Getting a straight line on any surface without a framing square can be a bit challenging. And keeping that line marked using a marker would be a big hassle. The tool that can make these types of line marking tasks feel effortless without the need for any framing square and markers would be chalk line reels.
Another challenging task is to sort out the best chalk lines among all the options that are available in the market. But as you have found us, you will not have to worry about that anymore. We are going to provide you with our recommendation list along with a short buying guide.
Hopefully, you will be able to settle with one of the best ones in the end.
11 Best Chalk Lines Review
With the overabundance of options that different manufacturers are offering in the market, it is quite reasonable for anyone to get baffled in the case of choosing one for their line marking task. Well, we are not going to let that happen to you. For that reason, we huddled a list with only the ones that seemed the most worthy to us.
1. IRWIN Tools STRAIT-LINE 64499 Aluminum
All construction-related tools should be durable. IRWIN is one of the manufacturers that kept that in mind and brought out this heavy-duty unit in the market.
The unit comes with a heavy-duty case, as mentioned. It is of aluminum alloy that makes it both durable and lightweight. Because of such construction, not only will it enable you to carry it in your pocket with ease, but also will be able to withstand occasional impacts without showing any signs of bending or bumps in the body.
Alongside that, the line that the unit comes with is twisted cotton that will hold comparatively more chalk to let you mark multiple lines without having to reel it back in. You will be able to finish off all the marking tasks in no time because of that cotton line.
On the topic of the chalk, the case can hold about 2 ounces of it. That means you will not have to refill it that often. Alongside that, you will also receive a 4 ounces bottle of blue color chalk in the packaging.
Because of the large anchor grip ring, you will have no trouble at all in making it hold to the edges of a surface. The hook that comes along is steel plated, which will make it hold even better. As this product comes with a self-lock metal retractable handle, it can act as a plumb bob too.
2. Keson G110 Little Giant Chalk Line Reel
When it comes to making straight lines with a chalk line, the lengthier the reel, the longer the line you will be able to make. That is where this little giant from Keson comes in.
Let us talk about the length first. The unit comes in two different length options. You will be able to choose from 110 feet and 130 feet. With those, making long straight lines will be just like taking a walk in the park. The string length is about 10 percent more than other units. You will not have to make multiple strikes on the surface.
Even if you like to wear gloves while you work, you will not have to worry about the grasp. It comes with a large handle that will let you hold it without any issues at all. The steel crank that the handle features will last for a long time too.
Alongside that, the chalk capacity is quite substantial. The chalk that the housing can hold is about a pound. That means you will not have to make frequent refills. You will be able to carry out many lining sessions with just one full refill.
In case of the line, it comes with a cotton polycord type of string. This type of cotton usually can hold more chalk, which will allow you to make multiple strikes in just one reel. Also, they will last for an extended amount of time without showing any signs of wear and tear.
3. M-D Building Products 00760
Reeling in the string after marking a straight line can be tedious work. And M-D tried to make that task feel a little bit effortless by including a manual crank with this one.
As we have mentioned, the unit comes with a manual crank reel. Because of that, you will be able to reel your string back in manually. It will allow you to make the end of the line hold firmly to the edge. With that, you will be able to strike a straight line easily.
Talking about holding it with an edge, it comes with a clamp on the end of the string. With that, you will be able to secure it with one side of the surface that you are trying to make a straight line on; and it will also make sure that the line stays flush to the edge.
As the unit comes with a poly-cotton string, it will be able to hold more chalk in one go. Because of that, you will be able to make multiple strokes on the surface without having to reel the string back inside frequently.
It comes with a housing that can hold an adequate amount of chalk too. Because of that, you will not have to refill it frequently. Overall, this is an excellent pick. It will assist you in making a straight line on top of the surface that you are working on.
4. Stanley 47-443 3 Piece Chalk Box Set
Doing heavy-duty construction work means that all your tools are going to be vulnerable to impacts. In that case, durably constructed housing can make these tools last for an extended amount of time. A perfect example of that would be this one that Stanley is offering.
To make the unit compatible with a heavy-duty work environment, it comes with an ABS case. The casing is quite impact-resistant and can withstand occasional drops. You can expect it to last for an extended period of time.
Alongside that, it also comes with a stainless steel hook. With that, you will be able to easily slide it in your pocket and make it stay there. It will clamp on to your pocket with the hook and not fall off.
The housing can hold quite an amount of chalk; you will not have to refill it frequently. Even when you have to do that, you will be able to do it without any hassles. The housing comes with a sliding door that will let you quickly fill it up with chalk when the strings start to leave faded marks.
It comes with a 4 ounce bottle of blue chalk in the package. As the casing features on-board storage for the hook, you will have quick access to it all the time. The latch clamps on to edges quite well; you will easily be able to make it stick to one side of the surface.
5. DEWALT DWHT47257L Compact
Among all the construction tool manufacturers, the one that has an extensive lineup of reliable products is DEWALT. And this one that they are offering is no exception.
