Inventor of the oscillating multi-tool and co-developer of the revolutionary new Starlock accessory mounting system FEIN has released three new universally fitting accessories with excellent blade life and cutting performance.

With all the advantages of the FEIN’s German manufactured top selling accessories, the three new bi-metal blades will fit any oscillating multi tool (OMT) with the 12-point mounting system, as well as fitting new machines accepting the Starlock system. The new E-Cut Universal long-life saw blades are available in the following sizes: 50mm x 50mm bi-metal wood blade (wood and nail tolerant), 55mm x 28mm (metal / wood – hacksaw pattern) and 55mm x 44mm (metal / wood – hacksaw pattern).

Made with a stainless steel holder for even greater precision, durability, reduced noise levels and vibration, the wood and nails blade is perfect for cutting all wood, plasterboard, plastic materials and is not affected by mild steel nails up to 4mm in diameter. Equally, the metal / wood blades are ideal for cutting sheet metal up to 2mm, aluminium profiles, copper pipes, all wood, plasterboard and plastics.

Based on the top three selling blades from the pre-Starlock FEIN range, these new accessories have been slightly shortened and narrowed to make them suitable for lower powered machines with the 12-point mounting system. With these three new additions, the total range of Starlock accessories available for the wider OMT market numbers 28. What’s more, because of their superior manufacturing, Starlock accessories can actually improve the performance of the machines they are attached to, offering faster work progress and extra durability. When they are combined with a Starlock machine, the three-dimensional fit provides a more secure connection and increased power transmission from machine to accessory.

Andy Mills, National Sales Manager at FEIN, commented: “The Starlock accessory mounting system is the fastest there is, taking less than three seconds to change a blade, and offers complete power transfer between machine and accessory. The great thing about these new Universal blades is that they offer all the benefits of the superior Starlock accessories to OMT users who don’t have a Starlock machine yet. So while they can’t enjoy the quick blade change, they can at least take advantage of the improved performance and durability of our accessories.”

Available from dealers, prices for FEIN Starlock E-Cut accessories can be bought for as little as £4.99 (excluding VAT). For more information or to find your nearest dealer please visit

SMART Tools and Purple Series Blades - A Cutting Combination?

Aimed at: Anyone, amateur or pro who needs a well priced and oscillating Tool.

Pros: Combined with purple series blades it is a great performer on all materials. 

The market in oscillating multi tools is crammed with many good and excellent products from a majority of leading power tool brands. The result is a range of tools from good to excellent at various price points and the weak need not apply – because the market will be quickly find out the vulnerable.

SMART is not really a brand associated with power tools, and yet the oscillating tool I was sent for review showed all the signs of being a very good product – and to underline the confidence that SMART has in it, it comes with a Ten Year Warranty.

Well presented in a robust French Blue custom fitted plastic case with enough space for the tool and 3m of cord and a load of spare blades, it makes a good first impression. The presentation is neat and professional and with a SSP of £139+VAT it is very competitively priced too. For the tool and 60-piece accessory kit the price is only £30 more. A Fair price to pay for delta sander, scraper etc that put the “multi” into multitool. 

The body of the tool is, well, - sleek and very neat and it looks well made. There are no odd moulding “nibs” or other giveaway signs of a cheaply made product.  It is slim enough to get a really good one-handed grip and the panels of grippy rubber do indeed help to minimise the inevitable vibration generated by this type of tool.

A simple slider switch on the top of the body selects on/off and a six position dial at the cord end selects the speed. An alloy casing on the front contains the oscillating mechanism, metal gearbox and a bright LED worklight. On top of the casing is the blade release lever for toolless change of blades. This operates very smoothly with no “snap” for unwary fingers and the flange fitting is designed to accommodate pretty well all of the range of blades available on the market.  

The motor has the inevitable whine associated with oscillating tools and it is always better to wear ear protection when using them, but the SMART does not suffer from louder noise levels than most of the competition.

To complement the SMART 300W Multi-Tool, the company has focused on the development of its Purple Series of blades that is intended to create a simple solution for the end user - a pack of four blades with the same tooth design and capabilities but in different sizes according to the selected task. Generally speaking this translates into wider blades for bigger and softer materials and smaller blades for more concentrated tasks and harder materials. These bi-metal blades are coated in Titanium alloy to help keep the blade cool and this in turn helps that blades to cut quicker and last longer.

