Top 11 Best Chalk Lines In 2020

When you don’t have access to a framing square, it’s still easy to mark out straight lines and edges.

Usually, DIY enthusiasts and builders prefer chalk line reels that wind up nicely. A dependable winding mechanism enhances the functionality of your marking tool.

The best chalk lines can be used on uneven surfaces and they allow users to reel their cords without a jam. Also, you can re-spool reels with a 100-foot cord easily.

Apart from chalk lines with reliable rewinding mechanisms, it’s common to see smooth cotton strings and compartments for storing a large mass of chalks.

You need jam-free chalk lines with sturdy ABS cases for many reasons. Many models of premium chalk lines help to make bold and clear colors.

They might be temporary colors, but these chalk dust are clear. After using these tools for respective applications, these marks can be cleaned. However, the layout tool offers non-permanent lines, and it can prevent downtimes during extensive measuring tasks.

While using this type of marking tool on woods and concrete surfaces, you can maintain clean workspaces and work accurately.

A handy chalk line often weighs at least 115 grams and measures 150 × 70 × 35mm. However, well-designed chalk line devices come with clear sight glasses that allow users to monitor the chalk’s level.

11 Chalk Line Reviews

#1. IRWIN Tools Aluminum STRAIT-LINE Combo

IRWIN Tools Aluminum STRAIT-LINE Combo

Irwin Tools STRAIT-LINE Chalk Line works with standard marking chalk. This refillable tool comes with a metal handle and a 100-foot reel. Also, it has an impact-resistant case that’s made from aluminum alloy.

You shouldn’t worry about spilling the chalk during any refill. The leak-proof case has a slide-fill port that is convenient to use. However, its refillable case contains 2 oz of marking chalk.

Since it’s a combo kit, you’ll receive a marking (blue) chalk with this STRAIT-LINE Chalk Line.

Additionally, you can make series of line strikes with this 4 oz chalk. Another impressive feature of this Irwin Tools device is its automatic chalking reel.

It’s attached to a steel hook and an anchor that allows the user to enjoy a firm grip. With this component, you can make precise and clear lines on any workpiece.

Pros
  • A durable and heavy-duty case
  • Retractable metal handle with a self-locking mechanism
  • You can use the reel as a plumb bob
Cons
  • The cotton line might come out very fast because the reel doesn’t have a clutch.

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#2. Keson G110 Giant String Chalk Line Reel

Keson G110 Giant String Chalk Line Reel

Keson Giant 110 Chalk Line Reel comes with a 110-foot Polycord that’s made from cotton. Unlike regular chalk line reel, this Giant String is designed with a 10-percent extra length. It loads about 12-Ounce chalk that provides a sharp mark on concrete surfaces.

The Giant String is attached to a pull-ring that allows you to make bold and visible lines on painted surfaces. Also, ABS plastic housing has an elaborate handle that reduces strains on the wrist.

Even with gloved hands, this metal handle offers a large space. As a durable chalk line reel, this metal crank can withstand impacts. You don’t need to worry about frequent refills because this tool holds about 1lbs of chalk.

Pros
  • It comes with cotton polycord
  • It offers fewer refills of the white marking chalk
  • A 110-foot string
Cons
  • The handle is too large to attach to a belt.

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#3. M-D Building Products Contractor Chalk Reel

M-D Building Products Contractor Chalk Reel

This M-D Building Products Chalk reel comes with a good line. Since it contains standard white chalk, there’s no need to purchase one.

It helps to make straight tile lines on parking lots and all concrete surfaces. However, the line is thick and you can pull 100 feet of it with different colors of chalks. The metal crank handles reel is used manually.

Unlike other lines, this Contractor Chalk Reel comes with a marked cotton thread that holds chalk very well and it lasts longer than regular lines.

While this chalk line weighs 4 ounces, it measures 7.5 x 4 x 1.8 inches and it’s ideal for flushing tile edges to the corners of any space. Additionally, this tool has been designed with sturdy materials.

Pros
  • Sturdy crank reel
  • It’s suitable for marking start points and straight lines
  • It’s easy to use
Cons
  • It might not allow you to re-spool the reel quickly.

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#4. Stanley 3-Piece Chalk Line Set

Stanley 3-Piece Chalk Line Set

Do you want a chalk line to mark architectural designs during building constructions? You’ll receive a combo kit with blue marking chalk and Stanley Chalk Reel.

The 4-oz chalk bottle and its plastic case are suitable for extensive projects. Stanley Chalk Line Reel comes with a foldable crank handle.

Its compact size allows you to store in drawers and toolboxes neatly. Also, its plastic ABS case has high-impact construction and its durable.

There’s a sliding door on the reel and it allows quick refills with chalk dust. Apart from the ease of using this tool, you can attach its hook on belts and harnesses.

This set of Stanley chalk lines comes with a yellow plastic line level that’s easy to use too. Furthermore, the patented on-board hook helps to store this tool after using it.

