Skip to main content

Get the Right Measurements Every Time With These Reliable Tape Measures

A tape measure is one of the most essential items to have in your home. Whether you’re simply hanging two pictures and want them spaced evenly or you’re taking on a large-scale DIY project, a tape measure is an item that should always be on hand. Need to order a new curtain rod? You’ll need to find the best tape measure for that. Trying to figure out what size you are in dress shirts? You’ll need a fabric tape measure. Can your new sofa it through the door? Trust us, you’re going to want to measure the opening before lifting the couch.

What To Look For In A Tape Measure

Clear markings are important. A tape measure also called measuring tape, is like a flexible ruler that rolls up or self retracts when not in use. You want a tape measure that can easily and quickly be read since you’ll likely be using it for years.

Size is also important. The average tape measure is 12 to 25 feet long, which is suitable for standard projects. For bigger-scale renovations or homes with high ceilings, you may want to opt for an extended tape measure, which is typically made from fiberglass.

Look at what the tape measure is made from when deciding which to purchase. Steel is the most economical and great for anyone who needs a basic tape measure. Stainless steel is more durable and better suited for wet or muddy jobs.

Fabric tape measures are also a good tool to have on hand for measuring clothing sizes or small objects. These tend to be the most economical and are great to keep on hand when shopping for furniture.

Related Stories

If you’re looking to measure longer distances, you may want to opt for a laser measure. Although, you’ll likely find them to be significantly more expensive than the traditional tape measure.

How To Read A Tape Measure

If you don’t know how to read a tape measure, this may be a good time to learn. Although the many lines and numbers may feel a bit overwhelming at first, the tape measuring process is actually pretty straightforward. All it takes on a little knowledge of basic fractions and an understanding of how to interpret the perpendicular markings.

For starters, it’s good to know that tape measures come in both imperial units (inches and feet) and metric (centimeters and meters). The majority of tape measures sold in the United States will feature imperial units of measurements, meaning that they’ll be marked in inches and fractions of inches. Modern measuring tapes may have both imperial and metric units (measured in centimeters and millimeters) either on the backside of the imperial version or its opposite edge.

On a standard imperial measuring tape, the biggest marking will be the inch mark. As increments decrease, the length of the markings will also become shorter with the 1/2-inch, 1/4-inch, 1/8-inch, etc. getting progressively smaller and smaller as they decrease.

When reading a tape measure, you’ll want to locate the closest whole inch that it reaches over the item that you’re measuring. After that, take a look at the leftover marking to decipher how many fractions of an inch are remaining. You will then add those to the whole inches for your total measurement.

How We Picked The Best Tape Measures

We’ve included a range of tape measures that hit various price points, lengths, and materials to showcase a selection that will work for any budget or project. We only included highly rated options that customers have consistently praised and would purchase again.

1. CRAFTSMAN Tape Measure

When it comes to quality tools, Craftsman knows what customers need. The trusted tool brand has spent years making durable and affordable tools for both amateur and professionals and that includes a high-quality tape measure. The self-locking blade will remain extended, making it a great option for solo projects. Fractions and measurements in inches are clearly printed directly on the blade for quick reference. Available in 12, 16 and 25-foot options, the rubber cover on the Craftsman tape measure adds extra protection for accidental drops. We also like that the red and black tape measure is easy to spot in a toolbox.

Pros: Affordable and durable, self-locking, includes rubber cover for added protection.

Cons: The measurements are only printed on one side which can be annoying if the tape measure flips.

Lazy loaded image
Image courtesy of Amazon

2. eTape16 Digital Electronic Tape Measure

There’s a saying in construction that you should always measure twice to cut once, but with the eTape16 Digital Electronic Tape Measure, you only have to measure once. The highly accurate tape measure includes measurements printed directly on the tape as well as a digital readout that provides the exact measurement with fractions. A memory function allows users to record the three most recent measurements, which adds a major convenience factor. Users can switch between inches and centimeters and the tape measure is housed in a weather-resistant polycarbonate plastic case for added durability. A steel belt clip makes it easy for users to attach the tape measure to their pants or belt.

Pros: Accurate digital readout, memory function, weather-resistant case.

Cons: The eTape16 is more expensive than most tape measures and the longest option available is 16 feet.

Lazy loaded image
Image courtesy of Amazon

3. iBayam Tape Measure

The iBayam Tape Measure set is every seamstress and furniture hunter’s best friend. The two-pack includes a soft sewing measuring tape that is typically used by seamstresses and finished in a bright pink that makes it highly visible. The fabric tape measure is made from durable fiberglass and includes one side with inches and one side with CM markings. The second black retractable tape measure is also double-sided and is a lightweight, pocket-size option that is ideal for use around the home or when shopping for home goods, like furniture. Both tape measures can also be used to take body measurements and can be contoured to fit around just about any object.

Pros: Affordable, portable, includes centimeters and inches.

Cons: The retractable tape measure makes a loud noise when retracting.

Lazy loaded image
Image courtesy of Amazon

4. DEWALT Tape Measure

DeWalt is another trusted name in tools, which is why we are big fans of their 100-foot tape measure. Built for tough, dirty jobs, the tape measure features a rust-resistant coating on the blade and a dirt removal window that allows users to empty any dust particles that may have made their way inside the tape measure. The Dewalt features a retractable blade arm that allows users to wind the tape measure five times faster than comparable tape measures. A blade-release button allows for fast extension and a durable stainless steel crank arm is easy to use.

Pros: Extended length, rust-resistant coating on the blade, includes dirt remover function.

Cons: At 1 pound, the Dewalt is one of the heavier options on our list.

Lazy loaded image
Image courtesy of Amazon