As oscillating tools are often used where there is a danger of hidden nails and screws, the Purple Series bi-metal blades are also designed to cut through through small metal obstructions that could be encountered.

They also have a universal fitting that is compatible with most leading brands of multi tools as well as those with the “quick release” design that simply slides out when the flange is released.

I use multi-tools a lot for my general woodwork as well as on site where they a brilliant “get out of trouble” tool that will do a job where others can’t. On a couple of small jobs where I took the SMART tool with me I found that it was very good at doing the cutting, slicing and getting into small spaces that multi-tools are made for. The range of Purple Series blades proved to be very versatile and I particularly liked the wide (70mm) blade that allowed me to trim off a rafter end flush with the brickwork. And it didn’t seem particularly bothered by the occasional brush with the brickwork either – it just carried on cutting. The semi-circular blade was also very useful cutting out odd pieces of plasterboard needed to fit around a ceiling repair.


Cutting through steel and galvanised nails was also quite easily achieved with these blades. In my experiments I hammered a couple of rows of nails into a strip of MDF and sliced them off level with the surface with no trouble at all. There appeared to a bit of wear on the teeth of the blades, but they continued cutting well.

Cutting the same nails that were deeply embedded in a piece of wood created a physical problem, namely that the friction of the cut creates heat, and this heat has nowhere to escape, so there is a danger of some smoke. Then the user has to take care to use the whole blade, a slightly lower speed and generally adopt a safety first approach. I must stress that this happens whatever make of blades you use, the Purple Series shortened the agony by cutting as quickly and efficiently as possible.

A much tougher challenge is cutting through modern case-hardened screws commonly used nowadays. They are designed to be very hard and cut their own path even into hardwood because they are driven effortlessly by powerful torquey drill drivers. Gone are the days of guide holes and hand screwdriving! And much softer steel screws!

I found that I could cut these screws by slowing the speed slightly and using the whole of the blade.  Again, the amount of heat produced shows just how hard the blade teeth are having to work to cut the steel. I did something I don’t normally do, and I used another brand of aftermarket cutter on the SMART tool just for a comparison of cutting speeds, and the SMART Purple Series blades edge proved to be far superior. It cut more quickly and lasted measurably longer. Certainly the teeth on both blades showed signs of wear and blunting, but the Purple Series blade would still cut wood and softer metals quite happily.

Cutting, scraping and sanding are also done very easily with a multi-tool and potential purchasers of the SMART 300W multi-Tool would be pleased to know that it performs just as well on these as we would expect. Certainly, the SMART plastic case is well-designed enough to hold a range of common accessories that might be used on a decorating job for example.

So, if you want a competent, well-priced multi-tool the SMART might be your answer. Combine it with the Purple Series blades and save yourself a lot of time and hassle too. 


SmaartWipes – bigger, tougher, smarter.

Toolstream’s exclusive new range of SmaartWipes introduces a smarter, instant-cleaning solution for shifting the most stubborn dirt, grease and grime from a multitude of surfaces in the home, workshop, garage and garden.

Bigger, tougher and more effective than your average wipe, SmaartWipes are available in five categories – Heavy Duty, Stainless Steel, Carpet & Upholstery, Universal and Trade. All SmaartWipes deliver a strong, advanced degreasing action that pulls away grease and oil, making them particularly effective for cutting through the stubborn grime and dirt regular wipes simply can’t handle.

Heavy Duty SmaartWipes are coated with abrasive fibres for agitating stubborn dirt, grease and grime, making them ideal for use in the shed and workshop for cleaning hand tools, bikes and machinery parts. Stubborn kitchen grease and dirt is easily shifted with the Stainless Steel wipes, which leave a rejuvenated shine on taps, splashbacks, cookers and other stainless steel surfaces. Covered floors and furniture are also taken care of with Carpet & Upholstery SmaartWipes, which are perfect for removing everyday spots and stains from carpets and upholstery as well as vehicle seats and trim. Also available are SmaartWipes Universal and Trade Value, for widespread cleaning of paint, tar, ink, adhesives, PU foams, caulks, silicone, duct tape residue and pet mess plus much more.

All SmaartWipes are independently tested to BS EN 1276:2009 and contain lanolin, aloe vera and Vitamin E, which means they are environmentally friendly and kind to skin.

