How to Read a Tape Measure?

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To ensure the precision of your projects, follow our tips and tricks below. The motto to live by is ‘measure twice, cut once.

Metric measurements on a measuring tape are displayed in Millimeters, Centimeters, and Meters whereas Imperial measurements are in Feet, Inches, and fractions of Inches. Metric readings are most commonly used in the UK, however, this is purely down to personal preference. Imperial measurements are usually found in red on the top of the blade, whilst metric measurements are in black on the bottom.

Imperial tape measures from the China factory:

  • On a standard tape measure, the biggest marking is the inch mark. It is written as a large number sitting to the left of the line. So 1=1″.
  • The foot measurement shows up on the 12th inch and is written as 1F
  • 1/2″ is the second largest line
  • 1/4″ is the third longest/shortest line
  • 1/8″ is the second shortest line
  • 1/16″ is the shortest line on the imperial measurement and indicates a 16th of an inch

Metric Tape Measures:

  • The 1-meter marking is located at the 100th centimeter and is indicated by 1m
  • The centimeter is the longest line on the metric side of the blade and is indicated by a large number. It is found at every 10th millimeter marking. 1=1cm
  • The millimeter is the smallest metric measurement on the blade indicated by the smallest line rather than a number or fraction. Every fifth-millimeter line is slightly longer to indicate the halfway point between centimeters.

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