Which is your favorite tape measure? C’mon, I know you have a favorite, even if it’s “whichever one is on sale.”
Tape measures are one of those types of tools that many users tend to be very particular about.
Some hook are too small. Others are too big.
Wire-formed belt clip vs. bent metal?
Magnetic hook? Non-magnetic?
Strong return spring?
Rubber overmold grip?
Finger blade stop?
Vertical markings on the underside of the blade?
What size do you use most?
How big is the offset? An even 3″ or some fractional amount?
Manual lock vs. auto lock? Squeeze lock?
Thicker vs. thinner blade coatings?
There are so many different variables, all of which contribute to our tape measure preferences. Maybe you aren’t quite sure what you like about your favorite tape measures. What bothers you about tape measures you’ve tried and don’t like. For me, that’s a little easier than going through all my likes.
For one, I don’t like super-strong return springs. They have their advantages, but they don’t work well for how I like to hold my tapes. I have grown to prefer 16′ tapes over 25′, although I use 25′ more often due to their more economical pricing. I like “standard” sized hooks, if there is such a thing, rather than super wide ones. I like wire form belt clips. I don’t like gimmicks, such as auto-marking pencil points and the such.
For example, the Dewalt tape measure shown above is a very innovative model, but I don’t quite like its strong return spring. The way I hold larger tapes, with my pinky finger at the bottom, the return spring recoil can be unpleasant. I went through that in my review of the Dewalt XP tape measure.
I don’t quite have a favorite tape measure right now, at least not off the top of my head. I use Stanley, Lufkin, Dewalt, and Milwaukee tapes regularly, plus a couple of other brands mixed in when within reach.
Here’s another question for you – if your perfect tape measure doesn’t yet exist, how would it be different than what’s available today?
On a random note, I’ve been working with Lufkin Shockforce tape measure test samples. So far I think they’re very comfortable, but early online reviews don’t seem very favorable. On another random note, one of our first tool reviews was for Stanley’s PowerLock tape measure. Who’s still rocking one of those? I have one on my desk and another in the kitchen, and a couple of smaller ones from promo packs scattered around.