It’s been tape measure madness over here at the PTR offices recently! We’ve had the chance to look over a bunch of different Pro models from a variety of manufacturers, and because of our recent Best Tape Measure Shootout, you’ll get to reap the benefits of all of our research! This week, we’re looking at a model that takes a slightly unorthodox approach to measurement, the Lufkin Black Widow tape measure.
The Lufkin Black Widow stands out in the design department over their previous models that we’re familiar with. First of all, we really like the hook design. Both the top and bottom of the hook grab material pretty well. Plus, the sides angle in such a way that when they grab onto something, they help hold the blade edge against the surface you’re trying to measure.
The clip design isn’t the strongest design of the lot, but it’s no slouch either. The clip feels reasonably strong and it slides on and off a belt pretty easily.
Unlike some of the models we looked at, the Lufkin Black Widow also has printing on both sides of the blade. For folks who regularly use both sides of the hook to grip, double-sided blades will come as a welcome feature. The back side of the blade features vertical printing.
Like most of the tape measures in our shootout, the Black Widow has perfect accuracy out of the box according to our Lixer Master tape measure calibration tool.
Obviously, the first thing you’ll notice about the Lufkin Black Widow centers on its visibility. The vast majority of the tape measure’s components feature a deep rich black. By itself, black might not be the most visible color in the world. However, black does make a great backdrop for other, more vibrant colors.
Take neon green, for example. The contrast of the hot green against the black paint on the blade makes for highly visible measurements, even in lower light conditions. Plus, the bright orange on the outside of the housing really pops against the black. The chances of losing this tape measure in your toolbag seem pretty slim, what with all these bright colors slapping you in the eyeballs.
Lufkin might have gotten a little guff from us in the past for not quite reaching professional quality standards on their less expensive models. However, on this go-around, we’re more prepared to recommend this model to the Pro who knows he’ll definitely drop a tape measure from time to time.
That’s because we’ve already taken one of these and dropped it from a 10′ ladder onto solid concrete. It took 25 drops for the tape to cease extending and retracting the blade. While some tapes were able to withstand 30 drops, I’m not disappointed with its performance.
Standout and Throw
Lufkin claims to get 10′ of standout from the Black Widow. The minimum we shoot for is 8′ to cover sheet goods and anything over that is a bonus. In our testing, we got dead on 120″ to match their claims.
For those of you that prefer to throw your blade out there, 8′ is what we shoot for in that department for the same sheet good reason. Generally speaking, we don’t expect there to be as much throw as there is standout for most of the upper tier. Lufkin falls a little short of our 96″ standard with a long throw of 91″ – the shortest of the group.
All of these features make for a really solid tape measure, but one of the things we like the most about the Black Widow comes down to the price. When some tape measures ran about $25 – $30, Lufkin has priced theirs at a pretty respectable $17.99. There are some cheaper models we looked at, but those cheaper models really can’t pull off the visibility or design features that the Black Widow does. On the other side of the results, you need to go up to the $25 – $30 range to get a more durable tape with better features.
Lufkin finished in a respectable third place overall in our shootout, earning just under 89 points along the way. Considering the price point, it’s a compelling product for the next time you need to replace your tape.
Lufkin Black Widow Tape Measure Features
- 1-3/16” dual-sided black blade
- Consecutive inches to 16ths on both sides, vertical readout on the back, horizontal on front
- 10-foot standout for longer reach and efficient measuring
- Reversed color blade for improved legibility in lowlight conditions, hi-viz green marking for excellent contrast
- Matte nylon blade coating in conjunction with black blade offer reduced glare in outdoor applications
- Dual end-hook grips on all sides make marking and measuring easier
- Rugged rubber over mold housing for increased impact-resistance
Lufkin Black Widow Tape Measure Specs
- Model Number: L1025B
- Weight: 15.7 ounces
- Dimensions: 3.2 x 2 x 3.3″
- Measurement System: SAE