Last updated: 16/10/2022

How we pick our products

32Products analysed

68Hours spent

26Evaluated articles

139User reviews

Welcome to our big tape measure test 2022. Here we present all the measuring tapes we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best tape measure for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should pay attention to if you want to buy a tape measure.




Summary

  • A tape measure measures the length of an object or a certain distance. You can get it in different sizes and with different equipment.
  • The function of a tape measure is very simple. Inside the tape is a number scale in m or cm. You pull it out and measure your object with it.
  • You can buy a tape measure everywhere. Mostly, you can buy it conveniently in online shops. Specialist retailers also sell measuring tapes.

The Best Tape Measure: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a tape measure

Are you thinking about buying a tape measure, but are a bit overwhelmed by the choice and the different offers? Then you’ve come to the right place, because we explain what you should look out for when buying a tape measure.

How does a tape measure work?

The purpose of a tape measure is to measure short distances with millimetre and centimetre precision. You clamp the tape measure between two measuring points or simply put it on. This is how you measure with a tape measure.

The tapes are made of thin steel and are covered with lacquer and a plastic coating. The tape measure has a roller inside. This makes it easy to roll up and transport. Common lengths are three, five, 20, 30 and 50 metres.

Is there also a tape measure with a digital display?

Nowadays, tape measures are also available with a digital display. This has the advantage that you can read your results directly from the tape measure’s casing. This saves you a lot of time, because you don’t have to run to the point to read the result.

A tape measure is used to measure short distances with mm accuracy and longer distances from 10 m to 100 m with cm accuracy. (Photo: Myriams-Fotos / pixabay.com)

However, these are more expensive than normal measuring tapes. For professionals, however, they are a great feature. Alternatively, you can use a laser rangefinder.

A digital tape measure also comes in handy for small indoor measurements of objects when you need to measure within two walls.

How much does a tape measure cost?

When you think of a tape measure, you first think of an everyday product that is inexpensive to buy. However, there are actually large price differences. These can be due to the stability and the unit of measurement, among other things.

Type Price
Simple tape measure up to 10€
Tape measure with glass fibre up to 60€
Tape measure with glass fibre and measuring accuracy up to 0.1 mm from 80€

Simple measuring tapes are available from one to ten euros with their standard lengths. They are ideal for DIY and hanging pictures. In contrast, metre tapes score well up to a certain degree, with glass fibre from up to 80 euros.

These are more robust and easier to handle. Tape measures with a high measuring accuracy of up to 0.1 millimetres are of course expensive. But with them you are sure to get hair-precise measurement results.

Decision: What types of tape measures are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, tape measures can be divided into three different groups:

  • Measuring tapes made of fabric
  • Steel measuring tapes
  • Measuring tapes made of glass fibre

In the following sections we will show you what types of tape measures there are and which one is best for you. For this purpose, we will present the above-mentioned types of tapes and clearly compare their advantages and disadvantages.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a fabric tape measure?

The cloth tape measure is available in two different versions. Either it is a tape made of fabric on which the measurement scale is printed and has to be unrolled by hand, or it is a tape measure with a housing where the tape can be rolled back in with a crank.

The advantages of a cloth tape measure are that they are lighter in weight and smaller in size, making them quite easy to carry. In addition, the soft fabric of the tape measure means that there is very little risk of injury.

Advantages
  • Light weight
  • Low risk of injury
Disadvantages
  • Time needed to roll up

However, the disadvantage of this tape measure is that rolling it up by hand or even rolling it up with the crank takes more time.

What are the characteristics of a steel tape measure and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

This type of tape measure has a tape made of thin steel, which is also rolled up in a housing. The way it works is exactly the same as with a tape measure made of fabric.

The advantages of this tape measure are that the housing is somewhat more robustly built, which also makes the tape measure very safe for transport. In addition, the tape does not have to be rolled up itself, as it is automatically retracted when the brake lock is released.

Advantages
  • More resistant to transport
  • Automatic retraction
Disadvantages
  • Risk of kinking
  • Higher risk of injury

The disadvantages are that the automatic retraction of the belt can quickly jam a finger or the belt can snap due to the speed, thus creating a risk of injury

Therefore, you should definitely pay attention to careful handling of the tape measure. In addition, these measuring tapes are often very fragile due to the steel addition and tend to buckle and thus break more quickly.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a tape measure made of glass fibre?

With these measuring tapes, glass fibre is added to the tape instead of steel or fabric. This makes the tapes even more robust. This also increases the measuring accuracy. Another advantage is that these measuring tapes are also easier to handle and there is no risk of injury.

Advantages
  • Robust
  • High measuring accuracy
  • Easy to handle
Disadvantages
  • High price

The only disadvantage of such a tape measure is that there is a big price difference compared to other tape measures. However, since the tapes are of somewhat higher quality, such a purchase is also worthwhile in most cases.

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate tape measures

In the following, we will show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate tape measures. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a certain product is suitable for you or not.

In summary, these are:

  • Weight
  • Product dimension
  • Measuring tape length
  • Robust housing

In the following paragraphs, we will explain which purchase criteria are involved and how you can classify them.

Weight

A tape measure or metre rule has a light weight. This is because it simply has to be easy to handle. Depending on the material, they may weigh more or less, but they are all not excessively heavy.

The heavier a tape measure is in terms of weight, the more functions it offers you. The lighter products have pretty much the bare essentials for a tape measure.

Slightly heavier products also offer you more functions. They usually have a hook, a tape rewind and a tape brake in their portfolio. It’s up to you to decide which one makes the most sense for you when measuring.

Product dimensions

As already mentioned in the article above, the dimensions of a tape measure are designed in such a way that you can stow the product in your pocket and hold it well in your hand.

These have the advantage that you can achieve a good result when measuring. In terms of dimensions, these tape measures have a high level of comfort and a great advantage for craftsmen.

Measuring tape length

The most important thing about a tape measure is the length of the tape, which you need when measuring. These come in all lengths. Common lengths of tape include two, three, five, ten, 20, 30 and 50 metres.

The length of your tape measure is an important criterion for the object you are measuring. For do-it-yourselfers, i.e. handicraft work or even house building, you can use a normal length of two to 20 metres.

The tapes are usually made of steel. However, these bend easily and can break quickly. Other metre lengths have a glass fibre tape. These are much more durable, can be easily applied to the object and measure reliably.

Robust housing

Tape measures have a plastic housing, which explains why they are so light. However, they are all well made and are very robust in their use when measuring.

The housing is round to square / semi-circular depending on the shape. On the horizontal side of the tape measure is the tape. You place it on the object to be measured and can measure with the tape.

The casing is also ergonomic and has a good grip so that you don’t slip off and it sits comfortably in your hand. As a bonus, some products have hooks and other components made of aluminium.

The round side is where you take the tape measure and usually also has a brake lock that you can operate when measuring. This lock is usually standard. This way you don’t need a second person to hold the tape at the other end.

Plastic measuring tapes are well suited for applications where heavy soiling and moisture are to be expected.

Facts worth knowing about tape measures

Finally, we would like to briefly explain when and by whom the tape measure was originally invented.

When was the tape measure invented?

The ancient Romans used folding rules back then. This means that they used a stick the length of a foot as a unit of measurement. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Anton Ullrich invented a folding metre.

It got a lot of attention at the World Exhibition in Paris. His nephew then founded the Stabila company, which still exists today.

Reviews