HOUSTON – Crafting, sewing, carpentry -- depending on what you're measuring, an error of just half an inch can ruin a project. Sometimes, however, an ordinary tape measure is not ideal for measuring some objects.
In this As Seen on TV Tuesday, consumer expert Amy Davis is testing the Measure King.
The device claims to measure three different ways. There is a roller mode that lets you measure as you just glide the Measure King over surfaces, a laser or with a cord that easily contours around round areas. The measurements are displayed on a digital screen.
"It's rugged and durable, and it's accurate to 1/100ths of an inch," claims the announcer on the Measure King commercial.
To test that claim, we took the product to a construction site where Dave Stovall, president and operating manager of Texas Redbird Remodeling, was working. Every day, several times a day, Stovall reaches for his measuring tape when he's remodeling homes.
"You're measuring down to a 16th of an inch to make the trim fit right, match up right and look right," he explained. "If you're off a little bit, the seams in the corners don't look right. Nothing matches up. The customer's not gonna be happy and we're tearing it all out and redoing the whole thing."
Stovall tried each feature of the Measure King starting with the cord. But every time he measured a 32-inch wide door, the Measure King gave him a different measurement, none of them consistent with what he got using his traditional tape measure.
"I have to trust my old school tape measure. The other one was giving me three different measurements three different times I did it," Stovall said.
The roller mode is supposed to let you measure around curves and irregularly shaped objects.
It measured the bricks around a fireplace within a couple of inches of the regular tape measure, but Stovall called it clumsy and a little cheap.
"I think I could do better with a simple seamstress tape than I would with this roller ball," he said.
He tried the laser mode last. It's supposed to let you measure distances by simply pointing the laser. But again, the Measure King gave Stovall multiple measurements even when he kept the device in the same spot. And for no apparent reason, the digital readout would flash an "Error" message.
Stovall says the Measure King deserves to be dethroned.
"If I can't trust the number it puts out, then what's the point in even owning it?" he asked.
We paid $29.88 for the Measure King at Walmart. Stovall said he wouldn't pay half that.
"I wouldn't buy it for $5. I got better tapes for $5 that'll do the job and be accurate and consistent and fast," he said.
If, for some reason, you still want to buy a Measure King, make sure you buy the batteries for it, as it requires three triple-As.