Top 10 Best Speed Squares For Woodworking (2021)

Ever wondered what it would be like if you don’t use any tool while doing woodworking, framing, or construction-related work. Undoubtedly, you will end up with an inefficient and time-consuming task. The good news is that; the best speed squares will help you make precise cuts and do accurate measurements.

When a carpenter needs to measure anything for a perfect 45° or 90° angle, speed squares will deliver a precise measurement. Even it can be used as a ruler or crosscut fence. This way, it has become a valuable item in the metalworking and woodworking industry.

Figuring out the right speed squares is a tricky task. This tricky task will be much easier once you finish reading this article. We came up with a list of quality rafter squares after in-depth research. The buying guide and an FAQ section will also assist you in picking the best-suited tool for your project.

Let’s get things underway.

Why Should You Trust Us?

A variety of speed squares are available in the market. The product descriptions of those speed squares are appealing and alluring that you may get confused thinking that every available speed square in the market is the best one. But the reality is different, and you will understand it when you read customer reviews intently. Many models are manufactured cheaply, don’t come with the rust-proof feature, and provide an inaccurate result.

That is why we choose the best speed squares carefully not to regret making the purchase.

We sorted out the 10 best items after reading 12 articles and 157 customer reviews. Simultaneously we looked at the brand and features of 17 models. Customer ratings and reviews of a product are the best way to determine the efficiency and performance of a product.

Finally, based on the customer reviews, consumer ratings, and features, we enlisted 10-speed squares.

What are the Best Speed Squares?

1. Best Customer’s Choice: DEWALT DWHT46031 Aluminum Made Speed Square

With this product, you can accomplish repackaging, basic cleaning, testing, and inspection. Moreover, results will be accurate all the time.

2. Best for the Design: IRWIN 1794463 Rafter Square

This aluminum made rafter square has deep marking for durability. It is rust-resistant and weather-proof too.

3. Best for Repetitive Layout: CH Hanson 03060 Pivot Square

It is an exceptionally designed pivot square that makes repetitive tasks easier and faster.

4. Best for the Readability: Johnson Level & Tool 1904-0700 7” Johnny Square

Along with accuracy, this speed square is best for its lase-etched design for easy reading of the markings.

5. Best in terms of Reliability: SWANSON 7” Rafter Square

This 7” rafter square is from a reliable manufacturer trusted for nearly a century by construction professionals and DIYers.

6. Best for Durability: Swanson Tool Co S0101 7 Inch Speed Square

Die-cast constructed speed square offers many years of service.

7. Best for Heavy-duty Tasks: VINCA ARLS-12 Aluminum Rafter Carpenter Triangle Square

Break-proof and bend-resistant rafter square is suitable for using it in heavy-duty tasks.

8. Best Value-adding Speed Square: Empire Level 2990 Heavy-Duty Magnum Rafter Square

Forged tip, thick edge, stamped conversion tables, and other premium features make it a value-adding tool at an affordable price.

9. Best Multi-Purpose Rafter Square: Mr. Pen 7” Rafter Square

It is a multi-purpose rafter square. It will assist a crafter for marking square and 45° lines, finding roof pitch, and so on.

10. Best for Accuracy: Stanley 46-053 Premium Adjustable Quick Square Layout Tool

With 10-3/4″ base length, 6-3/4″ rule length, adjustable design, and maximum visibility feature, this offers accurate reading always.

OUR TOP PICKS

BEST CHOICE
DEWALT DWHT46031 Speed Square
DEWALT DWHT46031 Speed Square
BEST VALUE
CH Hanson 03060 Pivot Square
CH Hanson 03060 Pivot Square
Premium Pick
IRWIN 1794463 Rafter Square Blue , 7-Inch
IRWIN 1794463 Rafter Square Blue , 7-Inch

Top 10 Best Speed Square Reviews

Our review section is designed to give you peace of mind. We discussed both pros and cons so that you can make a precise decision before picking the right product.

Below is an in-depth review that would be helpful while picking the best item.

1. Best Customer’s Choice: DEWALT DWHT46031 Aluminum Made Speed Square

DEWALT DWHT46031 Aluminum 7-inch Premium Rafter Square

When the product comes from a renowned manufacturer, DEWALT, you don’t need to be worried about the quality of the product. The tool has come with a high-contrast option that you will not face any problem to read the number while measuring. The rafter square’s body color is black, and white is the numbering color. So the numbers on the body are highly visible.

