Several months back we ran a survey asking newsletter recipients to tell us about their favorite hand tools—specifically, their brand preference for 16’ tapes, 25-30’ tapes, screwdrivers, adjustable wrenches, lineman’s pliers, and pump pliers. The survey was multiple-choice and broken down by trade; 68 people who identified themselves as builders (GC—New Construction—Multiple Trades). It was not a huge sample size but large enough to get some sense of what builders like.

Be sure to see the links to the responses from other trades and the comments pulled from the survey. Both can be found at the bottom of this page.

No surprise here; if you do new construction you’re less likely than others to use 16’ tapes.

The preference for Stanley and Stanley FatMax 25-30’ tapes is particularly strong among builders.

This mirrors the preferences of handymen, finish carpenters, and cabinet maker/installers: Craftsman in the number one position and Klein in number two.

Of all the trades queried, that answered in significant numbers, only electricians had a stronger preference for Klein linesman’s pliers.

Tongue and groove slip-joint pliers were invented by an engineer at Champion DeArment in 1935 and trademarked as Channellock. The brand became so associated with tongue and groove pliers that in 1963 the company changed its name to Channellock.

Survey Results for Other Trades
All Trades Combined
Cabinet Maker/Installer or Finish Carpenter

  • Remodelers

    Selected Comments from Builders

    16’ Tapes

    likes Milwaukee; says “Comfortable grip, strong tape and large hooking end so it stays where we need it.”

  • likes Stanley; says “always questioned this about tapes.... being right handed, as most people are, I hold tape in left hand and "hook" the material end by reaching across to the right and pull the tape out and mark with my right hand, but the numbers are up side down. why is it universally done like that?”
  • likes Stanley; says “I don't trust Asian tape measures. I have compared them side by side on several occasions and they are all different in measurement. US tape measures are very accurate.”
  • Screwdrivers

    likes “other”; says “Irwin”

  • likes Stanley; says “like the rubber grip.”
  • likes “other”; says “Picquic multi bit screwdriver, absolutely the best tool belt screwdriver”
  • likes “other”’ says “Proto”
  • likes Milwaukee; says “We used to be Klein exclusive, but Milwaukee's new screwdrivers are really great tools and their 16 in one really fits the profile we need and half Klein's cost.”
  • Adjustable Wrench

    likes Craftsman; says “just what i got from my father. keeps on working.”

  • likes Crescent; says “They are called Crescent Wrenches for a reason”