My crew and I build steel-framed decks. When Milwaukee rolled out its 25-foot model 48-22-5125 magnetic tape measure last summer, most of us bought one to see if it would be a good fit. So far, we think it’s great.
The tape has two powerful magnets: one at the end for butt measurements and one underneath to prevent roll-off when hooking steel framing, steel pipes, threaded rod, and the like. The end magnet is handy for pulling inside measurements from steel ledgers and rim joists (and it helps us pick up dropped screws from a ladder).
The blade extends up to about 9 feet without buckling, has “Nylon Bond Blade Protection” that resists abrasion and contamination, and is scaled on both sides so you can read measurements off the back if necessary. A 12-inch section of the rear scale doubles as an architectural scale for reading 1/8-inch and ¼-inch prints. A finger stop lets you comfortably control the extended blade with your forefinger and prevents the hook from whacking your knuckle. And the wire-form belt clip won’t fray your pants like flat metal clips do.
We’ve used our tapes a lot and they still work like new. Other magnetic and non-magnetic versions are available. Cost: $25. milwaukeetool.com —Robert Shaw owns Colorado Deck and Framing, in Colorado Springs, Colo.