What can you measure with a trundle wheel? The COMPLETE guide.
What can you measure with a trundle wheel?


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What can you measure with a trundle wheel? This is a common question when we enter the field of measuring.

The trundle wheel is used to measure any distance along a surface from a starting point to a finishing point. This measurement can be combined with other measurements to give information such as the area or the volume or the overall length of any given surface or object.

So, to further understand what this tool can be used to measure let’s dig a little deeper into knowing a little more about this tool.

What can you measure with a trundle wheel?

From standard practices using the trundle wheel you can measure the distance from point A to point B along many types of surfaces that you are able to walk on or nearby otherwise it just gets complicated and you can probably find better tools to do the job.

It should also be noted that understanding what you can measure with the trundle wheel is just as important as understanding what you can do with the numbers you have received from using the trundle wheel to take measurements.

But, to give some examples of what you can measure with a trundle wheel, is:

  •  the length of the front of your property, which you can continue down the side of your property, and if it was a perfect square or rectangle property, this would give you the area of your property.
  • Another example can be measuring the foundation by walking along the footing of the building to help estimate the amount of material needed to build the walls.
  • Also, if you have the reach you can roll your trundle wheel up the wall and combine this with the length and width of the area to give you the volume.
  • You could measure the circumference of an object
  • you could measure the perimeter of your pool
  • you can walk and measure circumferences and distances on boulders to determine the volume of material to either remove or understand other aspects of such materials.

And many more. If an area is somewhat flat and able to have this wheel ride on it, then a trundle wheel is the tool for the job.

Now we have a basic understanding of what this trundle wheel can measure and how it could be used, so let’s dig a little further.

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Trundle wheel history

From what we have gathered, Hugh Boylan created the trundle wheel in the late 1970s while employed as a quantity surveyor for a small Irish engineering firm. The device had patent concerns, but following legal action, the corporation obtained the patent’s rights.

Furthermore, the creation of this measuring wheel has revolutionized the way a single person can take measurements without having to reset their measuring device repeatedly. This evolution continues as digital and air machines begin to make this activity even easier over long distances and complex surfaces.

With this, there are several types of these trundle wheels. Keep reading to learn more.

Types of trundle wheels

Over the years of the ever-increasing development of land and buildings, measuring tools play an important role in this matter. They tend to bring similar results however there are many styles out there.

Here are a few of these types and styles of trundle wheels.

Traditional measuring wheel

The traditional trundle wheel is similar to the first one created. This device works on a simple rotational wheel that is set at a specific circumference which, in turn, provides the readings for the operator on an analog “click” setting.

What can you measure with a trundle wheel?
Here is a digital trundle wheel or digital surveyors wheel

Digital Measuring Wheel

As this style mentions, the readings are digitally displayed and in some cases can be several decimals allowing for more accuracy.

Foot Measuring Trundle Wheel

This trundle wheel is mainly used in countries where the units of measurement are imperial. The operator knows that each rotation represents a foot of length.

Meter Measuring Trundle Wheel

This unique trundle wheel is used mostly in countries where the units of measurement are in metric. The operator knows that each rotation typically represents a meter of length.

Accuracy, Pronunciation, Units of Measurement, and Usage

In this section, we will cover some basics about the amazing trundle wheel. Also, the trundle wheel is commonly known as the surveyors’ wheel. The reason for this is that most measurements performed on construction sites will be performed by a surveyor or someone with a surveying background.

Let’s jump into some of the basics.

How accurate is a surveyor’s wheel?

For a short answer, the surveyors’ wheel is not 100% accurate.

However, not many mechanical devices are. But, the trundle wheel measuring device does a really good job in providing the operator with the measurement needed for them to fulfill their task.

Factors that could affect the accuracy are

  • The length of the measurement to be taken
  • The surface that the wheel is rolling over
  • How the operator handles the surveying wheel

These are just a few of many others. But, considering the facts and seeing the development around us, the trundle wheel performs at an accuracy that is tolerable for our needs.

Trundle wheel pronunciation

Ok, I will admit that I have got my tongue twisted and confused when reading and speaking about the trundle wheel. It is a different word for sure. Here is a link to a site where you can hear how people of different accents are pronouncing the trundle wheel – pronounce the words.

Trundle Wheel Units of Measurements

The trundle wheel is designed to give readings in many units of measurement. The main units are foot and meter.

How this works, is that the circumference of the wheel is exactly the measurement of either 1’ (foot) or 1m (meter).

How does a trundle wheel work?

There is typically a starting point of the wheel indicated with an arrow. This arrow should be placed on the exact starting point of your measuring project. This could be just a single line or a perimeter measurement.

If there is no arrow, simply insuring the recording device is set to zero and the base of the wheel is placed on the starting point will be good.

Whatever this measurement is that you need, begin rolling the wheel from this starting point to the end of the line or lines your project consists of.

At the end of this measurement, the trundle wheel will display a reading in the units of measurement it is designed for.

And there you have it, the simplicity of the trundle wheel.

How to make a trundle wheel

In the world we live in today, keeping things simple can be overlooked. The great thing about the trundle wheel is that it is not a very sophisticated mechanical device. And as a matter of fact, it is not that difficult to make your very own trundle wheel.

Here is a video that will show you how to make your own trundle wheel for your surveying needs.

NOTE: This video is in meters. It is very similar to make it in feet. Some simple math and you can replicate this process for feet.


Does a trundle wheel measure in meters

Yes. However, there are other units with different outputs.

What do you use a measuring wheel for?

To measure long distances rather than using a tape measure over and over again.

What does a measure wheel measure in?

Mostly meters and feet. However, you could measure any length that the specific unit is designed for.

Where can you use measuring wheels?

Many locations. See above under “what can you measure with a trundle wheel” for some examples.

What objects can you measure with a trundle wheel?

Many objects. As long as the wheel can ride the surface and you are able to stand or operate it safely and efficiently.

What does a measuring wheel do?

It provides the operator with a measurement of the line the measuring wheel rolled along.

Closing Notes

From the origin to the multiple uses of this trundle wheel, we now have a greater understanding (and pronunciation) of this measuring wheel on a handle.

It might not be the most accurate device out there, but looking all around us at these buildings and land layouts, you can almost be sure that a trundle wheel was used at some point or another by dividing of land, marking out the foundations for the buildings and providing the measurement needed for these tasks.

If you ever find yourself needing to take a long measurement to go ahead and consider getting your hands on a trundle wheel at your local hardware store or order one here.

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