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10 Best Tape Measures For Woodworkers 2021 – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

measuring tape

measuring tape

The tape measure is one of the most important tools in any woodworker’s toolbox. In fact, 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’ve chosen ten different brands of tape measures for woodworkers to review for you so you can hear about our experiences and learn more about the differences between each one. We’ve also included buyers guide where we discuss what makes a good woodworking tape measure, so you know what to look for while you shop.

Join us while we discuss length, width, blade lock, markings, and more to help you make an educated purchase.

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Stanley 33-425 Powerlock Tape-Measuring Tool Stanley 33-425 Powerlock Tape-Measuring Tool
  • Chrome high impact ABS case
  • Mylar polyester film
  • Secure blade lock
  • Best Value
    Second place
    FastCap PSSR25 Measuring Tape FastCap PSSR25 Measuring Tape
  • Easy read fractions
  • Built-in pencil sharpener
  • Protective rubber boot
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Milwaukee Tool 48-22-7125 Magnetic Tape Measure Milwaukee Tool 48-22-7125 Magnetic Tape Measure
  • 5-point reinforced frame
  • Finger stop safety feature
  • 2-sided markings
  • General Tools LTM1 2-in-1 Laser Tape Measure General Tools LTM1 2-in-1 Laser Tape Measure
  • 16’ tape measure
  • 50’ laser measure
  • One button operation
  • Komelon PG85 Woodworker’s Tape Measure Komelon PG85 Woodworker’s Tape Measure
  • Easy-grip thick rubber jacket
  • Triple-riveted and hooks
  • Smooth retracting
  • The 10 Best Tape Measures for Woodworkers – Reviews 2021

    These are the ten tape measures we have found to review for you.

    1. Stanley 33-425 Powerlock Tape-Measuring Tool – Best Overall

    Stanley 33-425 Powerlock Tape-Measuring Tool

    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.

    Pros
    • Chrome high impact ABS case
    • Mylar polyester film
    • Secure blade lock
    • Corrosion-resistant end hook
    • 16” and 19.2” stud center markings
    • 25’
    • 1” wide
    • Lightweight
    Cons
    • Difficult to lock in place

    2. FastCap PSSR25 Measuring Tape – Best Value

    FastCap PSSR25 Measuring Tape

    The FastCap PSSR25 Measuring Tape Is our pick as the best tape measure for woodworkers for the money. It has a built-in pencil sharpener and an erasable notepad on the side you can use 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 experience while using the FastCap PSSR25 was that the numbers started to wear off after some use.

    Pros
    • Erasable notepad
    • 25’
    • Easy read fractions
    • Built-in pencil sharpener
    • Protective rubber boot
    • Lefty/righty markings
    Cons
    • Numbers wear off

    3. Milwaukee Tool Magnetic Tape Measure – Premium Choice

    Milwaukee Tool 48-22-7125 Magnetic Tape Measure

    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 keeping in place when measuring steel studs. It’s five-point reinforced frame is extremely 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.

    Pros
    • 25’
    • Magnetic
    • 5-point reinforced frame
    • Finger stop safety feature
    • 2-sided markings
    • Wire belt hook
    • Locking mechanism
    Cons
    • Bulky
    • Magnet

    4. General Tools LTM1 2-in-1 Laser Tape Measure

    General Tools LTM1 2-in-1 Laser Tape Measure

    The General Tools LTM1 2-in-1 Laser Tape Measure Is a 2IN1 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 display on the General Tools LTM1 is a bit small and hard to read. Also, the tape measure is thin and is hard to keep straight.

    Pros
    • 16’ tape measure
    • 50’ laser measure
    • One button operation
    • Accurate to within 1/4”
    • Compact size
    • Class 2 laser
    • LCD screen
    Cons
    • Hard to read display
    • Flimsy tape

    5. Komelon PG85 Woodworker’s Tape Measure

    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, which is a little over 26-feet, and it 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 one pound, the Komelon PG85 is the heaviest tape measure on this list so far. It’s also packaged extremely tight and difficult to remove.

    Pros
    • Metric measurements
    • 8 m
    • Durable
    • Easy-grip thick rubber jacket
    • Triple-riveted and hooks
    • Smooth retracting
    Cons
    • Bulky
    • Heavy
    • Hard to open

    6. TEKTON 71953 Tape Measure

    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 as well as a one-touch pause button on the side. The high contrast markings are easy to read even in low light conditions, and it lists 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 found ourselves using the pause button on the side more often than the lock. The return is also quite dangerous and could lead to a cut of you aren’t careful, and the plastic housing won’t survive too many drops on the floor.

