Stanley Fat Max Tape Measure Review

Stanley Fat Max Tape Measure In Hand

Quick Take

The Stanley Fat Max 25-Foot Tape Measure best suits DIY weekend warriors wanting a good enough tape measure for the most common uses. This type of user is the sweet spot since the tape measure isn’t durable enough for work around the job site.

Stanley Fat Max 25-Foot Tape Measure
Pros:
  • Easy, one-handed use
  • Blade coating
Cons:
  • Hooks lacks some versatility
  • Retraction mechanism could be stronger
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MORE >> Best tape measures

Stanley Fat Max 25-Foot Tape Measure review

FeatureSpec
Weight510 grams
Length25 ft (available in 16 ft., 30 ft., and 35 ft. lengths as well)
Blade width1 1/4 inches
Standout11 ft
HousingPlastic and rubber
WarrantyLifetime

Ergonomics

IMG 1439
Credit: Nathan Hamilton

The Stanley Fat Max 25-Foot Tape Measure has a compact profile that sits nicely in the hand. With its wider blade, the housing is stockier than many popular tape measures. But most people should be able to still easily grip this hand tool with a single hand. The housing is made of plastic and rubber, which does help keep the tape measure from slipping easily out of your hand.

The belt clip is good for most uses with a flexible enough clip to easily hook onto different material thicknesses with one hand. But it is worth noting that the clip’s build quality isn’t as great as other tape measures we tested in-house. Our best guess is that the clip is made of plastic material, whereas other tape measures use metal.

IMG 1441
Credit: Nathan Hamilton

The blade

The Stanley Fat Max 25-Foot Tape Measure’s extra wide blade will be durable and long-lasting enough for most uses around the home. The full blade is covered in Mylar for protection. The first three inches of the hook and blade include Stanley’s BladeArmor coating. This increases the tape’s durability in a critical area that receives heavy use.

FeatureSpec
Hook styleBottom and small top hook
Blade markings1/16 inch with standard stud markings at 16 and 19.2-inch intervals
Blade durability (poor, good, great)Good
Blade protectionMylar and BladeArmor coating

Hook style

IMG 1443
Credit: Nathan Hamilton

Some tape measures have hooks that protrude on top of and to both sides of the blade. This bigger hook profile adds some versatility to latch the hook onto surfaces in different orientations.

Unfortunately, the Stanley Fat Max 25-Foot Tape Measure hook is more of a one-trick pony. The hook extends to the top but only slightly above the blade’s edge. This can lead to the hook easily detaching from the edge of your workpiece when using the top hook.

If you want this same model but with the added versatility of a magnet, Stanley offers the same classic style with a magnet on the hook.

MORE >> How to use a tape measure

Blade markings

Copy of Tape Rows 2
Credit: Nathan Hamilton

The Stanley Fat Max 25-Foot Tape Measure has standard markings on just the top of the blade and at 1/16-inch intervals. The blade also includes stud markings at 16-inch and 19.2-inch intervals. The bottom of the blade doesn’t include any markings for measuring.

MORE >> How to read a tape measure

Blade durability

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The Stanley Fat Max 25-Foot Tape Measure’s blade held up well in our tests but not as well as some other models we tested, such as the Craftsman Pro Reach Magnetic Tape Measure.

We conducted our blade durability tests by wrapping a piece of 150-grit sandpaper around a dowel and then rubbing the blade for several seconds.

The main impacts we saw for the Stanley Fat Max 25-Foot Tape Measure were some scratches that penetrated beyond the coating and some minimal scraping of the paint on the tape.

Self-retraction strength

The Stanley Fat Max 25-Foot Tape Measure’s retraction is strong enough for most uses. But it does need some assistance when extending the blade beyond ten feet on the ground and holding the tape at the hip level when standing. This isn’t an issue when the blade is extended at shorter distances.

Slide lock

IMG 1442
Credit: Nathan Hamilton

The sliding lock mechanism sits in the middle of the pack of the models we tested for smoothness and ease of locking the blade in place. The lock can be slid into position and released with just your thumb.

The Stanley Fat Max 25-Foot Tape Measure sliding lock nicely has a short travel, but your thumb is prone to sliding off the plastic button when using one-handed. Adding a grippier material to the sliding lock could help for added friction between your hand and the sliding lock.

Accuracy

The Stanley Fat Max 25-Foot Tape Measure’s out-of-the-box accuracy was within our accepted tolerance of 1/32 of an inch. Measurement accuracy should be spot on with regular use, even for highly accurate measurements needed for woodworking.

Value

The Stanley Fat Max 25-Foot Tape Measure offers a good balance of features for the money. It doesn’t offer every bell and whistle, but it also isn’t going to break the bank.

While researching this tape measure, we found several online sites offering this model for around $20. This price can be considered the middle of the pack and the right sweet spot for most people.

FAQ

  • Do Stanley tape measures have a lifetime warranty?

    Yes. Stanley offers a limited lifetime warranty for its tape measures. Repairs or a replacement will be provided when the tape measure malfunctions due to deficiencies in the material or workmanship. Deficient products can be sent to the following address for potential warranty: Stanley Black & Decker, 100 Passmore Lane, Jackson, TN 38305, Attn: Quality Assurance.

  • How accurate are Stanley tape measures?

    Our tests demonstrated that the Stanley Fat Max 25-Foot Tape Measure was accurate to within at least 1/32 of an inch.

  • Are Stanley tape measures durable?

    The Stanley Fat Max 25-Foot Tape Measure is long-lasting and durable enough for most uses around the house. The model we tested isn’t well suited for day-in, day-out use on the job site.

Methodology

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.

Nathan Hamilton
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 nhamilton@diygearreviews.com.

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1 thought on “Stanley Fat Max Tape Measure Review”

  1. Stanley would not make up on warranty two different times when I had tape measures go bad. Said it was my fault. One tape measure was not even two months old and the thing would not wind up. The other was about a year old and broke in half. 25 foot and 30 foot tape measure if I am not mistaken.

    Reply

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