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Who Makes The Best, Most Accurate Tape Measure?

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  • Who Makes The Best, Most Accurate Tape Measure?

    Within reason price wise, who makes the best, most accurate tape measure?

    Like most of you, I have a collection of tape measures. One in my pocket. Several in my tool chest. Probably one or two more laying around somewhere or in a box or drawer as I still haven't finished unpacking everything and organizing my shop. But I have compared them, one against the other in the past and found big discrepancies in the 10 to 12 foot range: +/- 1/8" or more. I am sure by the time you get to 25 or 30 feet the errors are worse. And the name brands do not seem to be any better than the no-names.

    So I would like to buy one more that I can trust in terms of accuracy. This would also include accuracy of the zero position hook, preferably in both the inside and outside positions.

    Another feature I would like is all steel construction, at least for the moving parts. I have had to throw away too many tape measures when the PLASTIC shaft or spool broke. I want one that will not break if the tape is fully retracted AT FULL SPEED, REPETITIVELY! Perhaps I am asking a lot, but there it is and there it will stay.

    I would prefer both English and metric scales. At least 10 foot/3050mm but 25 feet or more is preferred.

    Suggestions, discussion, experiences please.
    Last edited by Paul Alciatore; 09-14-2016, 08:10 PM.
    Paul A.
    SE Texas

    And if you look REAL close at an analog signal,
    You will find that it has discrete steps.

  • #2
    Given that most of these are made in China, getting the old well-know name-brand may not be a sure winner. Take a piece of flat stock as long as you feel like carrying, use a Starrett precision rule and put some scribe marks on it. Bring that into the store and try out the various tape measures see what that tells you.

    Or bring home one of each, check them in your shop and return all but one.

    Steve

    Comment


    • #3
      I've been through this at work more than once. I ended up with a Starrett, but I found while looking that some tapes were good with the in-out measurement thing and others were poor. There was no difference regarding cheap ones vs expensive ones, and it was largely luck of the draw. I bought the Starrett mainly because I was in the metal shop waiting for service, and I took the time to check the tape measure that was hanging on the wall. It was good, and a second one I bought there was also good. Doesn't mean they all will be good- .My main concern was that inside and outside measurements worked properly, and accuracy over distance was a secondary concern for me. I have two that came from Lee Valley Tools, and they are both good.

      Personally I won't have a tape measure that has both metric and imperial- they tend to be too busy with markings, and for me they are a pita.
      I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

      Comment


      • #4
        tape measures have a place in the world. Because they are designed to measure inside and outside, a tape cannot be trusted. The tape itself is usually quite accurate. For an accurate measurement I usually start at 1 in or 10 in mark and take my reading from there. From there, any good brand name should be acceptable.Bob.

        Comment


        • #5
          I bought a Starrett 12 footer once years ago and couldn't tell the difference between it and a Lufkin.
          The other thing is that you can't expect to have continued accuracy if you
          "if the tape is fully retracted AT FULL SPEED, REPETITIVELY! "
          Mistreatment of measuring devices is not smart.

          Larry
          Larry Swearingen
          Fort Wayne, IN
          New Hoosier

          Comment


          • #6
            If you want accuracy,then Starrett certified tapes are the answer,nice,but pricey-

            http://www.mcmaster.com/#graduated-tape-rulers/=1465xvj

            There is a very simple tool for checking tapes onsite-

            http://lixertools.com/products/woode...tion-tool.html

            Like said,the tape itself usually isn't the problem,just the push/pull function.Also consider the effect of temperature in the mix.
            I just need one more tool,just one!

            Comment


            • #7
              These are my GoTo.. Its the decimal thing.... My brain is working in decimals all day, I'm measuring stuff in decimals all day.. The last thing I want to do is flip the switch to
              fractions when I need to cut something. They seem pretty darn accurate, I have a few of them because they are kind of small and I "misplace" them a lot.

              http://www.ebay.com/itm/Stanley-12-f...MAAOSwMpZUp8uO

              Comment


              • #8
                What does it matter if your're using tha same tape measure for all parts of the project? The point of a standard is consistency not necessarily accuracy.

                You compare a hodge-podge of measuring tapes including offerings from the third world (where princes solicit strangers to safely transfer their fortunes) there are bound to be differences. Compare tapes from the same manufacturer. I have many. I just went out in the shop and compared my Stanleys, Starretts, and Lufkins observing care and consistency precautions. That's two 10 ft, one 12 ft, two 16 ft, three 25 ft and a 30 ft. Compensating for hook error they all agreed to the width of a line over their full graduated lengths. My experience suggests: where is the problem? That is outside of hook error which every good craftsman tracks with care.

                If I was a contractor running a big job where many trades contributed to the whole project, I'd think seriously about buying good quality 25 ft measuring tapes in case quantity and issuing one to each worker on trade-in of his personal tape, tagged for return. That would eliminate one source of conflicting measurement between cutter and fitter. Save a lot of re-cut, short boards, drywall, and trim.

