I’ve been using DeWalt 100-foot chalk-line reels with a 3:1 gear ratio for several years. They not only retrieve the line quickly to help speed our layouts, they’ve proven to be durable as well. That’s why I was happy to try DeWalt’s new cast-aluminum DWHT47270 reel for JLC. It has a 6:1 gear ratio that doubles retrieval speed and uses helical gears for smoother winding. The gearbox is sealed against contamination to help prevent seizing. A clutch allows you to release the line without spinning the crank, and a large plastic-and-rubber top swings open for easier refilling and jam clearing.

My lead supervisor and I have been using the new reel for a couple of months, and so far we’re impressed. The smooth, rapid line retrieval is great, and the braided nylon/polyester line holds just the right amount of chalk for clean multiple snaps. The reel fits nicely in our toolbelts and has yet to leak any chalk. But the $15 price tag seems a...

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