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One of the great British inventions, the tape measure, used by millions across the world, on tasks from the mundane to the extraordinary.
There are thousands to choose from, from a specialist tape for bricklayers to ones you find in a Christmas cracker!
Depending on what you are using it for I guess they are all useful in their own way. But there are tape measures and there are tape measures and what Axminster set out to do was to find a range of tape measures that do an excellent job whatever you were using it for. The only premise was they had to be well made and accurate! If you are looking for a cheap 99p tape measure, you’re in the wrong place, we’re not looking for cheap, we are looking for quality and value.View all Axminster Precision Tape Measures
We know that 64% of you tradesmen out there are Stanley FatMax users. There’s nothing wrong with that, they’re great tapes, we even sell them at Axminster. But, what we wanted is not to have a range of tape measures as good as Stanley, we wanted a range that was better! A range that challenged the traditional design of a tape measure; a range that is innovative and completely usable and with the Axminster Precision range, we believe we have the very best.
Now, if your profession and reputation relies on measuring things accurately the first thing you need is a quality tape measure. I don’t know about you, but if a tradesperson started measuring up with a rusty bent tape measure, it wouldn’t fill me with the greatest of confidence!
So, what should you be looking for in a tape measure? Well, there are several things, some more important than others and you may never need some of them. But, after rummaging in our old toolboxes and workshops to look at and compare tapes from throughout the years, here are a few criteria we have come up with.
Once you have answered that, you can narrow down your search. Don’t worry though, we have a tape measure for everybody!
In all probability, if you’re a tradesperson, you’re going to use a tape measure countless times a day. It’s either got to fit comfortably in your pocket or clip securely on your belt, it has to feel good in the hand too. The last thing you want is to be dropping it all the time or fumbling with it to get an accurate reading.
This is probably a good time to look at your current tape. If you are squinting to read it, or the markings have rubbed out anywhere it is probably a good time to change your tape measure. There are many different colours of blade now, from the traditional yellow to the white and the hi-viz. Think about where you are going to use the tape, one that you can see clearly will cut down on error!
Most tape measures have a metal blade, but some use a stainless steel blade, which means it will not rust. The coating, however, is really important. This will generally determine how long the tape will last and for how long it stays accurate! The more coats the longer it will last. Our new tapes have a superior Dura nylon coated steel blade, which lasts up to 15 times longer than other tape measures.
These come in all different shapes, sizes and quality for a variety of different uses, some of which might come as a surprise to you. Let’s take a look at the different ends.
Many tape measures have a small slot cut into the end, but what is it for? It’s used to grab the end of a nail or screw. This is especially useful if you’re working on your own, you simply stick a nail or screw in to where you are measuring from and hook the tape in, allowing for accurate solo measuring!
Ever wanted to scribe a circle, but only have your tape to hand? Well, if your tape has the nail and screw grab feature, it’s pretty easy to do one.
No, this is not a decorative feature of a tape measure, it is an extremely useful tool. If you don’t have a scribe to hand or the pencil has fallen from behind your ear, simply press this edge into your work piece, scratch it back and forth and make a mark.
A sign of a quality tape is in the movement of the end to the tape itself. Now, this might sound a bit of a contradiction, but the movement on the rivets of the tape and hook are key to its accuracy. The movement compensates exactly for the thickness of the hook, meaning you get accurate inside and outside measurements.
This is the point when the tape measure bends and collapses when extended. This can be important depending on what job you are doing. As a general rule, what you’ll find is the wider the tape measure, the longer the stand out reach.
Tape measures are generally given a class 1 or a class 2 standard of accuracy, with the majority of tape measures being class 2. A class 2 tape measure is accurate to +/- 2.3mm over a 10m period. Whereas a class 1 tape is accurate to +/- 1.1mm over the same 10m period. If you really need accuracy, this is the tape for you. This is perhaps the perfect opportunity to mention that Stanley do not offer a class 1 tape, thankfully our new Axminster Precision tape range does!
