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7 Best Chalk Line In 2019 - Reviewed & Complete Buyer's Guide

Chalk lines date back to ancient times; think the building of the great pyramids, whilst our ancestors used a rock and a string. The innovation the tool has undergone makes our lives far easier. The purpose of it is to create a straight line that you can then work with. Chalk lines are perfect for when the distance between A to B is too long to use a ruler or you need to cut long lengths of ply. The chalk line creates a straight line that you can easily work with and can you help you mark out items such as a stud wall or a joist.

Whilst chalk lines create a straight line, not all create non fuzzy lines. Fuzzy lines can be tough to work with and make cutting long lengths quite difficult. Whilst the chalk line isn’t a replacement for a straight edge, you want to limit the fuzzy line as much as possible. Chalk lines should also be effortless to use, simply shake, fix the end to the desired point and then snap.

I have reviewed the 7 best chalk lines to help you make the best decision possible when you go to make a purchase.

Image

Product Name

Line Length(ft) 

Item Weight (oz)

​Price

Tajima CR301JF Chalk-Rite Jam Free Chalk Snap Line

100'

10.9


Stanley 47-464 PowerWinder Chalk Box

100'

9.6

IRWIN Tools STRAIT-LINE 64499 Chalk Line Reel

100'

4

CE Tools SnapBack Chalk Line with Releasable Tip

-

9.6

DEWALT DWHT47142 Chalk Reel

100'

5.6

Keson G110 Little Giant Chalk Line Reel

110'

15

Milwaukee 48-22-3980 Bold Line

100'

7.2


The 7 Best Chalk Lines On the Market

 1. Tajima CR301JF Chalk-Rite Jam Free Chalk Snap Line

The Tajima CR301JF chalk snap line is a patent pending product that makes the claim that it is a jam free chalk box. Anyone that has used a chalk box regularly knows that a jammed line is nothing shy of a pain in the neck. It is very fast and easy to rewind and as the name suggests it doesn’t often jam. It is made using aluminium and other composites which create a rugged and sturdy chalk line box which is ideal for the construction site. The durable nature of the product means it will last even when faced with living with other tools in your tool box.

It boasts an extra wide neck to help with easy filling and also makes sure the chalk doesn’t spill everywhere. The bigger design means that you are refilling the box less and the line is easier to cover. The size of the box may put people off the purchase, as it could take up valuable space on tool belts. The additional size means that you get a long, sturdy line and excellent coverage.

This Line comes in extra thin or extra bold. The extra bold line is idea for use on blaster board; it gives solid crisp lines that can easily be followed. Therefore, lack of blur or fuzz makes this box a dream to use. With the innovative design of the box itself and other add on mechanisms, it really is exceptionally good to use for standard DIY household projects or on the construction site.

Things We Liked

  • Solid construction
  • Durable and Jam Free
  • Solid lines that don’t really blur or fuzz
  • High quality line that doesn’t fray or tangle
  • Doesn’t waste as much chalk as other products

Things We Didn't Liked

  • You must use very fine chalk to get the best line from this product
  • It is a little bigger than others the market

 2. Stanley 47-464 PowerWinder Chalk Box

The Stanley chalk box is the go to product for home DIY projects. The plastic construction of the case means you can see exactly how much chalk you have left at any given point and also means that you won’t overfill it when empty. The patented design also includes a crank clutch which makes it super easy to pull the string out, which reduces tangling and knots rather than having to wind it out. As the crank handle and mechanism is stealing, it’ll last longer and will not wear as fast as plastic mechanism counterparts.

It comes with a line level that can be easily attached to make sure your line is laid straight. This little gadget makes life a million times easier and stops you having to second guess if the line is straight or not.

As long as the unit is handled with care and you don’t pull the line out or wind it in too fast, it will last. However, if you need to use a chalk line everyday of your life, this isn’t hard wearing enough. It is durable enough for a life of DIY projects in the home but won’t last if you’re throwing it in your tool bag every day and using it on a construction site. It fits in the palm of my hand nicely and doesn’t take up too much space on my tool belt, which is ideal for when I’m pottering around the house. The chalk line that the Stanley 47-464 Chalk Box produces is absolutely good enough for all tasks that you complete in the home, it is just better suited to an easier in door life.