The base is quite more abundant in the DEWALT DWHT46031 aluminum made speed square than average speed squares. So it is a perfect tool that can hold larger lumbers. Also, it has an excellent scribe-line notch. As a result, you will have a comfortable rip cut since marking lumber will become extremely straightforward.

Although most metallic rafter squares claim that they are durable enough to be used as a saw guide, the tool will must receive thumbs up to this claim. It is a lightweight tool: 8-ounces only and perfect to carry. You can store it at any belt in your toolbox. Due to the base lip, more security is ensured while working with wood or any other surfaces.

The product comes with an affordable price range. Heavy-gauge billet aluminum alloy made construction ensures the longevity of the item. A complete pocket guide is available with the tool to get the highest efficiency from the speed square.

Key Features:
  • 7” Aluminum made speed square.
  • Highly durable.
  • Efficient performance.
Pros
  • The base size is larger.
  • Impressive scribe-line notches.
  • Color contrasted for easy identification of the numbers.
Cons
  • Irregular quality.

2. Best for the Design: IRWIN 1794463 Rafter Square

IRWIN Tools Rafter Square, Hi-Contrast Aluminum, Blue , 7-Inch (1794463)

If you are looking for a heavy-duty, premium quality speed square for your construction work, the IRWIN 1794463 Rafter Square will be a safe choice. The best feature of the rafter square is its numerous scales: 1/8”, 1/10”, 1/12”, and 1/16”. The numbering of the tool is easy to read. Even if you are below subpar light conditions, you will not face any trouble to read its yellow numbering on the blue colored body. 

The tool is made of aluminum; at the same time, it is durable and lightweight. Moreover, it is rust-proof. Besides, no damage will happen due to weather because of its weather-resistant feature. In terms of design, it has all the features that a standard rafter square should carry. In some cases, it is better performers than other speed squares, such as the 1/16” scale is unavailable in its previous model.

Irwin rafter squares are popular among professionals and DIY hobbyists. And this rafter square is also no exception. For a home workshop, it will be a great addition for sure. Also, you can give this as a gift to a professional. Its weight is only 0.16 ounces, measurement 9.2” x 7.5” x 1.0”, an ideal design to carry it in your nail bag without any trouble.

Another notable feature is; an instruction booklet is available with the item that contains enough information.

Key Features:
  • Rust-resistant.
  • Weather-resistant.
  • Aluminum made construction.
Pros
  • Comes with an instruction booklet.
  • Lightweight and portable.
  • Suitable for both professionals and DIY lovers.
Cons
  • Bit expensive.

3. Best for Repetitive Layout: CH Hanson 03060 Pivot Square

CH Hanson 03060 Pivot Square

In fact, the CH Hanson 03060 pivot square is a sibling of rafter triangle square. However, it will be a great tool if you want to focus more on precise angle measurement. If you need multiple cut lines, it will allow you to do so without making any trouble with the help of its locking mechanism. As per your requirement, you can mark the cut lines with both degree or roof pitches.

In terms of accuracy, you will hardly find any other tools that are much accurate. It contains 3 ultra-violet proof spirit levels, which will assist you in doing roof pitch, grades, and different types of leveling jobs.

Aluminum alloy made construction is one of the best durable speed squares in the market. The CH Hanson 03060 comes with a sturdy bag, pencil marker, and a manual guide for roof framing. The manual stands almost as misused as a square, and some customers report being able to use the manual despite years of neglect.

Since this tool was created to extend the angle functions of a motion square, degrees can be added against any protractor or cardinal clinometers with unbelievable precision. The item is easy to use and robust enough that you will get long term service from the tool.

Key Features:
  • 3 UV-proof spirit level.
  • Effortless pivots.
  • Easy and fast repetitive layout.
Pros
  • Long lifespan.
  • Measurement security.
  • Much accurate.
Cons
  • Inconsistent locking system performance.

4. Best for Repetitive Layout: Johnson Level & Tool 1904-0700 7” Johnny Square

Johnson Level & Tool 1904-0700 7-Inch Johnny Square, Professional Easy-Read Aluminum Rafter Square w/out Manual

The cheapest product on this list comes with less than $10 and it is full of excellent features. Most affordable price doesn’t mean in terms of performance the Johnson Level & Tool 1904-0700 7” Johnny Square is cheap. It will satisfy you with its performance that you will start appreciating it to others. The extruded aluminum body of this 7” speed square comes with CNC machined corners. Also, it offers excellent accuracy and readability through laser-etched numbering.  

