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You’ll note one big change in this long-popular short tape right off the bat: Gone is the FatMax Extreme brand, replaced with the familiar (if not on tapes) Bostitch brand. But hey — forget what’s printed on the case. The case itself represents one of the biggest changes in this tape. By changing the shape of the top just a little, the Stanley Bostitch folks have managed to render the lock switch significantly less susceptible to drop damage, at least according to the press release.

It does feel a more sturdy, and having seen Stanley’s test facilities up in Connecticut first-hand, I’m guessing they’ve dropped it once or twice to confirm their engineering claims. (Of course, as soon as we get our hands on one, we’ll be dropping it a bit, too.)

Until then, we can tell you that it’s pretty comfortable in the hand. It retains a very long — up to 13′, they say — standout as well as Stanley’s BladeArmor film covering and protecting the first six inches of tape. And new in this tape is a 150% larger hook. Sure, this sounds like a simple change. And it is. But it also works. Just like you’d suspect, the increased size makes it easier to catch the hook on whatever you’re measuring.

You’ll find three models on shelves soon: A 16′ checking in at $19 MSRP, a 25′ for $25, and a 35′ for $35. We expect they’ll street for a little less.

In summary: These are all pretty much incremental updates — exactly the kind of small improvements you’d expect in a tool that’s already doing well in the market. We look forward to spending some time with one soon.


7 Responses to Preview: Stanley’s Updated, Bostitch-Branded Short Tape

  1. Eric R says:

    Saw these a couple times. One at the contractors show and one with the sales rep at the local yard. They will not stand out 13ft due to the giant hook. GIANT hook. Maybe this would be good in new construction but not for me

  2. Jupe Blue says:

    Since I go to multiple (3-6) service calls a day I sometime leave tools behind. Spending $25 for a tape measure would mean I have to drive back to the site to retrieve a forgotten tape. Better to use a $8 tape and just buy a new one periodically.

  3. PutnamEco says:

    While I like the tape, the rather large hook is not really that easy to grab when fully retracted, it has a really small overhang.

  4. dreamcatcher says:

    I am with Jupe Blue. Get lots of cheap ones and replace often. Whenever tape measures go on sale I like to buy 5-10 of them. Then at the fist sign of cracking tape or stuck retractor I just toss it (or give it away) and grab a brand new one.

    Same goes for utility knives and chalk lines.

    Some tools should be disposable.


  5. Jim says:


    If buying tapes is your MO. You need to head over to Lowe’s. They have Stanley 25′ Powerlock tapes for ~$9 that include a $10 off $50 purchase coupon inside. Essentially, the tape is free. I buy $40 worth of materials plus a tape on each purchase, then use the $10 coupon the next visit (or sometimes, I have two or more purchases rang up at the same time).

    PS: They have the same coupon with $7 2-Pack WD-40, $15 Dewalt Power Bit Set, $15 Dewalt Drill Bit Set, $9 Dewalt 7 1/4″ Carbide Blade & $? 12-Pack Gatorade.

    The coupons expire October 31, 2010

  6. Chuck Cage says:

    @Jim: That’s totally the Dealmonger spirit, sir. 🙂

  7. Rob says:

    Well are these going to be backed with the same warrenty that the fax max ones have I hope so it has been great for me

    I have a fatmax 25′ and 2 fatmax extremes a 16′ and a 26’/8m
    all have been warrentied once or twice I am however sadened
    by the huge hook that get caught on everything you don’t want it to
    and really isn’t any better for catching things

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