SmaartWipes are exclusively available from Toolstream from an RRP of £1.72 (Universal Tough Wipes). Go to for more information.

Ray® Has Arrived: The Innovative Tool That Guarantees a Perfect Seal Everytime

BATOIDEA LIMITED, has announced today the official trade launch of the Ray®, an effortless sealant finishing tool that seals, smooths and removes silicone residue in a single pass, producing a perfect finished seal every time.

The Ray® is proving to be an indispensable addition to plumbers, builders and DIY enthusiasts tool-kit.  The time saving device helps reduce product wastage and gives users the confidence to create the perfect finishing touch when working with all types of silicone, fillers and putty. 

 “We set out to design and develop a simple, easy to use and capable finishing tool to solve the frustrations faced by tradesmen and DIYers when it comes to tackling a sealant job.” says Roger Morley, Inventor and Founder of Ray®.  “We are delighted with the overwhelmingly positive response so far from both retailers and users and we are looking forward to making the product as widely accessible as possible across the major DIY stores, builders merchants and garden centres.”

The Ray® is indeed a remarkably simple, but clever little device that takes on the challenge of creating a perfect finished seal.  Made from a single piece of moulded polypropylene with two wings sprung from the central body which converge at the surface of a joint.  When passed along the seal, the Ray® simultaneously cuts away and collects the residual material, whilst smoothing the surface of the silicone for a beautiful, clean, mess free finish.

The Ray® tool’s genius design and simple shaping is the secret to its successful application every time.

  • Convex smoothing edge which denotes the seal shape and width.
  • Tapered blade edge, profiled for efficient material removal.
  • Thumb locator for convenience.
  • Tensioned hinge to maintain regulated pressure against the respective interfacing surfaces.

Designed and manufactured in the UK, the Ray® tool guarantees an accurate seal with no mess.  The Ray® has proven to be a popular little gadget amongst both tradesmen and DIY enthusiasts and retailing at £4.95, the price is both affordable and accessible for amateurs and professionals alike.

"After many years of struggling unsuccessfully with silicon sealants and various methods of smoothing the bead, I purchased this simple little tool. I could not believe how easy it was to use. Giving a perfect bead first time, every time. It is as simple as the video demo illustrates.”    Ian Price – November 2015

Ray® is designed and manufactured in Great Britain by Batoidea Ltd. Each pack contains two width sizes per pack, including a 4mm blue Ray® and a 6mm black Ray®. Ray® also comes available to buy in CDUs for shelf or till display and handy clip strips for convenient shelf hanging display in store.

For full instructions on how to use Ray® tool please visit

An Industrialised World: The Unknown Aspects

So you’re on your lunch break. Maybe you work in an office, maybe you are a teacher, a doctor or a lawyer. What are you going to eat and drink for your lunch? Have you or your partner made you up a lunch, or will you take five minutes to walk to the closest shop, hastily picking up whatever meal deal they have to offer. If you indeed have a lunch box, the chances are you have a bottle of juice, or maybe a flask of tea or coffee, or maybe your employment space is one step ahead and you and your co-workers chip in every so often to keep the coffee supply in the communal area flowing. However you managed to get whatever it is that keeps you going, chances are you have not considered the industrial back force behind it. That jar of coffee was once one of many, sitting in a stockpile in a warehouse waiting to reach you and your cup.

So in a day and age that is so heavily focused on new and innovative technology, it’s no wonder we don’t think of exactly where the material we have acquired has come from, and how the simplicity of it all is a reality. People that do think of this kind of thing however are the businesses producing the items necessary to transport jars of coffee to shops. Companies like SNAPCO that sell industrial and packaging supplies. Stretch wrap, sometimes referred to as stretch film is the tight material often found around industrial products, and as someone who worked in a few restaurants where the products such as cans of juice would be delivered in bulk – that really hard plastic that kills your fingers when trying to open it. This is part of the appeal of stretch wrap however, its elastic recovery means that whatever is covered is safely protected inside.