Things We Liked

  • Patented clear windows show you how much chalk you have left.
  • Aluminum clutch crank and handle make it easy to unwind
  • The construction of the clutch crank and handle means that it will last
  • Good size and fits comfortably in your hand
  • Good length line
  • Produces a good solid line with only a small amount of blur or fuzz

Things We Didn't Liked

  • Whilst the crank clutch is constructed with aluminium the rest of the unit is plastic, it isn’t as durable as other products on the market.
  • The line can become easily tangled and snap if unwound and wound up too fast.

 3. IRWIN Tools STRAIT-LINE 64499 Chalk Line Reel

The IRWIN chalk line is a good tool to have at your disposal. The retractable self-locking mechanism is relatively simple to use on your own and means you can use it as a plum bob if you need to. The design of it is simpler than other chalk lines as it doesn’t feature a clutch, this could either be a benefit or a hinderance depending on your personal preference. However, the line is quick to dispatch and easy to wind in.

The Aluminium construction means that is a durable tool and is ready for a life in a tool bag or box. It is more durable than plastic counterparts and can happily be used on construction sites on a daily basis. As it doesn’t have a clutch mechanism there are less parts to go wrong and jam!

It produces a good solid chalk line, without too much blur or fuzz so it is easy to work with. It is not as easy to fill as other snap lines on the market and if you don’t fill it correctly, it can leave chalk marks when you leave it on a hard surface. That aside, it produces a good solid line. If you are using this line on a construction site daily, it may be worth upgrading line to a nylon counterpart as it will be longer lasting than the cotton one provide. If you’re just using it in your home here and there, the cotton line will suffice.

Things We Liked

  • Solid aluminium construction
  • Durable body and smaller than others on the market
  • Lightweight and easy to use
  • Produces a good chalk line
  • Self-locking handle mechanism means it can also be used as a plum bob.

Things We Didn't Liked

  • Can be difficult to fill and keep clean
  • The cotton line can become easily entangled and break, so if used daily upgrade to a nylon line for longer use.

 4. CE Tools SnapBack Chalk Line with Releasable Tip

The snapback chalk line has one of the newest innovations on the market. The patented snap back feature means that you can gently tug on the snap line and the tool will reel itself back in to the unit. The way in which this has been designed means that you won’t catch yourself on any sharp teeth flying towards you at speed. This feature isn’t just a trick to make the product look more appealing, it really is an efficiency saving, meaning that trades men and the like will save time and thus money in the long run.

Thankfully the snapback chalk line isn’t just a one trick pony, the design of the gears makes sure they do not become clogged with chalk and continue to work even with extensive use of the tool. Through keeping the chalk out of the gear system, the line stays in good working order and condition. The design of the entire unit feels really good in your hand and isn’t too invasive when it strapped to your belt. The ingenious design of a pinch system for the chalk doors means less accidental spillage, it also means that’s it is far easier to fill as you have a bigger space for doing so.

Unlike some other products on the market the snapback chalk line comes with an already exceptional snap line installed. It is an ultrafine braided line that creates a perfectly straight line with little to no fuzz or blur. This feature coupled with the snap back feature make snapping multiple lines a thing of the past, it really does make light work of almost any situation you throw it in to. The unit itself has also been built with construction in mind, it is durable and rugged enough to be able to be thrown into a tool box and taken from site to site. All the features from the double pinch release, planetary gear system and braided line make for a long lasting rugged tool.

Things We Liked

  • There are no sharp parts that comes flying towards you at speed that could hurt you, and this is a very well designed feature.
  • The ultrafine braided line makes superb chalk marks, it doesn’t bind and will survive sustained use.
  • Super durable and rugged, ideal for life attached to a tool belt or in a tool box.
  • The gear system is protected from chalk, so no blockages or damage to the line.
  • Double pinch feature means no more accidental spillage from the unit.

Things We Didn't Liked

  • In comparison to other units, it is large and bulky.
  • The chalk line is also extremely long, so may not be as home use friendly as other product.

 5. DEWALT DWHT47142 Chalk Reel

The Dewalt DWHT47142 chalk reel is built with durability in mind. The stainless steel hook and crank are constructed from stainless steel to make sure no corrosion takes place. The body is made of high impact ABS, so it is well equipped to live its life in a tool box. I found that the over moulded soft grip made it really comfortable to use and keep in your hand for long periods of time. As the body isn’t of metal construction, its lighter than others on the market, which is good.

