Maybe this is a hypothetical situation for you.  You walk into the big box hardware store down the street, going to buy a tape measure.  Upon entering, you ask an attendant to point you to the tape measures in the tool section, and within 2 minutes, you are in front of an impressive display of measuring tapes.  You see all kinds of sizes, shapes, feature sets and prices.  How in the world do you choose?

Tape Measures - How to Choose the Right One For You!

There are 3 basic types of tape measures that I want to go over for you today.  Though you could break up the market into hundreds of different sub-categories, I've simplified the process and will present to you 3 unique categories.  My goal is to teach you the advantages and disadvantages of each type of surveying product, so that you can buy the one that is right for your application and context.  Let's go!

Standard Metal Models

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The go-to standard model is what comes to mind to most people when they go to the measuring device aisle.  These consist of a small box that is metal or plastic, with a metal tape rolled up on the inside.  They usually have a lock to counteract the spring loaded automatic retracting feature.  

Models such as this one even have the 1/4 and 1/8 inch marks written and identified, so that you don't have to know which line is 3/8!  This is an amazingly great feature for people who don't measure as a profession!

With that all said, these models are the pefect tape for measuring wood to cut, distances around the house under 25 feet, or any measuring you are doing by yourself.  Thanks to the stiffness of the tape, and the elbow end, you don't need a buddy to use this model effectively!

Reel Tape Measures

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Reel tape measures are the go-to tool for measuring medium and long distances without breaking the bank.  These tools consist of a plastic reel holding a flexible fiberglass or plastic tape and a handle to wind it back up.

These are the perfect measure for making a site survey for landscaping or an building plan, as well as measuring near electrical lines.  The fiberglass or plastic tape is non-conductive, so you're safe from electrical shock!

Featuring a length of up to 300 feet, reel tape measures are the perfect solution for you outdoor, long distance measuring.  Available at a cost just above the standard box measuring tapes, these won't break the bank either!

Laser Tape Mesures

Laser measuring tapes are the 3rd and last tool I'm going to share with you today, and they rock!  Perfect for any distance indoors or out, vertical, horizonal or diagonal, you can't go wrong with one of these tools!

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Laser models consist of a high-impact plastic case that has a laser inside and a LCD display with backlight to show your measurement.  Besides just being able to measure a fixed distance, these models can also continuously measure as you move and can calculate area and volume with just a few clicks of the button.  I own this Bosch DLR130K, and I highly reccomend it, as it has never let me down!

Now of course, this product is not the end-all-be-all solution for every need.  If you're measuring wood to cut or short distances, your time is better spent with a metal box measure in your hands.  However, for nearly every other measurement, this is your tape!