My regular tape is a Greenlee, and the case works quite smoothly. My 200 ft tape is an Ideal, chosen because the larger diameter case makes winding/unwinding easier (I believe). I have a vinyl-coated Ideal "slick tape", which works really well. I try to reserve it for pipe that already has wires in it- or that the regular tape won't fish. I consider it a half-price substitute for the fiberglass one.
I have a short (50 ft.) GB tape- that never gets used. It just doesn't feed or roll up very well.
The steel tape is my standard, in no small part because I regularily find it necessary to use a tool to pull it. You don't have that option with other tapes. It's also a lot easier to repair them.
I'm sorry you don't like to use "jet line." I will often use a mouse to pull a fine line (I use the line cartridges sometimes called 'tampons'), which I then follow with larger line, etc. I get best results using a vacuum on one end, and compressed air on the other. I will often join the two lines with an additional 'mouse' to clear debris from the line- or coat the mouse in lube to slick up the pipe some.
Re: Favorite fish tape...#55339 08/26/0510:13 PM08/26/0510:13 PM
I prefer a Greenlee/Ideal steel tape, I like the "old fashioned" curled end and the way it pulls and fishes, although if I'm fishing into a live panel/appliance it's fiberglass all the way, I'm not exactly comfortable with a flexable peice of steel whipping around where it can contact bare lugs at hundreds of amps of three phase
Re: Favorite fish tape...#55341 08/27/0509:10 AM08/27/0509:10 AM
I fish 3/4 rigid pipe underground most of the time and I've found that an Ideal Stainless Steel fish works the best. Pushes thru multiple 90s most of the time. When it won't, I hook it with another SS fish from the other end.
Re: Favorite fish tape...#55342 08/27/0510:17 AM08/27/0510:17 AM
any type of pipe in the slab or underground I try and use the shop vac and a plastic bag . Overhead ? just a plain old fishtape. personally I have a Klein 200'. At work - it's what ever the shop sends out. We have no preference. My all time favorite - The large pull behind air compressor. Nothing better the shooting 100lbs of air into a 1" to clear it.
Re: Favorite fish tape...#55344 08/29/0512:36 AM08/29/0512:36 AM
Greenlee 250 steel with a leader, Greenlee 150 nylon, no leader. I admit Ideal makes the best non-metallic fishtapes, but the day I needed one, the greenlee was on the shelf so that was what I bought and haven't been totally disappointed. Gardener-Bender = Junk in my opinion, for the most part. Got a couple rusty old GB's floating around the shop that I avoid like the plague- they are almost impossible to wind up after using them, and that "handbrake".. why, GB, why??
My true favorite is an 8' scrap of someone's old broken tape.. that thing has gotten me out of many scrapes and saved me the hassle of having to get out a full sized tape to get the little jobs done