First of all, the unit comes with a sturdy housing. The casing is of durable plastic that will be able to withstand impacts easily. You will be able to take it to heavy-duty construction sites without having to worry about the unit breaking down.
It comes with a durably constructed metal hook too. The hook will be able to clamp on the edge of the surface that you are trying to make a straight line on. You will be able to create the right amount of tension by reeling it in while it is stuck with the edge of the surface.
Talking about the reel, it comes with a manual one. With that, you will be able to bring the line back in within a matter of seconds. It is smooth to turn. Other than that, the string that it comes with can hold an ample amount of chalk; which will let you make multiple strikes without having to reel it inside frequently.
The casing can hold a large amount of chalk inside; which means you will not have to refill it from time to time. You are going to receive a 4 ounce refill bottle with the unit. With that, you will be able to keep your marking tasks going without any interruptions.
6. TAJIMA Chalk-Rite Snap-Line
Getting precise lines on the surface that you are working on will give you the best results in the case of creating layouts. Not all of the units that are out there come with a string that can offer that. However, this one from TAJIMA can.
To begin with, it comes with a nylon braided line that is 1 millimeter in diameter. This string will be able to create bright, clean, and straight lines on your surface. With that, you will be able to precisely make layouts on the surface that you are working on.
Alongside that, it comes with a mechanical winding system that will let you reel in the line faster than any other unit. The system packs five gears that will enable you to retrieve the line inside quickly. You will be able to save a lot of time and winding effort because of that.
The case that the unit comes with is quite durable as well. It is of ABS plastic that can withstand occasional drops without showing any signs of damage. The casing also features an elastomer grip that will enhance the durability even further. You can expect this to serve you for an extended amount of time.
Lastly, it comes with a large neck that will let you refill the unit easily. You will not have to worry about making a mess while trying to fill the casing up with chalk if it runs out.
7. Milwaukee ELEC Tool 48-22-3986
Winding up the line after making a strike can sometimes be tiring. Milwaukee understood that, and they brought out this tool in the market that has a fast retraction mechanism.
Just like most of the units that are out there, this one also comes with a manual crank reel. That reel makes it easy to retract the string after making a mark on the surface.
To make the process feel effortless, it comes with a gear mechanism that will shorten the time required to rewind it.The ration is 6:1, which means you will be able to retract it in no time at all.
In order to make that gear system last for an extended amount of time, it comes with a strip guard. The guard clutch is accompanied by a planetary gear mechanism that will enhance the overall lifespan. You can expect the rewinding system to function optimally for an extended amount of time.
The string the unit packs in is quite lengthy too. It is 100 feet in length; and you will be able to get longer lines with this without having to reel the line up frequently.
The string is quite durable as well. It can hold the tension up for a long time; and you will not have to worry about it snapping while you are trying to make a straight line on a surface.
Lastly, it comes with a refill bottle that will let you fill the unit up with chalk after it runs out.
8. OX Tools Pro (9341231006142)
While most of the units in the market are coming with a durably constructed housing, not all of them are featuring a comfortable one like this one from OX tools.
As we have mentioned above, the unit comes with a comfortable to hold housing. The casing has rubber molding over it; which does not only increase the grip but also make it comfortable to hold. Alongside that, the rubber coating also makes it resistant to impacts. That means it will be able to withstand occasional drops easily.
Just like most of the units that are out there, this one also features an innovative gear mechanism that will lower the reeling time. The 6 to 1 ratio gear drive will let you rewind the line faster; you will not have to worry about hand fatigue because of this. You will be able to carry out extended marking session at ease.
The string that the unit packs is 100 feet long. With that, you will be able to create lengthy markings on the surface. More so, the 16 millimeters thick strand will give you clear, precise, and clean lines for all types of layout tasks.
It comes with a stopping button that will let you stop the line from winding and unwinding. This button will allow you to get a proper amount of string out of the body for your layout task. It also features a reinforced hook on the end that bites to the edge of the surfaces firmly.
9. CE Tools SnapBack
Crossing over the surface to retrieve the hook is double the work. In that case, getting one that comes with a snapback mechanism can make the marking tasks much easier. An excellent example of such a unit would be this one from CE Tools.
Like we stated above, the unit comes with a snapback releasable mechanism. Because of being integrated with that, you will be able to save half of the steps. That means you will not have to cross the surface to get the hook of the line. It will retract by itself.
Alongside that, it comes with 4.4-1 planetary gears that will ensure that you can take the line out and retract it in smoothly. You will not have to worry about line jams anymore because of that.
The flanged teeth that the string has on the end will be able to hold on to construction surfaces firmly. It will lock in place and will not move unless you press the release button. With that, you will be able to create the right amount of tension to leave a straight clear mark on the surface.
