Big Hooks are Better
They grab better and catch on all four sides of the hook. But they can also catch where you don’t want them to, like on your tool belt. And they’re clumsy for measuring into corners. Still, the benefits outweigh the hassles, and big hooks are better for most types of work.
Some Tapes Make You Squint
Some tapes are marked in 1/16-in. increments, some in 1/32-in. increments, and some have a combination of both. For most jobs, 16ths are precise enough—and a lot easier to read.
The greater the ‘stand-out’—the distance a tape can extend without crumpling—the greater the measuring reach. But even for shorter measurements, a long-reach tape is easier to use. Because the blade is stiffer, you can handle it faster and with less care than you could a flimsy tape.
Most pro-grade tapes list the stand-out on the packaging. We found most of those claims to be accurate and sometimes even understated. Manufacturers make the blade a lot stiffer by making it just a bit wider. Most blades in the 16-ft. or over category are 1 in. wide. Stiffer blades are 1/16 in. to 1/4 in. wider than that.