What Are The Different Types Of Tape Measures

What Are The Different Types Of Tape Measures?

James Chesterman created the measuring tape in Sheffield, England, around the year 1829.

The tapes cost $17 when sold in the United States, but they weren’t a success until the 1940s. The tape’s design was enhanced in 1868 by New Haven, Connecticut resident Alvin J. Fellows.

Similar to how there are numerous hammers, screwdrivers, and drills available, there are numerous tape measures as well. In this article, we will be going through the different types of tape measures that you can come across.

What Is A Tape Measure?

Every homeowner or renter should have at least one tape measure in their toolbox. It is a practical tool with many applications in the construction, upkeep, and repair of houses.

A tape measure is a portable measuring tool used to determine an object’s size or the separation between two things.

Along the tape’s edge, measurements are marked in inches and fractional inches, usually in quarter, eighth, and sixteenth-inch steps. On one side, certain tape measures have markings in millimeters, centimeters, and meters.

The most popular lengths for tape measures are 12, 25, and 100 feet long. For convenience, buyers should use a 12-foot tape measure.

Known as a builder’s tape, the 25-foot length is measured in feet and at 16-inch intervals. This helps to make measuring the distance between wall studs simpler.

The 100-foot tape, which is often made of reinforced cotton, is used for establishing property lines and other outside measurements.

Types Of Tape Measures

It may be surprising, but there are in fact a couple of different types of measuring tapes. Each different type of tape measure has its own purpose.

Fabric Tape Measure


A fabric measuring tape is a necessary purchase if you plan to sew and need to measure the fabric.

This kind of sewing tape measure is a long, flexible piece of material that is intended for measuring the body and of cloth. 

This type of cloth tape won’t come with the protective case that so many people imagine when they think of a measuring tape.

It is possible to get specialized fabric measuring tapes that are close to 120 inches long, which are very helpful if you want to measure bigger pieces of fabric. These measuring tapes are often just 60 inches long.

Pocket/Spring Return Tape Measure


The majority of people visualize these kinds of measuring tapes when they hear of a measuring tape.

The actual measuring tape is contained in a sturdy casing that coils up until you need it; at that point, you may simply extend it out. While different varieties of pocket measuring tapes have various features, the majority incorporate both a locking mechanism and a spring return.

This makes it simple for one person to freely measure objects and distances and return the retractable tape measure to its container without any issues.

The tape itself will be somewhat flexible but firm, and it will be somewhat curled on both sides. They come in a wide range of sizes, with smaller ones often being between one and fifteen feet long and larger ones reaching up to 35 feet

Surveyor Tape Measure


A surveyor’s measuring tape is necessary if you’re going to be measuring significant distances on open terrain and need to be able to determine how far away things or locations are.

This is an extremely long tape and perfect for making land maps, determining neighborly boundaries, and even calculating the angle or separation between two places. 

Such long tape measures are very flexible and can be found in incredibly large lengths, like 500 feet.

Since the tape will follow the bends and angles of the ground you are measuring, its flexibility makes them the perfect choice for taking accurate measurements of land.

Digital Tape Measure


Digital tape measures, also known as a laser tape measure, are most commonly used by electricians and plumbers who need to measure long distances without moving.

The tape measure accuracy is displayed on an LED screen.

Features Found On Tape Measures

Not every tape measure will feature all these features.

However, you can find a lot of these features on particular types of tape measures, such as the pocket tape measure. These additions make using and working with them a lot easier. 


You should choose a magnetic tape measure if you are an electrician who will be measuring from conduits or if you are a builder who wants to be able to connect your tape measure to a piece of metal and measure distances. 

Magnetic tape measures use extraordinarily powerful magnets that can hold the weight of the tape measure while it is in use. 


Choose a rust-resistant tape measure if you plan to use it in wet areas or if you are concerned that it will be exposed to the elements while you are working outside.

While this doesn’t guarantee that your tape measure won’t ever be damaged if you leave it out in the rain, but instead there is a significantly lower likelihood that your tape measure will sustain any harm if it is exposed to water.


Whenever you will be working alone and need to ensure that your measurements are precise, you should invest in a locking tape measure. With this, you may stretch the tape’s length and lock it so that it won’t return back into the case. 

Once the tape is locked, you may quickly mark and calculate the length by laying the tape down where you want to measure.

You won’t need to keep holding the measuring tape to apply pressure to keep it from retracting, which also will free your hands up.

Tape Measure Materials

You will find that tape measures are constructed from a variety of materials. Usually, they may have a plastic or metal case, which are both very durable.

However, you will find that the metal cased tape measures are more expensive than the plastic ones.  On some tape measures, they will have a rubber grip. This allows you to comfortably hold and use the tape measure. 

When it comes to material that the tape is usually made from, it is usually fiberglass.

Fiberglass tape is not only exceedingly lightweight and robust, making it a wonderful option for surveyor tape measures because it won’t result in a very heavy tool.

Also, this is a wise choice if you plan to purchase a tape measure for outdoor use and know that you will be rough on the tape itself because it is made to last.

When it comes to pocket tape measures, they will usually be made from metals. This metal is very durable, but you do have to be careful when using this measuring tape.

This is due to the edges being extremely sharp, so you need to be careful to avoid injuries. 

Final Thoughts

There are four main types of tape measures that you can use. Each different type of tape measure has its own purpose for what it should be used for.

You may see different tape measures made from various materials, yet these materials will affect the durability of the tape measure. 

We hope this article has been helpful. Now you should have a better understanding of the different types of tape measures that are out there for you to use.


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