hammers and Pry bars Lifetime Hassle Free Guarantee
Utility Knives Lifetime Hassle Free Guarantee
Chisels & Files Lifetime Hassle Free Guarantee
Pliers & Wrenches Lifetime Hassle Free Guarantee
Levels Lifetime Hassle Free Guarantee
Torque Wrenches 1-Year Limited Guarantee
Tape Measures Satisfaction Guarantee
Replacement Blades & Accessories Satisfaction Guarantee
Tape measures say satisfaction guarantee not lifetime. The satisfaction could be yours, or theirs not specified.
Husky (Home Depot) has been the only source I’ve known about for a 40′ clip-on tape measure, which we use for center-marking 39′ sticks of railroad rail for lifting with a rail-tong forklift attachment. I picked up one in October last year, and by December the store stock had vanished. Price was less that 20 bucks. Let’s see “Fat Max” match that!
Why do you need a 40′ tape to mark the center of a 39′ rail? A 20′ will do and be half the weight and size.
I should have said “pieces of cut rail up to and including 39′ sticks”. Lots of our stock at California State Railroad Museum is odd-length. Many are between 20′ and 39′. Even the 39′ lengths can vary by a few inches, throwing off the balance point.
Pull 20′ from each end and split the difference.
I loved my Husky 40′ tape. Unfortunately it broke and they don’t stock Husky any longer. They want to replace with Stanley’s 30 ‘ FatMax. No magnets in the front and 10’ short. I wish they still had the Husky.
I too am a electrician and have used quite a few brands, but now have settled on fatmax. I need the 13 foot stand out for measuring lights and such. I prefer the 16 foot model, it fits nicely in the hand and keeps weight down on the belt. I also find i rarely need the extra measuring ability. I got a two pack at HD for 19.99 for a 16 foot and 25 foot togeather. I have had it over 5 years. I suspect it has a few more years in it.
I use the FATMAX Extreme! Had one for 5 years or so and the only reason I needed a new one was because it was stolen. I did fabricating/welding, plumbing, woodworking, electrical with it and it survived thru it all.
I think that a better question would be, “What manufacturers or retailers are even worth getting a lifetime guarantee from in the first place. My experience with guarantees is that they are only as good as the company that stands behind them. We all know the game of the supposed guarantee, followed by the real world hassle when you take it back and actually try to make good on it.
In fact, that’s about the only thing that has kept Sears tool dept afloat in recent years. Even that is waning these days. Some reputable companies will stay behind a product like that with or without a lifetime guarantee. Some on the other hand won’t lift a finger to do anything in spite of any amount of paperwork.
Snap-On tape measures are lifetime. I had a coworker bend the blade on mine, and my dealer replaced it for me…
I LOVE my Husky 40′ tape. As another reader pointed out it was only $20. It has a magnetic tip (remarkably strong; I often use it to retrieve fasteners and tools that roll under my truck or fall off a work platform), has a scale on the back of the tape, and a long standoff. I saw it in stock last week, so I don’t think they are being replaced, but I would like to know for sure. I’ve been meaning to get a new 25′ to replace my lost one and I am absolutely sold on Husky tapes.
I’ve always thought the magnetic tip would be nice to have on occasion when making certain measurements, but I haven’t felt overly compelled to get one yet.
But its value as a retrieval tool never occurred to me. Now I have two reasons to get one…which means I’ll now be getting one.
I went in to the HD a couple minutes from the job site today. I went straight to the tools department, hand tools aisle, tape measure section and to my horror (well, at least strong irritation) all Husky tapes were GONE! 🙁
At least I had been warned by this article so it wasn’t a complete shock. Just then a bearded store associate passed nearby so I asked if they got rid of the Husky line. “Yeah, they’re replacing them with HDX.” That cheap crap?! 🙁
I pulled my 40′ tape off of my belt and said, “But I love the Husky line!” Helooked at it and said, “Oh, we had one left on clearance yesterday. It was only four bucks, so it’s probably gone, but let’s check.” A seasonal sec near the tool rental dept had been taken over by a huge clearance sale. No Hkd tapes, but there were quite a few other Husky items. I think they’re eliminating the name. I saw a 2 pack of Stanley Lever Locks (16′ and 25′) for just $7 so I grabbed that along with about $20 worth of other clearance items. Probably $75 total at normal prices. Random stuff.
The Stanleys are all plastic construction so I’m not expecting them to la forever, but I lost my Husky 25′ right off my pocket in December and the 40′ is just way too bulky for drywall work, so these will do for now. But I’m still sad, nonetheless.
My apologies for the numerous typos. my phone is behaving strangely tonight. When I misspell something and backspace to correct it, not all of the characters it deletes come from the end of what I have written. So odd…
i work at ACE hardware and all ACE branded tapes are guaranteed.
Stanley/Bostitch tape measures have a 100 year warranty.
JJ, the Stanley warranty covers very little if you read their conditions. I think we’re all wondering who would replace a broken or bent tape. Nobody seems willing to do that any longer. Btw, I get why – I’m sure this policy was being abused. Stanley return conditions are here: http://stanleytools.com/default.asp?TYPE=STATICLEFT&PAGE=taperule_policy.htm&LEFT=left_warrantyreturns.htm.
I called Stanley about a broken shovel after 20 mins speaking to someone who definitely never seen a shovel before transfered me to a 3rd party manufacturer after another 20 mins on hold I gave up yep 2 years later shovel still broke
homedepot replaced my husky tape with whatever Stanley tape I wanted today. No questions asked. No receipt.
I just checked the Canadian Tire site, and their tape measures are still guarateed for life. Although I did try to replace one about 30 years ago, and the warrenty did not cover the tips, so I did not get a new one.
Canadian Tire physical stores are only in Canada.
I bought a Lufkin pro about a year ago, and the no matter how I rotated the tip on it’s attachment point, or even if it wasn’t flat, it was accurate to .002″. Can’t say they will all be that good, but this one has it’s own special storage case now.
I just sent a Fat Max 30′ back to Stanley since they do not sell a blade replacement. It had seen a lot of work and wear but I am just a home fix-it guy. It cost me $7.00 to mail it back BUT they sent me a brand new tape, no questions, no red tape, no fuss. Shows me that thee are still good people and good companies out there wishing to serve the working guy (and gals)
I use to be at snap on dealer and they have a lifetime warranty. They were not that much and i sold alot.
Kobalt from Lowes is guaranteed forever. On packaging its states to return it to location purchased and it will be replaced no questions asked.
Tape measures should not have a lifetime warranty. They are the most used and abused tool out there, it is not right for the manufacture to replace a tape measure because you cut it or snag it or kink it. If I get a year out of mine l am happy I use the Stanley fat max 25′ and have for years it is the most durable tape that I have found.
Try Snap On TPMA25. The ones from the truck – not the Amazon sold ones. Lifetime. Broke too many Stanley FatMax myself, switched to these – will never go back
How is the belt clip on them?
Kobalt brand. Lowes will replace it no questions asked. Mo need for reciept. Some may ask for id. But will replace it. If you need same exact one check website and store availability.
(24 July 2017) I just returned my Craftsman tape with auto lock that I purchased back in the late 1980’s. I had to get the new side winder with only a 1yr warranty, but they did replace it at no charge.
I think certain DeWalt are
Maybe it’s just me but I take Stanley tapes back for replacement all the time. Home Depot and Menards will replace them for free no questions asked.