Pros
  • Foldable crank handle
  • Steel hook
  • Durable ABS case
  • A 4-Ounce chalk bottle
  • A yellow plum level
Cons
  • This Stanley chalk line comes with a box of blue chalk but it’s not pre-filled.

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#5. DEWALT Compact Chalk Reel

DEWALT Compact Chalk Reel

DEWALT Compact Chalk Reel creates a clear line. More so, it comes with a metal hook. This sturdy hook latches well and doesn’t mar the surface any material. Instead, you can attach the foldable reel onto your pocket.

Another impressive feature is its sturdy plastic case that resists daily wears and tears. With this high-impact plastic, you don’t need to worry about rough work environments.

There’s a compartment for the chalk and it’s behind the reel. You can make quick refills with it. Also, this DeWalt kit comes with a high-quality brand of chalk.

After loading this chalk line reel, it will not be bulky in your pocket. While you snap this DEWALT chalk line against any work surface, the 4-ounces might be enough for other applications.

Pros
  • A refillable chalk pouch
  • Compact on-board reel
  • A handy and rugged construction
  • The kit comes with a 4-oz of blue chalky powder
Cons
  • The 30-foot line only fits small applications like DIY projects.

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#6. TAJIMA Chalk Box

TAJIMA Chalk Box

As one of the most improved layout tool, this model of Tajima Chalk Box comes with five gears that allows you to retrieve the line quickly. It’s a dependable marking tool for construction workers.

When they are busy with tasks on the site, this 5-gear mechanism helps to save the time of rewinding the line. Also, this fast-winding system locks and holds the line tightly.

Since it doesn’t snap, its positive gear-line lock allows users to releases the line automatically. When winding the 1mm jam-free chalk line with its reel, the user-friendly switch allows you can stop at any length.

Additionally, the chalk’s compartment has a large and easy-to-fill neck that reduces any chance of creating a mess on your workspace when loading it. Since the ABS case is rugged, you should expect a high level of durability.

Pros
  • It allows for quick retrieval of the line
  • Lightweight and high-impact ABS case with elastomer design for firm grips
  • The Tajima Micro Chalk comes with a jam-free snap line
  • The 1mm chalk line is very bold
  • A gear retrieval mechanism
Cons
  • Unlike other braided cords, this 1mm chalk line is not very thick.

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#7. MILWAUKEE ELEC TOOL Chalk Reel

MILWAUKEE ELEC TOOL Chalk Reel

This handy chalk line by MILWAUKEE ELEC TOOL measures 3.35 x 2.3 x 5.33 inches. With this compact size, you can carry this lightweight marking tool everywhere. It contains a planetary gear system that offers a gear ratio of 6 to 1.

Inside the rubber over-mold, this system helps to improve the lifespan of its gears. Also, the StripGuard clutch that allows smooth torque-dispensing actions.

The bold-line chalk reel comes with a refill bottle with red chalk. With a 100-foot (30.5 meters) cord, you can mark clear lines when laying out a floor plan or gauging a workpiece. Additionally, the blue chalk is resistant to abrasion and it has high-quality visibility.

Pros
  • It offers quick retrieval ratio of 6: 1
  • It has built-in strip guard clutch
  • Lightweight (11.5 ounces) marking tool
Cons
  • It’s a large neck that opens for refilling is not user-friendly.

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#8. OX Tools Pro Chalk Reel

OX Tools Pro Chalk Reel

This model of Ox Pro chalk reel comes with easy-to-use components. Since it’s an improved design with a gear drive ratio of 6 to 1, it’s faster to rewind the line during heavy-duty applications. It’s sturdy over-molded ABS plastic enhances your comfort too. 

As a durable marking tool, the handle comes with a button that’s easy to push and stop without affecting the line. Also, this rewinding mechanism helps to keep the cord tight. The string measures 100 feet and it’s thicker than what you’ll see in regular chalk lines.

Regardless of the scope of your layout applications, this string is suitable for a range of layout applications. When rewinding the string, this reinforced Pro Chalk Reel’s handle can withstand sudden drops and rough pulls.

Pros
  • Durable construction and reinforced handle
  • A gear ratio of 6 to 1 that allows for fast rewinds
  • A user-friendly button for reeling the string
Cons
  • This tool doesn’t come with chalk.

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#9. CE Tools SnapBack Chalk Line

CE Tools SnapBack Chalk Line

This Chalk Line Reel by CE Tools comes with a tough housing that is UV-resistant. Apart from this high-impact case, the handle provides a soft-touch and anti-slip grips for your fingers.

You don’t need to stretch across any workspace to rewind the chalk line’s tip because it has a snapback tip. Also, this snapback tip that can be detached from the edge of any work surface easily.

While this releasable tip attaches to a high-impact cord, its snapback holder prevents unwanted dangling at the tip.

The marking tool has a new and built-in 4.4-1 planetary gear system and this design is durable. Additionally, you can depend on this CE Tools Chalk Line’s plumb bob for precise indications of levels.  

Pros
  • Releasable tip with a thick string
  • It comes with a belt clip
  • Sleek and sturdy design
  • It comes with a 4.4-1 planetary gear system
Cons
  • The hook on this belt clip is bulky.

