When engaging in any woodworking project, precision is a key factor in determining the quality of the outcome. Small miscalculations in measurements can cause your entire project to come tumbling down.
This is where the tape measure comes into play. Being one of the most important tools in a woodworker’s workstation, it needs to be easy to use as well. This ensures a smooth transition from measuring to actually placing final cuts on your project.
So today, we will go on the lookout for the best tape measure for woodworkers. Presenting 10 different options with an included buying guide, you will learn everything there is to know about tape measures in this review.
Top 10 Best Measuring Tape for Woodworking Reviews
After hours of thorough research, we have carefully picked out 10 of our best picks from the market.
Let’s take a closer look!
1. FastCap PSSR16 16 FastPad Standard Reverse Measuring Tape – Most Accurate Tape Measure
The first product we bring to you is the PSSR16 from FastCap. If you’re looking for the entire woodworking solution, this is the tape measure for you. Its high contrast blade makes it easier to read the numbers and jot down measurements.
Speaking of measurements, FastCap has also placed an erasable notepad layer on the side of the tape measure. This lets you jot down your temporary measurements without the need to carry a separate notebook. The unit also holds a pencil sharpener! This makes for the ultimate woodworking tool.
- Foot markings are quite small and can be difficult to identify
- The pencil sharpener blade tends to wear out quickly
The PSSR16 is perfect for woodworkers that look for accuracy and consistency. Moreover, the contrasting blade color makes the number very clear and easy to read. The erasable notepad and sharpener is a good touch that shouldn’t go under-appreciated either.
2. Komelon SM5425 Speed Mark Steel Blade Measuring Tape – Best For Fine Woodworking
The second tape measure we have for you is the Komelon SM5425 Speed Mark. With a long-range of 25 feet, this is the perfect companion for projects of all sizes. The blade has an acrylic coating that aids its resistance to wear and tear.
What makes this the best woodworking tape are the tiny fractional graduations on the blade. With contrasting colors on the blade, the numbers can be easily read, even the smaller fractional graduations. These help to enhance the accuracy of your measurements.
- The whole unit is a bit bulky
- The retraction mechanism is a bit weak
The Komelon SM5425 is a very rugged tape measure that can withstand most falls and drops. Other than that, the small fractional graduations make it much easier to measure and note down observations too.
3. STANLEY FATMAX Tape Measure – Best American Made Tape Measure
This next is one for those who want something reliable yet homegrown. The Stanley Fatmax is a 25-foot long tape with a sturdy build and features that boost its durability. For instance, the tape has a BladeArmor coating that extends its life and keeps the blade fresh from rusting.
What’s more, the American manufacturers have designed a smooth non-slip rubber case that can withstand high impacts at ease. This keeps the internal mechanisms of the blade in place even after drops from heights over 6 feet.
- Locking mechanism is a bit difficult to use
- The tape is curved, and some people might prefer flat ones
Featuring a strong and well-built construction, the Stanley Fatmax is by far the best American made tape measure we have seen. The BladeArmor coating works great and is able to extend the life of the tape to serve you long years.
4. CRAFTSMAN CMHT37225S Tape Measure – Best Measuring Tape For Carpenters
Whether you’re looking for just a tape measure or the whole package for woodworkers, Craftsman has it all. This tape comes in 4 different blade length options ranging from 12 to 26 feet. Also, the manufacturers also have 2 other bundles available for purchase with the tape, one containing extra knives while the other has a leveling tool.
Other than that, the tape itself has a durable build with a rubber overmold that enhances grip. This is useful if you’re someone who tends to sweat when working. The self-locking feature is also quite helpful in this case as well, because it prevents the blade from accidentally retracting.
- Retraction mechanism is not smooth
- Rubber mold is not enough to protect it from high impact drops
This tape from Craftsman is a decent option according to the price and build quality. Although, the unit is quite lightweight, which leads us to believe that it won’t do well against drops from table height.
5. Keson PG1816UB Short Tape Measure – Most Accurate Tape Measure For Cabinet Making
If you’re on the lookout for a pocket-sized tape measure, you can’t miss the Keson PG1816UB. The 16 feet long tape is just right for any small to medium-scale project with its vibrant blade colors and bold numbers. It also features a vertical scale on the reverse side that gives you the added benefit of being able to measure vertical surfaces.
