When you think about it, it’s pretty impressive how a tape measure can neatly coil up 15 or more feet of metal into a case you can clip onto your belt loop. Science Channel’s Machines: How They Work dissects the modern tape measure to show us its inner workings.
TA+d designed this elegant set that includes an aluminum writing instrument that slides into the body of a matching three-sided ruler. The ruler has a carabiner hole at one end so you can hang it from a bag or belt loop. Choose from metric or imperial rulers and a Pilot FriXion erasable pen or a 2mm mechanical pencil.
These unique curved rulers have a decided advantage over using a compass to draw circles. They have markings that let you measure the diameter of a circle, as well as arc length, allowing you to draw precise circles and curves with a single tool. Sold in 1″ to 3.5″, 3″ to 6″, and combo packs.
This compact multitool is made from durable, long-lasting titanium and packs a variety of useful functions, including rulers, wrenches, a bottle opener, pry bar, a drill guide, a wire stripper, flathead screwdriver, a hex bit driver, a bit holder, and more. It’s also got a keychain hole for easy everyday carrying.
Laser measuring devices can really come in handy when you need to measure a large space and don’t have someone to hold the other end of the tape. Magpie Tech’s laser measuring tool can project beams in both directions, so you can measure space by standing in the middle of it. It’s great for measuring heights too.
If you work with wood, you know how even a single inaccurate cut can ripple through your entire project. Incremental Tools precision metal rulers ensure you have the same measurements on the top and side of materials, thanks to their 90º bend and micro-fine marking holes. Available in 6″, 12″, and 18″ lengths.
The Stria is an elegant and substantial drawing instrument that will look great sitting on your desktop. It folds to half of its length via a metal dovetail joint and opens to provide a 30cm / 11.8″ ruler. It features a wedge shape for confident line drawing, imperial and metric markings, and comes in brass or steel.
Hozo Design’s digital measuring gadget calculates distances as you roll it across a surface. It can measure straight lines and curves with precision, and displays its measurements in inches (decimal or fraction), or centimeters on its bright blue OLED display. Made from stainless steel, aluminum, nylon, and silicon rubber.
This stainless steel tool helps draw circles, arcs, and straight lines, and can also measure. It combines a protractor, straight edge, T-square and compass functions, and can measure in inches, centimeters, picas, and pixels. It packs neatly in your wallet alongside your credit cards.
This study aluminum tool is great for making precise angular measurements. Simply adjust its angle to match the desired location, and it can measure from 0 to 225º with a precision of ±0.5. It measures 16″ long and has both horizontal and vertical angle bubbles for ensuring a true baseline.
This wing-shaped aluminum ruler incorporates a variety of small refinements that make it more useful than most. It’s got English and Metric sides, large whole numbers, clearly-labeled fraction and millimeter tick marks, and won’t scratch up if you cut with it. Available in 6″/15cm, 8″/20cm, and 12″/30cm lengths.
In the world of LEGO, you can’t just buy stuff that’s already made, right? It’s not official unless you snap some pieces together, like this 12″ ruler that’s made up from official LEGO plates and bricks. After you assemble it, you can measure stuff, or just snap more bricks on top.
Designed by philosophy professor Foad Dizadji-Bahmani, the phi-Ruler is an elegant and modern work of functional art. Crafted from 1mm thick solid brass, it has 1″ and 1cm spaced holes in its center for drawing perpendicular lines, arcs, circles, and marks for drawing Golden Rectangles.
Amenitee’s aluminum ruler is designed to make it easy to measure and mark unusual layouts. With its locking bolts, you can mark the position of angles and repeating patterns, making templates for complicated placements such as matching holes for pipes in cabinets and walls. Available in six-sided and 12-sided versions.
This useful pocket-size gadget uses a laser to accurately measure distances up to 130 feet away. It can automatically do the math to calculate distance, area, volume, horizon, and more. The included right-angle mirror makes measuring table heights a snap, and its built-in 6-axis sensor allows it to measure angles too.
Machined from bead-blasted 6Al-4V titanium, TEC Accessories‘ keychain ruler is perfect for taking measurements of small objects, or checking tread depth on your tires. The 3.46″ long Inchworm has markers every 1/8″, while the 88mm long Centipede has indentations every 2mm.
Ever needed to build something or estimate materials off of a set of blueprints? This useful measuring tool lets you quickly get accurate linear, area, and volume calculations by rolling it across prints, even if their scale has been thrown off via copying or faxing.
You never know when you need to measure something. Nick Mankey Designs created this handy leather wrist strap, which can be worn solo, or as a watch strap. It includes both metric and imperial measurements up to 9.6″ long. Available in sizes from 18 to 24mm wide.