It doesn’t matter if you’re a tradesman, hobbyist, or just someone with a drawer full of ratchet screwdrivers, hammers, and cordless drills, the best tape measure is a vital addition to your toolbox (or tool drawer). If you need accurate measurements, the tape measure, whether it’s a digital tape measure or a classic hand-operated one is a long-trusted accessory of handymen of all levels, passions, and experiences, and no job or project, no matter how small or large, should be undertaken without one.
You may not realize it if you aren’t using one on site every day, but tape measures have evolved since you remember playing with your dad’s trusty, if a little rusty and battered, old tape measure, rattling it back into its coil and catching your fingers every single time.
Now though, they are advanced, controlled, and some of them are more high tech than you would have considered (or even thought necessary). This ensures accuracy, ease of use, and excellent performance. It’s more than just a tape measure, it’s something no one – professional or casual – should be without.
The Best Tape Measure
The Stanley Tools 25-Foot by 1-Inch Measuring Tape is our best choice for the top tape measure around. The one-inch width ensures clear reading, and its 25-foot distance length is ample for a variety of large jobs. The chrome, high-impact ABS case is ideal for surviving the hazards of the worksite and is more durable than a metal tape measure, while the blade’s polyester coating ensures longevity.
Reliability is also prevalent, with a blade lock that guarantees zero creeping to provide accurate measurements and readings regardless of the task. And the reliability doesn’t stop there. Its corrosion resistant Tru-Zero end hook is stable and capable of gripping close or distance surfaces with ease, although, it’s not a dual hook for 360-degree measurements.
Chrome high-impact ABS case ensures durability
Mylar polyester film to extend blade lifespan
Secure blade locks prevents creeping during measurements
Corrosion resistant Tru-Zero end hook for accurate measurements
- BrandStanley Tools
- Weight1.12 pounds
Boasting a massive 7-foot standout, Kutir Easy to Read 25 Foot Measuring Tape Measure is another excellent option that’s not too expensive even for domestic use, but also not too cheap you don’t trust its quality. With it, you get a robust tape measure prepared for even the most hazardous environments thanks to a shock absorbent casing and strong but also comfortable wrist strap to make sure you don’t leave it behind.
The magnetic hook is perfect for getting the right measurements every single time, and it’s so strong you may struggle with releasing it if you’re not prepared, and the powerful thumb lock ensures further precision with multiple inch increments for a variety of applications.
Shock absorbent rubber case ideal for construction and job sites
Magnetic hook for stability over long distances
Multiple increments including 12” with 16” highlights
Strong and comfortable strap to keep secure on your wrist
- ModelKUTIR 56-7525
- Weight12 ounces
If you’re looking for excellent value, the Komelon Self Lock 25-Foot Power Tape is a top option for the best tape measure around. It masters that sometimes tricky balance and combination between inexpensive and effective and provides accurate reliability for both professional and at-home situations.
With a self-locking mechanism, it delivers smooth blade extension instead of the staggered struggles older, lesser tape measures provide. This is convenient and ideal for smaller jobs, and gives you something you should now – in the 21st Century at least – expect all tape measures to do. The nylon coated blade is the perfect solution for ensuring long life and rust resistance, and its impact-resistant casing prevents both external and internal damage.
Self locking mechanism ensures smooth blade extension
Nylon coated blade for maximum durability
Impact resistant rubber case protects mechanism and parts
Engineer, Metric, and Speedmark scales for a variety of applications
- Weight1 pound
The Klein Tools 30-Foot Double Hook Magnetic Tape Measure is one of the longest we’ve selected and boasts a hugely reliable stand out of 9-1/2-feet. It also comes with bold line markings which make the most of the wide blade being both uncluttered and easy to read, yes, even at a distance.
At the end, the dual-angle magnetic hooks are corrosion-resistant and attach steadily to a variety of metal clips, edges, and steel studs to make measuring easier than ever, although it may obstruct in a few situations. The size makes it perfect for construction sites, but is also useful for substantial home-improvement projects. To guarantee ease-of-use and safety, the retraction speed brake prevents caught fingers.
