Best Chalk Line on The Market 2019: Reviews By An Expert
One of the most overlooked products in construction and homemade building, but certainly one of the most useful you will find. A chalk line or reel is a tool that will help anyone who wants to make a straight, accurate, and non-permanent line in any flat or slightly uneven surface. Yet, it is not the easiest product to pick.
If you are looking for one of these, and want to get the best chalk line possible, you’ll find your answer here. We bring an excellent list of options with their respective review, and a useful set of tips to learn how to pick the ideal chalk reel. So, do yourself a favor and read up!
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What is a Chalk Line Box? Why Need to Use It?
A chalk line is usually made of nylon, cotton or polyester. This line or string is coated with chalk inside the chalk box, this way it can leave a mark on a flat surface when used. The whole purpose is to mark a line, as accurate as possible, and this tool does it correctly.
To use it, the string needs to be anchored in a strong point or held by another person. Then, the person who’s holding the chalk box needs to pull the line as far as is necessary to make the ideal line according to the job.
When the line is tight and completely straight, then the person holding the box needs to snap it sharply to mark the chalk line in the surface.
This process helps to mark walls, floors, and different objects of a wide array of materials without leaving a permanent mark. For contractors and engineers, a chalk line box is one of the most useful products in the markets, as it saves time, effort, and sometimes makes measuring very precise and easy.
Our Top 10 Best Chalk Line Reviews for 2019
When it comes to buying a product, you don’t know much about, there’s nothing better than a well-made review. We spend hours learning as much as possible about these chalk reels so we could make useful reviews for you – take a look!
1. Tajima CR301JF Chalk-Rite Jam Free Chalk Snap Line Box
When it comes to getting high-quality chalk boxes, there aren’t many brands as reliable as Tajima. And only for that, you should pay proper attention to what the CR301JF Chalk-Rite Jam Free box offers.
It offers everything most construction workers or engineers want in their toolbox. From a jam-free design that prevents unwanted issues to a 1 mm braided nylon of premium grade with a polyester line that makes operation easy and straightforward.
You also get a positive-locking system with a fill cap which is gasket sealed which adds excellent safety when using. The extra-wide fill neck allows you to get chalk inside without issues to prevent operation trouble.
And to make it even easier to use and more convenient, you get a thumb-actuated lock hold for the line, which helps to rewind fast and effectively without potential danger.
This item is also protected entirely against impacts and slippage from your hands, thanks to a chunky elastomer cover, you won’t get with other chalk lines. And let’s not forget, it also comes with a superb gear case that prevents chalk from damaging the gears, which makes the product even more reliable in the long term.
The design of the End Hook Stay promotes a more secure operation so you can attach the line to anything with more dependability. And thanks to the stainless-steel pain, you get a line that lasts a lifetime by reducing friction exponentially.
You also get a fantastic folding crank so you can use the product quickly and a 5-gear fast-wind rewind system to prevent a locked chalk line when using. All this plus its magnificent 3.5 ounces of chalk capacity make the Chalk-Rite Jam Free from Tajima an almost perfect option for anyone.
2. IRWIN Tools STRAIT-LINE Aluminum Refillable Chalk Line Reel with 4-Ounce Chalk
If you are looking for a long-lasting and reliable chalk line to have in your toolbox, the Irwin Strait-Line is the best option you can go for. Boasting an aluminum alloy body, this chalk-box won’t let you down.
The line comes with a cotton build, which means you get a very chalk-filled operation that prevents unwanted issues when using. And when you add the superb steel-plated hook and the very large anchor ring, you get excellent stability & holding power to work even in the most difficult of surfaces.
When it comes to results, it won’t let you down either. You’ll be able to enjoy a self-locking metal handle that not only adds even more stability when using but also adds a plumb-bob like a feature that increases overall handiness of the product.
To fill in the product of chalk, you have a well-made refillable case that holds up to 2 ounces of chalk without problems. It works with a sliding opening for easy filling when needed. And you won’t have to buy replacement chalk in a long time thanks to the additional 4 ounces that come with the chalk line.
The whole product is leak-proof and protected from damage, boasting the aluminum alloy construction, you will have a completely reliable chalk line to enjoy. Using smart materials and top-notch design, this line is designed with the whole purpose of lasting a lifetime – and there’s no doubt it can do that and more.
3. Stanley 47-443 3-Piece Chalk Box Set
High quality at the lowest price available, that’s what you get with each Stanley product in the market – and this Chalk Box Set is not an exception.