A double sided tape measure has advantages over its single sided counterparts. It can make it easier to read when using the tape above you, but perhaps the most important advantage is that it allows for easy reading and marking and avoids parallax error. Parallax what? I hear you cry! The curved nature of a tape measure (which aids stand out strength) means, that without twisting the tape (see pic) it is hard to read. The parallax error occurs when the marking of the tape is some distance away from the surface you are measuring or marking. By simply turning the tape over the markings of the tape are in direct contact with the surface.
Now, is probably a good time to introduce the new range of tape measures from Axminster Precision.
As mentioned earlier the majority of tape measures are class 2 accurate, the Master Precision is class 1 and the most accurate tape measure available. If you are a cabinet maker or you need to be super accurate in your line of work this is the only tape measure from you. This is not the all singing and all dancing tape measure packed with features, but it is the most accurate tape measure you’ll find.Buy now - only £9.96
Heavy duty design
Pause/hold button underneath
Secure positive locking mechanism
5m/16ft metric and imperial markings
Blade width 25mm
This is probably the closest Axminster Precision tape measure to a Stanley FatMax. But, unlike a FatMax, this is double sided (see above for benefits of this). The chrome plated, impact resistant case features a rubber overmould that provides fantastic levels of protection as well as a an ergonomic grip. If you are out and about on site and you need a tough tape measure this is the tape for you.
Whether you are a landscape gardener, a boat builder or working anywhere in the U.K, there are going to be times when you are using your tape measure in wet conditions. The Nylon coating can save the blade, but unless you meticulously dry the blade every time before it is recoiled the mechanism of the tape is going to corrode. This is not the case with the stainless steel tape. It has a stainless steel blade, springs, screws, end hook, blade protector and belt clip, all meaning this tape will last!Buy now - only £12.96
Impact resistant with ergonomic case and moulded rubber grip
All metallic parts are made from stainless steel
Dura-NY coating gives 15 x more protection than standard tape measures
5m/16ft metric and imperial markings. Blade width 19mm
Stainless steel self adjusting end hook with nail and screw grab
A genuine unique tape measure. If you need to measure the internal of anything this is the tape for you. When using a standard tape measure for internal work you have to bend the tape around and guess (see below left). The 2 in 1 gap tape allows you to simply turn the tape over, put the tape to the internal surface you’re measuring (see below right) and read from the reverse scale, which takes into account the length of the tape measure casing. Of course it’s a great tape measure for external measurements too!
A firm favourite of ours, the majority of us now work in metric and even though most tapes are both metric and imperial it is far clearer if you’re reading off the one measurement. This is a truly innovative tape measure, it can be read from both left to right and right to left, making it easy to read whether you are right or left handed. Double sided metric only scale with an extra large end hook, makes it easy to measure and read from almost anywhere. A top tape measure!Buy now - from only £8.95
Multi directional extra large end hook
Easy to read, double sided metric only graduations
Positive blade lock button
5m and 8m options available
Rubberised outer casing
The self lock tape is exactly what it says on the tin. Simply throw the tape out and it will not retract unless you press the release button, a real convenient feature that saves fumbling around with a locking switch. This great all round tape is double sided allowing for easy reading and marking, thus avoiding parallax error (see above). The end hook of this tape is well designed and is multi directional, allowing for easy measuring from above and the side. If you need an all round tape that is easy to read (the blade is also hi-viz) this is the tape for you.
A good all round general purpose tape measure. It locks automatically when extended and only retracts once the release button is pressed, making it great for when working on your own. The easy to read, non-reflective blade is complemented by the magnetic end hook. If you need a tape for the kitchen drawer at home this is the one for you.Buy now - from only £6.96
Rugged ABS case with rubber soft grip/bump protector
Non-reflective blade, easily read markings
5m/16ft and 8m/26ft in metric and imperial markings. Blade width 22mm
Ingenious hook design allows use flat and on edge for greater layout accuracy. End stop includes two rare earth magnets for use on steel work