The Best Tape Measure – Complete Buying Guide & Reviews

Measure twice, cut once – The old adage still holds true today. Our guide to the best tape measure will help you make the most accurate cuts.

You shouldn’t take a tape measure for granted. Whether you are a plumber, electrician, or an enthusiastic DIY-er, you should treat this measuring device like any other tool and give it careful consideration before purchasing.

Here’s our list of the best tape measuring options on the market today, compiled into one easy to read and informative list.

eTape16 ET16.75-DB-RP

This is more than just a typical measuring tape. It is the ideal example of history’s unique tools featuring a design that enhances its capability. The overall functionality of eTape16 ET16.75-DB-RP is tweaked in ways that have never been contemplated before.

One of its most noticeable features is the size-able digital display which offers convenient readings. You simply pull out the blade and check the blade on which the readings will be displayed. Moreover, the tape can quickly convert the readings from feet to inches or decimals to fractions.

When you are not using the device, activate the shut off function. With a robust battery (64hrs) and unique features, Etape 16 is a reliable, precise, and accurate tape that will give solutions to most of your measuring needs like landscape architecture and surveying. You can also count on it for your household projects whenever you need to take accurate measurements.

Things We Like:

  • Centerline calculations
  • Three memories
  • User-friendly design with a special aesthetic appeal
  • Digital measuring makes for higher accuracy

Things We Don’t Like:

  • Less durable than other models due to digital processing

QuickDraw DIY PRO

The QuickDraw DIY is a 25-foot self-marking tape measure that is specifically designed for measuring rugged surfaces. It integrated design makes it easier to reload while the high level of accuracy gives you the peace of mind even when you don’t have the contractor’s pencils at hand.

It is actually the first tape measure that comes with an built-in graphite pencil so you no longer have to worry when you forget to carry traditional pencils. In addition, it has a rugged nylon coating to ensure durability and sturdy recoil whenever you use the blade. The superior-quality steel tape prevents any chance of bending while working on your surfaces.

Its heavy-duty graphite pencil can show up well on just any surface. The other nice feature is the wedge indicator which pinpoints exactly where your line falls thus giving you an exact measurement. Then, there is the solid locking mechanism which prevents slippage in the process of taking some measurements.

Things We Like:

  • A nice length of 25ft
  • Built-in graphite pencil is quite useful
  • Nylon coating for increased durability
  • Solid locking mechanism

Things We Don’t Like:

  • Locking mechanism a bit too stiff
  • Problems with extension and retraction over time

Stanley Powerlock

​Find a spectacular balance between sturdiness and value for money in Stanley Powerlock. You can choose any length between 12ft and 36ft. It comes with a high impact coating made of ABS plastic and rubber mold that adds on to the strength of the case.

Like the name suggests, you can expect a safe lock that doesn’t slide after working with it for a while.  Given that it weighs less than a pound, it is easier to carry it around and use it in hard-to-access areas.

Things We Like:

  • Probably the most recognizable tape measure in the world
  • You have the confidence of Stanley craftsmanship on your side
  • Varying lengths for convenience
  • Weighs less than a pound

Things We Don’t Like:

  • The readings can get blurry and smudged over time

Trust Measuring Tape

This is a 25 ft by 1 Inch tape measure with an auto-lock function that prevents slipping of the blade when you are busy doing other things. You will be happy to know that the tape measure is MID certified, meaning that the calibrations for imperial and metric systems featured on the device are accurate.

The magnetic ends attract any type of metal surface so you don’t need to balance the tape mid-air and worry about rigidity. If you have a project that takes long periods of time, worry not because the ergonomic design of the tape will make things easier for you. It ensures a comfortable and firm grip without slipping.

The auto lock mechanism is very straightforward so you can do it using a single hand. On the flip side, the Trust Measuring Tape is not meant for rugged use.

Things We Like:

  • Auto-lock function is nice, can be used with one hand
  • Magnetic end for added convenience
  • MID certified

Things We Don’t Like:

  • Not for heavy duty, frequent use

Stanley 33-725 FatMax

The Stanley brand never disappoints consumers when it comes to quality and durability of handy tools. In addition to the convenience of the magnetic end that holds metal objects, FatMax has some of the most sought-after tape measure features to make things easier for you. One is the reinforced coating that minimizes the risk of physical damage.

The reinforced tape has an 11 ft standout so you can use it without asking for someone’s help. There are many reasons to use the 25-feet FatMax on rough surfaces including the heavy-duty design. A strong spring is connected to the blade while its case is made up of strong ABS plastic that hardly cracks.

Note that the Stanley tape measure doesn’t have an automatic lock but its locking mechanism is easy to apply and ensures that once the tape is set, it doesn’t slip off and that your measurements will be accurate. However, you should get ready to do the math because the tape gives measurements in feet only.

