We’ve all had to work with a bad tape measure before: a weak blade full of dirt, a tang that couldn’t hook onto a magnet, and a pull length that always manages to be too short for the job.
A good tape measure on the other hand is a little slice of heaven – fast & smooth unwinding and recoil, plenty of length to work with, and can easily hook onto a wide variety of objects. Now we’re talking.
To help you separate the good from the bad – we’ve reviewed the best tape measures of 2020. Let’s jump straight into the reviews.
Best Tape Measure for Electricians
Stanley FatMax Tape Measure – Best Overall
- Tape rule with first 3 feet reinforced with BladeArmor coating for maximum durability.
- 11 foot tape standout; 16-inch and 19.2-inch stud center markings simplify framing jobs
- Mylar polyester film extends the life of the entire blade
Our favorite option on the market is the FatMax tape measure from Stanley since this model combines a reasonable price point with impressive functionality. For example, this tape measure features a standout of 11 feet, making it a lot easier to read the measurement as it remains rigid.
There are also stud center markings for both 16” and 19.2” distances, making it perfect if you’re going to be working between wall panels. There are also several coatings on the blade itself to ensure that it lasts as long as possible, including the mylar polyester that is over the entire length.
To further reinforce the blade, there is a BladeArmor coating on the first three feet of it, which is the part that is most likely to see frequent use. The spring in this tape measure has also been heat-treated, which helps improve its durability and keeps the blade recoil smooth.
To give you an idea of how much faith Stanley has in their build quality, the FatMax tape measure also comes with a limited lifetime warranty. Unfortunately, we came across a few issues with the printing on the blade, though they were minor, and the measurement markings were in the right places.Check Price
- 11-foot standout
- Reinforced BladeArmor coating
- Heat-treated spring
- Easy to read measurements
- Printing on the blade
General Tools Tape Measure – Premium Choice
- VERSATILE: The Laser Tape Measure combines a 50ft laser measurer with a 16ft tape measure
- ONE BUTTON: Simple, one button operation enables fast and easy long distance laser measurements
- MEASURE FASTER and FURTHER: Measure up to 50-feet with the laser, and measure twice as far as a standard 25ft. tape measure
If you don’t mind spending extra money on your tape measure, then you’ll likely be impressed by this one from General Tools. The LTM1 laser tape measure features both a traditional blade and a laser measurer, allowing you to get the most precise measurements possible through cross-referencing them.
This model is also easy to use, as it features one-button operation for the laser measurer component. The laser can take measurements at up to 50 feet, giving you extended range when compared to traditional tape measures. The blade itself is only 16 feet long, so it’s better for shorter measurements.
The laser measurer is also designed to be as accurate as possible, with a margin of error of ¼ inch. This model is as compact and portable as possible to ensure that you can bring it wherever you need it, and you can also fit it in your pocket if you’re traveling light or you don’t have your toolbox.
The LCD screen features a battery life indicator and displays the measured length in large numerals that are easy to see, even at a distance. As you may expect, the major issue with this tape measure is that it costs twice as much as a comparable model that doesn’t come equipped with a laser.Check Price
- 2-in-1 Laser Tape Measure
- Easy to read LCD digital display
- Huge laser range
Komelon Tape Measure – Great Value
- Magnetic dual-end hook allows for easier one person measurement
- Printing on both sides of the blade for precise marking and line drawing
- Impact resistant rubberized case
If you want to save money on your next tape measure, this budget model from Komelon features many of the same functions that you can expect to see in pricier models. The blade on this model is 25 feet long, but it also comes available in two other variants: a 16-foot compact model and a longer 30-foot option.
The hook on this model is double-ended, allowing you to position the blade either way, and it’s also magnetic, making it easier to use if you don’t have someone to help keep it in place. This measuring tape also features double-sided printing so that you can see the length no matter where you’re positioned.
There are also a few features that help make this one of the most durable tape measures around. This tape measure also features a rubberized case that helps absorb shocks, ensuring that the inner workings don’t get damaged by impacts or falls. To ensure that the blade lasts as long as possible, it features a nylon coating.
While the Komelon tape measure combines a wide range of features into an affordable package, it’s also compact and portable, making it easier to carry around. The only problem is that this model doesn’t feature the same long-term reliability as pricier products.Check Price
- Magnetic hook
- Double-sided printing
- Ruggedized housing
- Nylon bladed for added durability
- Long-term reliability
Milwaukee Tape Measure
- Magnetic tape measure
- Nylon bond blade protection
The next option we’ll be reviewing is Milwaukee’s magnetic tape measure. This is a typical mid-range option with a length of 25 feet. One of this model’s main features is the strong magnet that is attached to the hook, allowing it to stay in place with ease, and it can even support the entire weight of the tape measure.
