Ox Tools has been a perennial winner in the annual Pro Tool Innovation Awards and have added to their collection of accolades again this year. The Australian based company is starting to gain some traction in the American market thanks to that innovative mindset. While they’re on the cutting edge with some designs, we have to wonder what to expect from some of the more commonplace tools, like their recently introduced OX Tools 25-Ft Pro SS Tape Measure.
Editor’s Note: This review originally published on December 8, 2016. The ratings have been updated to reflect its performance in our recent shootout. Read more about it here.
Straight from the
Horses Ox’ Mouth
According to OX, the new tape is designed with accuracy and durability in mind. It has a stainless steel case is protected by a rugged over-molded cushion grip that increases comfort and provides added slip resistance. The nylon-coated tape is 1-3/16 inches wide and double-sided with easy-to-read 1/8-inch markings. A double-sided tang features multiple points to hold on to the material and its rare earth magnets stick to ferrous materials.
The tape has a 9-foot horizontal standout to make working alone a bit easier. It also has an easy access thumb lock, is Class II rated, and is CE approved. Not all tape measures are created equally. Flimsy cases, poor retracting mechanisms, and even tapes that can stretch and create inaccurate measurements are common. But OX tools has set out to remedy all of those things. With its durable design and user-friendly features, the OX Tools 25-Ft Pro SS Tape Measure is hoping to measure up!
“User research indicated that traditional housings were not constructed to withstand multiple drops that are very common on the jobsite and that over time, the markings would become hard to read due to heavy use. We overdesigned this new tape measure to exceed user expectations.”
– John Diplock, Managing Director for OX Tools USA
What We Found
That all sounds great, but does the reality match the claims?
For starters, OX surrounded the majority of their tape in rubber overmold. The exposed parts include the stainless steel side plates, thumb lock area, and tape exit point.
The belt clip is nice and wide, but I’d like to see it be a little stiffer. It’s not flimsy by any means. However, my tendency to hit corners as I walk by them is a hazard for anything carried on my belt or pocket, including tape measures and knives. Should you bend it out, it’s easy to remove and bend back by loosening a single screw.
Four screws hold the housing together. The center screw seems to stabilize the tape and hold the belt clip in place while the other three go all the way through for structural integrity. Inside, you’ll notice that the stainless steel plate is a cover over a fully plastic housing. That plate should provide some additional strike protection.
The OX Tools 25-Ft Pro SS Tape Measure blade is nylon coated, which has pretty much become the industry standard for Pro level tapes. Identical markings on found on both sides with traditional lines to 1/16-inch accuracy on the top and fractional markings with smaller lines on the below the full foot/inch marks.
I found the markings easy to read. That’s saying something considering I only have one good eye following surgery for a detached retina. Despite some blurriness and depth perception issues, I had no trouble reading the tape to its 1/16-inch accuracy.
One of the first things I noticed when I got my hands on the OX Tools 25-Ft Pro SS Tape Measure is the tang. Someone clearly has a great sense of humor and shaped it like, you guessed it, an ox’ front profile. The horns on the tang make for pretty solid secondary hooking points.
There’s also a rare earth magnet at the front and the tang will slide to maintain accurate readings whether you’re using the magnet or the tang. The tang is attached with three rivets aligned in a triangle that should offer excellent resistance against breaking if it slaps against the housing.
The Thumb Lock
The thumb lock is a pretty standard plastic design with jimping to create a better grip. One-handed operation is possible, but I found it to a bit stiff and usually go with two hands.
I love when companies over-deliver, even in small ways. The OX Tools 25-Ft Pro SS Tape Measure claims 9-foot standout – which is decent, but certainly not at the top. I consistently got out to 9 feet, 5 inches.
The Bottom Line
The OX Tools 25-Ft Pro SS Tape Measure brings features to the table that get our attention – rare earth magnets, multiple contact points on the tang, and a nylon coated tape are the beginning of what could be great. At $22 retail, the tape is priced with brands like Milwaukee, Stanley Fat Max, and Klein (read more about these in our shootout) while leaving a gap to the Lufkin, Stanley classic, and other sub-$10 tapes.
OX has the look of a tape measure that belongs in this group and has the build quality to compete well here. There are a couple of tapes that may have better survivability thanks to a more reinforced housing, but OX doesn’t drop below what I consider Pro level with their design. $26.39 is fair price for this tool. If OX decides to put it on sale for the holidays, it would be a pretty nice value if it drops below the $20 mark.
OX Tools 25-Ft Pro SS Tape Measure Key Features
- Model: Ox Tools OX-P029425
- Durable and corrosion resistant stainless steel case with rugged over mold
- Cushion grip for comfort and slip resistant hold
- 1-3/16″ (30mm) wide tape – 9′ standout
- Double sided printing on tape for convenience
- Inch fractional markings
- Bigger end hook with magnetic feature
- Easy access thumb lock
- Class II
- CE approved
- Price: $26.39
For more information about the OX Tools 25-Ft Pro SS Tape Measure visit their website.