Professional Tool Reviews for Pros

Greenlee Reel-X Fish Tapes | First Look

Greenlee Reel-X Fish Tapes

Greenlee Reel-X Makes for Faster Fishing

Emerson revealed a new line of fish tape that should significantly speed up productivity for electricians. The Greenlee Reel-X Fish Tape reduces tape friction to fish 2x faster when compared to traditional fish tapes.

10-Second Summary

  • Improvement on the standard fish tape design
  • Easy to use and maintain
  • Eliminates binds and jams that slow down production
  • Free-spinning interior reel cartridge
  • Swappable quick-change cartridges
  • Case opens easily for cleaning
  • Lack of a handle allows close, comfortable holding in a variety of positions
  • Textured grip on the case
  • Secondary exit for hands-free operation on the ground
  • Locking case

Fish Faster, Fish Easier

So, if the electrical fish tape hasn’t significantly changed in decades, what has Greenlee done differently with the Reel-X line to dramatically improve this particular fish tape?

The answer lies in the engineering. Greenlee designed the Reel-X fish tape to eliminate binds and jams in the tape that would otherwise slow down an already tiring process. They’ve also taken some pains to eliminate user strain from the process.

Interior Improvements

First of all, redesigns to the interior of the fish tape reel improve its function. The Reel-X features a free-spinning interior reel that helps to eliminate binding and tape friction. It requires less physical force to feed and pull, speeding up the whole fishing process. Greenlee claims that this is the industry’s first design that moves to eliminate binding and overcome kinks.

Want to swap from fiberglass to steel tape? No problem. Greenlee has also worked quick-change cartridges into the Reel-X design. The case opens easily to expose the reel and let you clean out dirt and debris. It also, however, lets you easily swap out the reel cartridges. Greenlee claims this isn’t a feature that presently exists in the world of fish tape. We like the design—though we’ll wait to hear from our Pros as to whether they actually swap out reels as opposed to carrying two different tapes. In either case, it should help prolong the life of the tool.

Redesigning the Case

Secondly, Greenlee has changed and improved the design of the outer case as well. Rather than a case that rotates to let out tape, the cartridge handles those duties. That means you can do away with the outer handle. It lets you hold the fish tape closer to your body and simplifies the motions required to let out the tape. It should feel much more comfortable for the user. Ribbing along the edge of the case also helps with maintaining a secure grip.

Speaking of positioning, Greenlee designed the case for easier use on the floor. The Reel-X has two exits. The traditional exit, on the out edge of the case, allows for ambidextrous use of the case at any orientation or angle. But, the innovation here is the second exit that frees up both hands while feeding or pulling from the ground.

This feature alone may be worth the price of admission.

Finally, the Greenlee X-Reel case has a locking mechanism to keep your fish tape contained during transport.


Presently, the Greenlee Reel-X fish tapes come in two flavors: 50-ft and 100-ft fiberglass models. Greenlee does plan to expand the line into more product launches in the future.

To learn more about the Greenlee Reel-X fish tape, or to find your local Greenlee dealer, visit

Greenlee Reel-X Fish Tape Specs

  • Model: FTXF-50 (50′); FTXF-100 (100′)
  • Application: Cable installation
  • Width: 11/64-in. diameter
  • Tensile Strength: 300 lbs.
  • Type End: Eyelet
  • Material: Fiberglass
  • Color: Green

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