Moreover, the unit has a high-visibility rubber grip that protects the internal springs from drops. The color of the rubber grip is bright and vibrant, which makes it easy to find.
- Locking mechanism is a bit tough
This product from Keson is undoubtedly the best tape measure for fine woodworking. Featuring its ultra-bright blade, which makes it easy to read and durable construction, this is just perfect for making tables and cabinets.
6. QUICKDRAW PRO Easy-Read Self Marking Tape Measure – Best Compact Measuring Tape
Our next product from QUICKDRAW is amongst the most accurate tape measures for woodworking. With tons of innovative features built into the compact device, this is well-matched to the needs of any carpenter.
What we liked most about the tape measure is its redesigned marking system which allows you to load graphite lead. As you measure, you can use the strategically placed graphite wheel to make markings. This is highly convenient and ensures accuracy in measurement.
When paired with QUICKDRAW’s very own Truwedge indicator, you are able to omit any parallax errors and know exactly where the graphite makes its markings.
- Blade material isn’t sturdy and thick
- Locking mechanism doesn’t hold the tape well
The QUICKDRAW Pro takes a unique approach to maximizing user convenience and accuracy. The graphite marking system is a blessing for most woodworkers, and the unit is built well enough to sustain over long periods of time.
7. Tajima GS-16BW GS Lock Standard Scale – Best Woodworking Tape
If you’re familiar with the carpenting world, then Tajima is a brand that is well heard of. The GS-16BW has a rugged build with an armored case that keeps the internal springs protected from accidental drops.
The blade is made of a thick material that prevents folding and stays flat even at long distances. It also features a dual-sided scale that lets you measure vertical heights at ease.
- Locking mechanism is difficult to use
This Tajima measuring tape is perhaps the most rugged and heavy-duty tool we’ve seen. The thick armored casing keeps the unit safe from wear and tear, which extends the tape service time greatly.
8. FastCap PSSR25 Tape Measure – Best Budget Tape Measure For Carpentry
The fastcap pro carpenter tape measure is an upgrade from our previously discussed PSSR16 from FastCap. While they are both similar in terms of their features and functionalities, this one boasts a smoother retraction and heavy-duty build quality.
Much like the previous model, this one also has a notepad attached to it which lets you jot down your measurements at ease. Since the pages are erasable, they can be reused over and over again. Also, the design is well-suited for both left and right-handed users, so you won’t have problems noting down your measurements.
- Blade quality is not very durable
The PSSR25 is a good budget tape for carpenters looking to get the job done. While being affordable, it does come with protective features and an ergonomic design that aids user experience.
9. eTape16 Digital Electronic Tape Measure – Best Digital Tape Measure For Woodworkers
Our next product on the list sets itself apart from others due to its new-age technological features. The etape16 digital tape measure takes a modern approach to give you the most accurate measurements. This is the second generation of their digital tapes, which packs more innovation than the first one.
The device saves time greatly as you don’t have to squint your eyes to get the exact measurements. One look at the digital screen on top, and you’re good to go. Also, it has an integrated memory function that lets you store multiple measurements to get back to at a later time.
- The display is placed at an inconvenient location
- Doesn’t have a dual scale to measure vertical surfaces
The easy-to-read display on the eTape16 omits the need to look at the tiny fractional graduations. The build quality is also very solid, which overall makes it the best digital tape measure for woodworkers.
10. PREXISO 2-in-1 Laser Measure 135Ft & Tape Measure 16 Ft – Best Laser Tape Measure
If you thought the last digital tape measure blew your mind, this next one would raise your expectations to the sky. The Prexiso Laser tape measure gives you two different ways to measure your distances. The manual blade extends to a length of 16 feet, while the laser can go as far as 135 feet.
What’s more, the blade is coated with Nylon material that resists rust and corrosion. This ensures that the blade is able to withstand any sort of weathering and abrasion. This rids you of the common problem most tape measures have where the numbers tend to fade away with time.
