One of the things that becomes very important to a tool review magazine is anything that can lend objectivity to the evaluation of a tool. For some tools, that ends up being speed and torque measurements. For tape measures, that’s the Lixer Tool Tape Measure Calibrator. This tool is available in many different “flavors” (not to mention finishes) but the bottom line is that Lixer is a company that cares about tape measure accuracy – and they will back up their claims with NIST (National Institute of Standards & Technology) Traceability documentation and a .002″ accuracy guarantee.
Lixer Tools Tape Measure Calibrator Features
When you first look at the Lixer or Super Lixer it may be that your first impression won’t be the same as your last. The Lixer is what we call “old school”. It’s hand made and hides the importance of what it does behind a seemingly simple facade. So what does it do? The Tape Measure Calibrator comes in two models, the [standard] Lixer and the Super Lixer. The Lixer verifies the accuracy of tape measures by comparing the tape to laser markings on the tool. The tool also has a feature on the end to straighten bent end hooks on tape measures. The Super Lixer extends the Lixer by adding a calibrated bubble vial that can be adjusted, if needed, to maintain accuracy. It even includes a standard pencil sharpener that is replaceable and looks to be made of magnesium and stainless steel. The Super Lixers are made from a maple inner core and are laminated with any of 9 or 10 hardwoods.
Lixer also made a new model based off a customer’s request. This one is a Pass/Fail Lixer which uses +/- 0.030″ markings for both push and pull that let you very quickly set a tape to fall within those tolerance limits.
We received a standard Lixer (model LT344), a Pass/Fail Lixer (model LTPF003), and a Super Lixer in Bubinga wood (model SLT059). All of them were incredibly accurate, a fact we could verify by both the included Certificate of Inspections (NIST Traceability documentation) as well as cross referencing our own tapes and a certified Starrett tape measure.
The biggest thing to note about these tools is that, as we used them, we found them to be quick and easy. For ISO Certifications and applications where accuracy to the 1/32″ is of the utmost importance, the periodic use of a tool like the Lixer to calibrate tapes is essential. What’s really amazing, however, is Lixer’s claim: they are the only tool designed to check the accuracy of new and used tape measures and straighten bent end hooks. There are certainly other reference standards for doing comparisons of tapes for accuracy, but Lixer Tools may indeed be correct on it being the only tool that actually attempts to provide you with a way to tweak the tape’s end hook to bring it back into proper calibration.
Using the Lixer Tools Tape Measure Calibrator
Using the Lixer was very simple and we verified that our Starrett tape was accurate on only one side of the tape’s end hook. Realizing this, we began checking all our other tapes and had some pretty big revelations as to why some of our cuts recently had left us more than a little long. Once you begin checking your tapes with the Lixer, it’s difficult to stop until you run out of tapes. It’s fun to use, and so simple you’ll wonder why you hadn’t done it earlier.
The Original Lixer, which comes in Beech, two kinds of Maple, and Red Birch, only costs $21.95; and the Super Lixer runs $116.95. Shipping is $6.95 in the States ($8.95 for the Super Lixer, oddly enough) and you can get the NIST Traceability documentation for a $40 premium. The Super Lixer comes in Bubinga, Brazilian Cherry, Cocobolo, Bocote, Brazilian Koa, Tulip Wood, Curly Maple, Wenge, Teak, and Quina. All of them are attractive – the question is simply whether or not you need the extra functionality they offer at over 5x the price.
This is the part of the review where I’d normally quip about how these tools aren’t for everybody, but you know what – I think they just might be. At $21.95, the Lixer is priced low enough to be a tool for any serious pro who wants to know that the marks on his tape actually stand for something. As for the Super Lixer – that one we’ll leave to the pros, but if you need an accurate tape and also something to check level, it’s going to be difficult to pass up.