One of the things that encouraged us was the feedback we got when we performed a tape measure testing shootout a couple months back. That test really it home, as these are tools that are taken for granted by most of the industry. We had a lot of fun, and were impressed when we saw the new tapes released by Milwaukee Tool at this year’s press event. What made the tapes cool (besides the nice red/black motif) was the nylon bonded coating. This isn’t new, but Milwaukee demonstrated it in a pretty innovative way: they sand-blasted it along with the competition. I mean, they literally stuck the tapes inside a machine and blasted them for several minutes to demonstrate how long it would take before the metal tape coatings literally peeled away. To put it bluntly: these tapes are going to last a lot longer than those with uncoated blades. Check out this photo:
Milwaukee is introducing several new tape measures, claiming “10X longer life” over the uncoated competition. But the tape isn’t the only part that’s tough, a 5-point reinforced frame is designed to protect the shell against damage from drops and falls. And that’sreally the two chief concerns with tape durability: number wear and the housing, which often shatters or breaks apart after a drop.
The new tapes will hit shelves over the next six months. There will be nine magnetic models and nine non-magnetic tapes. The tapes will vary in length from 16’ to 35’ and will also be available in metric, from 5m-10m. Combination tapes will also be made available in both systems with sizes ranging from 5M/16’ to 10M/33’.
The magnetic tapes use a dual magnet where the first magnet holds the hook in the front of the tape to the edge of the material, and the other magnet secures the tape to the material from below. Milwaukee figured that this will serve to secure the tape in all of the myriad of ways it’s typically utilized in the field. It will also help prevent the tape from rolling off when used on rounded materials like rebar and EMT.
Possibly the coolest design feature, though, has to be the open finger-stop. This is an open area just behind the tape that allows you to slow the retraction without risking the tang pinching your index finger on a hard retract. This design isn’t unique to Milwaukee, but its one of the more handy features I’ve seen in recent products.
On the tape blade itself, which is two-sided, Milwaukee also added a blue print scale allowing you to properly scale 1/4” and 1/8” drawings. This is handy for estimating or plan reading. The tapes also come with a limited lifetime warranty—and you’ll want to look at what those limitations are lest you think you just found a new retractable tow cable or jumper cables.
Here’s what the line-up looks like as well as when we can expect the tapes to hit shelves:
• 16′ Magnetic Tape Measure (48-22-5116)
• 25′ Magnetic Tape Measure (48-22-5125)
• 5m/16′ Magnetic Tape Measure (48-22-5216)
• 8m/26′ Magnetic Tape Measure (48-22-5225)
• 16′ Tape Measure (48-22-5117)
• 5m/16’ Tape Measure (48-22-5217)
• 5m Tape Measure (48-22-5306)
• 25′ Tape Measure (48-22-5126)
• 8m/26’Tape Measure (48-22-5226)
• 8m Tape Measure (48-22-5309)
• 5m Magnetic Tape Measure (48-22-5305)
• 8m Magnetic Tape Measure (48-22-5308)
• 30′ Tape Measure (48-22-5131)
• 10m/33‘ Tape Measure (48-22-5234)
• 35′ Tape Measure (48-22-5136)
• 30‘ Magnetic Tape Measure (48-22-5130)
• 10m/33‘ Magnetic Tape Measure (48-22-5233)
• 35′ Magnetic Tape Measure (48-22-5135)