The best chalk line tool is an extremely handy device that can be used to mark straight lines accurately on flat surfaces. It sounds very simple but it’s a useful tool that has numerous applications in carpentry, construction, and home repairs.See also:
With a variety of chalk boxes available in the market, it can be confusing for customers to choose one. Comparing the quality and cost of various products available online, we’ve compiled this list of 5 best chalk line tools.
Best Chalk Line Tools Reviewed
1. TAJIMA Chalk Box – Chalk-Rite- CR301JF
Chalk rite is a chalk box with superb features. The snap line is made from braided nylon with a 1 mm diameter and is 100 feet long. The outer case and the grip are made of ABS plastic and elastomer, respectively. The winding mechanism has 5 gears which make it easy and quick to retrieve the snap line. It also features a gear line lock – a locking mechanism that automatically makes the line tight when you snap it and loose when you wind it.
The chalk holder has a capacity of 3.5 ounces, and the neck of the holder is quite broad, which makes it a lot easier to refill. With all these features, Chalk Rite by Tajima is affordably priced.
2. TAJIMA Chalk Box – Chalk-Rite II – CR201R-PR
The next product on our list is Chalk Rite II, also by Tajima, which is similar to the Chalk Rite chalk box shown above. Chalk Rite II is a slightly advanced version of the previous one. Most of the features are the same, as we mentioned before. This includes:
- 1mm braided nylon snap line, 100 feet long.
- 5 gears winding mechanism for fast rewinding.
- Line lock mechanism to keep the line tight during the snap.
- A wide neck that makes it easy to refill the chalk and dye.
The difference in this product as compared to the one above is that the outer case here is made of die-cast aluminum. The gasket is made of elastomer, and the package also includes a small pack of colored snap line dye. This product is available in two color variants – red and white.
3. MILWAUKEE ELEC TOOL 48-22-3986 Bold Line Chalk Reel
This Milwaukee chalk line tool has some pretty unique features. The best thing about it is the strip guard clutch along with a planetary gear mechanism. It makes the rewinding process very smooth and fast, with a retraction ratio of 6:1. The 100 feet long snap line is very bold and strong, and can even endure unwanted weather conditions like wind and light rain. The over-mold is made of rubber, which provides a comfortable grip. The package also comes with a box of refill chalk.
This chalk line tool is a simple product that has all the basic features and is reasonably priced.
4. Stanley Fatmax Xtreme 47-681L Chalk Line Reel & Chalk Set
The Fatmax chalk box by Stanley is a neat product with nice features. The snap line is sturdy, with stainless steel universal hooks at the end. It also has a gear ratio of 3:1, so the line rewinds relatively quick. The crank handle used for rewinding can be folded and tucked into the case, making it convenient to store and carry this item. The outer case is made from high-quality polymer. It also has good durability, even when used under rough conditions.
There is a locking button to hold and release the line during usage. Also, the chalk holder has a larger capacity, as it can hold up to 4 ounces of chalk. Priced affordably, this chalk line tool also comes with a refill pack of chalk and a permanent marker.
5. IRWIN STRAIT-LINE LAYOUTPRO XL 150′ Chalk Reel
Strait-Line Layout pro is a chalk line manufactured by Irwin Tools. It is most suited for heavy-duty jobs like construction sites. It has an impressive chalk capacity of 20 ounces, which means it doesn’t need to be refilled very often. The snap lines have high strength and are of premium grade quality, with a total length of 150 feet. So it can be used to draw lines for longer distances, without worrying about the line breaking.
The only downside here is that it has a gear ratio of 2:1. So rewinding the snap line may not be very fast. Unlike other most chalk reels that are held entirely inside a user’s grip, this one actually has a handle attached at the end. The outer case of this chalk box is made of ABS plastic while the handle is made of steel. This product may not be the best choice for personal projects or home repairs, but it is perfect for large scale professional jobs.
Frequently Asked Questions about Chalk Line Tools
1. What is a chalk line tool?
A chalk line tool, also called chalk box or chalk reel, is a tool that is used for marking straight lines on flat surfaces. In jobs such as construction or carpentry, it’s not always possible to draw long straight lines with a ruler, especially on surfaces such as timber and cemented floor. With the help of a chalk line tool, drawing straight long lines on such surfaces becomes easy.
2. How does a Chalk box work?
A chalk box has a long reel of line winded inside of it. It also has a small compartment that holds the chalk. When you pull the reel, the chalk is applied on the line as it comes out of the case. This line is attached at one end with a hook, while you hold the other end. Once the line is tightly stretched, you pull and snap it on the working surface. The line will transfer the chalk on the surface, marking a long straight line.
3. How to use a chalk line tool?
Using this tool is very simple. Pull out the snap line and attach the hook at its end to one edge of the surface where you want to mark the straight line. Keep on pulling the chalk box to extend the snap line up to your desired length. The chalk will automatically apply itself on the snap line as you pull it. After that, hold it still and just snap the line nice and quick.
4. What are the different chalk colors available?
Chalk line tools mostly use red, blue, or white chalks. Out of these, blue is the most commonly used. Red leaves a stronger impression on the surface, so it’s only used in jobs where the line must remain visible for a longer time. White chalk can be erased easily, that is why it’s used in indoor projects and home repairs. Blue chalk has more visibility than white but does not leave a strong impression like red.
5. How to refill the chalk?
All chalk line tools have an opening where you can pour in the refill chalk. As a general practice, it is advisable not fill the chalk box full. When the chalk box is full, it may become tight and compact. So it will not get applied over the snap line evenly.
Pour in the chalk till its half full, close the lid, and then shake or tap the chalk box a few times to make sure that the chalk mixes well with the reel.
6. I can’t snap straight lines with a chalk line tool. What do I do?
If you’re not experienced in using chalk boxes, it’s common to struggle a bit with it at first. Drawing longer lines is even tougher in such cases. The first reason why some people can’t mark straight lines is that there is less tension in the reel. So before every snap, you must make sure that the reel is stretched and held very tightly at both ends.
If you want to draw longer lines with accuracy, then you can do so by breaking it into short lines. First, stretch your calk reel along the entire length of the line. But instead of snapping the whole string, you can hold the reel down with your finger at certain points and only snap one portion of the line.
7. What to do if the snap line in my chalk box is fraying or about to break?
Fraying and breaking of the reel is a common thing to happen. You can easily buy a new reel from hardware stores and replace your old snap line with it.
We will also like to mention that you shouldn’t let your chalk line tool come into contact with water. In case the reason for it isn’t already obvious, it’s because you don’t want your chalk to get wet and sticky. If that happens, you will have to open the chalk box, manually remove the wet chalk, then clean and dry the tool.
These are the 5 best chalk line tools – each with varying features and prices. Depending on the type of jobs, we hope that you can find a chalk box from this list that best suits your needs. If you are using a chalk box for the first time, or have used it before but still have some confusion, then continue reading our guide and FAQs below.
We hope that our list will help you find a suitable chalk line tools and that we managed to answer some of the queries you had regarding chalk boxes.