Dewalt XP Tape Measure Review

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Quick Take

The Dewalt 25-Ft. XP Tape Measure costs a pretty penny for a tape measure, which means the bar is high for performance. Unfortunately, our tested models performed the worst of the tape measures we reviewed, including in critical areas such as self-retraction and ease of use

Dewalt 25-Ft. XP Tape Measure
  • Compact and grippy for one-handed use
  • Reinforced blade at critical use ares prone to breaking
  • Long blade standout
  • Self-retraction mechanism is underpowered
  • Sliding lock malfunction is a concern
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Dewalt 25-Ft. XP Tape Measure review

Weight558 grams
Length25 feet
Blade width1 ¼ inches
Standout13 feet
HousingPlastic and rubber


IMG 1387
Credit: Nathan Hamilton

While the Dewalt25-Ft. XP Tape Measure is both heavier and has a stockier profile than other models we tested, it still has great ergonomics thanks to its compact housing that seats nicely in your hand. The addition of strategically placed rubber on the housing makes this hand tool good for one-handed use as well.

The no-screw belt clip is also simple to slip onto a wide array of material thicknesses. But the Dewalt 25-Ft. XP Tape Measure’s clip is bent precisely at 180 degrees, compared to a more common angle of more than 180 degrees with other tape measures. This can lead to the tape measure not pinching the material it’s clipped onto well, leading to the tape measure falling off or sliding around.

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Credit: Nathan Hamilton

The blade

The Dewalt 25-Ft. XP Tape Measure’s blade is durable enough to withstand heavy use on the job site. It also has a big old 360-degree hook that helps the tape measure and latch onto surfaces in any orientation.

Hook styleTop and bottom hook with wings
Blade markingsStandard 1/16 of an inch and 16-inch stud highlighting
Blade durability (poor, good, great)Great
Blade protectionThermoplastic coating on the first 9 inches

Hook style

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Credit: Nathan Hamilton

As mentioned, the Dewalt 25-Ft. XP Tape Measure’s hook is versatile enough to grab onto your work piece’s edge in any orientation. We also like that the bottom hook, the top hook, and the wings that protrude to the side of the blade are bigger than the other models we tested.

MORE >> How to use a tape measure

Blade markings

Copy of Tape Rows 4
Credit: Nathan Hamilton

This model includes standard SAE markings every 1/16 of an inch, plus red highlighting at 16 inches on center stud intervals. The bottom of the blade does not include any additional measurement scale.

MORE >> How to read a tape measure

Blade durability


The Dewalt 25-Ft. XP Tape Measure performed well in our abrasion tests wrapping a dowel in 150-grit sandpaper and rubbing the blade for several seconds. Only minor surface scratches appeared, and no deep gouges into the painted numbers and markings on the tape.

It’s worth noting that the Dewalt 25-Ft. XP Tape Measure includes an extra level of blade durability with a thermoplastic coating covering the first nine inches of the blade. We didn’t run the abrasion test on this portion of the blade, but upon inspection it’s clear that this section is built for rugged use and longevity.

Self-retraction strength

While the Dewalt 25-Ft. XP Tape Measure shines in some important areas, the self-retraction mechanism performed poorly. We expected far better performance for a tape measure that’s this expensive.

The Dewalt 25-Ft. XP Tape Measure’s retraction mechanism is frustratingly underpowered, albeit smooth, when not needing hand assistance to reel it in. The tape struggled to reel itself back in when laid flat on a surface, held at hip height above the surface, at short lengths, and at long lengths. We couldn’t find any scenario where the self-retraction mechanism did all the work by itself.

We recommend avoiding the Dewalt 25-Ft. XP Tape Measure if a quality self-retracting blade is the most important to you. If that’s the case, the Crescent Lufkin 25-Ft. Command Control Tape Measure is a no-brainer with its best-in-class retraction.

Sliding lock

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Credit: Nathan Hamilton

This is another area where the Dewalt 25-Ft. XP Tape Measure performed poorly. In fact, the sliding lock malfunctioned for the two different models we tested.

The first model purchased worked for half of our testing period before malfunctioning. The sliding lock begrudgingly slid into place and then required a hammer to unlock it. We exchanged the tape measure for the same model thinking perhaps it was just a lemon. To our frustration, the sliding lock seized up again in further testing.

When it does work, the sliding lock is designed well with bulky, grippy rubber that keeps your thumb firmly pressed against the sliding lock.

But it’s difficult to recommend this tape measure knowing that our two tested models malfunctioned so quickly.


The Dewalt 25-Ft. XP Tape Measure was accurate out of the box to our tested tolerance of within 1/32 of an inch.


The Dewalt 25-Ft. XP Tape Measure is one of the pricier tape measures on the market at around $30 online and at home improvement stores. Accordingly, the feature set offered and durability should be just as high.

Unfortunately, the feature set is limited and the tape measures we tested malfunctioned practically out of the box. With such a high price comes high expectations.

The Dewalt 25-Ft. XP Tape Measure doesn’t deliver much value for the price. In fact, there are other more reliable and durable tape measures at far lower prices.


  • Do Dewalt tape measures have a lifetime warranty?

    Dewalt tape measures come with a limited lifetime warranty against defects and/or poor workmanship. General misuse (yes, that means if you drop it off the side of a building) and neglect are not covered. To get a repair or replacement, send the tool to Stanley Black and Decker, 100 Passmore Lane Jackson, TN 38305 Attn: Quality Assurance.

  • Where are Dewalt tape measures made?

    Most Dewalt tape measures are built in the USA but are made with global materials.


Our research for models to test started by searching user reviews at several online retailers. That research resulted in us narrowing down the choices on the market to the models we wanted to review in more depth. Tape measures that appeared over-priced or didn’t offer great build quality were immediately cut. We eventually purchased 12 models for in-house testing.

Our in-house testing involved reviewing the tape measures for their feature sets and their ergonomics, accuracy, and cost. We paid special attention to several critical items: ease of one-handed use, casing and blade durability, good self-retraction, and a smooth sliding lock. In total, the tape measures were assessed across 16 factors. The performance in each category determined our overall editorial opinion.

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Nathan Hamilton
Nathan Hamilton is the founder of DIY Gear Reviews and a recognized expert in the home and DIY space. He has over 200 bylines covering topics such as power tools, hand tools, and woodworking. Nathan is the strategic director for DIY Gear Reviews, deciding everything from the content covered to designing the testing methodologies for lab-tested reviews. He can be emailed at


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