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Irwin CommandLock tape measure review

Maxwell's new go-to tape measure


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March 25, 2020 by Steve Maxwell

The Irwin CommandLock has a comfortable shape.

Mounted on a wall in my workshop is a wire basket that holds ear muffs, safety glasses and all the different tape measures I own. There are probably 10 different tapes there and I know that a tape is above average when I naturally grab for that one instead of others. I’ve been using two different Irwin CommandLock tapes for a month and both keep ending up in my hand, especially the 16-footer.

All models in this group have what you’d expect in a pro-grade tape – comfortable shape, effective rubber over-wrap, easy-to-use blade lock, a decent belt clip, 14-foot reach – plus one other thing. Irwin calls it a “touch-button finger brake” and it’s easy to like.

Push the spring-loaded middle of the bottom of the tape case and it holds the blade extended as long as you keep that finger brake pressed. Release the brake and the tape slides into the case again. This is easier than using the locking button when you just want to hold the tape open briefly, and it means the tape blade never has to slam into the case when retracting. Just ease in the end of the tape using the finger brake and you can easily come in for a smooth landing.

One especially nice feature of the 16-foot model is the width of the case from front to back. It measures an even 3” which makes it easier to mentally add the case width when taking inside measurements by extending and locking the blade. Prices for tapes in the CommandLock line range from $23 to $31 from Canadian Tire, depending on model.


Steve Maxwell

Steve Maxwell is the tools editor for Canadian Contractor magazine. You can follow him on his website (www.stevemaxwell.ca), on Facebook or via Twitter.
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