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Klein Depthfinder™ steel fish tapes have permanent laser-etched marks at 1′ increments and a polypropylene case and handle. The $10 Model 56005′s tape is 25′ long and ¼” wide (other models are available, including stainless steel, lengths up to 240′, and 1/8″ widths). When I first saw one at Home Depot, I thought “What’s the big deal with the marks? You push the fish tape through wherever you want wire to run, connect wire to the end, and pull the wire back through. Who needs marks?”

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Their claim is that you can now measure the length of wire runs, or see how much fish tape is left. I’m neither a professional electrician nor a cable installer, and maybe that’s why I don’t see the need for measuring capabilities. Is this something from their marketing department to differentiate the products, or are the marks really helpful?

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On the other hand, the model 56005 seems reasonably priced, and does look a whole lot nicer than my beat-up, old, rusty, metal-cased fish tape.

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Klein [Manufacturer's Site]
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Home Depot

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13 Responses to Klein Depthfinder Steel Fish Tape

  1. fred says:

    We regurlarly use calibrated cord (comes on reels) to measure (approximate) pipeline runs (e.g. sprinkler standpipes)

  2. Philip Roberts says:

    If you know the length of the pipe you can cut off the cable to pull through. If you need to pull multiple pieces of the same cable if you know the length you can do it all in one pull.

  3. Old Coot says:

    What Philip Roberts said. Sometimes it’s important for me to know that a given length of wire (a leftover piece from another job) will work. Sure, I could measure, but a marked fish tape does that with precision and saves a step.

  4. The Motts says:

    You would also use this for pipes where the wire to be pulled is too big to be pulled with just a fish tape. Slide this tape in, note the length, then use the tape to pull in a rope to pull the actual cable.

  5. browndog77 says:

    My first thought is that when you are trying to extend the fish tool through a blind area such as an overhead interior soffit, and something stops your progress, you no longer have to pull the tool out to locate the problem spot. I’m surprised nobody came up with this sooner!

  6. David Bryan says:

    It’s mighty handy to have measurements on your fish tape. Sometimes you don’t pull wire into pipe you ran yourself, or that you can see and measure. Measuring it with your fish tape, if you’re using one, is one of the simplest ways to figure out how much wire you’ll need to set up to pull. Besides that, somebody’s probably going to have to pay for the wire, and it’s an easy way to figure out how much wire they’ve got to pay for. Wire ain’t cheap anymore, and no wire costs more per foot than that little bit too much you cut off.

  7. Cameron Watt says:

    My father was an electrician and as a kid I sometimes helped. Every time I see a fish tape, my blood runs cold. I just wanted to share.

    They’re also good pipe snake in an emergency..sorry, dad.

  8. rob says:

    have one for personal use. best way though is to have pull string and know your body metrics. fish the run, tie off, and pull the tape. just count your arm spans pulling it back and always add a little because I still haven’t seen a cable stretcher.

  9. Brau says:

    My only thought about foot marks is that every fish tape I’ve owned has become shorter and shorter, usually about 6-10 feet at a time when they find some way to become stuck inside a wall. (the fish tape says 37 feet … Hmmm, was it 10 or 26 feet that’s broken off now?) Oh, and I never try to measure wire a run so close that I’ll be in any danger of coming up short, leaving lots of extra in case plans unforeseeably change. You know, like the lady of the house comes home and screeches that the panel CAN NOT go there, no matter what her clueless husband said.

  10. Fritz Gorbach says:

    I’m with rob and brau . . . true that ‘wire ain’t cheap anymore’, but the most expensive one is the one you gotta pull out cause it was too short, not the one you cut off. Oh and i been pullin wires for a few years, and i never knew there was such thing as a graduated fish tape, but I can get damn close with my arm span. I usually figure 10% extra wire, or if is a real tough to measure run, maybe 15%. I almost never waste wire though. I stick the cutoffs in my truck in neat coils, and use them for small jobs, repair work, etc.

  11. Jay Wolf says:

    I read your comments about the measurements on the fish tape. I agree with finding them usefull.

    I was searching for anyone having a problem with the Klein “Depthfinder” fish tape (125 ft). I have purchased annd returned 3 tapes in the last week. First one would not come out of the oranger holder. Second one came out once. I wound it back up and tried to use it again and it too was snarled and would not come out or retract the last 10 ft. The third one just would not unwind out of the case.

    Anyone ever have this problem? Am I doing something wrong?

    Jay

  12. Paul says:

    This is not nearly as useful as you would think.

    1. Fishtapes are not really useful unless their 120-240 ft long.

    2. Occasionally you need to cut off part of the fishtape as the head can become weak or break off over time. Thus, whenever you cut off any of it, the tape becomes inaccurate and you have to always remember to subtract X feet.

    You’re best off using a true tape or simply putting a piece of electrical tape at the end and measuring the fishtape.

  13. Eman says:

    I’m very surprised the reviewer of this fish tape doesn’t see the value of an approximate measurement. When you’re fishing the tape through longer runs it helps to know when you’re getting close to the other opening. Great product!

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