Tape measures used in construction come in many styles, sizes, and shapes, but a 25-foot tape (like the Stanley 25-footer shown below) is perhaps the most popular at the job site. They are inexpensive and durable, and fit easily into most tool belts.
I have owned my Stanley 25-foot tape measure for nearly 40 years. It is pretty banged up, but it continues to work like a champ. I have wanted to upgrade to a 30-footer for a long time, but could never justify the purchase, since my 25-footer was still very functional and could do everything that I demanded of it. Recently, however, I finally purchased the 30-foot tape measure for building a new 16' x 30' free-standing shelter. The extra 5 feet really helps out on the long measurements and, since the size of the instrument didn't change, it still fits nicely on my tool belt.
While the 25-foot tape measure is the most commonly used measuring device in tool pouches, there are clearly reasons to own other types. I have a 50-foot and a 100-foot tape for measuring and squaring larger objects like slabs and foundations, but since I don't use them every day, I keep them stored in my truck toolbox.
Other Tape Measures
I carry a compact 12-footer in my glove box that I sometimes take into the hardware store to measure materials, etc. My wife carries a small 3-foot tape measure in her purse for measuring items she is planning to purchase for her craft projects.
While my 50-foot and 100-foot tape measures are unquestionably important carpentry tools, I don't consider them essential, since most carpenters wouldn't use them every day. But since the 25 and 30 foot tape measures are used quite often when framing a house or building a deck, or building a patio cover, I have added them to my list of essential carpentry tools.
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