If you are a producer, or know one, consider where you are getting your stretch wrap from. Is it the most efficient, reliable and good quality stretch wrap available? SNAPCO offer two types of stretch wrap – manual and machine. Manual stretch wrap is, in industrial terms called ‘hand stretch wrap’, and it is a quick way of safely securing your produce. The excellent thing about this manual way of doing things is the pricing is affordable to everyone, so if you do have a small independent business then this is the most reliable way of ensuring that no damage is caused to any of your products. If you are weary of anyone knowing what is underneath your stretch wrap however, you can invest in black coloured film from SNAPCO to ensure not only safety and reliability, but complete privacy as well. The second form of stretch wrap is for machines. This wrap would traditionally be aimed at larger producers, but that’s not to say it’s not a starting point for a small business looking to flourish. A great product to accompany this larger form of stretch wrap is the Fromm F380 Stretch Wrapping Machine which enables a film tension of up to 250%, and also replaces a job of having to manually wrap things yourself. 

It isn’t just stretch wrap that goes in to getting you that jar of coffee however, other pieces of industrial equipment such as abrasives. Abrasives are materials used to smooth or finish off a workpiece and many kinds are used. Such as cutting and slitting disks, the ones found on SNAPCO are an example of precision and will last a long time with a long service life. Other types of cutting material offered include flap wheels which are used to remove imperfections from surfaces. All products are not just for industry, or production. They are a part of daily life for anyone who so wishes to use them. 

Industry is a part of daily life which we are quick to disregard and take for granted. Just think about it the next time you are sipping on your coffee on your break, maybe you’re reading this with a cup of coffee in one hand at the moment. Maybe you’re thinking about going to get one now. However, just remember there is a girl or a boy in the back room of a shop currently struggling to get in to a package of produce due to the elasticity and reliability of industrial stretch wrap. That’s something we should all consider. 

ABUS Love Locks series - Combine romantic European custom with increased sales opportunities

More and more couples are engaging in the European custom of hanging a lock on a bridge then throwing the key in to the water to symbolise an everlasting relationship or using it to mark an anniversary or similar happy major occasion.  ABUS Love Locks are an ideal padlock for this scenario which is of course particularly relevant on Valentine’s Day or at that BIG Anniversary.

ABUS Love Locks series of padlocks are perfectly suited for this declaration of love and sensibility.  The 72/40 LoveLocks are available in bold red with six romantic motifs and space for personalised engraving.  The new addition to this collection, the 72LL/40 is available in 10 different colours with enlarged space for engraving with both of these padlocks giving the retailer the opportunity to increase sales by offering their engraving services.  The T65AL/40 myLove Lock has a protective plastic cover with two different love motifs. 

For a limited time ABUS are offering a special buying price PLUS free merchandising material AND either a free V6, 6 hook Blister Packed counter display when you purchase 12 LoveLocks and 6 myLove locks or a FREE Heart Counter Display when you purchase 10 of the 72LL/40 engraveable padlocks.

With the attractive displays and merchandising materials, this makes for a beautiful presentation at point of sale.

For further details please contact ABUS UK 0117.204.7000



Hitachi UR 18DSDL Site Radio -Wedge Shaped Sound

Aimed at:- Anyone who needs a tough radio – mostly site pros I guess.

Pros:- Bluetooth, phone charging and good sound and lots more.

Dedicated worksite radios are now quite common. Thank goodness.  The old paint-and-plaster-splattered, slightly out of tune, and usually very loud, radio tuned to Radio 1 is now nearly a thing of the past. The wonders of Bluetooth, MP3 players and new broadcasting technology mean that site workers have no excuses for poor sound quality and endless audio rubbish. Workers and clients can breathe a collective sigh of relief. In fact I had a client come over and examine the Hitachi a couple of weeks ago because he did not believe that the sound he heard (some Bob Dylan if you must know) was coming from something that he didn’t recognize as a radio.

I am rather taken with the shape of the Hitachi UR 18DSDL  - it is a bit like a Hitachi Black and Green cheese wedge trapped inside a wedge shaped cage. This not only looks very modern and “designer” but clearly the outside cage provides some bump protection, an assortment of ways to carry it and a stable base on which it can be sat. Even on a dirty and dusty worksite, only the cage will be in contact with the muck. 

Modern listeners have become fussy, so it is not enough to simply have a radio – lots of other features have to be included too. This radio has to be set up like any other electronic device like a phone or tablet. Time to head for the instructions!

Probably the key thing here is fitting the backup batteries into a small compartment contained within the main 18v battery compartment at the back of the radio. It is a bit of a fiddly job, but once done should last a long time.