It also comes with a built-in clip and a snapback recessed tip holder. Because of those, you will not have to worry about the tip dangling here and there. The housing that it comes with is quite durable as well. It has a soft-touch rubber coating on the exterior that will let you get a firm grasp.
Suggested Reading: Brush for Chalk Paint Buying Guide.
10. Shinwa Chalk Line Manual Crank Neo 77964
While most of the units will output thicker chalk lines, there might be some instances where you require thinner lines. For such scenarios, you should keep this one in your pocket.
Unlike most of the units, this one does not come with a thick string. Instead, it comes with a thin line for a super fine, clean marks. The thickness of the lines that you are going to get from this one is 0.020 inches. With that, you will be able to make framing division on most of the surfaces.
It comes with a relatively long string as well. The overall length of the line is 15 meters; which is 50 feet. That means you will be able to leave long straight lines on the surface that you are working on without having to make multiple strikes on it.
To keep the overall body compact, it comes with a folding crank. Because of that, you will be able to cramp in it in your pocket easily. The manual crank will also allow you to rewind the line up after you have left a mark on the surface.
As the line goes through with direct contact with the felt block, it will have evenly distributed chalk on it. That means you will not have to worry about awkward gaps on your marker after you strike the string on the surface. It also comes with a sturdy hook that will firm hold on the edge of the surface that you are working on.
Also read: Wax for Chalk Paint Reviews in 2021.
11. Stanley 47-140L FatMax
Our list contains most of the dependable tools that you can find in the market right now. We are going to end it with yet another solid chalk line that is from Stanley. If you were looking for one that come with a long string, then you should have a look into this one.
To start with, it comes packed with a lengthy string inside the housing. The overall length of the line is a staggering 100 feet; which means you will not have to make multiple strikes just to get a long straight mark on the surface anymore.
The housing features a durable construction too. It is of ABS plastic, which makes it resistant to impacts. That means you will not have to worry about any bumps if you accidentally drop it while working with it.
The body is resistant to water as well. You can carry it with you in your pockets in heavy-duty construction sites without any worries.
Just like most of the units, it also comes with a fast rewind mechanism. The manual lever that comes along has a three to one gear ratio that will lower the number of turns required to rewind the string. You will be able to get your chain back inside the casing in no time at all.
Lastly, the housing has a significantly large chalk capacity. It can hold up to four ounces of chalk inside. You will not have to refill it frequently.
Things to Consider before Buying
Marking applications becomes much easier with a decent chalk liner. To get one that will let you do those tasks smoothly, you should keep some factors into mind before investing in a unit. These points will allow you to scrutinize the liners better and make an efficient overall decision. They are:
The Winding Mechanism
Most of the units will come with some sort of manual lever that will let you rewind the line up after you are done marking the surface. The first thing that you should consider is the gears that the manual lever utilizes for the rewind mechanism. If they do not have the roll reducing ratio, you will not be able to reel the line up quickly.
Other than manual levers, many will come with an automatic reeling mechanism too. Those are easy to work with; and with those, you will be able to rewind the line up in a matter of seconds. So, if you are looking for something that will eliminate the hassle of manual rewinding, then you should opt for the automatic ones.
The second factor that you should consider before you make a purchase is the housing. If the unit that you are shooting for does not feature a durable body, it will not be able to serve you for an extended amount of time.
Alongside that, you will also not be able to use the unit for a long time for heavy-duty work scenarios. That is why you should opt for a one that comes with an impact-resistant durable housing.
Other than the construction of the housing, you should also consider the capacity. With higher capacity, you will not have to refill the unit up with chalks frequently. We would recommend you to go for the ones that come with four ounce capacity. With those, you will not have to refill the casing from time to time.
While most of the units will come with chalk included in them, many will not. If the one that you are opting for does not come with chalk, you are going to have to purchase them separately.
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Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do I remove the chalk marks off the surface?
Chalks are pretty easy to clean. After you are done dividing and framing the surface, you can clean the chalk residues by simply rinsing the surface with water. You will not have to scrub it or do use any soap for that.
2. What does the gear ratio bring to the table?
If a chalk liner comes with a gear ratio that is greater than 1:1, you will be able to reel the line back into the housing faster. It will also take less effort to rewind the line up with a higher gear ratio.
3. How do I make a line with a chalk liner?
After you have attached the end to a surface, create a strong tension in the string by reeling the lever a bit. Then lift the line a bit and let it go. It should strike with the surface and leave a straight line on it.
4. Can you get angled lines with a chalk liner?
No, chalk liners are used only to get straight lines on the surface.
5. Can I put different colored chalks in a single reel?
Yes, you can put different colored chalks in a single reel. However, we would advise you to use only one single color for having a cleaner and brighter line on the surface.
Creating layouts and other marking tasks become effortless if you get one of the best chalk lines. We hope that we were able to make the choosing process much easier for you. With that, we would like to end this article here by wishing you good luck and hoping that you can mark straight lines on surfaces easily.
Suggested reading: Best Brush for Chalk Paint.