The 8 Best Tape Measures of 2020

Get an accurate measurement with the right tool

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Cropped Hands Of Carpenter Measuring Wood
Thnathip Pha Tir Wat'hn / EyeEm / Getty Images
Our Top Picks
"With double-sided printing and a finger guard to protect you from sharp edges, this tape measure's details set it apart."
"This classic pick has a sliding lock to keep the tape in place and a respectable 25-foot measurement maximum."
"Dealing with an extra-large project? This 300-foot tape measure will be able to handle it with ease."
"With large, easy-to-read numbers, this tape measure provides exact measurements without squinting or approximating."
"This 16-foot tape measure also has a laser measurer that can report distances up to 50 feet within a quarter of an inch."
"This tape measure can handle both standard distances and take circumferences of pipes and tubes into account for plumbing projects."
"This vinyl measure is flexible, so it can easily and accurately measure the shapes and contours of a body or clothing item."
"Numbered markings down to the 1/8 inch increments make it easy to get exact measurements recorded quickly."

Best Overall: Milwaukee Premium Magnetic Tape Measure

The Milwaukee Premium Magnetic Tape Measure may look like an average tape measure, but it has features that set it apart from the pack. With a premium build and durable case, this 25-foot tape measure is made to take abuse. More than that, it offers more convenience and safety features such as its Finger Stop to prevent the tape from slicing through your skin when retracting. The double-sided print makes the tape measure more convenient to use, so you can measure at the angle that works best for you.

Best Budget: Stanley 25-Foot by 1-Inch Measuring Tape

Even though there are plenty of measurement devices with upgraded features available today, sometimes you just want a simple, affordable tape measure.

The Stanley Powerlock Tape Measure gives you a reliable tool for taking measurements, regardless of the project. With a standard 25-foot long tape that is corrosion-resistant, the tape measure is equally at home inside and outdoors. Best of all, the sliding lock keeps the tape firmly in place so you can make marks easily without worrying about losing your spot. ​

Best Extra-Long: DeWalt 300-Foot Measuring Tape

Typical tape measures are good for spans under 25 feet in length, but the DeWalt 300-Foot Measuring Tape is the tool of choice when you have a large distance to measure ​efficiently. Coming with a double-sided print that shows decimal foot and fractional inch readings, it is easy to get consistent and reliable measurements at a glance. The exterior body features a plastic crank that retracts the 300-foot long measuring tape by hand into a neatly wound spiral. ​

Best Digital: eTape16 Digital Tape Measure

The eTape16 Digital Tape Measure takes the guesswork out of reading the spaces in between the markings on a standard tape measure. With a large, easy-to-read digital display on the top of the tape measure, you can use the tool from almost any angle to get a quick measurement. The controls on the side offer options for converting imperial/metric conversions and onboard measurement memory to hold multiple readings at once. The display will show both decimals and fractions for imperial units. 

Best for Construction: General Tools 2-in-1 Laser Tape Measure

Offering two useful measurement tools in one device, the General Tools 2-in-1 Laser Tape Measure spans the gap between short- and long-distance measurements often found in construction work. The tape measure sports a 16-foot tape measure for precise markings when working with different materials. For larger distances, the laser measurer can reach up to 50 feet and measures within a quarter of an inch. This makes it perfect for measuring whole rooms and long spans that are out of reach of the tape measure. 

Best for Plumbing: Lufkin Executive Diameter Yellow Clad A19 Blade Pocket Tape Measure

In addition to common distance measurements, when you're plumbing you have to think about the circumference of pipes and tubes. The Lufkin W606PD Engineer's Tape Measure is a unique tool that offers plumbers two types of measurements in one. One side of the tape lets you measure the diameter of a space or piece of piping, and the other side converts that number to the pipe's circumference. This ensures you have the right material for the job, and that everything will fit as expected when you're installing.

Best for Sewing: Singer 60-Inch Tape Measure

Tailors, seamstresses, and other professionals who work with fabrics know that measuring lengths and distances with fabric requires a more flexible type of measure than the kind used in construction. Singer's flexible vinyl tape bends around different shapes and contours to measure spans and distances over the surface of ​cloth, fabric, and even skin in both imperial and metric units. The vinyl is durable so you don't have to worry about fraying and tearing.​

Best for Fractions: Komelon Speed Mark Gripper Acrylic Coated Steel Blade Measuring Tape

When the length of something falls in between the inch markings, you often have to count the fractional graduations to find the nearest eighth or sixteenth. For most tape measures with small printed units, it is easy to lose your place or get a reading that is slightly off from the true measurement. The Komelon Speed Mark Measuring Tape has visible numbers printed above the 1/8 markings so you can quickly see where a measurement falls in between the inches. Beyond the helpful markings, the tape measure is extremely durable, with an acrylic-coated tape and a rubber-coated exterior case.

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