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Best Tape Measure?


Hot Rolled
Nov 28, 2016
For in the shop I have a bunch of Lufkin 1/2" wide x 10' tapes. There on in Kanban foam at each machine with other commonlyused tools, one clipped to each saw, and a few extra scattered about.

I rarely need more then 10', and they are a nice size and easy to read, and fairly durable. And cost less than $4.00, so I don't mind buying a bunch.

Stanley FatMax for fab and construction work.

FastCap makes a tape measure with some cool features that is nice to use, but not very durable.


Nov 23, 2003
Beaumont, TX, USA
I think the basic accuracy is much more important than features like the hook end, which can be adjusted to a better zero.

Some time ago I was in the middle of a wood project and I noticed some differences between the several tape measures I had in the shop. I am not talking about thousandths or even hundredths, they differed by as much as 1/8" over about eight feet. And I did not rely on the hook end to line them up, I used the one inch mark and then checked back to the hook from there. At the time I had no way/time to check them so for that project I just went with the one that seemed the most consistent with all the others.

As machinists we may have Jo blocks that are accurate to millionths, but what can we use to check distances of 8, 12, 24 feet and more?

As far as holding up to shop use, the biggest thing I found is DO NOT LET THEM REWIND AT FULL SPEED. Many modern tape measures have plastic spools inside them - YES, I SAID PLASTIC, and the shock of the sudden stop from full rewind speed will quickly break those spools. Ask me how I know.