Posted On Wed, May 15, 2024

Steel vs. Fibreglass Measuring Tapes

Steel Measuring Tapes

History of Steel Measuring Tapes
The most popular and readily available tape blade in the market, steel blades are rigid, durable, and highly resistant to expansion and contraction with change of temperature. The tapes in their present form were assembled and marketed in the UK in the early 17th century. The first tape measure as we understand today was patented by James Chesterman in 1829. Steel Measuring Tapes are a reliable and common option for general-purpose use including construction, plumbing, carpentry, and DIY projects.

Size & Accuracy
Steel tapes are available in several different sizes ranging from 1m to 50m, depending on the jobsite requirements. Most Pocket Measuring Tapes are made with steel blades, loaded with spring return action. Long Steel Measuring Tapes (popular sizes 10m, 15m, 30m and 50m), feature manual winding mechanisms.

Steel tape blades are especially useful and an obvious choice where high accuracy is important. Pocket tapes can be used to Class II Accuracy, without using any force or weight. Long steel blades can give you similar Class II Accuracy by using 50 newton force (5kg weight).

The quality in a steel measuring tape starts with the carbon content and good quality of steel strip. Minimum thickness variation and a consistent tempering is essential for this good quality product. Every parameter like the quality of the raw material, and process controls in paint, printing, clear protective coating, tape cutting, and assembly are important to manufacture a durable and accurate steel measuring tape.
Special transparent coatings like Duracoat from FREEMANS substantially increase the life of a tape blade.

What to look for when buying a steel measuring tape:
1.Class II Accuracy
2.Pocket tapes should have a Tru-Zero hook which moves. This ensures accurate measurements from both the inside and outside of the end-hook.
3.Check your tape for its finish and look. For Pocket tapes, belt clips, locks and rubber finish case are preferred for ease of handling and measuring. Preferred add-ons include bi-material case with auto-lock or rubber jacket with slide lock mechanism.

Stainless Steel Measuring Tapes are best suited for use in water, damp and humid surroundings, because of their anti-rust and anti-corrosion qualities.

Fibreglass Measuring Tapes

Properties of Fibreglass Measuring Tapes
Fibreglass Measuring Tapes feature a tape ribbon manufactured from multiple strands fiberglass yarn coated with specially compounded PVC. The Fibreglass tape is non-conductive, non-creasing, weather resistant & durable.

For smaller sizes, closed reel Fibreglass Measuring Tapes are generally preferred. For 30m size, both closed reel and open reels are used, depending on preferences and the application for which it is required. For 50m, and 100m, open reel Fibreglass Measuring Tapes are preferred because of their long winding handle, which makes winding easy and quick. Another reason open reel Measuring Tapes are preferred is that they are easy to clean even after winding, with water or air pressure.

Fibreglass Reel

Fibreglass vs Steel Measuring Tapes
Fibreglass tape blades do not corrode, do not conduct electricity, do not crease, or break if sharply bent. All these properties score higher than a steel tape blade. These are also more economical and lighter than their steel counterparts. However, these are less accurate and a bit more elastic compared to steel blades. These are normally manufactured in Class III accuracy. When measuring larger spans with these tapes it is important to measure with the right force/weight to get an accurate measurement. Specified weight for measuring with Fiberglass tapes is 20 newton force or 2kg.

What to look for when buying a Fibreglass Measuring Tapes

1. Class of Accuracy
2. ⁠Good quality printing and finishing of the tape ribbon
3. ⁠Quality of the case and smooth winding mechanism.
4. ⁠When the tape ribbon is stretched, it should come back to its original position.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I purchase FREEMANS Measuring Tapes online?
Select items from FREEMANS Measuring Tapes range can be purchase on our brand store FREEMANS.

2. How do you read a FREEMANS Measuring Tape?
Our blog on How to Read a Measuring Tape can be found here.

3. Is the end-hook on my Measuring Tape meant to move?                      
You can read about the TRU-ZERO hook and other useful features of a Measuring Tape here.

About FMI Limited

FMI Limited is a highly vertically Measuring Tape manufacturing company, with state-of-the-art in-house injection moulding and steel cold rolling facilities. Established in 1950, we are the pioneers of the Measuring Tape Industry in India. In the year 2023, FREEMANS attained recognition as a coveted SUPERBRAND.

All FREEMANS® Measuring Tapes feature a lifetime warranty against measuring defects (this does not cover normal wear and tear and misuse of the product).

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