A standard 14.4 or 18v Hitachi battery is probably the most common power source for the radio on site. All you need to do is open the back compartment and slide it in on the rails provided.

There is also a mains adaptor provided with the kit should you run out of battery and are lucky enough to have mains power on site.

Now you can set the time, date, alarm, sleep etc etc settings using conventional computer logic. Anyone used to setting up a tablet or phone or games console would be very familiar with this process. To tell you the truth I wondered about all the settings – it is just a site radio isn’t it? But a short poll amongst a few friends soon showed me. Apparently you never know when you might need these functions, so better have them than not.

The radio can receive DAB, AM and FM bandwidths, so users should have all they need, including listening to England (hopefully) winning the cricket on Test Match Special or on Five Live.  There is a choice of manual or automatic station selection and users can then select presets so that they can go to the stations they want very quickly. The folding antenna on the back of the machine can be adjusted for the best reception.

Digital radio can be very sophisticated and a good listening experience and this Hitachi has its DRC (Dynamic Range Control) system that can make quieter sounds easier to hear when the radio is used in a noisy site environment.

Equally, bass and treble can be adjusted to suit, so there really is no need for distorted sound whichever station or method you are using to listen.

I am a happy iPod user, and I love the idea of having only my choice of listening on hand, especially when I am on my own in the workshop where my choices won’t affect anyone else. The Hitachi is capable of playing back from smartphones, MP3 and other devices. Some devices small enough (like iPods) can be fitted into the front of the radio. Simply open the front cover and adjust the ratcheted holders left or right to hold the device securely. It took me only a few minutes to set up my iPod to play via Bluetooth through the radio. Simply select Bluetooth mode on the radio and on the device, and enable them to pair before listening!

Some devices will need either an L cable or straight cable to connect with the radio; both are cheap and easily available.

Smartphones and other small devices can also be charged via a USB cable connection to the radio in every other mode except AM mode. As long as the volume isn’t past 21 level, charging should take place.

There is a lot more to like about this Hitachi apart from its practicality. The two big speakers on each end of the radio provide good quality sound in stereo, where possible.

The wedge shape is quite compact and makes it easy to place the radio in a position where it is stable and not that easy to knock over. I found that I could run the radio for several days before I needed to recharge the main 18v batteries that I used. In the workshop, with easy access to mains power, it made sense to use the AC adaptor.

Just about everyone I asked commented on the quality of the sound. It is great to have the adjustments for bass and treble so that both music and speech radio sound good and are easier to hear.  Having all the radio options, FM, AM and DAB, means that you can have the sound quality and the stations that you wanted. Some of my clients thought that was a great idea – especially the more elderly ones to whom slightly out of tune Radio 1 was not their favourite!

The control panel is logical and easy to use, providing lots of options for the way in which to use the device. All in all, I think the Hitachi UR 18DSDL is a well thought out, well-designed piece of kit that I am sure many Hitachi users will adopt wholeheartedly. Adopting a battery platform these days means that brand loyalty is a major part of deciding which bits of kit to buy, so I think it might be a shame if this radio doesn’t get more of a following. Oh well, there is always the mains adaptor option! 


Click here for more on Hitachi, inculding  Power Tools reviews, such as the CV 18DBL Cordless Multi ToolCS Chainsaw.

For more information on Hitachi Products within the Tool Trade, please visit

Active Products’ ProSeries range capitalises on the trend for gadgets

The gadgets industry is growing fast. Increasing interest in useful and affordable technology is one of the reasons why the AP ProSeries range of torches and spotlights has taken the market by storm in the last three years

Products like the 100 Lumens Head Torch have been racking up 5-star ratings and glowing reviews across popular, well known retailers. They have also become popular gifts at Christmas time, and manufacturers Active Products have experienced increased demand year on year from retailers in the run up to the Christmas trading season.

Ted McLoughlin, Sales Director at Active Products, explains why he thinks the AP ProSeries torches and spotlights have become popular Christmas gifts: “I think it’s a combination of their affordability, their usefulness during the dark, winter months, and all the nifty features that make them efficient, durable and fun to use. The AP ProSeries 100 Lumens Head Torch, for instance, has a really clever on/off motion sensor that you activate with a simple wave of the hand. It’s a fantastic hands-free gizmo for gadget lovers, as well as being handy and practical for dog-walkers, runners, cyclists and anyone who might be tinkering in their shed on a dark winter’s afternoon.”

