This Is Our Favorite Tape Measure

Whether you're a DIYer or a professional, this innovative Family Handyman Approved tape measure belongs in your tool box.

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I’ve been asked what seems like a thousand times which of my tools is my favorite. For years, my answer was my full-sized, 1-3/4-horsepower router. Why? Its versatility, and the way it’s helped me out of numerous sticky situations.

Early in the pandemic, when I was out and about for the first time in several weeks, I made an uncharacteristic impulse buy in the checkout line of my local home center that ultimately changed my standard answer. I bought one of those three-foot-long keychain tape measures.

It was astonishing at how often I used it. Measuring doorways when moving friends. Checking out new arrivals at the antique stores. Even making a chalk free throw line for the neighbor kids in the alley.

My fondness for tape measures around the shop took off at the same time. Quickly I realized the depth of the FastCap ProCarpenter line of tape measures. I owned one for years, but never realized there were multiple models and sizes. I picked up a few and have used them ever since.

What Are FastCap ProCarpenter Tape Measures?

FastCap ProCarpenter Tape Measures come in five high-contrast, one-inch-wide tape blade styles. All FastCap ProCarpenter Tape Measures include innovative features like an onboard pencil sharpener, erasable notepad, dual locking levers and a durable steel belt clip.

Lengths range from six to thirty feet. A few specialty models measure curved surfaces, locate the center point and even adapt to left-handedness.

A black rubber cast body makes the tape measures comfortable to grasp and easy to use. They also feature a different color ring for each blade style, so you can easily identify them in a tool chest drawer.

How We Tested It

I’ve been using my FastCap ProCarpenter Tape Measures for more than two years, around the shop and on the jobsite. They accompanied me to the high desert of New Mexico, the hills of West Virginia, and even the rain forests of Puerto Rico. Each time I returned with a new reason to love them.

Performance Review

Around the shop I have three blade styles. The standard reverse, or lefty/right, features standard measurements mirrored on the blade for easy reading from any angle. The metric reverse. And the metric/standard, which offers both.

The body of the tape measure and its recoiling spring are strong and well-built. I often drop the tape measure or wedge it between cabinets or framing members around the shop. In spite of that, the FastCap ProCarpenter Tape Measures have held up well.

I love the smooth nylon covering over the tape blade. It’s easier on the hands when the tape rapidly recoils and prevents rust from developing. The pencil sharpener is a welcome addition I use frequently, though it would be ideal if it accepted carpenter pencils.

The small erasable notepad on the front of the tape measure comes in handy when I need to remember obscure dimensions. It’s especially helpful when traveling long distances between your project and the cutting station.

With all these features, it would be understandable if these tape measures were more expensive than their rivals. However, they’re not. The FastCap ProCarpenter tape measures cost the same, if not slightly less than, other brands.

These tape measures have become a fundamental part of my work. I can’t imagine being without them. (Psst! For quick and accurate measurements, don’t miss out on these best laser tape measures, either.)

Why You Should Buy This

These days, when I tell people my favorite tool is “a tape measure, without a doubt,” it’s usually followed by a puzzled look. Then I explain the multiple styles, innovative features and durable design of the FastCap ProCarpenter Tape Measures, and they’re quickly on board .

Where to Buy

FastCap ProCarpenter tape measures are available from The Home Depot and Amazon.

Buy Now

Ethan O'Donnell
An experienced woodworker, Ethan O'Donnell has built furniture, cabinetry and artistic elements for Fortune 500 companies as well as the National Park Service. He's also a certified rigger, forklift and telehandler operator with OSHA and UCOR safety certifications. When he's not renovating his rustic cabin in Minnesota's Northwoods, Ethan rides and repairs his fleet of bicycles and motorcycles.