A few months ago we had the chance, over at the ProToolReviews.com site, to look at the best tape measures on the market. If you’re keeping up with us over here at Shop Tool Reviews, you know that we’ve been looking at the individual models we tested in our PTR Tape Measure Shootout. This week, we’re looking at the 25′ model of the Stanley FatMax Auto Lock tape measure. The FatMax model includes a wide blade with visible print, an unorthodox, but effective hook design, and an auto-lock feature. This particular model has gained popularity in the trades over the past few years, and we wanted to see, firsthand, what the merits of the Stanley FatMax Auto Lock tape measure were.
Does Stanley Reach Max Fatness?
Let’s look first at the name of the model, and what that name points to: the Stanley FatMax Auto Lock tape measure. “Maximum Fatness” seems like a necessary quality if you choose to name your tape measure what Stanley has. And, to be fair, the blade on this tape measure is pretty fat. Has it reached maximum fatness? Well, it’s a solid 1-1/4″ wide, and we haven’t seen a wider blade in our shootout. While that isn’t necessarily conclusive proof that the Stanley model is Max Fat, we’ll go ahead and give Stanley the benefit of the doubt.
All this talk of fatness is not mere tomfoolery over here; the width of the blade has its benefits. For one thing, a wider blade will have a greater standout than a more narrow blade. It also adds weight, which will help with your ability to throw the tape out. Finally, a wider blade makes for greater visibility. “Fatness,” in these regards, is a positive quality. If we can extend a metaphor here, we’d go ahead and say that Stanley’s tape measure is borderline obese.
The auto lock feature also seems like a big deal here, as it’s stamped on the side of the housing. Everyone will probably have their preference with this sort of thing, but we thought this feature made a lot of sense. Instead of using the thumb button to lock the blade into place, the Stanley Fatmax Auto Lock tape measure automatically locks the blade into place (go figure, right?). You’ll use the thumb button to unlock and retract the blade. Incidentally, users can disengage the lock altogether if they so desire.
We feel that these qualities make the Stanley FatMax Auto Lock tape measure a fine choice for any tradesman. We loved the throw and standout of this model, and the wide blade helped with visibility. Also, we found the auto lock feature helpful, as well as the ability to disengage that feature. The extendable hook attachment, which seems unique to this model, makes for a really “grippy” hook, which will probably help a lot in the world of framing.
We do think that this tape measure would have benefitted from some double-sided printing on the blade. Personally, I found it a little curious that someone would go to the trouble of incorporating that hook design, which grips from all angles, but disregard throwing measurements on the back of the blade. But, all things considered, this tape measure provides some really cool features and benefits for your $23 investment.
Check out the Pro Tool Reviews site for a full review of the Stanley FatMax Auto Lock Tape Measure.
Stanley FatMax Auto Lock Tape Measure Features
- 1-1/4 in. wide blade offers easy readability
- Onboard hook storage securely holds framing hook when not in use
- BladeArmor coating protects the blade from kinks, rips, and tears
- Manual mode disengages lock for speed marking
- Backed by Stanley lifetime limited warranty
- Model Number: FMHT33338L
- Accuracy: 0.0625″
- Weight: 1.23 lbs
- Width: 1-1/4″
- Blade Color: Yellow
- Blade Material: Metal
- Case Material: ABS Rubber Over Mold
- Country Of Origin: USA, with global components
- Maximum Blade Standout: 11′
- Warranty: Limited Lifetime
- MSRP: $22.97