The great thing in this speed square is, it doesn’t reflect light, but it diffracts it. Due to its anti-glare coated body, you can easily read its numbering at heavy sunlight or full shade. At the same time, when you are using a saw guide, it creates more friction because its edges are thick enough.

Scribing notches help spread from 3” – ½” or 5” – ½” and an ideal option for measuring 2 X 4 board measurement of 1 – ½”, 3” and 3 – ½”. Generally, a traditional speed square comes with 3 scribe slots. But this rafter square is equipped with 5 square slots that make the item much appreciated by its user in its range.

Its integrated distances and angle scales allow you to smear your cut lines effortlessly on your strings without taking much time. Also, you can take measurements for hip, jack rafter cuts, with the help of the tool. Besides, in terms of durability, it is a champion product.

Key Features:
  • Affordable price tag.
  • Excellent design.
  • Laser etched numbering.
Pros
  • It diffracts light due to its anti-glare coating on the body.
  • Trouble-free reading.
  • Extremely durable.
Cons
  • Because of the black-colored body, it gets heated up when exposed to sunlight for a long period.

5. Best for the Readability: SWANSON 7” Rafter Square

Swanson Tool Co SW1201K Value Pack 7 inch Speed Square and Big 12 Speed Square (without layout bar) ships with Blue Book

Since 1925, the SWANSON is in the tool industry, and from then to now, they come with quality products. The SWANSON 7” Rafter Square is also no exception in this case. The item is manufactured in such a way so that it can fulfill the requirements of professional construction workers, woodworkers, and DIY lovers.

The extraordinary feature of the item is a patented diamond cutout. Without any hassle, you can precisely scribe lines because the patented diamond will let you measure and align the lines. Knowing this correctly and accurately, you can make a 90° line from the angle of your scribed at the edge of the board.

Also, it is a set of 2 squares that will allow you to accomplish a wide range of projects. The smaller one is 7” and 12” is the larger one that makes it ideal for many projects. It prevents glare due to its matte finish.

It consists of a pivot point that will assist you in using the rafter square as a protractor. The best thing is, you will receive a blue book with the item which describes all the essential formulas related to the stairway and roof, diagrams, etc.

Key Features:
  • Scribe 45° and 90° lines.
  • Handy speed square.
  • Includes Blue Book.
Pros
  • Your every scribing job will be easier to handle.
  • Made in the USA.
  • Set of 2 different sized speed squares.
Cons
  • Some customers face problems reading the markings.

6. Best for Durability: Swanson Tool Co S0101 7 Inch Speed Square

Swanson Tool Co S0101 7 Inch Speed Square

The Swanson Tool Co S0101 7 Inch Speed Square is well-known for its durability and high-quality feature. It helps a carpenter, construction worker, roofer, or DIYer make their measuring task easier and more accurate.

It comes with a pocket-sized blue book that helps you make accurate angle cuts when ding any pitched roof. Moreover, this speed square features ¼” scribing notches with cutouts of the diamond; it can mark valleys, jack rafters, hip, and common. You can effortlessly determine and keep angles when you have this speed square in your toolbox. Also, making square cuts becomes easier.

This speed square is designed and colored in such a way so that a carpenter can easily read it from far and near. As a result, you will never lose it, and even if it is lost, you can find it easily. The matte non-glare finish over the black gradation allows you to work with it in any condition and environment. Besides, its die-cast marks ensure persistent accuracy.

Key Features:
  • 7” speed square.
  • Durable and high-quality.
  • Beginner-friendly.
Pros
  • Impressive scribe-line notches.
  • Color contrasted for easy identification of the numbers.
  • It ensures a clean and accurate cut.
Cons
  • Its finish is rough.

7. Best for Heavy-duty Tasks: VINCA ARLS-12 Aluminum Rafter Carpenter Triangle Square

VINCA ARLS-12 Aluminum Rafter Carpenter Triangle Square 12 inch Measuring Layout Tool

Are you frequently handling heavy-duty tasks such as roofing projects or fence building? The VINCA ARLS-12 Aluminum Rafter Carpenter Triangle Square is designed for heavy-duty tasks. With its efficient performance, handling challenging tasks will become a breeze.

Aluminum is used to construct this speed square which makes it a rust-proof speed square. It is so solidly manufactured that it doesn’t break easily and provides many years of service. The body comes with non-glare characteristics that you can use under heavy sunlight without any trouble. Its yellow markings on the black aluminum body confirm that you will never face the hassle of reading the numbers.