This set comes with a fantastic chalk reel, perfect to mark lines in construction sites quickly and with the most accuracy, you can expect. Adding the plastic line level that it has, you can expect a very reliable operation that makes this reel one of the best in the market.
But not only it is accurate when marking lines, but it also promotes great durability thanks to an ABS plastic case, which protects the gears and the chalk from impacts. Then you have a stainless-steel hook which helps to anchor the tool effectively and get even more accurate results.
When it comes to filling the reel, you can open the handy sliding door, and put it the amount of chalk you prefer up to 1 ounce. Then you have the folding crank which stores within the case easily to provide a versatile design.
In case you are not using the reel, you can use the hook to store or hang the tool wherever you prefer. And to make it even more fitting, you get an additional 4 ounces bottle of Stanley Blue Chalk so you can use it for years without issues.
4. M-D Building Products Contractor Chalk Reel
When it comes to worthiness, there’s no better choice than the M-D Contractor Chalk Reel. You’ll get an extremely cheap product that still manages to provide excellent results.
Whether it is for tile installation, to mark things to cut or to merely mark levels on walls or floors – this Contractor chalk line will come like a gem for any job. Creating a straight line with little to no effort is something not all reels offer, but this one with a poly and cotton mixed line will help you make hugely accurate lines on any surface.
The reel also comes with a small steel hook attached to the line, so you can anchor it to any nail or point and make accurate lines very quickly. When you add the fantastic lightness and ease of use of the chalk reel, you get the ability to make hundreds of lines without any problem.
The nice feature, however, is the 50-feet line so you can use it on long surfaces without problems. This way you have a way more versatile product that offers hugely convenient operation. Let’s not forget the manual crank reel, perfect to operate the reel without any problem.
When it comes to build, this product is made of hard plastic. This way you get a very durable and reliable product despite its affordability. But as it doesn’t come with any chalk inside, you may want to get some chalk fillings with it when buying.
It works really well with any kind, and it can hold up to 1 ounce at once so you can use this tool without wasting any.
5. DEWALT DWHT47257L Compact Chalk Reel Kit
DeWalt is arguably among the best tool brands in the market, no matter if you are talking about a simple wrench or a large sanding machine – DeWalt always delivers. And the Compact Chalk Reel Kit is one of their best affordable products in the market.
No matter what you need this chalk line for, it will deliver exactly what you’re looking for without problems. From aiding to create a floor plan to providing the lines for cutting materials to even offering washable levels in walls – you won’t believe how useful this reel can be. And it all starts in its amazing design.
Boasting a sturdy plastic case that resists years of wear and shocks, it will help you work reliably and comfortably in all jobs. The design is completely small, so you get a versatile product too that alongside its excellent foldable reel, will never disappoint or promote mistakes.
The metal hook added on the line offers great anchoring power to make more accurate and easy lines. And when you add the excellent plastic grip case, you can enjoy a wholly reliable product when it comes to getting great results.
It holds 1 ounce of chalk inside and provides up to 15 feet of line capacity for great convenience. You will get a product that won’t let you down in any way. Especially when you add the additional 4-ounces bottle of blue chalk that helps you refill whenever you get out of chalk.
6. Milwaukee 48-22-3982 Bold Chalk Reel
For those who want an outstandingly reliable product, the Milwaukee Bold Line is the best chalk reel you can pick. Coming with a strip-guard clutch and a superb 6:1 gear retraction ratio – this chalk line won’t hinder your results.
The 100-foot braided line allows you not only to work in either residential or industrial environments but also helps you get better results in the short and long term. It will make excellent lines each time without problems. And it keeps edges straight, delivering the most accurate and precise lines in the market.
Thanks to the anti-strip clutch it comes with, you can prevent the line from breaking when it gets caught in anything while reeling. The gear will stand several years of use as well, making them completely reliable even for harsh operations.
When you add the 6:1 retraction gear system, you get a set of gears that make little to no stress to the pieces, which makes it not only more effective when reeling but also highly durable & resistant. And when you pair it with the 1.5mm braided line, you get one of the most reliable and long-lasting products in the market.
The tool also has a superb design that prevents spillage, even in the most challenging situations. And with the 3-ounces bottle of additional chalk for filling when needed, you will have a handy product to enjoy, even when you run out of chalk.