The line that comes in this chalk reel is 100 inches heavy duty line, whilst it hasn’t been as engineered as other products on the market; it is a solid line that doesn’t bind or fray. The line sits well in the unit and can be wound and unwound smoothly without fear of snapping.

The line given by reel is a clear line with some blur and fuzz but you can still use the result easily. The open access doors for chalk refill make the entire process pretty painless and there isn’t too much spillage.

Things We Liked

  • Designed for life on a construction site
  • Durable and sturdy design
  • Comfortable and light to use
  • Strong line that doesn’t bind or fray
  • Leave a reasonable chalk mark

Things We Didn't Liked

  • You can’t see how much chalk is left in the DWHT47142 Chalk Reel without opening the doors
  • Overfilling is a possibility

 6. Keson G110 Little Giant Chalk Line Reel

The Keson chalk line reel has one of the longest lines of any chalk line I have used before. As the name suggests, the line is a massive 110 foot long, so this tool is better suited to construction sites or big jobs. The length of the line might be concerning for some, but the quality of it really is good. The line itself is a strong and durable cotton poly cord which holds a good amount of chalk. You can snap the line multiple times before you need to reel it in again.

The ergonomic design of the handle makes the unit comfortable to use, even when wearing gloves. The unit itself is light, even with the amount of line it is holding which is an added benefit. Even with the lightness of the Keson, it is still durable and can be comfortably taken from site to site with no harm done to it.

The chalk line it provides is strong and clear, whilst the line does take a few goes to bed in, once you have done this, you will find that it can be used again and again. This is a really good line for big jobs such as patios. The length of the line means you don’t have to guess if it is straight like you would do it you led a line over a line.

Things We Liked

  • Super long line at 110 foot
  • Steel crank exceptional handle
  • Comfortable, light and ergonomically designed
  • Gives good line with limited blur or fuzz
  • Ideal for big jobs

Things We Didn't Liked

  • The line is relatively thick, and this can be a problem if it jams
  • Best used on long line jobs only, can become cumbersome if you try and use it on smaller jobs.

 7. Milwaukee 48-22-3980 Bold Line

The Milwaukee 48-22-3980 bold line boasts a strip guard clutch which makes unwinding the line painless as the handle stays still. You can wind the line in from 10 ft in two turns making resetting the line almost painless.

The design of the Milwaukee chalk line is one that is durable and relatively rugged. Although care needs to be taken as unlike some other models on the market, the handle is plastic and attached to metal gears. This does slightly weaken the structure of the Milwaukee 48-22-3980 100 ft. Bold Line, but it doesn’t stop it from being an effective chalk line. This line is better suited to an environment where it won’t be knocked about or dropped too frequently, so is ideal for people who want to have one at home for use here and there.

The chalk line itself hasn’t been as engineered as others available on the market, but the use of the strip guard clutch means that the chances of a jam or entanglement are limited. The line is good enough not to bind or fray inside the unit and creates a good solid line that you can easily work with.

Things We Liked

  • Ideal for use in the home
  • Sturdy design
  • Light and comfy
  • Produces good line with one snap
  • Strip guard clutch limits chances of jammed or frayed line.

Things We Didn't Liked

  • The plastic handle isn’t as durable as other products with metal handles.
  • Not built for life on a construction site

Things to Consider When Looking To Purchase A Chalk Line

When you look to buy a chalk line, the first consideration you should make is are you only going to be using it in the house, or will you be taking it onto a construction site? It seems like a simple distinction but, the engineering between the two are very different. Chalk lines for home use tend to be made from plastic with metal internals and aren’t as engineered as ones that live on a construction site on a day to day basis. This doesn’t mean that they are inferior lines; it just means that what they are constructed from may be different from one another.

Chalk lines that are for use in the home or don’t have a rugged life will be a lot lighter and sometimes more comfortable in your hand. They can be made of exceedingly strong plastic composites that will last and last. Whereas chalk lines that are designed for use in the construction industry may be made using an aluminium alloy or other metal to make sure they can deal with being knocked and dropped on a daily basis. They are built to withstand the pressures of the day to day construction environment and thus made of materials that can withstand such impact. This doesn’t mean that one is better than the other; it simply means that they both serve a good purpose.

