There’s a couple things an electrician should look for when buying a tape measure in Canada. First, we need both imperial (inches) and metric (meters.. centimeters.. millimeters..).. Second, is how long the tape measure is and the weight of it.
The short answer is I recommend the Stanley FATMAX 16′ Tape Measure.
What We Cover in this Article:
- The Best Electrical Tape Measure
- What Tape Measure Length is Best
- What is an Imperial Tape Measure and a Metric Tape Measure
The Best Tape Measure for Electricians
In all my years of being an electrician, I discovered it’s best to have two tape measures. A short one with just inches for daily use, and a long tape measure with inches and meters when doing more technical layout.
Sorry, I only had a 16′ and 30′ FATMAX with inches for the pictures. For the bigger tape measure (25′ or bigger), make sure to get imperial with metric.. that’s what I linked to above!
What Tape Measure Length for Electricians
When you purchase a long tape measure.. let’s say a 25 foot tape measure, they are BIG and HEAVY. If you put them on your tool pouch, because of their weight, they constantly push into your leg, making your tool pouch rub on your leg. (I’ve even lots leg hairs on my thigh because of the rubbing! 😂)
So.. I realized.. it’s best to have a short and long tape measure.
The short tape measure is IDEAL in normal every day use as an electrician. This could be plug layout in bedrooms, or even trying to find center of a light!
The long tape measure I like to have both IMPERIAL (Inches) and METRIC (Meters) so that if the Canadian Electrical Code starts talking in millimeters, it’s easy to quickly reference that. Additionally, the long tape measure is useful when doing long light layout, like if you are in a parkade (underground parking lot), there are banks of lights, and a long tape measure is useful here.
But if you have the long tape measure on your tool pouch all day, and you’re only measuring normal things that are no more than 8-10 feet, I highly recommend the short tape measure with inches so you can accurately measure, and it’s lightweight!!!!
What is Imperial and Metric on a Tape Measure
Imperial and Metric is one of those things that electrician’s would always joke around and question..
Why do we have both imperial and metric?
Imperial and Metric are one of those things that we just have to deal with, and that’s why I suggest having a short tape measure with just inches to easily measure accurately.
The Canadian Electrical Code does talk about metric often, but not all the time. So, when it does mention metric (meters/millimeters), you can easily go to your tool bag and grab your long tape measure with both Imperial (inches) and Metric (meters), and properly do your job and follow the electrical code.
What’s Your Favorite Tape Measure?
In all my years, I haven’t found a better tape measure than a Stanley FATMAX.
Here’s the two I suggest to you:
You can also go bigger like a 30′ FATMAX.. whatever is on sale.. but make sure the big one is imperial/metric and you will be a very versatile apprentice electrician out there!
I do want to say I have tried quite a few tape measures over the years.
Huskey Tools has always made a pretty good tape measure, but it doesn’t have that FATMAX width. So when trying to measure center of a light on a ladder, it can make the job A LOT harder than compared to the FATMAX’s awesome width and strength.
I’ve also tried a Milwaukee Tool Tape Measure, but sadly, only after a couple months of use, the tape actually broke in half, and literally rolled back into the tape measure never to be seen again 🙈..
As I mentioned in my Greenlee vs. Klein Tools video, it’s all about choosing the company that specializes in the product. Klein Tools for pliers.. and Stanley for Tape Measures..
Please let me know if you have any questions or funny electrical stories in the comments.. hope this helps 🙂