Go the distance with our round-up of the best tape measures.
A tape measure is an often overlooked, yet essential piece of equipment that no home should be without. Whether you’re gearing up for your next DIY project, checking if that new sofa will fit through the hall, or measuring up for a new jacket, you’ll benefit from a quality tape measure.
Like all tools, it’s all about having the right one for the task at hand. Tape measures have been around, in one form or another for millennia, and so at this point, you can find a model to suit just about any job. To take out any guesswork we’ve put together this handy little buying guide to help you decide which is the best tape measure for you.
How to choose the best tape measure for you
What kind of tape measure should I buy?
Pocket tape measure: If you ask someone to think of a tape measure they’ll almost certainly picture the traditional pocket measure. Available in a range of different lengths, spring-return pocket tape measures are a toolbox staple, relied upon by DIY enthusiasts and professionals alike. With extensions varying from 2-8m, a pocket measure is ideal for almost any task about the house.
Laser tape measure: Laser-equipped tape measures are your best bet for measuring up large interior spaces. Laser measures emit a pulse of light and calculate distances by timing how long it takes for the light to return after reflecting off of an object. With ranges that outclass even the longest of tapes, they’re ideal for calculating the square footage of a property or estimating wall and floor areas for painting or flooring. They’ll work indoors or outdoors, but you do need an appropriate surface to bounce the laser off of.
Flexible tape measure: Often simply referred to as sewing tapes, flexible measuring tapes are ideal for dealing with non-uniform objects – perfect for getting body measurements for clothing or tracking fitness goals. Flexible tape measures are available both as loose tapes or housed within dedicated cases for easier tangle-free storage.
Surveyor tape measure: If your measuring needs exceed the ranges afforded by standard measures, then a surveyor tape is the way to go. With lengths of 30m and beyond, these flexible tapes excel at measuring long distances, especially outdoors, where you may struggle to bounce a laser measure.
The best tape measure to buy in 2021
Kincrome K11000 8m Xtenda: Best value 8m tape measure
Price: $19.95 | Buy now from Tools Warehouse
Kincrome’s Xtenda offers a long 8m blade at a value price. The 32mm blade is Nylon coated and dual-sided – yellow on top and white on the bottom. It has an index control recess to hold the blade at any point with ease and comes in a nice, grippy case with a belt buckle at the rear.
Key specs – Weight: 400g; Units of measurement: cm/mm, ft/in; Max tape extension: 8m;
Milwaukee 2m Key Chain Tape Measure: The best micro tape measure
Price: $6 | Buy now from Tools Warehouse
You never know when that next must-have piece of furniture is going to pop up – but will it fit through the hallway? With a micro tape you can always have a measuring close by for when the need arises. Despite its small size, this scaled-down Milwaukee tape measure still comes with all the features you’d expect from a pocket measure.
With a 2m maximum reach, it won’t quite stretch to larger tasks, but it’s ideal for keeping in your glove box, handbag, or on your keychain.
Key specs – Weight: 60g; Units of measurement: cm/mm, ft/in; Max tape extension: 2m;
KEAMYA 40m laser measure: The value laser tape measure
Price: $36 | Buy now from Kogan
With a 40m range, KEAYMA’s Laser Distance Measure Meter makes measuring up large interior spaces a breeze. Simply line the measure up against a wall or floor to get an accurate distance reading to the opposite wall or ceiling. Distances are displayed on an easy to read LED display, and it’s accurate to within 2mm.
The laser measure takes two AAA batteries and has a number of options, such as metric and imperial measurements, auto shutdown, measuring volume, and more.
Key specs – Weight: 80g; Units of measurement: Metres/inches/feet; Max laser range: 0.03-40m;
Stanley 8m FatMax Magnetic: Magnetic 8m tape measure
Price: $31.90 | Buy now from Tools Warehouse
Stanley’s FatMax tape measure is a time-tested classic. The rubberised exterior makes it easy to handle and tough, while the tape itself is coated with Mylar Polyester for increased durability. With 8m of extension it’ll handle all but the largest of tasks with ease, while the blade lock and compensated end hook ensure you’ll get accurate readings every time.
As the name suggests, this tape measure also has a magnetic tip and also a patented airlock slide.
Key specs – Weight: 380g; Units of measurement: cm/mm, ft/in; Max tape extension: 8m;
INGCO 5m tape measure: Budget tape measure
Price: $7.95 | Buy now from Kogan
This pocket measure from INGCO covers all the basics at a budget-friendly price point. It features a 5m maximum extension, which means it should comfortably handle most DIY tasks and jobs around the house, while a thumb lock allows the retraction to be manually controlled.
The case has an easy rubber grip that’s good to hold, even while wearing gloves. The blade measures 19mm wide.
Key specs – Weight: 200g; Units of measurement: cm/mm, ft/in; Max tape extension: 5m;