Tradie Gear, Tradie Tough Tests

Tough Test: IRWIN® STRAIT-LINE® Chalk Reels

Irwin chalk reels

Doing up chalk lines isn’t exactly the most exciting part of the job, but they’re just as crucial as anything for a great build. IRWIN’s STRAIT-LINE range adds a bunch of little specialties that make them the choice for the accurate tradie.

WE MET UP WITH apprentice carpenter Angus ‘Gus’ Redfearn from Teak Building for this Tough Test. He put four STRAIT-LINE Chalk Reels to the test: the MACH6™, Compact as well as SPEEDLINE™ and SPEEDLINE PRO.


One thing you know you’re getting with IRWIN Chalk Reels is speed. With all four STRAIT-LINE reels, the reel-in times were outstanding.

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The SPEELINE and Compact Chalk Reels rewind three times faster than traditional reels* thanks to a 3:1 gear ratio. That advantage is doubled with the larger reels; SPEEDLINE PRO and MACH6 both have 6:1 planetary gears which result in a six-times faster rewind rate*.

“If you’re using the large chalk lines, one thing you want to do is pull the line in quickly so no one steps on them, especially if you have a lot of people walking around,” Gus said. “I pulled out five metres of chalk and I was able to reel it in, in four rotations.”

Even quicker is the chalk re-fill time, with all four reels boasting some kind of simple latch system. A large – easily visible – 1/4-Turn Locking Top on both the MACH6 and SPEEDLINE PRO had Gus filling both up with a flick of hand and tip of the chalk bottle.

“For the Compact and SPEEDLINE reels – on the other hand – it’s just as simple with a familiar slide on the side for an easy refill,” Gus added. “We all know how annoying it is after spilling some oxide. This latch system leaves a lot of room to put the oxide in.”


Gus had zero problems fastening all four of the reels thanks to their secure hook designs.

“The prongs also made it super easy to unhook them when I needed to pull them in,” Gus added. “They’re super quick all-round really.”

There’s nothing more frustrating than depending on chalk reels for simple tasks, and having precious time wasted because the line is jammed. All four STRAIT-LINE reels come with an Anti-Jam Spool Design, which not only prevents jamming, but naturally means lines aren’t damaged and aerate correctly.

“I could immediately tell none of these bad boys were gonna play up on me after repeat uses, which is one less inconvenience I need to worry about,” Gus said.


Gus has been an IRWIN fan for years, as indicated by his much loved pouch belt.

“We’ve been using these on the site with the guys for the last couple of weeks, and we’re super happy with them,” he said.

Gus has used a few chalk reels in that time, but said these latest STRAIT-LINE reels from IRWIN have many subtle editions that make them a joy to use on site.

“It’s the little things like the better grip and ease of attachment to my belt that make them great,” he said. “They’re there when you need them, and hardly noticeable when you don’t.”

You can find IRWIN’s STRAIT-LINE Reels at Bunnings Warehouse.

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