Best measuring tools

Make sure you know your distances.

 

 Things to know about measuring tools

Almost all of us can attest to the utility of measuring tools. They make work easier and more efficient; while there’s always manual measurement, nothing beats the accuracy and precision of specifically engineered measuring equipment.

Some of the best measuring tools actually have the simplest functions. Whether you’re finding studs behind walls and panels or determining if you’re working at level, measuring tools are the choice sidearm of both DIYers and professionals. 

Here’s an overview of some of the best measuring tools.

Using a hose on a builders pencil is more comfortable

Why measuring tools are important for builders and DIYers?

Accuracy and precision are key factors for any project, regardless of scope, scale, and complexity. From the smallest to the largest of applications, getting accurate measurements are vital as a single erroneous reading can end up costing exponentially more than even all your tools and equipment combined. 

Builders can vouch for this as they often work jobs in construction and material fabrication (E.G. wood/metalworking). In building a house or remodeling a room, 1 bad measurement not only costs you time but also resources as you will need to expend more in order to correct mistakes.

For this reason, you need to get your hand  on the best measuring tools for woodworking.

My plumb bob

 What are the most needed measuring tools?

Some of the most basic yet essential measuring tools include:

  • Ruler
  • Tape Measure
  • Laser Measure
  • Engineering Levels (Datum Level, Laser Level, Etc.)
  • Stud Finder

These measuring tools are so vital that they’re necessary for the fields of engineering and construction. Surveyors use these tools to determine the range, angle, and positioning of large areas and are vital towards ensuring the integrity and stability of huge infrastructure. These tools also shorten completion periods because of their ability to easily cover great distances. 

Measuring and marking stud placement

When should builders use digital measuring tools?

Working with multiple wall types

When working with more than just drywall.

  • Cover multiple wall types, shapes, and materials
  • Shortens work time and reduces errors in construction.

Working at big sites or areas

When working with areas in excess of 500 square meters (sqm).

  • Removes the need and tediousness of manual measurement.
  • Eliminates the factor of human-error in measurements.
  • Provides accurate readings over great distances.

Determining elevations

When working with different heights.

  • The easiest and most convenient way to get angular measures. 
  • Makes it easier to determine if you’re working at the level.
  • Eliminates the need for manual observation and computation.

 Top measuring tools for builders

If you want to get ready for your next project, make sure to get the best measuring tools for home projects.

Rulers and measuring rods

  • Better when measuring smaller areas like window flashings, trims, and door frames. 
  • Easily carried, not subject to bend for more accurate readings.

Tape measure

  • Easily covers small to medium-sized areas.
  • Easy to appropriate and adjust. 
  • Long tapes for longer distances.

Measuring a flashing

Laser measure

  • Good for taking distance readings between two points. 
  • Higher accuracy when measuring in intervals. 
  • Relatively cost-effective. 
  • Can reduce the need for a ladder for a safer measurement
  • Can get long measurements quicker, and can calculate “areas” on the depth.

Levels

  • A quick way to tell if you’re working at a level for short distances.
  • Better for leveling if working with smaller materials and hardware.

String lines

  • String lines are a simple measuring tool to set a straight line to work to, you should have 3 or 5 of them.

Measuring wall with string

Plumb bobs

  • Check and build a wall plumb, can now use a laser level instead.

Laser levels

  • Can work up to a 360° plane.
  • A good model will shoot visible level and plumb laser lines.
  • Can plumb wall corners and level door frames with the push of a button.
  • Can also be used as a plan-view square.

Measuring wheel

  • A more advanced version of a tape measure can accurately cover greater distances than long tapes for measurements that don’t need to be perfect.
  • Comes in different sizes for fine adjustments.

 What measuring tools do mechanics use?

Calipers

  • Good for measuring minute linear dimensions like length and diameter.
  • Can take internal and external readings.

Micrometers

  • Accurately measures the outside diameter of circles up to 1 micron. 
  • Good for taking readings of small engine components.

Measuring metal thickness with a micrometer

Depth gauges

  • One of the most accurate ways of measuring the depth from the surface of a reference point.

Bevel protractor

  • A more accurate protractor that can take the least measurement of 1°.
  • Used to test bear angles in very close tolerance.

Engineering square

  • Combines the functions of a ruler and protractor.
  • Used to draw or mark out perfectly straight corners and edges.

Radius gauge

  • Used to measure varying radii of objects
  • Works in good tandem for rounding parts.

 Top brands to consider when looking at measuring tools

When it comes to measuring tools, there are good brands and then there are those that are the cream of the crop. While certain brands are known or specialize in specific measuring tools , brands like Leica and Bosch have good, long-standing track records overall across all their product types such as the best laser measuring tools. 