    Pros
    • Impact-resistant ABS housing
    • Non-slip rubber grips
    • Tape lock
    • One-touch pause button
    • High contrast markings
    • Four rivet sliding end hook
    • Easy to read fractions down to 1/8”
    Cons
    • Lock button hard to use
    • Dangerous return
    • Not very durable

    7. MulWark MLK-53752 Measuring Tape Measure

    MulWark MLK-53752 Measuring Tape Measure

    The MulWark MLK-53752 Measuring Tape Measure features both imperial and metric units of measurement so you can use it for nearly any job. 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 the tool grip steel studs for easy measurement, and the claw moves our way so you can get a more precise measurement.

    We liked the MulWark MLK-53752, but the tape was quite flimsy and would bend easily. The paint on ours also kept chipping off, creating a yellow glitter, and the edges warp more and more every day, making it hard to get a correct measurement.

    Pros
    • Metric and imperial markings
    • Impact-resistant
    • Rubberized cover
    • Magnetic hook
    Cons
    • Flimsy tape
    • Warps along the edges

    8. DEWALT DWHT36107 Tape Measure

    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 of these tape measures and can attest to their durability. None ever cracked or shattered while on the job. You can usually pull the tape out about ten 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 doesn’t even slow the tape down. In a few models, the retracting spring broke, forcing us to manually re-insert the tape. It is also extremely difficult to get out of the package when you first buy it.

    Pros
    • 25’ reach
    • 10’ stand out
    • Durable housing
    Cons
    • No fraction marks
    • Flimsy locking mechanism
    • Retractable spring breaks
    • Difficult to get out of packaging

    9. Swanson Tool SVPS25M1 Proscribe Tape Measure

    Swanson Tool SVPS25M1 Proscribe Tape Measure

    The Swanson Tool SVPS25M1 Proscribe Tape Measure is a 25-foot tape that features a unique scribe guide that you can attach a pencil too for making accurate markings. The tape is also slightly wider than most others at 1 1/16-inch to allow you to pull it out further before the tape buckles. The double-edged magnetic hook is great 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 ten 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.

    Pros
    • Retractable scribe guide
    • 1 1/16” wide blade
    • Large numbers
    • Double-edged magnetic hook
    • High impact ABS casing
    • Molded rubber cover
    • 25’
    Cons
    • Flimsy tape
    • Odd size 3 1/3” body
    • Removable scribe clip
    • Edge of tape ripples quickly

    10. Task Tools TR213 ProTrak Tape Measure

    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 that find it easier to make some markings using the left-handed blade. The blade is coated in clear nylon to prevent rust, and it 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 reason the Task Tools TR213 is at the bottom of our list is that it is a massive tape measure weighing more than two pounds, and despite that, the tape inside is extremely thin and is hard to use. It developed creases quickly while we were using it and the edged became warped as well. 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.

    Pros
    • Nylon coated blade
    • Triple rivet reinforced tip
    • Impact-resistant case
    • SPEEDLOCK brake
    • 25’
    Cons
    • 2 lbs
    • Thin tape
    • The belt clip is on the wrong side

    Buyer’s Guide

    Let’s take a look at some of the most important things to look for when you shop for a tape measure for woodworkers.

    Length

    Most tape measures are 25 feet long as that seems to be the industry standard, though other lengths do exist. Twenty-five feet is usually long enough for most woodshops, but you’ll need to consider your needs, especially if considering getting a shorter tape.

    Tape Lock and Brake

    It seems simple to lock the blade in place 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.

    Width

    Most of the blades on our list are about one inch wide. You can pull wider blades out further before they bend, which is an important feature when you work alone. Of course, thickness also counts, but you can usually pull a one-inch wide blade out about seven feet before it bends.

    Unit Markings

    Depending on what type of woodworking you are doing, you may require a tape measure with metric markings as well as the American Imperial system of feet and inches. Many tape measures offer this feature, and we tried to list the ones on our list that do.

    Durability

    You can count on that you are going to drop your tape measure repeatedly. It’s not that your clumsy or careless; it’s that you’re taking careful measurements and trying to mark them. 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 are going to need to rely on polypropylene plastic. Though it sounds bad, many of these units are quite durable, and some have a rubber coating that helps absorb some shock and adds durability.

    Reinforced Tip

    You will see that many brands add extra rivets to the tip in an effort to make it more stable and durable. While doing so can help, and we like the reinforced ones ourselves, but if you just let it retract into the housing at full speed, that tip is what’s stopping it. Slowing down the blade before it fully retracts can dramatically extend the life of your tape measure.

    RELATED READS: an overview of the different types of measuring tools and their uses

    We also recently published an article where we showcase our favorite digital tape measures, it can be found here.

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    Conclusion

    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, thick blade, and clear markings. The lock is a little rough, but it 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 you with a durable locking tape measure with easy to read numbers and some 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

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