Friday, January 27, 2012

Stanley Fat Max tape measures

Fat Max tape measures

If you work in the construction industry you already know that the one piece of equipment that you use the most is your tape measure. It is also the one piece of equipment that you will have to replace more often than anything else. There are all kinds of tape manufactures and in those manufactures there is almost an unlimited amount of different lengths, styles and sizes.

The most common length for tape in the residential construction industry is the 25 ft tape. The most common tape that is bought and used is the Fat Max made by Stanley. There are many different lengths but the most standard is the 25 ft tape. The most common measurements are imperial (feet and inches), most residential plans are issued in imperial, where most commercial or government plans are in metric.

There are some simple reasons that the Fat Max tape by Stanley is the most widely used, even though it is one of the most expensive tapes to buy;
·         Stand-out. The Fat Max seems to have the largest stand-out of all tapes. Stand-out is when you extend the tape out into the air and you keep extending it out until the tape collapses. Depending on the type of Fat Max you have it usually has 11 to 12 ft of standout. This comes in handy when you are standing on a wall, or a roof and you want to take a measurement. You should be able to extend the tape out 11 or 12 ft to the other person so that you can get a measurement. This will save you valuable time because you don’t have to climb all the way down and climb back up to hand the end of the tape to the other person. Also if you are trying to measure the height of something like a wall, then you will be able to slide the tape up the wall without it falling back on you before you reach the desired height.
·         Twisting. The Fat Max tapes seem to be made wider and slightly more curved to stop the tape from twisting. The reason you don’t want the tape to twist is because then you will not get an accurate measurement. If it’s windy, you want your tape to be able to be slid across the floor to take a measurement without the wind twisting it, forcing you to start again. When the tape twists in mid air the tape collapses. So it doesn’t matter how great the standout is on your tape if at 8ft the tape will twist and collapse.
·         Size. A lot of tape manufactures have made bigger and bigger tapes, so has Fat Max. But the difference between Fat Max and the others is that Fat Max has built there tapes wider instead of making the tape reel taller. This allows you to hold the tape more easily in your hand. It also allows you to get the tape in and out of your carpenter’s pouch. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to pull out a tape that is so large that it is wedged in the front tape holder of your work belt.
·         Longevity and durability. The Fat max tapes seem to last longer on jobsites then other tapes. One reason for that is they are thicker tapes so they can handle more abuse and regular wear and tear. The worst thing you can do to your tape is get it wet. Because the tapes are made of metal, they have a tendency to rust. Cleaning the tape with your shirt as it is retracted or using a glove will help extend the life of the tape. Fat Max tapes seem to last longer in the wet conditions than most other types of tapes.
·         Ease of use. The functioning end of the tape, the lock and feed seem to be always easy to use. The numbers are also easy to read and a good tape doesn’t have too much writing on it. Most people in the construction industry do not need the tape to tell them what a ¼”  and 1/8” is on the tape. They just need the little mark that shows you were it is relative to the ½” mark and the 1” mark.

The only down side to Fat Max tapes is that they are one of the more expensive tapes on the market. But remember YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!            The Fat Max tapes might cost more but they will last you longer and make you faster and more productive at work.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.


  1. Hi/
    Wondered if you could enlighten me please?
    I bought a Fat Max Stanley knife, because it was Stanley = quality.
    Actually it it one of the worst Stanley knives I've ever owned.

    The question is: IS Fat Max Stanley's budget brand?
    Where does it sit with their normal range of tools.
    I do not seem to find it explained on the internet?
    Many thanks, Peter Austen.

  2. Hey Peter, I think a lot of Stanley's problems of late is that they have bought up a lot of their competition, they bought up Dewalt which owns black and decker and a host of other tool companies. There stanley tapes might be a med range knife. I think that if you want a better quality knife you might want to try Irwin which prides themselves on quality over price point.

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