Once you have decided on how your chalk line is going to spend its life, be it at home or on a construction site, you need to look at the length of the line. There is little to no point in having a line that is far too long for what you need it for. Not using the full length of the line regularly can use the line to bind within the tool itself and cause jamming if you ever do need to get the full line out of the unit. If you need a very long line but want to use it at home, look for a solid plastic chalk line unit with a line just over the maximum amount of work you will be doing. The same applies if you are using a chalk line on a construction site, make sure you get the right line for the right job.

Once you have whittled your choices down between chalk line unit composition, where it will spend its life and the length of the line, now is a good time to look at what type of line best suits you. If you are using the line infrequently, a cotton poly blend will be ideal, they are strong lines that give good results when snapped against a flat surface. These lines will absorb chalk well and as long as use is infrequent, wont bind, fray or cause the unit to jam. If you are using the chalk line on a daily basis, on rougher surfaces and the unit is knocked about, a nylon type line will be the choice to make. Nylon lines are harder and longer wearing than cotton counterparts, they don’t fray or bind with extended use and will last as long as the chalk line unit does.

Features of different chalk lines can greatly vary; some have protected gears whilst others have innovative design features. It indicates you never have to walk over to undo it and wind it in ever again. Features of the chalk line comes down to personal preference as well as what is available to you once you have made the decision about what and how you will use your chalk line.

What Can You Do With A C​halk line?

A chalk line isn’t just a tool for marking out a line on a piece of wood you need to cut. They can be used for a variety of things in and around the home as well as at work on the construction site.

Gardening

You can use a long chalk line when you are edging your lawn, the chalk line that is laid down will wash away with a hose and you will get a perfectly straight finish.

Patios and Decking

You can use the chalk line to help you get the perfect finish on your patio or decking. Simply snap the line and dig against it to ensure a perfectly even and straight finish.

Decoration

You can use the snap line as a line to paint up to, or you can use it for when you are putting in new plaster board. Use the line to marry up with the joists or stud, snap it, and then drill into the plasterboard where the line is, that way you can make sure you never miss a joist again. They are also really good for using for wallpapering when you use the plumb bob feature to make sure that the sides are perfectly vertical.

Plumbing and Electrics

Use a chalk line to mark where pipes run behind walls to save you a costly accident from drilling through them, likewise, where any electrical trucking runs to save from an electric shock.

Floor Boards

Lay floorboards perfectly straight by utilising a chalk line! Make sure the al run at the same horizontal angel.

Safety Considerations To Follow

Whilst chalk lines aren’t the most dangerous of tools, there are a few things to make sure of when you are using them to avoid injury. When you go to snap the line, make sure the end is firmly fixed. This way it won’t kick back and hit you, someone else or any fragile surface around the area you are working.

Most brands of chalk used in chalk lines aren’t toxic, but you should avoid getting it in your eyes and mouth. If you do get it in your eyes, rinse will cool water and if you swallow any, consult the package and that will give you further directions.

Most snap lines come with moving parts, especially a handle to wind the line back in. When winding the line back in, make sure you slow down towards the end so that the end clip doesn’t catch your hand and injure you. Likewise, when in use make sure you don’t pull the line so taught that it can snap and cause injury.

When changing the chalk, avoid putting fingers in the gears as they can become trapped, don’t move the handle whilst you are changing the chalk either to avoid injury.

Conclusion

With this handy guide choosing a chalk line should be a walk in the park. Before you make your choice, consider how you are going to use the line, where you are going to use it and the maximum length of line you need. All these factors will help you choose the best line for the job. For infrequent use, the best types of line are cotton based, whereas if you are using the line on a daily basis, the ideal line for you will be a braided nylon blend. This will aid in accuracy as well as providing you with a tool that is long lasting.

Different brands of chalk lines come with different features and depending on what you will be using it for will vary greatly from someone else. If you spend the majority of the day using this tool, look for lines that will increase your efficiency, that are hard wearing and can withstand being dropped. Likewise, if you use the line infrequently but over long distances, look for a durable plastic chalk line that has a longer than average line so that it will continue to meet all your needs.

You don’t just have to use your chalk line for one off jobs. Whether you add it into your lawn routine or start using it when you are decorating, they are good and useful tools to have in your house and in your tool box. Whilst they aren’t a replacement for a straight edge over short distances, they make the A to B of long distances far easier than other alternatives.

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