Tapes come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and varieties. The 8 metre tapes are
probably the most useful, but there are also smaller and much longer tapes
Most have a shock-absorber feature to protect the end-stop from damage when the
tape is retracted. The end-stop should have some “slack” in it. This is
essential, as it compensates for the thickness of the end stop – so you’ll get
an accurate measurement whether you hook the end over or push it up against an
A variety of brake mechanisms are available, and some are available in both
metric and imperial systems.
Some have rubber covers to prevent the tape doing damage if you drop it on, say,
tiles. Some also have magnetic end-stops, which are great when working with
steel – such as fencing. The magnets are also good for picking up dropped drill
So how does your toolbox measure up?
Supercraft Tape measures are available at all leading hardware stores.