Things We Like:

  • 11ft standout is extremely convenient
  • Reinforced coating for durability
  • Again, we’re a big fan of Stanley products
  • Spring connected blade

Things We Don’t Like:

  • No auto-lock feature
  • Gives measurements in feet only

Magnelex Tape Measure

Measuring 26 feet long, Magnelex is one of the most of the most affordable tape measures on the market. While it doesn’t have a lot of dynamic features, it does its job well and can serve you a long time. It is impact-resistant so you don’t have to worry about replacing it when it drops on a rough surface.

As far as the material is concerned, the tape integrates ABS plastic and rubber and provides a comfortable grip even when your hands get wet.

The nylon coating covers the two sides of the tape measure to protect it from ripping and crimping during use. It also minimizes the risk of injury in case you grab it quickly. In case you are working on a project all alone, the textured locking button makes things easier for you because you only need one hand to do it.

Magnelex doesn’t have an auto-lock mechanism so you have to hold it constantly if you don’t want it to roll up.

Things We Like:

  • 26 feet long, slightly longer than other models
  • Comfortable grip
  • One-handed design nice for solitary use
  • Impact-resistant build
  • Extremely affordable

Things We Don’t Like:

  • Not auto-lock function
  • Actual tape is less durable than other brands

Features to Consider

A tape measure is a timeless and universal measuring machine. If you love being practical and efficient, this device will never disappoint you. Here are some of the key characteristics of a good tape measure.

The Case

Tape measures often take a beating on a working site. They are exposed to harsh environments, covered in dirt, and tossed on the floor. You need a robust casing to protect the tape. A good case should be thick and corrosion-resistant.

The Blade

Many times, this part comes across harsh liquids, sawdust, dirt, grit, etc. A protective coating on the blade helps to prolong the lifespan of the blade.


As far as accuracy goes, a tape measure may be categorized into 4 classes namely 1, 2, 3, and Unclassified. Most of these fall into class 1 and 2.The most precise tapes are in Class 1. Unclassified tape measures are used for estimates since they are the least accurate. Class 2 and 3 would do fine in woodworking while class 1 would be perfect for nuclear engineering.


Massive tape measures cope well with bruises and bumps and their blades stay longer than the lightweight counterparts. On the other side, compact and lightweight tapes are better suited to flexible projects since they are easy to handle and carry around.

Tape measures made with ABS will be less heavy and still durable, due to the plastic reinforced coating featured with ABS builds.


The design of any practical tool determines how it is used. The most durable and common designs are made of steel. This is the best material for long-distance measurements. A soft design material, on the other hand, is best for covering shorter distances. However, hard devices pose a lot of risks because they are more likely to injure you when clicked back at high speeds.

Soft tapes are safer and suitable for areas that are hard to access since they can be bent and manipulated easily. That is the flexibility you need to take measurements of awkward shapes.

Blade Lock

You can either have a typical blade lock which is manually operated or an automatic lock. The choice of a model depends on your personal preferences.

The Hook

Different tape measures feature different tangs or hooks. Quality hooks engage the items of your choice while multi-directional tangs can hook objects that are close to the tape. Bigger tangs can sometimes cause problems because they tend to hook up with just anything they come across. Lastly, magnetic hooks catch debris, filings, and shavings. Avoid the last two if you don’t want entanglement during your job.


You not only need an accurate and tough measuring tape. You should be able to see the markings clearly. The tape should go with bolder marks and stand better in all lighting conditions.

The Throw

The last thing you want is to keep moving from one point of a work piece to the other. So, you need a tape that you can throw as far as possible. When you throw it out, you can keep on extending the blade till it gets to the edge.


An extra price can get you a greater build quality. However, the increase in value for the extra cost becomes smaller as you move up the price range.

Bonus Features

Besides the common features, there are several characteristics that come in handy e.g. magnetic hook, nylon blade coating, finger brake, double-sided blade printing, additional scales,and markings.


The most important things to look out for in tape measure are the material, durability, the locking mechanism, and comfort. Also, don’t forget to check if the device has a lifetime warranty which is always a sign of a trusted manufacturer.

It is imperative to understand that some features are more important than others with regards to your particular application. So, first determine what you need the tape for then go ahead and choose your ideal tape measure.

Our top choice is the eTape16 ET16.75-DB-RP because of its superior auxiliary features and unmatched accuracy. It’s affordable and durable, making an ideal choice for most, if not all, working environments.

About Gus Donaldson

I built houses for over 30 years and recently retired. I've made lots of mistakes and hopefully teach you not to make the same ones. I still love to build and have a garage workshop that I use for hobby projects like the walnut bookshelf I made for my wife. I like to write and let people know that working with your hands and tools does not need to be intimidating.

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