To ensure that the blade lasts as long as possible, this model from Milwaukee features a nylon bond coating that will protect it from scratches and other wear and tear.
There is even a finger stop near the hook that ensures that your finger won’t get injured when the blade recoils into the housing.
To improve the durability of this model, there are rubber bumpers across the exterior of the case that will help it absorb shocks.
Unfortunately, there were a few areas in which this tape measure let us down, including its weight and bulk as well as its shorter standout distance when compared to the FatMax.Check Price
- Nylon-coated blade
- Finger stop for safety
- Rubber protection on the housing
- Standout distance isn’t long enough
Stanley Powerlock Tape Measure
- Alloy steel
- Made in America
- Commercial Brand: Stanley
If you’re looking for a classic, high-quality tape measure, then the Stanley PowerLock is an excellent choice. Like most other tape measures, this model is 25 feet long, though it also comes in both longer and shorter variants for more specialized applications.
If you often work in walls, then you’ll appreciate the inclusion of stud markings for both 16” and 19.2” distances. This model also has a pretty impressive standout of 7 feet, though it still can’t match the FatMax. The case is also made out of chromed high-impact ABS to provide superior protection.
The blade features a film that’s made out of mylar polyester, improving its overall durability and the Tru-Zero hook end is resistant to corrosion for improved long-term durability.
The only things that disappointed us about this tape measure were the lack of shock-absorbing bumpers and the non-magnetic hook. These two issues held it back from being rated higher.Check Price
- Stud markings
- Mylar polyester blade coating
- Corrosion-resistant hook
- The hook isn’t magnetic
- No shock absorption
Klein Tools Tape Measure
- Uncluttered, easy-to-read bold lines marked on blade every 1/8-Inch
- Dual angle magnetic hooks attach to conduit and steel studs
- Heavy-duty nylon-coating protects blade printing
This tape measure from Klein Tools features larger markings that are easy to see, making it ideal for users with poor eyesight.
The magnetic hook on the end features a dual-angle design that allows it to be attached from either end, making this tape measure a lot easier to use if you’re on your own.
To help ensure that the blade doesn’t get damaged or worn out over the tape measure’s lifespan, it is coated in heavy-duty nylon.
There is even a retraction speed brake that allows you to adjust how fast the blade recoils, ensuring that it doesn’t whip around and potentially injure your fingers.
This tape measure also has an impressive, if not inconsistent standout. While we could sometimes get it to stand out to 10 feet, it usually started to bend around 8 or 9 feet.
Unfortunately, this model has a major issue with build quality and reliability, and it fails a lot more frequently than competing models.Check Price
- Nylon-coated blade
- Dual-angle magnetic hook
- Retraction brake
- Poor build quality
Greenlee Tape Measure
- Compact housing fits easily in the hand or pouch
- Easy to use click lock holds tape securely
- Tough ABS case with rubber over mold
The sleekest design on our list is the Greenlee tape measure, and it features a smooth exterior that will slip into your pocket with ease. As with most other tape measures, this model features a 25-foot blade. One of the main differences is that this model fits it into a compact and lightweight housing that’s easy to carry around.
The simple click lock on this model is also easier to use than the switches on other tape measures, and it holds the blade securely where you need it. The case itself is made out of ABS for improved durability, and it has a rubber layer over it to help prevent damage from impacts and falls.
This tape measure also has a double-sided blade that is coated in nylon, making it easier to see the measurements from all angles and improving durability, respectively. Unfortunately, this model doesn’t stand up to Greenlee’s quality standards, and the belt clip, in particular, was poorly designed.Check Price
- Double-sided and coated blade
- Click lock is easy to use
- Small and light
- Belt clip
- Doesn’t meet Greenlee’s standards
Southwire Tape Measure
- Oversized, double-sided end hook with printed scale on the front and back sides of the blade
- High visibility, extra wide blade has a nylon coated surface for long lasting durability
- Exclusive v-notched bottom allows tape measure to balance of Curve surfaces
The Southwire tape measure is simply a waste of money, especially when you consider that there are far better products available for half the price.
While other tape measures in this model’s price range have helpful features that make them easier to use, there isn’t much that sets this one apart from a dollar-store model.
Perhaps the worst thing about this tape measure is the blade, as it’s built so thinly that it’s hard to get any kind of standout beyond the first few feet.
The longest we’ve been able to get is around six feet, and even then, the tape will sometimes bend, so it isn’t consistent.
The hook is also poorly-attached the blade, and you can wiggle it around, meaning that will likely be one of the first points of failure. The only redeeming feature is that the blade is coated in nylon, but this doesn’t help much when you consider how flimsy it is.Check Price
- Nylon-coated blade
- The blade isn’t rigid enough
- Too expensive for its capabilities
- The hook isn’t properly secured to the blade