Bold line markings are uncluttered and easy-to-read
Dual-angle magnetic hooks attach to conduit and steel studs
Retraction speed brake control blade speed and protects fingers interfering
High-impact rubberized design for industrial and hazardous environments
- BrandKlein Tools
- Weight1.96 pounds
For those who need unrivaled precision, the eTape16 16-Feet Digital Tape Measure is our premium pick and while it’s not as high-tech as a laser tape measure, for traditional blade-based options, it’s the most accurate tape measure you can find.
Traditionalists shouldn’t be put off by its digital operation, it’s simple to use with an easily readable LCD screen that shows you the measurements right in your hand. It eliminates the frustration with creeping you sometimes get from manual tape measures in both professional and DIY situations. The tape deployment is fast and effective, and with the option to switch between inches, feet and inches and metric measurements provides versatile readings for both large and small jobs.
Rugged, durable, and weather-resistant construction from polycarbonate plastic
Large digital display for easy readings
3 memory functions including 2 long-term memory holds
US/Metric conversion and re-zero option
- Weight9.8 ounces
The Milwaukee Tool 25-Foot Magnetic Tape Measure is a solid and durable option for the modern construction site professional. Its five-point reinforced frame is designed to handle a variety of tough environments and survives them with ease. For further reliability, the wire belt hook keeps the tape measure secure but is still easy to retrieve in an instant.
The magnetic tip, though not replaceable, ensures a reliable grip on your target, and the double-sided measurement scale provide 360-degree readings for those more awkward situations. The blade is also protected with a nylon bond to ensure longevity, but this doesn’t affect the blade’s flexibility and still allows easy maneuverability. The blade is also wide, which is good for visibility but may feel cumbersome for less demanding projects.
Magnetic tip to stability and easy measurements
5-point reinforced frame provides durability and secure casing
Finger Stop design keeps fingers safe during retraction
Nylon bond blade protection to prevent damage and corrosion
- BrandMilwaukee Tool
- Weight0.16 ounces
With its reinforced BladeArmor construction, the Stanley Tools 25-Feet FatMax Tape Measure is a robust and ready option for heavy-duty and demanding environments. Boasting maximum durability, you’re guaranteed longevity and peak performance making it ideal for repeated daily use with no signs of slowing down.
It’s not just the casing, either. Like other Stanley tape measures, the blade is coated with Mylar polyester to prevent cracking and flimsiness. The heat-treated spring also makes it easy and comfortable to use, delivering smooth operation and saving your fingers from catching in the blade port.
Reinforced with BladeArmor coating to ensure maximum durability
Mylar polyester blade extends lifespan of the entire blade
Heat-treated spring for further longevity and smooth blade recoil
Specially designed multi-catch hook grabs on top of bottom for variety of measuring demands
- BrandStanley Tools
- Weight1.25 pounds
Komelon 25-Foot Speed Mark Gripper Steel Blade Measuring Tape boasts multiple increments for a variety of projects and comes with fractional markings to provide excellent readings whatever your demands. Its large, bold marking transform it from your average measuring tool into an easy read tape measure at whatever distance.
The white blade deviates from the norm in a way that’s focused more on substance over style, despite initial perceptions. The anti-glare design ensures clarity when working outside, so you can rely on its accuracy more than traditional yellow blades. You can also lock the blade in place for further precision although the retraction system isn’t as smooth as others we’ve selected.
SpeedMark fractional graduations on blade
Non-glare white band is suitable for all environments
Easy grip thick rubber jacket is comfortable to hold and drop-resistant
Large digits and markings are easy to read at a glance
- Weight8 ounces
Not as deadly as its namesake, the Crescent Lufkin 25 Foot Black Widow Dual Sided Tape Measure is still an efficient and reliable choice for the modern tradesman and also comes at a price that’s not unreasonable for home-improvement fanatics. It offers a variety of functions perfect for many measuring demands, including advanced ergonomics to ensure comfort, along with a toughness you’d expect from a heavyweight fighter more than a simple tape measure.
Most appealing though is the dual-sided tape which combined with the 360-degree hook delivers limitless measuring potential. The black blade with high contrast green markings is also excellent and as the Komelon’s white glareless blade is useful when working outside, this is perfect for low-light environments to ensure high-quality reading and accuracy.
Dual-sided tape measure and high contrast green markings for low-light situations
Advanced ergonomics make it easy to handle
Unparalleled toughness ensures it survives all work sites
360-degree end hook makes any measurement simple and straightforward
- Weight15.5 ounces
Our final pick is the Magnelex 33-Foot Tape Measure which with a 25mm wide blade provides excellent readability and the 33-feet extension is the further reach we’ve found, so anyone needing a long tape measure should look no further than right here. On the blade, you get both Imperial and Metric measurements to appeal to all construction workers and DIY-enthusiasts ensuring versatile functions for jobs great and small.
