Accurate tape measure

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Forum topic by LucasWoods posted 03-28-2015 03:51 AM 2693 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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430 posts in 1360 days

03-28-2015 03:51 AM

I am looking for an accurate tape measure for around $20 or less probably don’t need anything over 16’

On highland there is a 10’ Festool for $20 and a Jorgensen 25’ for $6 (only reason why I would get it would be the price)

if the festool is worth it or the jorgy let me know or if you think something else entirely.

Thanks everyone!

-- Colorado Springs, CO - USAF

22 replies so far

View TimberMagic's profile


114 posts in 1206 days

#1 posted 03-28-2015 04:22 AM

I like the FastCap tapes, and there are a number of models. They make a lefty/righty that is great, and I also like the Imperial/metric model since I use both measurement systems. They are reasonably priced at around $10, and dead-on accurate. Mine also have a pencil sharpener—I’m not sure if all models do. You have to hold one of these tapes in your hand to appreciate how well they are built. FastCap could easily sell for more $.

I buy mine at my local Woodcraft, and Rockler has them as well.

The Festool tape is lousy. I like the direct read window on the top, but it is the worst tape I own, in terms of accuracy. My free Harbor Freight tape is more accurate then the Festool . I suppose it is handy quick reads on “rough” measurements around the house.

-- Lee

View LucasWoods's profile


430 posts in 1360 days

#2 posted 03-28-2015 05:01 AM

Thank you for the festool review. I may have to run down to woodcraft and check out the fastcap

-- Colorado Springs, CO - USAF

View waho6o9's profile


8207 posts in 2604 days

#3 posted 03-28-2015 05:06 AM

Lee is spot on.

Fast cap is the way to go for tape measures.

Folding rulers work better for me though.

View ElChe's profile


630 posts in 1364 days

#4 posted 03-28-2015 05:58 AM

Fastcaps are decent for price and they have lots of cool options. A bit fragile if you tend to drop things on concrete. Don’t ask me how I know. My rule is I use the same tape measure on a project so I don’t have to deal with minor variations in accuracy between tape measures. For my furniture projects I am starting the switch to the By Hand and Eye approach. No measurements. Rather you build to eye pleasing dimensions and use a story stick to transfer dimensions. Meeting Jim Tolpin and touring his modest tiny shop in Pt Townsend was an incredible experience. The simplicity of the shop was amazing. And no tape measures. :)

-- Tom - Measure twice cut once. Then measure again. Curse. Fudge.

View noomi's profile


1 post in 1183 days

#5 posted 03-28-2015 06:45 AM

Thank you for the festool review. I may have to run down to woodcraft and check out the fastcap


View iamwelty's profile


259 posts in 3143 days

#6 posted 03-28-2015 09:59 AM

X2 Fastcap

-- There is a fine line between eroticism and nausea...

View ric53's profile


194 posts in 1547 days

#7 posted 03-28-2015 10:40 AM

Tom is right, if you use the same tape through out your build you don’t have to deal with variations. I use a cheap 12’ Stanley and have for years without any real issues. I also use the hand and eye approach. It gives a more personal feel to the piece. That being said, I like what I you all posted about the Fastcap tape. I have to make a trip to the local Woodcraft store today, they have some black mesquite on sale for 40% off ( I want to grab some before its gone) and I think I’ll pick one up and try it.

-- Ric, Mazomanie

View cootcraig's profile


58 posts in 1239 days

#8 posted 03-28-2015 01:34 PM

I’m right handed and just became aware of left pull tapes. The mention of
FastCap had me look this one up.

FastCap PSSR16 16 FastPad Standard Reverse Measuring Tape

The combination of left hand pull and one finger lock have me convinced
to buy one now.

View NoThanks's profile


798 posts in 1556 days

#9 posted 03-28-2015 02:03 PM

Best Tape I’ve ever had.
For a 25’ x 1” blade tape it’s the most compact 25’ tape I have seen, Easily the size of most 16’ tapes.
The return spring action is perfect (not too strong and not too weak)
As far as accuracy, I make a cut, pull an inch to measure it and have all my tools set up to match. Works for me.

-- Because I'm gone, that's why!

View skipj's profile


97 posts in 2300 days

#10 posted 03-28-2015 03:03 PM

I have 3 fastcaps, the one I go to is the lefty/righty.

View MrRon's profile


4797 posts in 3271 days

#11 posted 03-28-2015 04:40 PM

I also use the Fastcap “righty” tape. Lee Valley also markets a “righty” tape, which I also have. There is no such thing as an accurate tape. Even Starrett and Lufkin make tapes and they are no better or worse than the cheapest tape around. The whole idea is to never use more than one tape on a project. Tapes are made for “ballpark” measurements and can never be relied on for precision measuring.

View johnstoneb's profile


2942 posts in 2200 days

#12 posted 03-28-2015 04:43 PM

x1 MrRon

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View exelectrician's profile


2327 posts in 2455 days

#13 posted 03-28-2015 08:13 PM

Fast cap lay flat tape – Wow!!! My go to tape for super accuracy.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View Mykos's profile


103 posts in 1822 days

#14 posted 03-28-2015 10:16 PM

I like the Lee Valley wooden folding rule for rough cuts at the bench. Direct measurements or a steel cabinetmakers rule for precise cuts. I don’t have a favourite tape measure. I like neon orange ones so I can find them easily.

View devann's profile


2246 posts in 2720 days

#15 posted 03-29-2015 07:06 AM

For my 2ยข I would get a 1”x25’ Stanley. It is the industry standard with hundreds of thousands of tradesmen using them daily. They don’t purchase them because they are trying to save a buck, but you can get one for around $10 at many locations. It is a durable tool, usually can be dropped repeatedly onto hard surfaces without damage. Occasionally though, the “golden BB rule” does apply. If dropped you have to check for hook damage & correct it , then go on. As tradesmen we have to communicate with accuracy with one another. A lot of the time several workers are taking measurements with only one person cutting for everybody else. Many trim carpenters who specialize in stain grade applications where no putty or fillers are allowed use the Stanleys.

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

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