Best uses for a measuring wheel

First introduced in the 1600s, measuring wheels have gone by a few different aliases over the years, such as “footage wheels,” “clickwheels,” “distance calculation wheels” and “surveyor’s wheels.”

That last name came from the tool’s chief purpose after it was introduced: to calculate the distance between towns. A measuring wheel is a great estimating tool. It’s important to note that it can be difficult to get a precise measurement with a measuring wheel because it is dependent on the surface. For long distances, we recommend running a string line and walking the measuring wheel next to it.

These days, these devices have one pretty common name – measuring wheels – but can serve a number of different purposes.

DuraWheel DW 500
DuraWheel DW 500
DuraWheel DW-1000
DuraWheel DIGI-PRO

A measuring wheel can be valuable on construction sites, especially when you’re measuring wheels dealing with a rough or uneven surface. Measuring wheels are often designed to be both rugged and lightweight, perfect for long-term construction projects.

There are also smaller wheels used by contractors to gauge the dimensions of a building’s interior.


Want to determine the size of a garden? A measuring wheel offers an easy solution in situations where a tape measure might be awkward.


Professionals in the rail industry can find specially-designed measuring wheels for measuring tracks. This type of work makes it easy to get an accurate measurement, as you’ll be working with even surfaces.

These wheels are built with metal side plates designed to keep the wheel on the track. They are different from the other wheels on our list, as they’re meant to attach to a rail engine, rather than be used by a worker on foot.


You’ll still find surveyors using these wheels, although it’s worth noting that they are used to note distance, and don’t account for other factors such as elevation.


There are several other professions where a measuring wheel can come in handy. However, different jobs require different wheel sizes. In general, the rougher the surface you’re dealing with, the larger the wheel you’ll need to ensure an accurate reading.

  • Smaller wheels (4 inches to 6 inches in diameter) – Realtors, claims adjusters, accident investigations, indoor contractors and designers, architects, carpet layers, roofers.
  • Medium wheels (6 inches to 12 inches in diameter) – Contractors, golf course maintenance and other landscapers, cement and paving contractors, plumbing and irrigation workers.
  • Larger wheels (15 inches or more in diameter) – Farmers, ranchers, landscapers, land management professionals, athletic supply stores, schools.

Does your job require the use of a measuring wheel? Turn to U.S. Tape. We’re a proud supplier of DuraWheel products, professional grade measuring wheels made for rugged commercial use.

With four different models to choose from, each DuraWheel features a balanced in-line design, sealed roller bearings, a high-traction tire, folding handle with a rugged pistol grip and a belt-driven counter for long life and smooth operation.

Visit our DuraWheel page to find the model that’s right for your next project.

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