Stanley Powerlock 25-Foot Tape Measure Review

Stanley Powerlock Tape Measure

Quick Take

The Stanley Powerlock 25-Foot Tape Measure is a more popular tape measure found in DIY and professional shops. It does the basics well and is a valuable choice for many, but it isn’t a fit for construction site usage where durability is critical.

Stanley Powerlock 25-Foot Tape Measure
Pros:
  • Lightweight
  • Smooth locking mechanism
  • Blade and housing durability
Cons:
  • Chrome ABS housing can be slippery
  • Hook isn’t versatile and is easily damaged
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MORE >> Best tape measures

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Stanley Powerlock 25-Foot Tape Measure at a glance

FeatureSpec
Weight380 grams
Length25 feet
Blade width1 inch
Standout10 feet
HousingChrome ABS
WarrantyLifetime

Ergonomics

IMG 1466
Credit: Nathan Hamilton

The ergonomics of the Stanley Powerlock 25-Foot Tape Measure are one of its few flaws. While the tape measure is manageable for one-handed use, it is on the bigger end of the spectrum when compared to other popular models. Most tasks will require two hands.

The housing is taller than average but slightly narrowed with casing edges that can be best described as rounded and sharp simultaneously. The metal body can also be slippery on the hand.

IMG 1468
Credit: Nathan Hamilton

One of the several areas where this hand tool shines is the simplicity and smoothness of the belt clip. That’s because it can easily slide onto a range of material thicknesses, whether that’s on the thinner side in a pants pocket or on the thicker end with a heavy-duty shop apron. In either use, the tape measure seats in easily and stays put. Durability also shouldn’t be an issue since the clip is made of metal.

The blade

The Stanley Powerlock 25-Foot Tape Measure’s blade is built with simplicity in mind and the most common markings needed for most uses. While we tested the 25-foot model, the Powerlock model is available in 12-foot, 16-foot, and 35-foot lengths.

FeatureSpec
Blade durability (poor, good, great)Good
Hook styleBottom hook only
Blade protectionNone
Blade markingsTop only, 1/16-inch scale, 16-inch stud

Hook style

IMG 1470
Credit: Nathan Hamilton

We noted before that the ergonomics of the Stanley Powerlock 25-Foot Tape Measure don’t compare with other leading models. That’s the same case with the hook that is too thin to take a bump without bending.

Our tested model arrived with a bent hook, likely during shipping. This led to the tape measure being off by just over 1/16 of an inch out of the box. While the metal can be bent easily back into place, there’s no doubt the hook will get knocked out of alignment when when falling off your workbench or out of your hand.

We think this tape measure’s design could be with a thicker material hook that has wings on the side and a hook on top. This more versatile and durable design is common with other popular models.

MORE >> How to use a tape measure

Blade markings

Copy of Tape Rows
Credit: Nathan Hamilton

The Stanley Powerlock 25-Foot Tape Measure’s blade includes markings every 1/16 of an inch and red highlighting for 16-inch studs.

MORE >> How to read a tape measure

Blade durability

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We tested the durability of the Stanley Powerlock 25-Foot Tape Measure’s blade using 150-grit sandpaper wrapped around a dowel and rubbed on the tape for several seconds. Compared to other models we tested, the blade’s durability was on par to slightly better than other models. Importantly, the sandpaper only scratched the blade’s surface and didn’t smudge any of the numbers or markings. For a tape that isn’t coated with a protective material, the Stanley Powerlock 25-Foot Tape Measure’s blade performed surprisingly well.

Self-retraction strength

The Stanley Powerlock 25-Foot Tape Measure has the right self-retraction strength. When fully extended, the blade retracts smoothly but without being too aggressive and feeling like it will fly out of your hand as the hook slams into the housing.

Locking mechanism

The tape locking mechanism is one of the smoothest of the tape measures we’ve tested in-house. Unlocking the yellow plastic mechanism is just as easy with the added ridges helping with some grab as your finger moves the button up or down.

The locking mechanism is suitable enough for one-handed use, but the big housing means many people will still be using two hands to unlock the button and hold the tape measure simultaneously.

Accuracy

Our tested model was frustratingly inaccurate out of the box. That’s because the metal hook was bent slightly on one edge. This led to the accuracy being off by 1/16 of an inch. The hook can be knocked back into place, but we don’t recommend buying the Stanley Powerlock 25-Foot Tape Measure if out-of-the-box accuracy is critical.

IMG 1473
Our tested model’s hook was bent out of the box, as seen here on the bottom of the hook. Credit: Nathan Hamilton

Value

The Stanley Powerlock 25-Foot Tape Measure can be found online and in home improvement stores for less than $20, which is right around the sweet spot we think is the best price for most people. Go much more expensive, and most tape measures don’t offer much more value other than knowing you’re carrying a well-known brand. Go far cheaper, and durability is a concern.

The Stanley Powerlock 25-Foot Tape Measure covers the basic uses and does so without costing too much.

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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