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#10. Shinwa Chalk Line Marker

Shinwa Chalk Line Marker

It’s easy to replace the string of this Shinwa Chalk Line because it comes with a wide-open lid. The length of Shinwa Chalk Line’s string is 50 feet (15 meters) and it can be replaced easily.

Unlike other Chalk-line markers, this string is thinner (0.020-inch thick) and it allows a generous distribution of the chalky powder.

This 5.6 oz chalk line comes with a foldable crank handle and two types of attachments. Also, its detachable design and the refill mechanism allows users to add any color of chalk and replace string accordingly.

Since this string is connected to a spring, you can adjust the length with a simple release switch. However, over-filling the chalk’s case might cause a retraction of the string.

Pros
  • It comes with two types of metal hook for steel and concrete surfaces
  • There’s a crank on the foldable handle that allows for easy rewinds
  • It’s designed with a safety pin
Cons
  • Need an extra budget for chalk.

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#11. Stanley FatMax Chalk Line Reel

Stanley FatMax Chalk Line Reel

As a versatile layout tool, this FatMax model of Stanley Chalk Line Reel is designed with a water-resistant case. Its reel contains 4 oz powdery chalk.

While the felt gasket holds the line in a straight position, it also distributes the chalk generously. Apart from being a durable ABS case, it’s easy to use the rubber grips.

The chalk line’s tensile strength is stronger than regular lines and its gear mechanism allows for fast recoils. With a gear ratio of 3 to 1, you can adjust the length of the string without hassles.

Furthermore, this chalk reel uses a lock-button that holds the string firmly. Another fantastic feature of this FatMax chalk line is the screw that makes your chalk refilling process very easy.

Pros
  • An impact-resistant ABS case
  • A 100-foot line
  • Sturdy stainless-steel hook
Cons
  • The plastic ABS case has a bulky design.

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What To Consider When Buying A Chalk Lines

With a high-performance chalk line, you can perform different layout and marking applications on a range of materials.

Usually, durable Chalk-line markers are built rubberized handles and sturdy ABS plastic cases. If you need a chalk line reel that offers more benefits, these features will guide your decisions.

Ratio of Gears

It’s the rotation of gears that power the retrieval mechanisms of chalk lines. Without a good gear ratio, it might be an uphill task to rewind the line of your marking tool.

While cranking, it’s the alignment of gears and their ratios that allows the line to move very fast. However, the reel will be ineffective when the gears are affected. This condition often causes jamming, but retraction ratios of at least 2:1 ensure smooth rewinding of lines.

Most premium chalk lines often come with 5:1 gear rations. Also, the 6:1 gear ratio is designed for chalk lines with durable components.

The line in this type of tool often has high tensile strength and can handle tension easily. Usually, high-quality gears with big ratios help to reduce downtimes during layout applications.

Crank And Crank Handles

Ensure that your chalk-line marker has a crank that’s reliable and easy to use. Before buying your favorite chalk line, it’s important to decide on the design that fits your project.

Apart from foldable cranks, spring-loaded cranks in detachable housings are easy to adjust. Also, the position of this component determines how you can prevent any damage when you store the tool.

Normally, chalk reels with manual cranks are tough. When the crank is not strong, it might have been made with plastic materials.

Go for a metal crank that can withstand the rigors of rugged work environments. Since this part of your chalk line is often handled, you should consider whether a fixed or adjustable crank on the reel case fits your needs.

Additionally, foldable cranking handles are better than fixed cranks because they flush to the housing of your tool easily. However, cranking handles with spring-loaded winding mechanisms are fast to unwind.

The String

It’s the outlining of chalk lines’ string that precedes any marking application. While a tough string is durable, it ensures that users have thick lines.

However, marked lines with thick strings are often imprecise. Strings that are made from the cotton string are good, but nylon-type strings are stronger and more durable.

Refilling Of Powdery Chalks

During the refilling of chalk, you don’t need to create a mess of the chalk dust. Many professional builders use chalk line reels with a wide mouth. Also, chalk lines that load decent amounts of powdery chalks often minimize the rate refilling them.

The refilling system of any chalk line is important. So, choose quality chalk lines that have built-in sliding doors.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the importance of a chalk line’s hook?

The hook allows you to apply the right tension on the line. It’s an important component that allows you to mark lines unassisted.

However, the quality of your hook should be great as the case of your tool. Usually, metal hooks are versatile because they allow you to attach the chalk-line marker on concrete or wooden surfaces.

How do I choose the type of chalk line that fits my project?

While there are many factors to consider, well-built chalk lines are often compatible with different types of surfaces.

Consider the features that fit your project, but don’t forget that flimsy chalk lines often have poor build qualities like cheap plastic materials and weak strings. Also, a great chalk line kit comes with at least 4 oz chalk boxes.

Final Verdict

A chalk line reel should be convenient to use and transport to worksites. Usually, chalk lines with plumb bobs provide support for operators like a measuring scale and pencil. Ensure that you are using a durable chalk line.

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