Best Tape Measure Comparison Testing

In this article, we shall test and compare different tape measure and hammer brands. This type of tool is used often and is used for most critical jobs in construction. In this article we shall compare 8 of the best tape measures:

  • DeWalt DWHT 36225
  • Klein 86225
  • Milwaukee 48-22-7125
  • Stanley FMHT 33865
  • Stanley Powerlock
  • Lufkin L 1025MAG
  • Tajima G-25BW

Why 25 – Foot Tapes?

In this article, we choose pro-grade tape models which are at 25-foot length models. They are the most popular length tape measure which are sold all over the world. In this article, we have put them to the following tests:

10-Foot and 25-Foot Recoil Test

Did you know that a tape measure is not capable to withstand short, sharp shock repeatedly? When you rewind tape measures repeated, it could cause serious damage to its end hook, inner working and blade markings. Hence, we tested this recoil from 10 feet and 25 feet to check the speed and upon testing, we have used our benchmark and checked the tape for abrasion, debris and drop testing. 

  • Marked the distance on the floor
  • Pulled all the tapes to the distance that we have marked on the floor. 
  • Recoiled the tape measure five times and averaged the recoil speed. 

The results of our test suggested that the fastest recoil speed at 25 foot is Lufkin at 1:05 seconds, second in line was Klien with 1.08 seconds and the third is Milwaukee with 1.20 seconds. 

Abrasion Test 

The abrasion test is very important as it measures its readability. There are times when tape markings vanish and wear off. This makes it difficult to use and impossible to read. 

Did you know that all tape measure manufacturers follow ASTM D969 and international recognized test standards such as the Falling Sand Abrasion Tester? This test checks the resistance to abrasion of paint, lacquers and other organic coatings. 

To do this test, we have used the more aggressive abrasion jig and used tape-pull abrasion jig which was measured 26” long. It comes with a hollowed-out, concave center bottom. The jig had a 3/8” wide convex pressure-point and we have used adhesive grit sandpaper and applied it to the convex paint. The tape measure was then placed in the jig and placed 25 lb weight on top, pulled the tape slowly back and forth.

The results were that Stanley PowerLock had the least amount of visible wear, Lufkin came in second and third was DeWalt. 

Magnetic Pull Test

This test is only applicable to magnetic tapes (metal stud, HVAC and plumbing. In this test, there were only three tapes that were able to extend its full length and they are Klein, Mulwaukee and Stanley FATMAX. 

Magnetic Weight Test 

In this test, the Stanley FATMAX came with a magnetic strength of 5.5 lb which makes it first place, Milwaukee at 2.25 lbs in second place and was followed by Klein, Komelon and Lufkin at 1.5 lbs. 

Debris Testing

Tape measures are often used in dusty environments which means your tape measure could get sluggish. Take in mind that wat and dirt on the blade of your tape could make your tape measure rust, jamb up and slug. Hence, we have designed a test to check this factor. We did this through the following steps:

  • Tapes were pulled out to 25” 
  • We allowed it to recoil 4 times
  • Once it closes, we tested their recoil twice more from their 25 feet mark. 

In this test Stanley FATMAX stopped at 9 feet on the first recoil and completed the recoil at 1.9 seconds. This is followed by Lufkin which recoiled at 10’ 10” and 6-inches on the second test. Stanley PowerLock came in third which stopped at 10’ – 4” inches and recoiled 25-inches total. 

Tape Measure Standout

This factor measures how long reaching tape your tape measure is. This shows you how straight you could extend your tape without having to bend or lose the rigidity. 

In this test DeWalt came in first with 11’3” followed by Stanley FAXMAX at 10’6” and in third is Lufkin at 10’0”. 

Hook Movement 

Every tape measure has a hook. This hook is often loose which is intentional for both inside and outside measurement. Hence, we also have tested this factor. Surprisingly the results varied. Lufkin proved to be the most accurate with its hook thickness of .045 which had the same hook movement.  Came in second were Milwaukee, Stanley and FatMax. 


This pertains to design for end user. This is defined as the increase of efficiency and productivity. In this factor, we have considered the following:

  • Grip
  • Weight
  • Belt Clip
  • Lock 
  • Hook
  • Ability to sit flat on the surface
  • Overall Construction

Upon testing all of these factors and averaged its results, we have learned that in the ergonomic category, Milwaukee proved to be the best. It was the most stable and very durable as well. It has strong magnet, screw nail slot and has 2 upper tabs. Came in second place, we say is the Stanley FATMAX. 


This means that the measures are readable and durable. Here are the best tape measures in this category:

  • Milwaukee 
  • Lufkin
  • Komelon

Drop testing from 15-feet and 30-feet

Testing would not be complete without the Drop Test. In this category we have dropped the measuring tapes onto the pavement from 15 feet and the second time from 30 feet. 

We have learned the during the first drop of 15 feet, Klein had suffered the most damage. Aside from Klein, Stanley FAXMAX, DeWalt, Milwaukee and Komelon also sustained damage from a 15-feet drop. Tajima and Lufkin on the other hand did not have any damage. 

As for the 30-foot drop, the least damaged tapes were DeWalt and Stanley FATMAX. Lufkin and Tajima come in second. 


DeWalt DWHT 36225 – $29.97

Klein Upper #86225 – $24.66

Milwaukee #48-22-7125 – $23.96

Stanley FMHT 33865 – $22.98

Stanley Powerlock – $11.00

Lufkin L1025MAG – $16.80

Tajima G-25BW – $20.91

Komelon 73425 – $11.05

Best Tape Measure Overall 

Upon compiling all the test results, the overall best tape measure is Stanley FATMAX. It scored the best in magnetic hold, debris testing, hook durability, blade thickness and drop testing.  


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