All About Measuring Tools

Accurate measurements are often the key to successful home improvement tasks. Devices for measuring distances range from traditional metal rulers and tape measures to high-tech machines using ultrasonic sound waves.
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©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Digital Estimator

This high-tech tool measures and calculates distance, area or volume using ultrasonic sound waves. It has an easy-to-read digital display.

Retractable Tape Measure

This is the most commonly used measuring tool. Sizes vary, as do the calibrations along the sides of the tape. The 25-foot tape measure is the most popular. The first inch of the tape is fractionally short to accommodate the width of the metal hooked end. The hooked end is lipped over an object for measurements or pressed against the end of the tape for internal measurements.

Measuring Tip: Measuring Inside Tight Spaces

Place the tape measure inside the space. Note the reading at the point where the tape enters the tape measure case. Measure the length of the case, then add the two measurements.

Digital Tape Measure

Technology has taken the traditional retractable tape measure to another level. A digital display provides a measurement once the tape is locked in place. Laser measures are also available, although they are a more expensive option. The digital screen can display measurements in US customary or metric units.

Long Tape

As the name suggests, this tape is for measuring long distances, often outdoors. Flexible tape is housed on a reel inside a protective casing. For ease of use, it has a fast-rewind handle and a loop for securing the end of the tape to the beginning of your measurement.

Measuring Wheel

This tool is used for measuring very long distances. The user walks along holding the handles, with the wheel out in front. The machine calculates distances by counting wheel rotations on a gear-driven counter. Allow for a small degree of user error when guiding the wheel, especially when measuring over uneven surfaces. For ease of use, it has a telescopic handle and in a weather-resistant case.

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