In nearly any construction-related trade, one of the most universally used tools to the tape measure. The Stanley 33-725 FatMax 25 foot Tape Measure is among the most popular we have seen, and for good reason. With an 11′ unsupported stand out thanks to a wider and thicker blade, what sometimes would require two people to take a good measurement, can be done with just one person. The folks at Stanley designed this tape measure to take real-world job site abuse.
I have pretty much seen it all when it comes to tape measures. Everything from battery-operated, motorized versions to simple inexpensive models. In my personal tool collection, however, I keep going back to my FatMax line of tape measures. My two favorite sizes are the 16 foot and my 25-foot tapes. I have found that the 16 foot one comes in handy for doing smaller projects like trim and building things in my shop. Where the larger, 25-foot model is what I use when we really have to get some big work done like building decks and home framing projects.
Stanley 33-725 FatMax 25 foot Tape Measure Features
The Stanley 33-725 FatMax 25 foot Tape Measure I picked up the other day is to replace one that got concrete all over the blade. That’s what I get for lending my tools to a mason; lesson learned. Give them the ‘el cheapo’ next time and save the good stuff for me. As for the good stuff, the FaxMax tape measure comes with some great features. The first and probably one of the handiest features is the 11-foot unsupported blade standout.
The reason this is a big deal to me is that when I am working alone, I can quickly and easily take measurements without someone needing to hold or place the “dumb” end of the tape. The entire length of the blade is coated with a Mylar polyester film which helps to protect the blade and is supposed to make it last longer.
Durable Blade Coating
The first 5 inches or so of the blade, closest to the tip, is coated with what Stanley calls BladeArmor. Pretty much this is an industrial thermoplastic layer that is applied to the blade and it is supposed to strengthen this section of the blade and help reduce breakage. The blade lock is a simple push-pull thumb switch that is a little tight to engage when the tape is new; but after some use, it really gets easier to operate. The outside shell of the tape is made of ABS plastic with at least 85% of the outside covered with black overmold rubber to give grip and also cushion the tape should you drop it on a hard surface – and you will.
One thing quickly jumps out to folks not familiar with the Stanley FatMax line of tapes. They are FAT! Since the blade is a full 1-1/4” wide, it makes the body of the tape measure wider. Should you have small hands, it might take a while to get used to the larger size. We are pretty sure though, that once you do get used to the size, you will never go back to your old tape measure.
Testing and Use
Testing the Stanley 33-725 FatMax 25 foot Tape Measure was easy. For one of my recent projects, I whipped it out to measure some studs for a wall framing project. FatMax tapes have been a part of my tool collection for a long time. I consider them old friends. We have seen some users gripe that the overall curvature of the extended blade is a little excessive. This holds especially true when compared to other 3/4″ and 1″ wide tapes.
The reason for the complaints is that when you need to make very accurate cuts, you need to twist the tape blade slightly. This lets the edge rest against the material being cut. With other narrower tapes, this is not quite as noticeable. With most, the blade lacks this extreme curvature.
Fat Max, Fat Body
Also, they are quick to point out how fat the tape measure body is too. But then they quickly realize the trade-offs that come with the fatter blade too. Like how the extra curvature actually makes the blade stiffer when it is extended out to its limits and how it is not floppy at all. What we found interesting is that even though the packaging claimed 11 feet; we actually got it out to nearly 12 feet with no support.
We suspect that after some break-in time this length will diminish some. The retracting spring is plenty powerful enough too, and if you are not careful, it will whip the metal tape in at a rather fast rate. The packaging suggests not letting the tape slam into the body to help extend the life of the tool. We found that the tip is easy to latch onto the end of most of the materials that we measured thanks to its shape.
All in all, the Stanley 33-725 FatMax 25 foot Tape Measure is a winner. While it is not perfect, it combines some of the most important qualities that a tape measure needs to have. We liked the long stand-out and extra stiffness of the blade. The simple blade lock and easy-to-read measurements are also great. It tops our performance scales as a great rugged jobsite measuring tool. In terms of value, it comes at a cost that is higher than much of the competition.