The SolidRule construction helps it survive hazardous environments, while the blade is nylon coated (on both sides, too) so you can trust it’s built to last. As for operation, the internal mechanism delivers smooth retraction and extraction, and the strong locking lever and stop button prevents creeping and slippage to guarantee always-accurate measurements.
SolidRule construction is sturdy and robust to resist drops and knocks
Smooth internal mechanism helps blade glide easily
Measures in both Imperial and Metric to appeal to everybody
Strong stop button prevents slipping and ensures always-accurate measurements
- Weight0.16 ounces
Tape Measure Buying Guide & FAQ
Features To Look For A In Tape Measure
Before you make your final decision on the best tape measure for you, make sure you check out these key features to determine your selection is the right option.
Tape Length - Ranging from 16- to 33-feet, we’ve found a wide selection of tape lengths to appeal to a variety of demands. Depending on the demands of your project, you may not need the longest tape measure available, and shorter ones are typically fine for home improvement jobs.
If you’re working on larger sites, using as long of a tape measure as necessary (or possible) with ensure you get the most accurate measurements while also saving time making markings and moving across the distance.
Tape Width - The tape width can affect stability when the blade is deployed but this width can affect how portable it is and may get in the way. The wider the blade, the easier it is to read the markings, so if you need accurate measurements (or have poor eyesight), looking for a wider blade is beneficial.
Case - For the best durability, a 5-point frame case is the ideal option, and this is perfect for high-impact job sites. You’ll find several case designs and constructions in our selection, and it will depend on the demands of your project and purpose to decide which is best for you. Remember rubberized cases are more popular as they are more resistant to damage.
Hook - A reliable hook is the hallmark of an accurate tape measure and modern products go above and beyond to ensure that accuracy with an evolution of the hook design. If it’s been a while since you last used a tape measure, you may believe that all hooks are the same, and that they are not that important.
This isn’t true, though, and you can choose from a variety of hook types including magnetic, standard, and double-ended to provide versatile applications for whatever project you have in mind.
Visibility - Much like the best laser measure, visibility is essential for your regular tape measures in all kinds of environments. It doesn’t matter if you’re a tradesman or just need your tape measure for casual DIY repair jobs, visibility will help you achieve the most accurate measurements.
Those who need glasses should look into measures with larger, bold numbers and markings, and if you work in low-light situations, it may be beneficial to invest in high-contrast designs so you can see easily at a glance. Likewise, if you work outside more frequently, an anti-glare white blade is the key.
Standout and Throw - When measuring alone, the standout and throw is crucial to keeping the blade at a steady and straight level. For some, the longer the standout for better, and it helps ensure precise measurements with no hassle of the blade collapsing when extended too far.
Ergonomics - Comfort is an often understated component of tools, but a tape measure which is easy to hold will make all your measuring needs much more forgiving. The body should not be too big nor too small, but just right so it fits comfortably in your hand with the stop buttons within easy reach.
For increased comfort, rubberized casing will offer greater hand support and prevent aches and strains when compared to plastic or metal casings, which are not as rounded as rubber options.
Spring - A spring mechanism makes it easier to extend and retract your tape measure. While older models were erratic and fast, often snapping at your fingers, modern versions provide smooth, controlled operation to prevent injuries.
Tape Measure FAQ
Q: What does the black diamond on a tape measure mean?
A: If you’ve inspected your tape measure, you’ll have noticed a small black diamond (sometimes a triangle) starting at 19.2 inches along the scale. These are 'truss markings’ and are used for fast measurement of 8-feet sheet goods.
It was originally used in a Metric scale, with workers dividing 5 by 92 inches (the equivalent of 8 feet), which made it easy to determine 5 trusses per sheet. This sped up and streamlined the process, making something that was often unnecessarily complicated, sometimes inaccurate, and always time-consuming straightforward and simple.
Since this change, black diamonds (or triangles) are present on all tape measures, and even though you’re unlikely to use or even notice them most of the time, you at least know now why they’re then in case you find yourself transported into a reality where you need to measure out some truss.