Bottom line: The Milwaukee 16-Foot Auto-Lock Tape Measure is among the best auto-lock tape measures we’ve come across. The build quality shines, as does its overall durability and its fractions markings. This is an easy pick as one of the best tape measures for woodworkers.
Milwaukee 16-Foot Auto-Lock Tape Measure review
|Blade width||1 inch|
|Housing||Plastic and rubber|
The Milwaukee 16-Foot Auto-Lock Tape Measure is compact and has great one-handed ergonomics for several reasons.
First off, the 16-foot blade naturally means the casing is smaller than other longer tape measure lengths.
Secondly, the rubber is seamlessly molded to the plastic casing and is strategically placed in the right locations for a smooth but grippy in-hand feel.
But the ergonomics aren’t perfect in every scenario. The stiff belt clip means you’ll likely need two hands to clip the tape measure to your tool belt or pants pocket.
The Milwaukee 16-Foot Auto-Lock Tape Measure’s blade is durable enough for regular use. The inclusion of fractions means it is best suited for general carpentry and woodworking.
|Tang style||Bottom tang only|
|Blade markings||1/16” with fractions; Includes 16” on-center stud markings and 19.2” floor joist diamonds|
|Blade durability (poor, good, great)||Good|
|Blade protection||Nylon coating|
Plain and simple, but well built, can best describe the Milwaukee 16-Foot Auto-Lock Tape Measure’s tang. While the tang just includes a bottom hook, it is made of thicker metal than other models we tested. So, you shouldn’t need to worry about the tang bending and leading to inaccurate measurements.
MORE >> How to Use a Tape Measure
The Milwaukee 16-Foot Auto-Lock Tape Measure includes all the essentials and more. You’ll get standard imperial scale markings at 1/16” intervals, in addition to red highlighting at 16” on-center stud intervals and floor joist diamonds every 19.2”. The inch and foot measurements are also labeled in large font for high visibility.
One useful feature of this hand tool is that the blade includes fractions on the bottom edge. The added markings take the guesswork out of recording measurements.
MORE >> How to Read a Tape Measure
We assessed the Milwaukee 16-Foot Auto-Lock Tape Measure’s blade with an abrasion test that consisted of wrapping a dowel in 150-grit sandpaper and rubbing the blade for several seconds. The Milwaukee 16-Foot Auto-Lock Tape Measure’s blade experienced some visible scratches, but the sandpaper didn’t penetrate past the painted markings.
While we believe this tape measure is rugged enough to take a beating and last for years, it didn’t match the highest levels of durability found with some of the best tape measures.
A tape measure with poor self-retraction can be frustrating and slow down your workflow. Fortunately, you won’t have to worry about that with the Milwaukee 16-Foot Auto-Lock Tape Measure. This tape measure shines with a strong self-retracting blade that is easy to retract in any orientation and at varying lengths.
Every tradesman seems to have a strong opinion when it comes to choosing a tape measure with a sliding lock or an auto lock. Regardless of your preference, it’s hard to beat the ease of use of an auto-locking blade, particularly the Milwaukee 16-Foot Auto-Lock Tape Measure’s setup. The button is easy to depress to retract the blade, which is great for one-handed use.
Consistency and accuracy
As mentioned, the Milwaukee 16-Foot Auto-Lock Tape Measure is well suited for woodworking. In such uses, consistency is more important than accuracy. It’s okay to be 1/16” off when making measured cuts, as long as all other cuts are off by the same amount.
The Milwaukee 16-Foot Auto-Lock Tape Measure’s tang is loose enough that you’ll get consistently accurate readings for both interior and exterior measurements.
While consistency is important, we did also consider accuracy. The Milwaukee 16-Foot Auto-Lock tape measure was well within our accepted tolerance of 1/32” accuracy.
A tape measure’s value comes down to balancing the features and build quality with the price. The Milwaukee 16-Foot Auto-Lock tape measure offers great value with its well-built design and the fact that it can be readily found online for around $10. There’s no doubt that this tape measure will endure years of rugged use, which is rare for tape measures in this price range.
Yes. Milwaukee offers a lifetime warranty for its hand tools. The warranty covers defects in materials and workmanship, not misuse and abuse.
This tape measure is durable enough for years of use around the home. The overall build quality outshines many models we’ve tested.