A lean, mean measuring machine.
The Stanley FATMAX Tape has been one the most commonly seen tape measures on site for some years now. They’ve always been tough, reliable and site-ready and now they’re having the big reveal of a new model. Welcome the new Stanley FATMAX next-generation tape measure. The fat’s been trimmed and the latest technology added to increase its durability, but in the same compact package. And as for the four-metre standout, the eight-metre tape has also had an upgrade with a thicker and stiffer blade which gives exceptional reach. I can’t think of a single tradie that wouldn’t benefit from the improvements Stanley has added to this old faithful.
TEST #1: THE ERGOS AND BELT CLIP
It’s the size you’ll notice first.
It feels great in the hand and moulds in perfectly. The smaller size is less bulky and takes up less valuable real estate on your tool belt, and the belt clip seems to slide on and off much easier. The screw’s been removed from the clip and it allows it to glide on and off your belt with ease. The tape seems to slide out of the case like a well-oiled machine. It’s very smooth and the hook grips material well.
TEST #2: STANDOUT
We tested the four-metre standout in a few different areas on site. Some protected from the wind and some not so protected. The four-metre standout was a success. I’ve done this test before and usually the tapes fall short. The next-gen FATMAX not only made it, but didn’t have as much bend and twist as its older siblings.
TEST 3: DROP TEST.
The supplied paperwork said the FATMAX is rated to survive a 15m drop on to packed soil. So, in true WTW style, we thought we’d take it up a notch and try it on to 32mpa concrete. Not once, but multiple times. We wanted to see how much of a beating the new FATMAX could handle.
The test was repeated many times, from different angles and all from around the 13m-to 15m-mark. We dropped the tape once, twice, then three times. The FATMAX barely had a scuff or scratch and the tape still slid out smoothly.
New camera angles were selected and the drops continued, four, five, six times.
I think it must’ve been at least eight or nine drops of 13m to 15m. The FATMAX bounced all over the place, and I was trying to kill it, but it just wouldn’t die.
Now let’s be clear: this was way, way, above the conditions you’d expect onsite. So even though our tape held up without any substantial damage, we don’t recommend repeating this test on site as it’s well-and-truly outside of the warranty conditions.
But holy crap what a weapon of a tape.
This thing took more hits and abuse than just about any other tape we’ve ever tested. I’ve done this test with other brands, and the plastic shell has cracked and become sharp after only a couple of drops from a lot less height than 15 metres.
These tapes are next-level tough.
THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY
The new compact and ergonomic design is an absolute winner for me.
Having a smaller but stronger tape than my previous FATMAX is a huge bonus. The size is thanks to the patented twin-core technology which provides an advanced metal dual-return spring. No more big, clunky tapes! The 15cm of Blade Armour gives the most vulnerable part of the blade a bit of extra reinforcement, and the entire blade is coated with an abrasive-resistant Maxshield coating to give the longest lasting protective blade coating ever on a Stanley.
This thing took an absolute beating way above what the specs said it could handle (which we don’t recommend doing).