We recently took the opportunity to test out some of the newest pro-grade model tape measures from 9 different manufacturers. Our shootout pit these comparable 25′ models up against each other in order that we might find the best tape measures for your money. We tested accuracy, durability, visibility, design, standout and throw, ergonomics, and value. Most individual tape measure models have at least a few points where they stand out, and few more so than the newest 25′ Milwaukee tape measure.
There’s not a whole lot that’s groundbreaking in the visibility category for this Milwaukee tape measure. It has standard black marking on yellow tape that offers high contrast. In some cases, standard is good enough, but you’d rather have more. On tape measures, the contrast on this style really is suitable for any level of Pro.
There are a couple other concepts running around. Bolder lines on every 1/8″ mark is one idea that we see helps. Another is Lufkin’s Black Widow that pairs green markings on a black blade that makes the measurements really pop.
Let’s start with this tape’s measurement accuracy. You can have the fanciest tape measure ever, but if its measurements fall 1/16″ (or more) off the mark, you might as well dump it into the trash. At that point, you basically have a fancy paperweight.
Well, this isn’t the case with the Milwaukee tape measure. We measured the accuracy of our tape measures with the Lixer Master (Model # LM002), a tape measure calibration tool that has a gauge block accuracy of +/-.0005″. Like almost all of the other tapes we measured, the Milwaukee model’s markings are dead on.
We tested all of our tapes’ durability with some drop testing… sweet, destructive drop testing. Perhaps I missed my calling in life and should’ve gone into demo work because it was a lot of fun trying to break these tapes. But, I digress.
We took our tapes to the top of a 10′ Werner Podium Ladder, where we then dropped each tape measure onto a cement floor. Each tape was dropped onto each side of its housing until either the tape broke or we got tired of running up the ladder, at which point, we ended the testing. Incidentally, it took us 5 rounds of 1 drop on each of the 6 sides for a total of 30 drops to tire ourselves out and most of the competition was out.
The Milwaukee tape measure took the beating we gave it in stride. Toward the end of our testing, we noticed some splitting in the housing, a cracked tether point, a bent hook, and a jankety clip. However, from a functional standpoint, the blade still pulled out and retracted flawlessly. Even after 30 drops from a ten-foot ladder, Milwaukee had the smoothest action of all the tapes in our test.
Standout & Throw
Some people like to ease their tape blade out, others like to throw it in one shot. Either way, 96″ (8′) is our low-end benchmark to cover sheet goods. Anything over that is a bonus as you work on longer materials. Milwaukee moves out to a respectable 105″ (8′, 9″) in our testing moving into the bottom half of our shootout participants.
For throw, Milwaukee climbs much higher into 2nd place behind Klein, recording 123″ (10′, 3″) and making Clint’s Kung Fu Tape Measure B-Movie a little closer to reality than most of us are comfortable with.
Design & Feature Set
One of the areas where the Milwaukee stands out comes down to the design and feature set. Starting with the hook design, Milwaukee uses a broad hook with a rare earth magnet in the tip. The hook grips an edge easily from all sides, and magnetic tip means that you can butt it up against any ferromagnetic material and have it hold its position.
This is also one of the tape measures that incorporates dual side blade printing. The back side of the tape lays out the measurements vertically, and it also incorporates an architectural scale for working with blueprints.
Milwaukee uses a nylon blade coating with this tape measure, which effectively reduces the amount of wear and tear on the blade. This coating also helps account for why this tape measure feels so good to use and for the sound it makes. The blade pulls out and retracts easily, and at no point does it feel flimsy. The whole process just feels silky smooth.
Milwaukee also incorporates an easy-access finger brake. The design here might not be as sophisticated as a button brake, but it is effective. It also adds something to the ergonomic “feel” of the tape measure.
We also really appreciate the clip the Milwaukee works with. They use a wire design that clips to your belt pretty easily. The wire is stronger than it looks and long enough to hook over your belt securely.
At $24.99, the Milwaukee Tape Measure was the second-most expensive tape measure in our test. The prices ranged anywhere from about $9-$30 dollars. We did feel, however, that despite the higher cost, Milwaukee justifies this tape’s price point by making this model extremely durable and functional. There’s a clear difference in durability between the top 2 and everyone else.
This model ties together a relatively deep feature set, durability, and a smooth action. It suffers a little bit in the value department overall, but for those of you who might not mind spending an extra $5 or $6, you’ll definitely appreciate the Milwaukee tape measure for the high bar that it sets. It won’t measure any more accurately than most of the other tapes in our shootout, but the user experience, without a doubt, is much greater and offers more functionality than most.
Milwaukee Tape Measure Features
- Five-point reinforced frame provides greater durability and lifespan
- Nylon bond blade protection helps Milwaukee 25-foot magnetic tape measure withstand wear and tear
- Double-sided measurement printing allows for more versatility
- Blueprint scale provides better visibility
- Finger stop protects hands and fingers when retracting blade
- Magnetic hook attaches firmly to ferrous metals
- Pocket clip allows for easy attachment to clothing
- Wire form belt clip makes carrying and access convenient
- Limited lifetime warranty
Milwaukee Tape Measure Specs
- Model Number: 48-22-7125
- Assembled Weight: 1.17 lbs.
- Belt Clip: Yes
- Measuring Type: SAE
- Magnetic: Yes
- Tape Length: 25 ft
- Blade Material: Steel
- Width: 1.83″
- Case Material: Impact Resistant Plastic
- Manufacturer Warranty: Limited Lifetime