Measuring & Layout Tools2018-10-21T18:34:41+00:00

Measuring And Layout Tools

ruler and other measuring tools on a table

Whatever kind of work you’re doing, knowing the measurements of what you’re working with is crucial. For that reason, measuring tools are likely to be an important part of your toolbox. However, there is a range of different measuring tools that work best in different situations. Let’s explore the options and see where each might be the most applicable.

Measuring tape

A highly portable, palm-sized device, this consists of a case containing a roll of flexible, metal tape, lined with different measurements. The tape is equipped with a clip (or tang) at the end, allowing users to fasted it to edges while the measurements are taken, after which it retracts into the casing automatically. Good for taping the distance between different stationary points.

Walking tape measure

Despite the name, this method doesn’t really use tape. Rather, it uses a wheel at the end of a stick, often made of wood or lightweight metal. A ticker box at the top of the stick, where the owner holds it, displays the amount of distance covered by the wheel are the user walks it along. Good for measuring very long distances for exterior work in particular.


Though they come in some different varieties, most simple rulers are pieces of wood or metal laid out in long, thin strips that measure up to 30cm, but there are also varieties that measure up to three foot and more. They’re most commonly used for design work but can be useful for smaller projects that require more precise measurements. Most straight-edge rulers also have imperial units for measurements, as well as centimeters and millimeters.

Laser measure

A laser measure is used to find the distance from the user’s point of view. It does this with a laser light that is projected. When the laser light hits a surface, the device calculates the distance between itself and that surface and displays it digitally. A laser measure is most often used as a replacement for traditional measuring tape.


Calipers are a small tool that looks something like a handheld vice. Most calipers have hinged metal pieces that open or close alongside the body of the tools, which marks different increments of distance. An object is placed inside the hinges, which are then closed on it, while the body helps users determine the distance between the opposite sides of that object. Calipers come in a range of sizes are primarily used to measure the width of components or the diameter or tubes and pipes.

Angle gauge

As the name suggests, this tool is used to find the angle between two adjacent surfaces. It looks like two straight edge rulers joined at a fulcrum that swivels them open and closed. The user opens or closes the angle gauge to match the surfaces they want to measure, while the component joining the two rulers indicates the angle.

Which measuring tools are right for you depends on the kind of work you’re doing and the dimensions you need to work with. It’s likely you’re going to need more than one, so don’t be surprised if a ruler alone doesn’t do the trick.