7. Keson Little Giant G110 Pro Chalk Line
For large operations and the most durability, Keson’s Little Giant G110 PRO will be the best chalk box you can pick.
When you pick the Keson G110 Little Giant, you get up to 150 feet of line capacity, making it the longest available reel you can get. But not only it has a long line, but it also comes with a fantastic chalk capacity of up to 24 ounces.
This will give you the most convenient product on the list so you can make really long lines on any surface without getting out of chalk or line.
But alongside its large capacity in both string and chalk, you also get a large design that works really well for any operation. Is not easy to use for small lines in space-deficient areas, but will still make it easy thanks to grip-oriented handle design.
The string apart from being one of the largest in the market, it’s made with cotton polychord. This means it comes with a mix between cotton and polyester which adds superb strength and excellent chalk marks with little scatter. And of course, it makes it completely durable, even for the harshest of operations.
Finally, you get a steel crank that comes in a large design offering an easy-to-use process and a long-lasting experience. The gears provide magnificent rewind operation, and you will never experience a line-marking mistake when you use its steel ring hook for attaching. In short, you get one of the largest and most convenient chalk lines in the market.
8. Tajima CR401S Auto ReWind Chalk Snap-line
The CR401S is a chalk box known for its hardness and overall durability. Chalk-Rite from Tajima is one of the best models you can buy, especially if you want a product that works well and lasts a lifetime.
This reel boasts a 1mm snap line that provides a bold result in any surface. You’ll receive accurate and scatter-free lines even in the most difficult situation. Made of nylon/polyester, the string also promotes a long-lasting experience so you can use this reel to make thousands of lines without problems.
Another significant advantage is the amazing heavy-duty aluminum case. This will make it completely reliable for years so you can enjoy its effectiveness and great results without problems.
Add the non-slip grip design with rubberized edges, and you’ll get one of the most reliable products in the market – perfect for difficult lines that demand great grip.
For rewinding, you get an ultra-fast handle made of steel, so it’s totally easy to use and provides excellent comfort and durability. And with the fantastic wide neck for filling with a locking cap, you’ll get a product that’s incredibly handy and safe.
Another useful feature you get with this excellent chalk line is the elastomer-wrapped end hook. This way you can anchor the reel to any point without issues and make the most accurate line possible. You’re merely getting a hugely dependable, easy-to-use and straightforward reel of great quality entirely.
9. Shinwa Chalk Line Neo With Powder
When it comes to precision and the most exceptional results, you won’t find any better choice than the Shinwa Chalk Line Neo with Auto Rewind and Super Fine Line.
Shinwa is a brand that makes measuring instruments of high quality, always oriented towards contractors that demand accuracy and great results. And guess what? This chalk reel is not an exception. You will get the finest line in the market, only 0.020 inches thick, so accuracy-demanding users will be undoubtedly happy with it.
The chalk distribution is also exceptional, so you get precise results without any scatter around. And using an unusual spring-loaded rewind mechanism, you’ll experience an utterly issue-free operation. Whether it is making fine lines in tiles or in wood pieces or just anything – this high-quality chalk reel won’t let you down.
The string is 26-feet long, which means you don’t get the same capacity as others, yet utterly decent for its overall size. And when it comes to filling chalk, you just need to open a hinged plastic door and pour the chalk inside.
You also get a metal hook that anchors to nails, screws or in edges. This will aid you in making even better lines without problems. And if the string ever breaks, you can replace it quickly with another one by just opening the case in a matter of a few minutes. Convenience at its best – that’s what you get with the Shinwa chalk line.
10. CE Tools SnapBack Chalk Line
Supposedly engineered by a contractor who wants to prevent the frustration from rewinding – the SnapBack is precisely that: a chalk line that snaps back to the box without effort.
With the whole focus of preventing the slightly annoying act of having to retrieve the line each time while working, the SnapBack provides one of the most convenient experiences in the market. But it is not only its excellent handiness but the superb construction and overall versatility it offers that make it be among the best.
You get a rugged case with rubber grips, perfect for high resistance against impacts but also excellent grip to prevent unwanted results. It works really well for either left or right-handed people and provides an amazing 4:1 planetary gear system for superb durability & results.
The precision cord is made of nylon braided, offering a traditional design that manages to be secure & reliable. With this line you also get a belt clip or tip docking station, so you have more anchoring strength when using and prevent accidents, and a design everyone can use without issues. And with the accurate plumb bob feature, you can use it as a different product as well.
