The folks at Milwaukee Tool sent me a sample of their latest and greatest tape measure, and it got me to
thinking about how much variation
there is out there in tape measures
and what features you really need in a
measuring tool for the shop.
The new Milwaukee tape measure is
dubbed the Stud and claims to be the
most durable on the market. It touts
features such as being able to survive
an 80-foot drop and a special coated
blade technology to make the blade
more durable. It also claims to stand
out straight for “up to 10 feet.” Based
on those features and a few more it
seems like key factors to consider in
selecting a tape are length, width,
measurement style, standout, locking
methods, accuracy, durability, and
some non-measuring accessories, such
as the belt clip. Let’s take a look at all
Length: The Milwaukee Stud comes
with a 25-foot length, which is pretty
standard for construction use, but
there are also 30-foot tapes. While you
might need the longer length for job
site work, most shop-based woodworkers rarely need more than 15 feet. A
smaller tape means a more compact,
lighter, convenient tape for carrying.
Width and standout: The Milwaukee
Stud is about an inch wide, but I have
a Stanley FatMax that is about 1-1/8
inches wide and several FastCap and
What’s the best tape measure?
wide. Wider tapes generally have
longer standout. On the tapes I tested,
standout ranged from about 8 feet on
the smaller tapes to 10 feet on the Mil-
waukee and 12 feet on the Stanley. But
sometimes you don’t want standout. I
have a FastCap model that features a
flat tape that is really handy for layout
and measuring on sheet goods because
it lies flat.
by Will Sampson
firstname.lastname@example.org IN THE SHOP
Choices abound in fundamental shop measuring tools.
; Want more?
To see this in action,
watch our video on your
smart phone or online
William Sampson is a lifelong
woodworker and the editor of FDMC
Continued on page 84....
There is a bewildering array of options for tape measures. These are just some of
the tapes found in the author’s shop, including offerings from Milwaukee, Stanley,
FastCap, Hafele, and Blum.