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Distance Measuring Wheel Recommendation

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This document basically describes the applications that are most appropriate for a particular size of distance measuring wheel.

In a nutshell, the rougher the surface, the larger the measuring wheel should be to give the most accurate estimate. The key word is estimate, as a measuring wheel is an estimating device. It makes no pretense at being a precision measuring instrument. Though, under IDEAL conditions, measuring wheels can be accurate to within 3 inches per 100 feet, that's +/- .2 %. Ideal conditions are described as perfectly flat, perfectly smooth, and perfectly straight and a person that does a very good job at rolling in a straight line. But real world conditions are far from ideal! Variables in surface regularity will have an effect on accuracy. Deviations from a straight line will also affect accuracy. As these variables are out of our control, we cannot guarantee accuracy in any real world conditions. Measuring on carpet can be inconsistent as the directional nap of the carpet will affect the reading. Best advice for measuring on carpet is to measure at least once going in each direction. Otherwise, small wheels such as 4 and 6 inch diameter models are intended to be used on hard smooth surfaces, typically indoors. Some people use these small wheels outdoors, but they are compromising accuracy when used in grass or dirt. The smallest wheel recommended for lawn type measuring is the 10 inch diameter. As previously mentioned, rougher conditions require a larger diameter wheel to deliver a reasonably accurate estimate. The largest 25 inch diameter is intended for use in uneven field conditions. Just use common sense when selecting a measuring wheel by thinking about what you will be measuring and how you plan to work. Also, units of measure are another feature to consider. There are basically two types of distance measuring wheels: mechanical and electronic. The mechanical ones typically have a single unit of measure (for example feet/inches or feet/tenths, but not both) and do not use batteries at all. The electronic wheels tend to have multiple units of measure and many will do feet, tenths, metric, yards, and inches, but remember electronic ones do require batteries and can leave you stranded in the field unless you have extra batteries with you.

General Suggestions or Rules of Thumb as to  "Who Uses What"

SMALL WHEELS (4" to 6" in Diameter)
Painters, Decorators, Appraisers, Realtors, Carpet Layers, Insurance Agents, Claims Adjusters, Accident Investigators, Law Enforcement, Estimators, Mall Walkers, Indoor Contractors, Roofers, Utility, Maintenance, Concrete Installers, and Architects.

MEDIUM WHEELS (6" to 12" in Diameter)
Green Industries, Insurance Agents, Contractors, Estimators and Appraisers, Physical Therapists, Health Clubs, Coaches, Golf Course Supervisors, Archers, Trap and Target Shooters, Plumbers, Electricians, Paving Contractors, Cement Contractors, Road Contractors, Landscapers, Grounds Maintenance, Outdoor Contractors, Irrigation, Fencing, Surveyors, Insurance Adjusters, Estimators and Appraisers.

LARGE WHEELS (15"+ in Diameter)
Big Contractors, Fencing Companies, Farmers, Ranchers, Athletic Supply Stores, City Maintenance, Schools, County Agents, Seed Dealers, Horse Arenas and Riding Schools, Tractor Pull Operators, Coaches, Physical Fitness Promoters, Shooting Sports, General Contractors, Plumbers, Plasters, Electricians, Cement Contractors, Landscapers, Forestry Service, Green Industries, Irrigation, Agriculture, and Land Management.


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