10 Best Tape Measures For Woodworkers 2023 – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide
The tape measure is one of the most important tools in any woodworker’s toolbox. If you go by the old saying “measure twice, cut once,” the tape measure is twice as important as any other tool. How do you choose the right one amongst all competing brands, and is there a difference between woodworking tape measures and those used for fabric or other jobs?
We’ll examine 10 brands of tape measures for woodworkers with reviews so you can learn more about the differences between each one. We’ve also included a buyer’s guide where we discuss what makes a good tape measure.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||Stanley 33-425 Powerlock Tape-Measuring Tool||
|Best Value||FastCap PSSR25 Measuring Tape||
|Premium Choice||Milwaukee Tool 48-22-7125 Magnetic Tape Measure||
|General Tools LTM1 2-in-1 Laser Tape Measure||
|Komelon PG85 Woodworker’s Tape Measure||
The 10 Best Tape Measures for Woodworkers – Reviews 2023
These are the ten tape measures we have found to review for you.
1. Stanley 33-425 Powerlock Tape-Measuring Tool – Best Overall
The Stanley 33-425 Powerlock Tape-Measuring Tool is our pick for the best tape measurer for woodworkers overall. It features a chrome, high-impact ABS case that’s lightweight yet durable. A mylar polyester film coats the blade and protects it from wear.
It has a secure blade lock that won’t slip or release the tape prematurely, and it has 16 and 19.2-inch stud center markings to ease the job of framing. The blade is 25 feet long and one inch wide. The only problem we experienced while using the Stanley 33-425 was that it was difficult to lock the blade in place.
2. FastCap PSSR25 Measuring Tape – Best Value
The FastCap PSSR25 Measuring Tape is our pick for the best tape measure for woodworkers for the money. It has a built-in pencil sharpener and an erasable notepad on the side to write notes and measurements. It features lefty/righty marking, so you can use it if you are left-handed, and it’s easy to read fractions down to 1/16-inch.
It’s 25 feet long and features a rubber boot that helps protect it from damage. The only problem we experienced while using the FastCap PSSR25 was that the numbers started to wear off.
3. Milwaukee Tool Magnetic Tape Measure – Premium Choice
The Milwaukee Tool 48-22-7125 Magnetic Tape Measure Is our premium choice tape measurer for woodworkers. This 25-foot tape measure features magnets that keep it in place when measuring steel studs. Its five-point reinforced frame is exceptionally durable, and the Finger stop safety feature prevents you from getting injured when you retract the blade.
It has markings on both sides of the tape, so it’s easy to read from any angle, and the locking mechanism is easy to use and keeps the tape in place. The wire belt hook holds the tool securely in place and doesn’t damage your pockets. The only downside to the Milwaukee Tool 48-22-7125 is that it’s quite bulky, and magnets constantly collect screws and other metal pieces.
4. General Tools LTM1 2-in-1 Laser Tape Measure
The General Tools LTM1 2-in-1 Laser Tape Measure is a two-in-one tape measure that features a 16-foot tape and a 50-foot class two laser. One-button operation allows you to achieve quick measurements that are accurate to within 1/4 inch.
Its compact size can easily fit in your pocket or clip on your belt, and you can read your measurements on an LCD screen. Unfortunately, the General Tools LTM1 display is a bit small and hard to read. Also, the tape measure is thin and is hard to keep straight.
5. Komelon PG85 Woodworker’s Tape Measure
The Komelon PG85 Woodworker’s Tape Measure features metric unit measurements for those fed up with the Imperial scale used by most Americans. It measures out to 8 meters, a little over 26 feet, and features two-sided markings and smooth retracting.
The easy-grip rubber jacket is ergonomic and comfortable to hold while providing durability. The end hook of the tape is also triple riveted for extended life. At over a pound, the Komelon PG85 is the heaviest tape measure on this list.
6. TEKTON 71953 Tape Measure
The TEKTON 71953 Tape Measure features impact-resistant housing with non-slip rubber grips to make it easier to hold, even in humid conditions. This 25-foot tape measure has a tape lock and a one-touch pause button on the side. The high contrast markings are easy to read even in low light conditions, and they list fractions down to 1/8 inch. A four-rivet sliding end hook will stay in place for years without rusting or corroding.
The downside to the TEKTON 71953 is that the lock button is rough and hard to press. We used the pause button on the side more often than the lock. The return is also quite dangerous and could lead to a cut if you aren’t careful, and the plastic housing won’t survive too many drops on the floor.
7. MulWark MLK-53752 Measuring Tape Measure
The MulWark MLK-53752 Measuring Tape Measure features imperial and metric units of measurement. The housing is a lightweight polypropylene that’s durable and impact-resistant, and the rubberized cover is comfortable to hold and helps absorb shock from falls. The magnetic hook helps it grip steel studs for easy measurement, and the claw moves so you can get a more precise measurement.
