Stanley Lever Lock Tape Measure

Category: Tools

A unique tape measure with a nice price, but it's probably not for everyone.

Our Review

Buying a fixer-upper required us to ramp up in the tool department. We'd had a tape measure, of course, but it was a small 10' model that wasn't going to do it for us.

We ended up picking out this Stanley LeverLock on a trip to Home Depot without a whole lot of research. It was one of the least expensive 30' tapes they had and still seamed reasonably well made. We didn't pay a whole lot of attention to its most distinguishing feature--the locking mechanism--until we'd started using it.

The LeverLock system means that this tape doesn't automatically retract like most do. The tape "holds" its position by default. To retract the tape you simply push the large button that is the tapes base. While there is a red override switch that can make this a free-wheeling tape, that isn't how it's designed to be used. This tape is obviously best suited for situations where you'd want the tape to stay extended until you act to release it. While this isn't necessarily a problem for us, it's wasn't a feature we were factoring in when we got it either. With a little more research we could probably have better determined the right type of tape for our needs.

Reading up since then, here are the variables I've found most significant to consider:

  • Length - Figure out ahead of time the variety of jobs you'll be using it for. Keep in mind that longer isn't always better, increasing size of the tape measure and often increasing the curve in the tape (which can make smaller measurements more challenging).
  • Free Wheeling vs. Pressure Release - The standard tape retracts by default and have a switch to lock them in place. Pressure release models (like ours) work the opposite way, requiring you to press a button to reel them in.
  • Standout Length - This is the distance you can extend the tape before it "pops" and bends under its own weight. From what I've seen 8' is fairly standard and 11' is exceptional.
  • Construction - The final variable that distinguishes tape measures is their size and material. Here you'll want to factor in the hand size of your user and the conditions that the tape might come under that will impact its lifespan.

If I were buying again, I'd probably get one of the more popular tapes Stanley makes like the FatMax (known for its exceptional standout) or MaxSteel (highly regarded for its durability).

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The Stanley 30 foot tape measure with lever lock that requires a person to press the release lever only worked for me about 3 weeks. The product is DEFECTIVE and Stanley will no longer repleace them at Home Depots. The lcok mechanism only works for a little while and then it slpis big time. Th plastic gets worn down extra fast and will not catch the tape. They know they have a defective product and Home Depot continues selling them, but Home Depot will not replace them!!!! As far as I'm concerned Stanly SUCKS big time!!! and I will never buy another Stanley product.

Mack--Sorry to hear about your situation. Our's still works. But I can understand your frustration if the store where you purchased the product won't take it back at least to exchange it.

As you can tell by our review, we wish we'd invested in something a little more durable as well.


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Unbiased reviews of tools and resources based on our experiences restoring an old home.

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