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The Best Carpentry Squares - 2021

Last updated on August 24, 2021
Best Carpentry Squares

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Our Picks For The Top Carpentry Squares

Show Contents
Our Take
  Our Top Pick

Swanson Tool S0101 Carpentry Speed Square, 7-Inch

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Swanson Tool

S0101 Carpentry Speed Square, 7-Inch

Overall Take

The Guide You NeedYou’ll want to have this handy 5-in-1 speed square along for every job you work on.

  Runner Up

Irwin Metal Body Combination Square, 12-Inch

Irwin

Metal Body Combination Square, 12-Inch

Overall Take

For a Precision EdgeUse this sturdy combination square for precise 90° and 45° marking and angle transfers.

  We Also Like

ALVIN Graduated Aluminum Carpentry T-Square, 12-Inch

ALVIN

Graduated Aluminum Carpentry T-Square, 12-Inch

Overall Take

Get Accurate, Professional WorkProfessionals will appreciate the value and quality of this high-quality, graduated T-square.

  Strong Contender

Mr. Pen L-Shape Carpentry Square, 8-Inch x 12-Inch

Mr. Pen

L-Shape Carpentry Square, 8-Inch x 12-Inch

Overall Take

For Carpentry and MoreUse this carbon steel ruler as a straightedge and for different carpentry applications.

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Guide written by Danielle Smyth
Last updated on August 24, 2021

Carpentry squares are a great tool for anyone who needs to lay out and mark patterns in frames, stairways and roofs. They can also be used as straightedges to determine how linear and flat surfaces are.

These tools are also referred to as rafter squares, roofing squares and flat squares. You can find carpentry squares that are designed to fit in your pocket and ones that are made to work with different surfaces such as wood or brick.

They are generally made from aluminum or steel and are shaped like the letter “L.” Though the standard size is 24 inches by 16 inches, they can also be found in other sizes. The longer part is called the blade, and the shorter part is the tongue; these join at the heel.

You’ll find many different types of squares, often specialized for certain jobs. A combination square, for example, can mark lines at 45 degrees, 90 degrees and 135 degrees and includes an adjustable slide ruler. Tri-squares do not have the adjustable rule, so they look like flat steel blades that are riveted at 90° to wooden handles. Drywall squares, speed squares, and many others also exist.

The measuring dimensions are stamped onto the surface and vary by the purpose the tool is designed for. Most carpentry squares are calibrated in inches and fractions of inches; look for ones that are clearly stamped and easy to read.

The Best Carpentry Squares

1
  Our Top Pick

Swanson Tool S0101 Carpentry Speed Square, 7-Inch

Swanson Tool’s 7-inch speed square is easy to use, with gradations for marking common, jack, hip and valley rafters. It also makes square cuts and marks angles. The multi-faceted tool features a try square, miter square, saw guide, line scriber and protractor.

Features


Specifications

Brand
Swanson Tool
Model
2
  Runner Up

Irwin Metal Body Combination Square, 12-Inch

This best-selling 12-inch combination square features a rust-proof stainless steel blade, a cast zinc body and black precision-etched scales. It works well for gauging depths, transferring angles, and marking angles accurately.

Features


Specifications

Brand
Irwin
Model
3
  We Also Like

ALVIN Graduated Aluminum Carpentry T-Square, 12-Inch

This aluminum T-square is made from durable, high-quality aluminum and is graduated with highly visible 16ths on both of its sides. It's designed to be highly accurate and visible and comes in different lengths from 12 to 36 inches long.

Features


Specifications

Brand
ALVIN
Model
4
  Strong Contender

Mr. Pen L-Shape Carpentry Square, 8-Inch x 12-Inch

Here is the perfect black framer ruler made from anti-rust carbon steel, with one leg measuring 8 inches by 6.5 inches, the other at 12 inches by 11 inches. It also offers metric measurements and high-contrast markings for visibility.

Features


Specifications

Brand
Mr. Pen
Model
5
  Also Great

WORKPRO Combination & Rafter Carpentry Square, 12-Inch, 7-Inch

This 7-inch rafter square and combination square tool set is crafted from heavy-duty aluminum alloy and has a clearly identifiable, multiple graduation scale. It blends aspects of a framing square, try square, miter square and protractor square.

Features


Specifications

Brand
WORKPRO
Model

Our Carpentry Square Buying Guide

Carpentry squares are a great tool for anyone who needs to lay out and mark patterns in frames, stairways and roofs. They can also be used as straightedges to determine how linear and flat surfaces are.

These tools are also referred to as rafter squares, roofing squares and flat squares. You can find carpentry squares that are designed to fit in your pocket and ones that are made to work with different surfaces such as wood or brick.

They are generally made from aluminum or steel and are shaped like the letter “L.” Though the standard size is 24 inches by 16 inches, they can also be found in other sizes. The longer part is called the blade, and the shorter part is the tongue; these join at the heel.

You’ll find many different types of squares, often specialized for certain jobs. A combination square, for example, can mark lines at 45 degrees, 90 degrees and 135 degrees and includes an adjustable slide ruler. Tri-squares do not have the adjustable rule, so they look like flat steel blades that are riveted at 90° to wooden handles. Drywall squares, speed squares, and many others also exist.

The measuring dimensions are stamped onto the surface and vary by the purpose the tool is designed for. Most carpentry squares are calibrated in inches and fractions of inches; look for ones that are clearly stamped and easy to read.

DWYM Fun Fact

Carpentry squares are not just for carpenters. Artists use them to create straight lines, as do DIYers, crafters, teachers and others. This is a very handy, surprisingly sophisticated tool to have around the house and is not expensive at all. It’s especially useful for framing projects.

The Carpentry Square Tips and Advice

  • If you work outside, shop for carpentry squares with anti-glare coatings.
  • Aluminum is water-resistant and does not rust like steel.
  • Some of these squares come with accessories, like manuals that can instruct you on how to use them properly.
  • Some squares are multi-use tools that include the square along with many other useful parts. These can be very convenient and save you money.