I am quite picky about the measuring tapes that I use pretty well every day because over the years I have collected quite a few from reviews and samples. In truth, the ones that don’t cut it for me are usually passed onto other less discerning (Meow) users, but the ones I like are carefully guarded so that I don’t lose them, which is easy to do on site or even occasionally in my crowded workshop.On the other hand, when I have asked a rough sample of tradespeople about tapes I have had every reaction on the scale of “I just got it because it was in a bargain box on the counter” down to “ Yeah, I really had to look around to get the make I wanted because it is the best.”
Of course we should expect all tapes to be as accurate as possible, have a reasonably balanced spring return, a case that will stand a few knocks and a standout of more than a few paltry centimetres. What I hate are tapes that are overly bulky. Are they less easy to lose or just a pain to carry in your pocket or on your belt? Other pet hates include plastic cases plated to look like metal, sheer prejudice I know, and spring returns that whizz back so fast that your fingers are in danger.
I am happy to report that none of the four tapes sent by Advent for review got my hackles up for any of the above reasons. They all come into the category of “keepers” for me, and I suspect that one or two of my occasional workmates might try to make off with them too.
I will start with the Advent tape called the 2in1gaptape. This seems to me to be the most innovative. Certainly, I have never seen another tape with its features and that works so intuitively.
From the outside it is quite impressive with its complete rubberized protective jacket and metal belt hook. There is a substantial half moon shape cut out of the rear of the case that I didn’t appreciate at first until I started using the tape for it designed purpose – more of that later.
The metric/Imperial tape itself is 25mm wide with a clearly marked scale on a lemony yellow/green high vis background. I managed to get an excess of three metres of standout quite easily and the lock-on slider switch has two natural positions of hold and lock that are easy to release without any finger gymnastics.
What sets this tape apart is that it makes measuring internal gaps really easy and accurate. With most tapes you have to measure internal gaps by bending the tape inside the gap and making an estimate that could be as much as 5 or 6 mm out. With the 2in1gaptape the back of the tape itself is marked to take exact account of the width of the body, but unlike other tapes where you have to add the measurement of the body to the reading on the tape, the reading is taken directly from where the tape emerges from the body as the markings have already been compensated for at the hook end of the tape. As for the half moon shape cut out on the body – it allows enough room for your fingers to hold the tape body right up against the edge of the window frame or whatever, so that you get an accurate measurement.
This tape shows that innovation is possible even on an everyday item like a tape measure. And I suspect that this is the tape that is going to be “borrowed” from me if I am not careful.
Next up is the Advent viceVersa tape. Like the above tape it is a standard 5m long tape with another impressive standout and substantial double-sided metal hook. It too has the high vis colouring and accurate and distinct markings in black, but this time only in metric measurements. Every ten cm is marked with a bright red lozenge shape counting right the way to 500cm. The viceVersa bit is easy to get because the tape can be read in four directions – up and down and left to right. The ten centimeter markings make it easy for the user to get the orientation of the easiest scale to use whatever the orientation of the tape. The viceVersa too has a fully rubberized and compact body with metal belt hook. There is a full sliding tape lock as well as a quick release stop underneath the body. I found this tape very easy to use and I quickly grew to like the 10cm measurement lozenges. It didn’t weigh my pocket down either.
The Advent Master Precision tape is guaranteed to be Class 1 accurate and you can really see how the tape itself is marked with thin and precise markings and lots of extra information. First of all it is marked in metric and Imperial. Every 10cm is marked in red cumulatively up to 500cm. Inch and metric measurements line up down a line that runs down the middle of the tape so it pretty easy to read equivalent measurements. The imperial scale is marked in inches, with every foot marked with a black square and arrow. After 1 foot, every inch is marked as 1foot 1 inch, 1foot two inches and so on so you don’t have to convert in your head. Thirty five inches is marked as 2 foot 11 inches for example. For site chippies standard 16 inch gaps for stud partitioning are also marked with an outlined black square. With an easy to grip rounded and rubbercoated body, a quick release catch and a tape lock I very quickly got to like the easy way of working with this tape. As Brucie says, it was my favourite!
Finally I looked at the Superior Tape. Well why is this superior, since the others are clearly good? Well first of all it has a nylon coated blade which offers greater protection and therefore a longer working life for the tape. The blade itself is also of a slightly thicker gauge. Combine this with the slightly redesigned curve on the blade it is possible to achieve a standout of over 2.7m. With a bit of care I was able to routinely get a standout of over 3m which is great when you are working alone. The case itself is quite compact, but well protected with a rubber coating around the circumference. There is also a good metal belt hook, a wrist strap and a blade lock.
These Advent tapes are good. They are easy to handle, light and relatively compact bearing in mind that they are all a standard 5m long. They are definitely worth a look, but you probably won’t find them in a jumble on a trade counter!