Leica and Bosch have taken innovation to the next level and have invested greatly in the development and production of next-generation measuring tools. Their digital measuring tools are renowned in the construction industry and are highly looked upon by professionals.

Dumpy being used for leveling

 Measurement units that every trade or DIYer should know

For power or electricity

Units of measure that gauge electrical consumption. These apply to both AC/DC appliances as well as battery operated ones.

  • Watt/Kilowatt (kW)
  • Volt (V)
  • Ampere (amp)

Using a digital multimeter on vehicle engine

For distance

These are units of measure that determine the distance between two or more points and help in quantifying spatial dimensions. 

Straight measurements

Horizontal or vertical readings can range from short to long distances.

  • Millimeter (mm)
  • Centimeter (cm)
  • Inch (in)
  • Feet (ft)
  • Meter (m)  
  • Kilometer (km) 
  • Mile (mi)

Measure kilometer distance

Area measurements

An area is the measure of the extent of a two-dimensional figure in a three-dimensional plane. Area measurements are vital in construction and are driving factors in many fields of engineering and urban planning.

  • Squaremeter (m²) – SI unit that determines floor space and lot size.
  • Acre (ac) -Part of the US imperial and customary system. Usually depicts the expanse of farmland or large private property.
  • Hectare (ha) – Primarily used in the measurement of large swathes of land, such as city blocks and amusement parks. 

Perimeter

A perimeter is an immediate distance around an area. Perimeters usually secure as to what extent a certain piece of land is owned. 

  • Millimeter (mm)
  • Centimeter (cm)
  • Inch (in)
  • Feet (ft)
  • Meter (m) 

Measuring with the Bosch glm400l

 Calculations that every trade or DIYer should know

Calculating a surface area

Calculating the surface area is important as it plays a major role in the approximation of elements of a building’s floor, wall, and roof. Such as with cladding, floor coverings, framing, determining internal linings, appropriating insulation, and even paint application. 

Measure what you need by working out the area then order the materials you need.

Calculating an area squared

Important to calculate especially with regards to material orders and procurement. Integrated into industries such as HVAC due to the involvement of airflow calculations. And a requirement for ground infill, and removal as well as concrete orders. 

Calculating the perimeter

Calculate perimeter to figure out trim measurements and your estimation of general material requirements. Applicable in both internal and external elements of a project.

Trigonometry and finding missing angles

Elevation and heights are imminent parts of building structures. It’s important to be aware of trigonometric and angular measures to be able to correctly check roof pitch, window alignment, and needed wall height adjustments.

The 3-4-5 technique

A popular technique used in carpentry and for ensuring that structures or structural layouts are perfectly square. Makes work faster and easier as well as reduces compounding errors. Usually uses the model of a 3foot-4foot-5foot triangle to square corners. Some laser levels can also do this job.

Laser Master set out

 How digital measuring tools save builders from the error of manual math?

Many digital tools do the calculations for you. Especially in the case of tools that make use of lasers, errors are minimized and the tediousness of manually measuring and calculating long distances is virtually removed. It’s also very erroneous to do calculations based solely on observation and estimation (E.G measuring angles), something that’s easily corrected by laser levels and laser tape measures.

 How to pick the best laser level

Laser levels come in different variants. Based on our analyses, the best kind is either a 5-point laser or a 3×360 one. What you should look for in a laser level are its efficiency and accuracy. You’d want a level that makes building faster and easier.

When choosing the best laser level, look for essential features such as bright, green laser light, a self-calibrating pendulum, plumb lines, and a stable magnetic base. Big batteries are also a good bonus.

 How to pick the best laser measure

Laser measures are great at taking readings over great distances; they’re more accurate and less erroneous compared to manual tape measures.

When choosing the best laser measures, it’s actually important to look at the brand as names like Leica and Bosch pride themselves in the precision of their products and have the track records to boot.  Since these are the modern tape measures, you should look out for models that give you added accessibility such as those with Bluetooth connectivity and smart app compatibility.

 Conclusion

Measuring tools are among the top tools for builders. These mainly portable pieces of equipment can cover great distances and varying heights and produce highly accurate results that make work faster and easier.

Both small scale DIYers and professionals, as well as full-blown industries, benefit and make use of measuring tools as they basically shape the fundamentals of building. Just like how computers dictate the future of society, so too do digital measuring tools dictate the future of construction and building.

So if you’re thinking about your projects, have the best quality hand tools , store them with one of these tool organizers , and start your measuring and planning.

And if you’re still having trouble finding the right tool, you’ll probably find them right here .

Drilling holes concrete with laser level

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