The range benefits from Active Products’ partnership with Cree, the innovators behind the LED bulbs in the ProSeries torches. A Cree bulb is energy-efficient but pumps out double the light of a standard LED, and lasts 50,000 hours longer.

The AP ProSeries range, including the 100 Lumens Head Torch, is available from B&Q, Halfords and Argos with an RRP of £25.99. More detail about the range can be found at

Draper Tools Redline Launch Reveals Britain’s Home-Improvement Skills

To support the launch of its Redline range of tools, Draper Tools has commissioned a study into the state of the nation’s home-improvement skills and attitudes.

The research revealed a national lack of confidence in many areas of home improvement, with one in five Brits having tried and failed to put up flat-pack furniture and a quarter of people admitting they’d damaged walls trying to put a picture up.

Designed to tackle a wide range of home repairs including gardening jobs, car and bike maintenance, decorating, furniture assembly and much more, the Redline launch has come at the right time with over  a third of people saying that an affordable range of tools they liked, would help them to have a go at home improvements.

Home-Improvement Hang-Ups

It seems some home-improvement help is definitely needed. The study of 2,000 people found three in ten have tackled dangerous electrical or plumbing jobs with the wrong tools and confessed to having ‘no idea’ how to do the task. Half of those surveyed said they would be unable to change a tyre on their car if called on to do so, while less than a fifth were confident they could even keep a household plant alive based on previous failures.

Doing the decorating is a challenge for many Brits with four in ten struggling with painting walls or applying wallpaper, while the thought of bleeding a radiator or removing it from the wall is a fearsome prospect and features high on the list of jobs Brits are stumped about.

Age of Handiness

There is hope though; the study found the average person does start to get the hang of home improvements at the age of 29. This might be thanks to the internet, which is, by far, the place Brits will most likely turn to for home-improvement advice. Fifty per cent of people said they turn to tutorial videos on the web in order to get by, while a fifth admit their dad is still the first person they call if they need something done.

Tom Draper, Director at Draper Tools commented on the findings:

“There have been so many changes in recent years such as the recession, the rise in renting and of course the upsurge in online tutorials, how-to guides and help-videos, all of which may have impacted the nation’s handy skills. Ahead of our Redline launch, we wanted to try and get a better picture of Britain’s handy skills and abilities when it comes to household maintenance and repair jobs.  

We were also keen to understand the nation’s feelings towards home improvements. What the research showed us is that despite there being some insecurities surrounding tackling these kinds of tasks, Brits do want to make their mark and have a go at home improvements. A fresh coat of paint throughout the home, better storage and new flooring were found to be among the most desired improvements for homes today.”

Redline to the Rescue

Featuring quality hand-tools, motoring essentials, decorating tools and more, the comprehensive Redline range offers a fantastic, affordable solution for consumers looking to tackle their home-improvement hang-ups. And there are plenty of repairs that need doing, with 16% of Brits admitting they currently have at least two unfinished home-improvement projects around the house.

What’s more with so many consumers turning to the internet for help with home improvements, Draper Tools has also created a number of handy how-to videos online at

To find out more about the Redline range of tools visit or contact your Draper Tools sales representative for copies of the range brochure. Keep an eye on the Draper Tools social media channels for more statistics and findings from the handiness survey.


New Komelon Tape Measures from Advent Tools- Quality is the reason

There can’t be a British tradesperson who doesn’t own a tape measure. But there is nothing quite like a pocketful of tapes to make you realize which ones you prefer and which ones simply go to the bottom of the toolbox and finally disappear……

Advent Tools is the UK’s leading supplier of quality own brand tape measures.

Recently Advent has introduced the Komelon brand to the UK to increase and complement the existing range of Advent tape measures. But a quick word on Komelon – the company has been making tape measures since 1963 and is a worldwide brand name. With patents including Hi Viz blades and Self-Lock to its name it is clear that Komelon has done its homework and earned its stripes.

There are lots of other reasons why the Komelon tapes have become favourites with end users and here are just a few: - All regular tape users will have seen the edges of tape blades wearing out more quickly than the middle, simply because the edges come into contact with the casing while in use. They often get rusty and can also give a nasty slice if you are unfortunate enough to catch a finger on an edge as it springs back into the casing. Komelon tape blades all have their edges deburred and then coated with the Dura NY coat – a nylon coating that reduces friction, wear, is also rust resistant and helps blades to last up to 10 times longer than conventional coatings.

