My professional, PhD-owning husband is a very handy handyman. He has installed at least 12 bathrooms completely from scratch, moved walls and doors, and laid more patios than you could shake a stick at. It is true to say that DIY truly is his hobby.
My husband strongly believes that it is very important to have the right tools on hand at all times. Which is how we came to own 14 retractable tape measures. One for each car, one for several different locations within the garage, one in the kitchen odds and ends draws. The list of locations goes on.
Our favorite measuring tape for DIY use is also the one which is easiest to see - it is bright orange - and was the least expensive at around a single pound.
The B&Q 3m retractable tape is robust enough to hold its shape and length when it is fully extended, the locking mechanism works well and the font on the measure itself is very easy to read.
We currently have three of these in our rotation, the first of which we bought over a decade ago and it is still going well. We have used these indoors on many occasions and outside in the garden for fencing, roofing and guttering of several of our properties. This measure is fairly lightweight which means that it is portable as and when necessary.
Obviously we are happy to recommend this inexpensive, functional B&Q retractable measuring tape, which is available at all good B&Q stores.
When it comes to DIY one of the most important things that is needed, apart from a pencil and a few tins of beer chilling in the fridge, is a tape measure, preferably a retractable on that will pull out to the length you need and, at the press or push of a button, will retract into itself.
But buying a good tape measure is not as easy as it sounds, especially if you want a good, strong and easy to read measure that won't let you down. Which was what I though when I got my hands on this cheap B&Q special when it was on offer in the big orange shop.
This measure stretches out to 3 metres, (10 foot) and the entire measure tape is made of a thin flexible metal that bends and is wast to retract.
Right at the front of the measure there is a small metal 'clasp' type thing that rests on the work you want measuring, this helps when pulling the measure along in order to measure the length.
On the top, or more on the front side edge? There is a small black switch that locks and unlocks the metal measure. This is the most dangerous part of any tape measure as the speed the metal measure tape retracts is so fast. So be careful.
On the back end of the tape case there is a black material loop that is designed so you can put the loop around your wrist, which comes in handy when you're up a ladder or something.
To use it you just pull out the small metal end, placing it over the piece of way, for example, and stretch the metal tape out. You then use the black slider button to trap the metal tape so you can mark the measured line.
To retract the metal tape simply slide the button the other way, but watch your fingers as it retracts fast.
This measure did well, for a while, which I was not too upset about as it only cost me 75p at the time and it lasted me a good few months before it began to fail to retract. Then, which was my own fault, I stood on the metal tape itself which bend the thin metal, making it so difficult to keep in place when I was measuring after that.
This measure is a good one and sells for about £1.50, after all it is a budget B & Q special.
So, if you're after a nice enough measure that you don't plan on using that often, then this is a good choice. If not then spend a little bit more and grab a longer lasting, stronger one.
Last year me and my girlfriend moved into a house that needed some restoration. Unfortunately for her I am not the most handy of people but I did think that buying a tape measure would make that change!
The B & Q value tape measure doesn't look the best, it comes in an orange or blue colour and is relatively small. I do admit that walking through B & Q this does not look to be a good buy. Most people do just walk ahead and buy the more sturdy looking measures. I was one of these people until my girlfriend just grabbed this one to buy.
It can measure up to 3 meters which I have to say is plenty for most people doing basic DIY tasks. It has inches, centimeters and millimeters on the tape measure so you can see clearly exactly what something measures to. On the end of the tape measure is a small grip which you can attach to different parts to hold the tape measure in place while you unravel it. I have to say it is a very small grip which does come off quite quickly unless it is gripped in place properly. The tape, like most other measures is yellow which means you can view it in most lights.
There is a small black button that has some grip on it which means when you unravel the tape measure it doesn't slip and you can easily push it back down. I find that when you press the button again to release the tape measure back into the box, it is slower than some tape measures which is lovely. I have used a tape measure before which unraveled so fast it hurt my thumb, this is quite a nice change.
The price of this tape measure was a staggering 98p! Considering I was about to buy a tape measure for £10, this one is a great deal. It has lasted during our renovation completely fine, I have even dropped it on stone floor a few times. Overall I would recommend the B & Q value tape measure.
I am not a DIY person at all but I am good at sizing things up to buy haha. This is where this value tape measure comes in. I never like to spend much money if I dont need to so 98p from B & Q sounded about right for a tape measure.
We moved into our house and had to buy furniture for every room not to mention decorating everywhere. Every two minutes I was measuring something and this tape measure has worked every time.
It looks just as above and you can get it in different colours if orange is not for you. We have the blue one but they are all bright colours. They are quite small which is good and the lip at the bottom right of the picture above is where you pull the tape measure from.
The tape is yellow and clearly marked in mm, cm and inches so you can measure in what you like to work in which is good. You can pull it to 3m which I find is adequate for most of my measuring needs. The tape is quite sturdy and you can use the black button on top to slide down and hold the tape measure at the stage you need it to stay.
If you let the tape go when you have pulled it, it will retract back to the unit. It does do this quite quick and I have hurt myself on it once so be cautious with it. There is also a belt clip onto it which I have never found useful but its there should you want it.
All in all it is a great tape. For 98p to be honest you cannot go wrong!!! Very cheap and it has lasted us two years so far and has had a lot of use. I seriously cannot fault it at all.
Over the years I have acquired 2 of these tape measures and so I always have one in the house, and one in the car (so it's too hand wherever I am... you never know!). At 98p they are so cheap, but their size also makes them perfect to keep to hand.
The tape measure casing is just 5cm square approximately, an ideal pocket size for carrying around, with a hard plastic casing and a fabric wrist strap. The tape is 3m long (or 10ft) which is more than enough for most jobs around the house, but most importantly the tape is actually pretty well built.
The measuring tape itself is metal, about 1 cm wide, so whilst extended it will easily stay rigid for more than a metre, more if you're careful. It has a metal angle on the end to grip onto corners, which isn't superbly effective, being quite small, but again it will do a job hooking onto a corner if the tape is then extended with care. It's yellow in colour and the measurement markings are clear in black lines and heavy black and red numbers.
At each 100mm interval, the metre is also noted, so if you are measuring and the measurement reads 500mm, you don't need to crane your neck to read back to check how many metres plus 500mm, it tells you on the tape.
The tape has a standard locking button to press down when the tape is extended to grip it in place. This is reliable, and when released, the tape retracts quickly and accurately each time (mind your fingers!).
They are available in a range of colours, should that be of importance, and whilst they are never going to be up to heavy duty usage, they are more than adequate for many everyday jobs, and handy to keep close by.