10 Best Tape Measures in 2020 – Reviews

The SINGER 00218 Tape Measure is a 5-foot long measuring tool made from high-quality soft vinyl. Known for its durability, flexibility and high quality, this tape measure is ideal for measuring flat and round surfaces with ease. Featuring a pink background with black printed markings, it features both inches and centimeters. Manufactured by one of the most popular brands across the globe, it is the perfect tool for clothing design, production, and household use. It also comes with a high quality tabbed edging that ensures the tape does not fray at any given time.

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Finding The Perfect Tape Measure

Depending on your trade, you might be looking for different things in a tape measure, and yet we can all agree on the necessity for a decent tape measure to meet all the basic standards of durability and reliability. We’re talking here about the strength of the tape pull, the capacity to withstand abuse, and its rolling smoothness above all else. Now, despite the fact that most tape measures are built for roughly the same purpose, there are certain particularities that set them apart from one another, especially towards the high-end part of the price spectrum. Let us then find out what makes a good tape measure and what to look for when buying one.

Length

The length of a tape measure is among the first things you must consider, perhaps the most important aspect for some. There is quite a bit of diversity in regards to the length of tape measures, as they come in lengths ranging from 10 feet and up to 300 feet or more. In this regard, the length mostly depends on what you need it for and whether you plan on using it for something else farther down the line.

Measurement Type

We refer here to the type of increments along the tape’s blade and how that affects the way you measure according to the task at hand. It used to be that tapes would be divided into inches and feet whereas modern tapes are somewhat leaning towards metric divisions (millimeters, centimeters, and meters). It isn’t unlikely to find tape measures that use both the imperial and the metric system.

Blade Material

It is common for tape measures to come in one of three materials for the blade part, mainly steel, stainless steel, or fiberglass. We should point out that each has its own advantages and disadvantages, which mostly depends on what you use them for. While the blade has to be particularly strong, fast, or bendy for some professions, DIY enthusiasts generally prefer a more versatile tape measure for practical reasons.

  • Steel – This is perhaps the most commonly used material for tape measure blades, mostly due to its durability. It not only withstands abuse very well but it also offers great value for money seeing how inexpensive most of these tape measures are. For the most part, these tape measures come in a bright yellow construction with high-visibility coating along with black or red markings across the blade.
  • Stainless Steel – Perfect for people who work in humid environments, stainless steel tape measures benefit greatly from being resistant to rust. This makes them highly practical long-term as they also incorporate somewhat stronger markings. Almost entirely resistant to corrosion, these tape measures also resist salty environments and being used intensively out in even the harshest weather conditions.
  • Fiberglass – A bit more expensive than the other two models, fiberglass tape measures are usually much longer as well. Used by professionals across a wide variety of jobs in different industries, they are commonly valued for their high tensile strength, flexibility, and capacity to withstand heat and abrasion. Due to the fact that they generally come with open reel cases, they are also very easy to clean and look after.

Case Material

The case material of a tape measure usually reflects its capacity to withstand damage and to retain their usefulness in harsh environments. This is perhaps one of the most important things to consider when buying a tape measure as it must absolutely resist the rigors of everyday usage. Bear in mind that some tapes are more robust than others and that those made from impact resistant plastic are slightly weaker in strength than stainless steel models. Interestingly enough, the market has seen an increase of measure tapes with bi-material cases in recent years, with either steel+plastic as their build or rubber+steel+plastic in a more limited capacity.

Accuracy

Needless to say, a tape measure should meet the most rigorous accuracy standards for you to even consider it. You should never settle for anything short of perfect accuracy with any measuring instrument or tool and this includes tape measures. When it comes to tape measures, they usually fall under one of three classifications – either Class I, Class II, or Class III, with Class I being the most accurate. That said, we should point out that the margin of error is usually fairly small and that it will not really affect your work in most cases.

Locking Mechanism

One should always consider a tape measure’s locking mechanism when determining its overall functionality as it can negatively affect your work if it’s not reliable. This mechanism allows the user to quickly and effectively lock the blade in place once it has reached a fixed point so that its measurements can be safely read when the tool is removed from the object or area being measured. For the most part, tape measures employ an ‘auto-lock’ feature that enables the user to push a button to safely lock the blade in place when needed.

The Hook

Last but not least, you should always consider a tape measure’s hook as it enables you to hook it over an object for a more reliable measuring process. It has to be said that most tape measures use such a hook these days and that they rarely differ in shape, although the good ones always employ slightly bigger or stronger hooks for practical reasons. Not just that but a hook will also allow a single user to reach out farther when measuring a large object without the need for a second pair of hands to hold the blade safely in place.

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