Users will also value the Komelon blade printing – it is clear and sharp and a simple comparison with a “standard” tape measure will easily show up the difference in visibility and accuracy.

There is nothing quite like having literally a whole box of tapes to try out. The process forces you to look at each one and decide which features you need for the work you do. It also makes you realize just how much thought and design goes into a good tape measure, so you will never undervalue just how useful they really are to just about every trade.

I started with the Pro-Ergo R that is available in 5 and 8m lengths with list prices of £6.90 and £8.90 (excl VAT) respectively. With a solid plastic case that is almost completely covered in a grippy ridged rubber overmould it is easy to handle. There is a strong belt clip as well as a wrist strap for easy carrying. Key features for me are the blade lock on the top of the tape casing and the bottom “pause” button that stops the tape without locking it.

The metric and imperial blade is easy to read with each foot measurement outlined in black and each 10cm mark picked out in red. Stud measurements at every 16 inches are picked out too. It is a good “standard” tape measure suitable for general use and the trade users who I showed it to liked the price points…

The Pro-Ergo C Hi-Viz can’t be missed. Its casing has a shiny plated finish and it too, comes in 5m and 8m lengths with price points of £8.90 and £12.90. The blade is printed on both sides - on the top in a bright fluorescent green and the bottom in white. In a slightly dark room the extra brightness really does show up and of course, like the Pro-Ergo R above, all the commonly used “standard” measurements are picked out on the tape as well. The blade lock works efficiently and I think that this might be the tape for surveyors who value the smooth acting internal mechanism on their non-builder hands.

The Powerblade II is a big handful in its shiny plated case, but it is easy to handle because of some well-placed rubber grips.  A 27mm wide, dual printed, Hi-Viz blade and magnetic end hooks are the USPs of this measure and the whole package works well. For trade users in particular, “standout” is very important and the Komelon 27mm wide blades have a guaranteed horizontal standout of at least 2.7m, and I managed a bit more when I took care. I think metal fitters and welders would love this, especially with the price tag for the 8m version of £14.90

The SELFLOCK Evolution also has a dual printed Hi-Viz blade packed into a orange plastic casing with generous rubber moulding to aid handling. I have decided that this tape would be the one for me, not only because of the magnetic hooks, but also because the patented self-locking system allows the blade to be extended without it springing back into the case. When the blade is released, it returns smoothly into the casing.

Specialists will love the INOX Rubber tape with all 6 key parts, from spring to blade, made from stainless steel – the obvious advantages being that they are rust resistant. Available in a 5m length with a 19mm wide blade and a list price of £13.90 I liked the handling and relatively compact size. The stainless blade is a good contrast to the black printed measurements on it making them really easy to read.

Advent has also introduced several Komelon fibreglass tapes suitable for measuring on site, for example. They all have a high-speed gear mechanism that multiplies the winding speed by three, heavy-duty case construction and durable rollers to prevent the dual printed tapes from twisting. The fibreglass tapes are double coated for long life and also to ensure that stretch is minimal. Rubber bumpers on the exterior protect the tape from the inevitable knocks of site use. But what might be the best news is that the 30m version has a list price of £13.90 and the 100m costs only £31.90.

I don’t think value for money is an issue with any of these tapes especially since they are EC Class II accurate, whereas most comparable models are either unclassified or only meet Class III accuracy standards.

The last tape I looked at in this review was a long steel tape of the kind used in road construction. Accuracy is very important here so the dual printed steel blade is made from high-carbon steel that has been anti-rust phosphate treated. The paint and marking are baked on and then the whole blade is coated with a transparent nylon coating to create a tough embossed finish. The tape is wound onto a beefier, impact resistant winding frame with durable rollers to prevent twisting. These tapes are bound to be more costly, but with a list price of £49.90 for the 50m version, it still won’t break the bank.

Having given these tapes a good run round, as well as showing them to a few tradespeople, the general view is that they are very good and the price points appealed too. Just remember to look at the range, because there is a tape in there that will suit your needs perfectly.    

Aimed at: Professional users who need accuracy, convenience and long life.

Pros: Choose your tape with care – there is a good range with ones to suit your needs. Well priced too.



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