Best tape measures

I was watching one of fireballs old video about making a box and hiring 3 different groups to make it. He talks a lot about tolerance and accuracy. I think fireball is a fantastic fabricator but something in the video caught my eye. He uses all these amazing tools to achieve these tolerances but he is using a Stanley fatmax 25ft tape measure which in my experience is one of the most inaccurate and inconsistent tape measures you can get. I just wanted this post to help I form on this. I have found Stanley tape measures to measure 1/8 of an inch off over 12ft in either direction. My experience has shown that some of the most accurate tape measures are the Lufkins and Fastcap tape measure, the Fastcap does have some fragile writing but both tapes are more accurate than certified starrett tapes. Hope this helps someone. And I would like to know anyone elses experience with tapes.

As a capable tinkered, DIYr, and amateur machinist I have used a Stanley 20ft for over a decade and found it to be reliable. I have several sprinkled around and regularly measure down to the 1/16" with little fan fair. I also have a few other misc brands that are sprinkled in the mix and have tossed tapes for being inaccurate, but not a Stanley.
Now I’m super curious to hear what others think.

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Back in the 80s I was hanging steel on a jobsite and a cut I-beam just wouldn’t fit where it was supposed to. After some cussing and a trim it finally went into place yet the person that cut it insisted it was spot on. We gathered everyone over and pulled all our tapes out to 20 feet. I was very surprised to find that from smallest to largest was more than 1/4" difference. These were all top brands. I went through all my tapes and pitched any that didn’t jive. Now whenever I get a new one, I check it before putting it in service.

If you have one tape measure you will know the length. If you have two you won’t know the length. A take off of if you have one watch…

I personally like the Milwaukee 25’ Magnetic. I have couple but none substitute for another. One is in the wood shop and another one on the welding side. They are each marked so as not to confuse one with the other.

This does bring in an interesting question such as if a customer walks in with a critical measurement do you trust it? Should you verify in some way?

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Well, this conversation has been curious to me so I’ve been checking random tape measures. When I gathered all of the tapes in my own shop I noticed that 2 of them were 1/8" of from the rest (I only grabbed a picture of the first 4 I checked). I own 2 25ft and one 30ft Stanley tapes but need to get them all in one spot next.