- Doesn’t have an auto-locking feature
- The laser cannot measure lengths below 1 foot
This Prexiso laser tape is a quick one-stop solution for most woodworkers. The laser measuring system is the most time-saving mechanism we have seen in the market.
Next Read: The Best Folding Ruler for Woodworking
Best Brands of Tape Measure
While there are so many different brands that claim to make the best measuring tape for carpenters, some stand out over the rest. It would be a tough call to choose just one, and so we decided to select the two best brands of tape measure instead.
Since 1963, Komelon, a company based in Korea, has been rapidly excelling in making woodworking tools. Till now, they have made some of the most durable tape measures that the woodworking community can’t get enough of.
They have also taken up the manufacturing facility of a US-based home improvement brand called Kobalt.
The next brand we have picked out is Fastcap which was founded much later than Komelon. Initially, they made a self-adhesive cap cover but eventually moved onto manufacturing other woodworking tools. While having a gap of almost 35 years between them, FastCap managed to take up a lot of the market share very quickly.
What to Consider to Pick the Best Measuring Tape
Instead of taking a chance, it’s always better to have some basic criteria in mind to help you choose. Here are some of the key features you should be looking for in a tape measure.
Whenever you’re investing in a tape measure, you want something that will accommodate all your projects. On average, most measuring tapes have a blade length of 25 feet. However, if you’re making small scale projects, 25 feet might seem like a lot. So choose your blade length according to the scale of your projects.
The key function of a tape measure is to give you accurate measurements. This will only be possible if you are able to read the numbers from a distance. Having clear numbers that you can read from various angles is very important for any measuring tape.
You should always be on the lookout for tapes that have a large font, making it easier for you to measure and note down. There are several tape measures in the market that offer clear numbers, but often they tend to wear off. So, make sure you’re investing in a high-quality tape which has the least possible chance of numbers fading away.
As with any project tool, you will want something that lasts you for the long haul. The same applies to measuring tapes as well. Since they don’t come cheap, you need to take a good look at the ones you’re considering.
Be sure to take a good look at the blade quality and how well the case is made for signs of long-lasting tape. Some even have rubber coatings that allow them to minimize wear and tear.
This is a given with any tape measure you purchase. Most, if not all, come with a locking mechanism that prevents the blade from retracting. Fast retracting of the blade could result in cuts on your finger.
If you do have some extra space on your budget, you can opt for newer models that offer self-locking mechanisms. This is even better as the blade is held in place without you having to push a lock.
Ergonomics are quite important when it comes to tape measures. It must be comfortable in your hand and easy to use. Look for design features such as rubber coatings and compact form factors. The rubber coating aids durability while also being an added advantage for those who have sweaty hands.
Frequently Asked Questions about Measuring Tape
- Will Steel blades get damaged in the rain?
Stainless steel blades are usually resistant to rusting and corrosion, so they won’t. However, using the tape in the rain can cause rainwater to seep into the internal springs, which can rust.
- Are the blades of all tape measures curved?
While most blades are curved to a certain extent, there are ones that are able to minimize this greatly. This allows for easier measuring as the blade lays almost flat on the surface.
- What is the purpose of the end-hook?
Using the end-hook makes it easier to measure surfaces, especially if you don’t have a helping hand. All you need to do is keep the hook attached to the end of a surface firmly and extend the tape.
- Should I choose the 16ft or 25ft blade length?
The 16 feet long tape is good for indoor projects like cabinets and tables, which don’t extend much longer than 16 feet. However, for those who engage in large-scale projects, the standard 25 feet tape is a must.
Choosing the best tape measure for woodworkers is no easy task. This is a crucial decision for carpenters and woodworking enthusiasts.
For fast and precise measurements, digital tape is more fitting, but it can break the bank too. Analog tapes also come with tons of attractive features that might make one discard the quickness of digital tapes.
We hope this review has been able to help you decide which tape suits you best.
This is Adam Sullivan, the author of tchardwaretools.com! I started my days as a mobile carpenter to become a full-time shop owner, and have been living my professional life for more than 8 years now.
Here I want to share my thoughts, experiences, and ideas through this platform. Stay Tuned!