Multiple scales (1/8, 1/10, 1/12, 1/16) are the most fantastic feature of this triangle square. Its accuracy is 7” x 0.001. More interestingly, it comes with a built-in rafter conversion table. This means you don’t need to buy a separate conversion tool after buying it. The base is much wider compared to other speed squares, and it helps to grip on materials decently. Overall, it is an ideal tool for carpenters, builders, and craftsmen.

Key Features:
  • Efficient and accurate performance.
  • Rust-proof.
  • Aluminum construction.
Pros
  • Comes with a built-in rafter conversion table.
  • Lightweight and portable.
  • Suitable for heavy-duty tasks.
Cons
  • A bit expensive compared to its rivals.

8. Best Value-adding Speed Square: Empire Level 2990 Heavy-Duty Magnum Rafter Square

Empire Level 2990 Heavy Duty Magnum Rafter Square 7-1/2-Inch Length

With exclusive and exceptional features, the Empire Level 2990 Heavy-Duty Magnum Rafter Square is one of the best speed squares available in the market. In order to control hardness, it is built using a proprietary steel and heat-treated aluminum.

This heavy-duty and superior speed square will allow you to make accurate lumber marking and layout angles. Every measurement task is simplified with its permanent stamped conversion table. Moreover, you can use it as a saw-guide because of its thick and break-proof aluminum construction. Proper use of the speed square is confirmed with the included instruction manual.

Additionally, its forged tip ensures a secure grip, and stripping is eliminated due to maximum contact. More importantly, it is a good option for heavy-duty applications due to its Shockwave Impact Duty accessory line. The speed square is so sturdily built that it will never break or bend. Finally, using this rafter square, 45°, and 90° angle cuts will be precise and accurate for sure.

Key Features:
  • Rust-proof.
  • Weather-proof.
  • Stamped conversion table.
Pros
  • Suitable for both professionals and DIY enthusiasts.
  • Forged tip ensures a secure grip.
  • It can perform as a saw guide too.
Cons
  • Irregular quality.

9. Best Multi-Purpose Rafter Square: Mr. Pen 7” Rafter Square

Mr. Pen Metal 7 Inches Rafter Square, Carpenter Square, Pack of 2

The most amazing thing about this rafter square is, you will get 2-speed squares at the price of one. This multi-purpose 7” rafter square is designed for increasing the craftsmanship of your project with accurate gradations.

This speed square will give you long-term service. Affordably priced speed squares are not built with sturdy materials. The good news is that it is made from weather-resistant aluminum alloy. As a result, harsh weather can’t impact the performance of this tool. It is lightweight, easy to carry and markings are easily readable.

It will allow you to make squares and 45° lines, find roof pitch, protractor saw guide, etc. Moreover, the surface is smooth because it is well-polished. With all its impressive features, this combination square will make your projects easier and accurate.

Key Features:
  • Lightweight.
  • Accurate gradations.
  • Multi-purpose.
Pros
  • Trouble-free reading.
  • Extremely durable.
  • Much accurate.
Cons
  • Narrow guide plate.

10. Best for Accuracy: Stanley 46-053 Premium Adjustable Quick Square Layout Tool

Stanley 46-053 Premium Adjustable Quick Square Layout Tool

Whether you are a beginner or a professional, the Stanley 46-053 Premium Adjustable Quick Square Layout Tool is worth every penny product. The numberings will grab anyone’s attention because of the yellow graduations on the black-colored body. Even you will not face the hassle of reading the number under low light conditions.

10-3/4″ is its base length, and 6-3/4″ is the rule length; it is incredibly lightweight with a weight of 0.16 oz. Heavy-duty aluminum construction guarantees its long-lasting performance. You can easily adjust it, and working with it is extremely easy.

In terms of accuracy, it performs like a king. Whatever measurement you do with it, you will always get an accurate reading. Due to its adjustable arm, you can use this tool from any direction. It also features a standard scale, valley, and jack and hip to aid multiple purposes.

Key Features:
  • Base length: 10-3/4″
  • Rule length: 6-3/4″
  • Multi-functional.
Pros
  • It diffracts light due to its anti-glare coating on the body.
  • Trouble-free reading.
  • Adjustable design for easy handling.
Cons
  • Due to the black-colored body, it gets heated up when exposed to sunlight for an extended period.

Buying Guide | Characteristics of the Best Speed Squares

What is the difference between a traditional and the best product?

There are some specific kind of characteristics available with the best item that makes them a much better item over a traditional item.

So, what are the characteristics of the best speed squares?

Below are the main characteristics that need to be kept in mind.