Using it is easier than peeling an orange, especially on the releasable tip that comes with fanged teeth to anchor strongly but without changing the results. And with the SnapBack feature, you just need to let the string come back to you when needed without having to cross the workspace. Add the convenient 2-tab door for filling chalk, and you’ll get an amazing product in every way.
Best Chalk Reel Box Buying Guide For Beginners
As you see, there are several options out there you could pick, but only a few will really provide the experience you are looking for.
To get good chalk line box, you will have to learn how to choose accordingly. Here we have a small buying guide with several factors to pick the ideal chalk reel.
Construction & Design
When searching for a chalk line box, you’ll find several options, and most of them come with completely different builds and designs. But it all starts on the material of the case, which is commonly plastic, ABS or metals, the most used metal is aluminum.
We recommend going over the hardest cases you can. Even though they may be costlier than other options, ABS plastic and aluminum cases tend to make the reel more reliable, durable, and resistant to impacts and other factors.
However, the material of the case is not the only thing to look for. We also recommend going for designs that allow the device to be easy to hold and to maintain while measuring or trying to make a line.
That’s why going for design with rubber grips or with wavy designs that increase grip capacity tend to offer the great experience.
Finally, make sure the case of the product is completely sealed. This way you can prevent chalk leakage while also protecting exterior contaminants from entering the tool.
You will find lines of all types, and they differ in material, length, and thickness. But you will have to know which one to go for before making your choice.
Let’s start with materials. Most lines are made of cotton. But cotton is a low-quality material for a line. While it holds chalk really well and helps to make accurate lines, the chalk tends to scatter around, so it doesn’t make an ideal partner for those who expect a clean performance.
Then you have nylon and polyester. Both are excellent choices, but we recommend going for lines that are nylon/polyester mixes for superb results.
Not only this type of line tends to be more reliable and durable than other options, but it also promotes great accuracy and less scattering when using. A cotton/polyester option may also work well, but scatter a little bit still.
For length, there’s no doubt that the longer the product is, the better it will be. But of course, you may want to stay away from lines that are too long (more than 150 feet) or that are too short (less than 15 feet). Unless, of course, the line is designed to be used for industrial purposes so they can be as long as 500 feet without problems.
And for thickness, you will have a little trickier experience when choosing. Here, it’s always better to go for the thickest option if you want a durable line, but it’s also important to pick something that fits your needs.
Usually, thickness comes in millimeters, and the most common is 1mm. Those options with 1.5mm are also great if you want a thick line when marking. Anything over that can be too thick, but still useful if you need it.
Gears & Crank
The construction of the gears will tell you how effective the reel will be when rewinding or unloading the line before marking. There are many types out there, but it’s always advisable to go for gears that offer at least 2:1 retraction ratio for fast rewinding.
Those options with 3:1 or 4:1 retraction ratio will offer a decent performance that helps to prevent fast rewinds that could be dangerous. And 5:1 option is a little stronger and durable, providing even more safety. However, anything that’s 6:1 or higher tends to be a magnificent choice not only to rewind as fast as possible but also to promote great durability and resistance when using.
There’s not much to say about the cranks. It’s always a great idea to go for the most reliable options but also one that can be stored or fixed in a position when not using. Almost all chalk reels come with manual cranks, so it is vital to choose a crank that’s strong – either hard plastic or metal if possible.
And of course, make sure it can be fixed or store within the reel case, this way it doesn’t move when you aren’t using the tool and prevent damage while handling it.
This part of the chalk reel will attach to a nail, screw, or edge of any object so you can eventually pull the line out of the case and mark it. So, there’s no doubt this is a vital part of each product.
To make the right pick possible, it’s always a great idea to go for the strongest hooks out there. This means you will have to know the material from which it was made.
Typically, they are made of stainless steel, but some often come with carbon fiber constructions or aluminum. For us, there’s no better choice than heavy-duty steel, as it will stand any condition and offer high power and resistance.
But the material is not the only important factor in hooks. You will also have to consider the design. Here we advise going for options with at least two holes of different sizes so you can attach the hook to various objects without issues.
And a useful angle that always helps to anchor the reel to things like protuberances, edges, and so on.
The color of the chalk is also essential. Make sure you go for something that’s visible, especially if you need to mark something in a dark area. We recommend orange and yellow colors over white, blue, red or violet that are the most common.
This way you can see the line either when there’s too much light or when there’s too little. Some orange colors are fluorescent, so they offer superb visibility.