We liked the MulWark MLK-53752, but the tape was flimsy and bent easily. The paint on ours also kept chipping off, creating a yellow glitter, and the edges warped, making it hard to get a correct measurement.
8. DEWALT DWHT36107 Tape Measure
The DEWALT DWHT36107 Tape Measure is by a company synonymous with durable home tools, and this one is no different. We’ve had several Dewalt tape measures and can attest to their durability. You can usually pull the tape out about 10 feet before it buckles, allowing one person to take many measurements that would otherwise require two people. It has the standard 25-foot total reach, and all unit markings are easy to read.
Unfortunately, for a DeWalt tool, there are many problems with the DWHT36107 tape measure. There are no fraction markings, only ticks, so you will need keen eyesight to work with fractions on this model, which is essential for woodworking. In every one of our tape measures, the locking mechanism failed quickly after we started using it and didn’t even slow the tape down.
In a few models, the retracting spring broke, forcing us to manually re-insert the tape. Getting out of the package is also challenging when you first buy it.
9. Swanson Tool SVPS25M1 Proscribe Tape Measure
The Swanson Tool SVPS25M1 Proscribe Tape Measure is a 25-foot tape that features a unique scribe guide for making accurate markings. The tape is also slightly wider than most others at 1 1/16 inches, allowing you to pull it out further before it buckles. The double-edged magnetic hook is excellent for grabbing steel studs, and the large numbers are easy to read from a distance, even in low light.
The housing is a durable ABS plastic with a molded rubber cover for a better grip and added shock absorption. Though the tape is wider on the Swanson Tool SVPS25M1, it still wrinkled pretty quickly along the edges, especially the first 10 inches.
The 3 1/3-inch body is a real hassle to calculate into your measurements and was the most difficult part of using this tape measure. The removable scribe clip is very convenient and something we wish we would see in other models, but the clip doesn’t stay in place and is easily lost.
10. Task Tools TR213 ProTrak Tape Measure
The Task Tools TR213 ProTrak Tape Measure is a 25-foot left-handed measuring tape for left-handed woodworkers or right-handed workers who find it easier to make some markings using the left-handed blade. The blade is coated in clear nylon to prevent rust and has a triple rivet reinforced tip. A SPEEDLOCK brake helps slow down the blade as it retracts, preventing injury and wear and tear to the tip. The impact-resistant case is durable and can withstand a fall or two.
The Task Tools TR213 is at the bottom of our list because it is a massive tape measure weighing more than 2 pounds, and despite that, the tape inside is thin and hard to use. It developed creases quickly while we were using it, and the edge became warped. It was among the quickest on our list to wear out, and for some reason, they put the belt clip on the wrong side for a left-handed model.
Let’s look at some of the most important factors when shopping for a woodworker’s tape measure.
Most tape measures are 25 feet long, which seems to be the industry standard, though other lengths exist. Twenty-five feet is usually long enough for most woodshops, but you’ll need to consider your needs, especially if you are considering getting a shorter tape.
Tape Lock and Brake
It seems simple to lock the blade so you can take the measurement, but too many models provide a weak or hard-to-use locking mechanism. You also need to slow the blade down as it retracts, or you risk cutting yourself and adding unnecessary wear to the delicate tip. We tried to list any models in our reviews that did not have a good locking and braking mechanism.
Most of the blades on our list are about an inch wide. You can pull wider blades out further before they bend, which is important when working alone. Of course, thickness also counts, but you can usually pull a 1-inch wide blade out about 7 feet before it bends.
Depending on the type of woodworking, you may require a tape measure with metric markings and the Imperial system of feet and inches. Many tape measures offer this feature, and we tried to list the ones on our list that do.
You will likely drop your tape measure repeatedly. It’s easy to lose control of the tool and drop it. Unfortunately, the durable steel cases of yesteryear have all but vanished, and you will need to rely on polypropylene plastic. Though it sounds bad, many tape measures are durable; some have a rubber coating that helps absorb shock.
You will see that many brands add extra rivets to the tip to make it more stable and durable. Doing so can help, and we like the reinforced ones ourselves. If you let the blade retract into the housing at full speed, it can damage the tip. Slowing down the blade before it fully retracts can dramatically extend the life of your tape measure.
We also recently published an article where we showcase our favorite digital tape measures, it can be found here.
The Stanley 33-425 Powerlock Tape-Measuring Tool is one of the best tape measures for woodworkers we have used, and it’s our pick for the best overall. It features a durable high-impact case, a thick blade, and clear markings. The lock is a little rough but holds firm and does not wear down over time. Another great choice is our budget to pick the FastCap PSSR25 Measuring Tape. This model provides a durable locking tape measure with easy-to-read numbers and unique features like an erasable notepad and an onboard pencil sharpener.
We hope you have enjoyed reading over these tape measure reviews and found them helpful for finding your nest tool. If you have found your next tool, please share these ten best measuring tapes for woodworkers on Facebook and Twitter.
Featured Image Credit: Pixabay