Materials

In recent times, most of the speed squares are made of durable materials like steel or aluminum alloy. Don’t pick an item that is made of inferior materials. Since you are investing a few bucks, no doubt that you want to get long term service from the item.

However, in the market, you will still find a few rafter squares made of wood. They are also tough as well as come with a rustic look. Some are made of plastic. Both types can break easily after a while.

Use

What you plan to use your rafter square will largely determine the completion of your purchase. The requirement of an architect and a carpenter is dissimilar.

Architects require to draw complicated and accurate drawings, whereas a carpenter in a construction site needs to measure the rooftop accurately. So, their requirement is different; they need to pick a speed square that fulfills their needs.

Firstly, ask yourself why you want to use a speed square, and depending on that, pick your speed square.

Weight and Size

Most of the speed squares come with the lightweight feature. Remember, aluminum or metal made speed squares are heavier than a plastic made speed square.

You need to keep the size of your selected speed square into consideration also. You may think size doesn’t matter, but the fact is, large size speed squares are less durable, prone to break easily, and they are bulky too.

The standard size of a speed square is 8”.

Since you may need to carry your speed squares into your workstation, so it has to be lightweight and standard in size.

Design

It probably won’t be a surprise that the little kids have learned that the speed squares in their classroom are much different from those of a carpenter’s rafter square.

The markings need to come with a high visibility option. If you can’t see the markings comfortably, and measure correctly, then the purpose of purchasing a speed square will go in vain.

So make sure your selected item comes with high visibility.

You may want to read this article – Best Laser Level 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Size Speed Square Should You Get?

7” and 12” – these are the 2 available sizes of speed squares.” speed squares are easy to carry in a toolbox or apron because of their small size. It performs well as a wet or circular saw’s miter.” speed squares are suitable for measuring large lumbers.Choose the speed square size according to your project requirement.

How to Use a Speed Square?

You will find a flange/foot/slip on the straight side of every speed square—this needs to butt up against the measuring element. The opposite straight side has a built-in ruler with markings.The lip’s one end at the point is known as a pivot, allowing a user to measure different angles. At the long end, multiple markings are etched to make the angle and roofing measurement easier.You can use a speed square as a miter saw using the flange. It also allows you to hold the tool against a board. Marking the correct angle is effortless with a speed square. All you need to do is, hold the pivot point, rotate the speed square along with the long end and mark the angle within a second.Usage of speed square is vast, and how to use a speed square appropriately for completing several measurements is discussed in the user manual. The above discussion is the basic technique to work with a speed square.

What is a speed square exactly?

A speed square is known as a rafter square, triangle square, etc., used for doing basic measurements. It can perform as a saw guide for making short 45° or 90° cuts.

What is the difference between a speed square and a triangle?

A triangle is categorized as a drafting tool that helps you make precise angled, parallel, and vertical lines. Typically, 2 right-angled triangular pieces of separate angles form a set. You can measure 30°/45°/60°/90° angles combining the 2 triangular tools.On the other hand, measuring any angle for cross cuts becomes easier. This is a commonly used tool in the woodworking and carpentry industry.

What does a Speed Square look like?

A speed square that looks like a triangle is used in the carpenter and woodworking industry for precise measurement.

What is the best square for woodworking?

Finding the best square for woodworking is a daunting task because dozens of models are available in the market. With several positive customer reviews, the Johnson Level amp; Tool 1904-0700 7” Johnny Square is one of the speed squares. The numberings are laser etched; as a result, a user doesn’t face trouble to read the numbers. Also, it is designed for measuring 3-1/2”, 3” and 1-1/2”. Moreover, allowing you to rip at 5-1/2” and 3-1/2”.

Is there any other name available for speed square?

Speed squares are also known as “rafter square,” “triangle square,” or “rafter triangle square.”

Speed squares are made of what material?

Different types of materials are used to make speed square. Wood, aluminum, is the most widely used material. Also, some speed squares are made from stainless steel too.

Who uses speed squares?

Speed squares are versatile and can be used in different types of work. It is a great tool in the woodworker’s toolbox.

What is the standard size of a speed square?

Speed squares are available in different sizes. Although project to project, the size of a speed square varies, but the most standard size of a speed square is 12” triangle and 7” triangle.

Wrap Up

The best speed squares are versatile, deliver an accurate result, and use them in a wide range of projects.

When you are going to measure any angles or drawing anything, they will give you the best companion.

Don’t pick an inferior quality item. Purchase the best product and value your time and money.

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