                In any case, stick with Stanley. They actually have a calibration program for their tape printing equipment
                Last edited by Forrest Addy; 09-14-2016, 10:17 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Larry, I do NOT retract my tape measures that way except by mistake. I used that as a standard for the durability that I EXPECT for the shaft/spool inside the measure. I do not think that this part should be so weak that it breaks if the tape is accidentally retracted in that manner. Yet, so many of them do.

                  I do not misuse my tape measures and warn others not to do so. But accidents happen and if I am going to spend extra to get a good one, I don't want one that is susceptible to such damage.

                  Also I also do not think that retracting it in that manner would have any appreciable effect on the accuracy. Stretching a steel tape with such a small amount of force sounds unlikely and the zero hooks are usually robust enough to resist much deformation: I have never seen one fail or bend much. Perhaps a few thousandths at most. I would be happy with +/-0.010" accuracy in a tape measure and I think even the cheapest ones out there would not change by that amount even over a 10 or 20 year lifetime with heavy use. Unless you use the tape as a tow rope for tanks. I am looking for the initial accuracy to be good.



                  Originally posted by Larry Swearingen View Post
                  I bought a Starrett 12 footer once years ago and couldn't tell the difference between it and a Lufkin.
                  The other thing is that you can't expect to have continued accuracy if you
                  "if the tape is fully retracted AT FULL SPEED, REPETITIVELY! "
                  Mistreatment of measuring devices is not smart.

                  Larry
                  Paul A.
                  SE Texas

                  And if you look REAL close at an analog signal,
                  You will find that it has discrete steps.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I Do

                    If you need to ask how much they cost,

                    you can't afford one ;-)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I find that there is usually enough slop in the rivet that holds the tang on ... that I can pull or
                      push the tang to a more accurate position .. then smack the hell out of the rivet so that the
                      tang doesn't move anymore.
                      John Titor, when are you.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Forrest Addy View Post
                        What does it matter if your're using tha same tape measure for all parts of the project? The point of a standard is consistency not necessarily accuracy.

                        You compare a hodge-podge of measuring tapes including offerings from the third world (where princes solicit strangers to safely transfer their fortunes) there are bound to be differences. Compare tapes from the same manufacturer. I have many. I just went out in the shop and compared my Stanleys, Starretts, and Lufkins observing care and consistency precautions. That's two 10 ft, one 12 ft, two 16 ft, three 25 ft and a 30 ft. Compensating for hook error they all agreed to the width of a line over their full graduated lengths. My experience suggests: where is the problem? That is outside of hook error which every good craftsman tracks with care.

                        If I was a contractor running a big job where many trades contributed to the whole project, I'd think seriously about buying good quality 25 ft measuring tapes in case quantity and issuing one to each worker on trade-in of his personal tape, tagged for return. That would eliminate one source of conflicting measurement between cutter and fitter. Save a lot of re-cut, short boards, drywall, and trim.

                        In any case, stick with Stanley. They actually have a calibration program for their tape printing equipment
                        Forrest raises some really good points, as usual. BUT.....

                        The usual wear in the rivets, and groove that compensate for the thickness of the tip have been mentioned by many. However, in my humble experience, the most difficulty comes after you have dropped the tape, and it has landed on the hook. Probably more than a few times. Perhaps more modern tapes have better protection than my old Stanleys, but I'm using a couple I pulled from Dad's truck after he died. 1967 was a long time ago, and I was 14 at the time. I used 1 at work during my career as a heavy truck mechanic, and I never lost it. To say it's a little worse for wear would be an understatement! I have replaced the blade many times. Nowadays I have to buy a complete plastic Stanley, 3/4 x 12', and rob the blade.

                        Oh, well, I guess the old thing means too much to me!

                        Anyway, if yours is giving different inside/outside readings, by all means, check the hook.
                        I cut it off twice; it's still too short
                        Oregon, USA

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          On this one, the accuracy and precision depends on you:
                          http://www.leevalley.com/US/Wood/pag...59&cat=1,43513

                          This is my favorite tape measure, even though I don't own one.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Mike Amick View Post
                            I find that there is usually enough slop in the rivet that holds the tang on ... that I can pull or
                            push the tang to a more accurate position .. then smack the hell out of the rivet so that the
                            tang doesn't move anymore.

                            Thank you for the entertainment.
                            Now in local sports....

                            -D
                            DZER

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Puckdropper View Post
                              On this one, the accuracy and precision depends on you:
                              http://www.leevalley.com/US/Wood/pag...59&cat=1,43513

                              This is my favorite tape measure, even though I don't own one.
                              On the face of things that might seem like a dumb idea but having a tape that you could make an eraseable mark on would save having to write the measurement down or having a brain fart and buggering it up. It wouldn't replace the standard tape measure but it sure could compliment it.
                              Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

                              Comment

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