But color also changes durability. Red and black chalks can last up to 2 months, while orange, green and yellow may last up to 3 weeks outdoors and indoors. The least durable is violet that offers only 1 day of durability indoors, and blue and white can last up to 1 week either outdoors or indoors.
To make it brief in fillers, you need a reel that can store at least 1 ounce of chalk. This will allow you to use the product in at least three to five occasions without losing visibility when marking the line.
But of course, there will be chalk lines with 2 and 3 ounces which are the most common options. Some options, however, may offer 12 ounces or more – they are excellent choices for long lines.
Top-Rated Chalk Line Brands on the Market
There are several brands to go for when it comes to chalk reels – but only a few are worth your money. Here we explain six brands that will offer the good experience:
When it comes to marking, measuring and layout tools, Tajima steals the show without a doubt. All Tajima tools are designed to meet all kinds of standards, from overall quality to performance and durability – and the chalk lines this brand offers are other-worldly.
You will get reliable and durable products that won’t let you down when using, especially for their fast rewinding gears.
This brand does not have any tool to focus on, but it is known for its measuring tapes – maybe the great in the market. However, Stanley doesn’t leave chalk lines behind, it offers top of the bunch without problems.
But the best of Stanley chalk lines is the ability to provide exceptional results without breaking your wallet – so you are probably getting exceptional value with them.
Milwaukee is another multi-talented brand, as it makes everything from power equipment to gardening machines and excellent measuring & layout tools. The marking products it offers, however, are not far from the best ones either.
Milwaukee focuses on budget-friendly chalk lines, yet with several features that make them incredibly useful & reliable. So, this is not a brand to dismiss.
While DeWalt is not the top notch brand when it comes to chalk lines, it still manages to offer decent products to enjoy. Focusing on low-priced but useful constructions, you will find DeWalt reels an excellent choice if you want something cheap but handy.
But you’ll still experience the quality that makes DeWalt so famous with all of its tool, so you are not getting a bad product in a way.
You won’t find power tools within Irwin catalog, which means it is a brand that focuses on manual tools most of the time. This can give you a clue of how well-made the chalk reels it offers can be.
The most exciting part of Irwin is that most of the tools this brand offers are exceptionally strong & reliable so you can expect a lot of usable years with one of their reels.
Not the most popular brand for other tools, but easily one of the best for chalk lines. It centers on marking & measuring tools, so chalk lines are one of its specialties. The interesting thing about Keson products is the large and unique designs it offers.
Most chalk reels from this brand are oriented towards industrial application or very demanding contractors and workers. You’ll get superb quality with Keson.
Frequently Asked Questions
So, you are almost ready to buy the ideal chalk line, but you’re still confused in other areas. Well, to make it easy for you, here we answer some common questions people have before buying.
Q: Is there a specific way to store a chalk reel?
A: No, you can store the chalk reel however you prefer. Regardless of the position of the product, it should keep the chalk inside and be protected nicely against any potentially damaging exterior factor.
Q: Do you need two people to use a chalk reel?
A: Normally, no, as they come with a hook that provides an anchoring ability so you can make accurate lines without further help. However, sometimes you may not have where to anchor the hook, so a second person is the great idea to make it work.
Q: Can you use different chalk colors in a single reel?
A: Yes, but it is not advisable. We recommend using only one color per reel, yet some options may offer the ability to mix two types of chalks so you can get a different color to either add visibility or more durability to the line.
Q: How long can the chalk last?
A: It all depends on the extent of the lines you make and the thickness of the thread. The thicker the lines are, the more chalk they will use. Usually, an ounce of chalk can last up to a year for light work, and up to a month for contractors with heavy work.
Q: How many years can a standard chalk reel last?
A: These products can last a lifetime without any problem. But it’s important to keep them safe, to prevent hard impacts that could damage their gears, and never to use the lines close to things that could cut it – so you can add years to your chalk reel.
Q: Can I buy replacement lines if it breaks or starts to function incorrectly?
A: Yes, you can always buy a new line for your chalk reel. But only if your reel allows replacements, as some options may not offer the chance to dismantle and mount a new line when needed.
There are too many options in the market, and some of them won’t even deliver the least decent quality most people expect. But with the opportunities we have here, getting the best chalk line is just a matter of choosing the option that goes best with your needs.
Remember to consider our in-depth reviews and buying advice – so you can make the right pick possible. So, don’t hesitate and pick one now.