Anyone doing carpentry or woodwork can feel the importance of using a speed square. Whether you are a professional or just doing some DIY work around the house, a speed square can be one of the most useful tools for you. However, even though they may look the same, each of these things comes with its own features.
In this article, we are going to tell you all about the 10 best speed squares that we think will be perfect for you! Just for your convenience, we have also included a buying guide and answered some questions you may have. So without any further ado, let us get to it!
Best Speed Square: Buying Guide & Top 10 Choices 
- Swanson Tool Speed Square Layout Tool
- DEWALT Premium Rafter Square
- Swanson Tool Value Pack Speed Square
- IRWIN Tools Rafter Square
- Stanley Premium Adjustable Quick Square Layout Tool
- WORKPRO Rafter Square and Combination Square Tool
- Mr. Pen Metal 7 Inches Rafter Square, Carpenter Square
- CH Hanson Pivot Square
- VINCA ARLS Aluminum Rafter Carpenter Triangle Square
- Empire Heavy-Duty Magnum Rafter Square
Buying the right product can be tricky if you do not really know where to look. That is why we have come with a list of 10 such products that we believe to be the best.
Swanson Tool Speed Square Layout Tool
The next square we have on our list is another great one that does not leave much room for disappointment. Like the other products on this list, this one too promises great accuracy and precision to make things convenient for you.
First things first, this product has been built using heavy gauge aluminum alloy,which guarantees high durability. Along with that, the square even has a matte finish that comes in handy when preventing glare.
This thing features black gradations so that you can have an easier time reading the measurements, giving you a more accurate final result. Well, the die-cast helps to ensure this better accuracy as well!
This thing is very good for building stairways and deck framing, so if that is what you are planning to use this thing for, you will not be disappointed. It can serve both like an out of square angle finder, as well as a layout square, whatever you need, whenever you need it.
The best part is that you get all these great features at quite a reasonable price. It is a great tool for beginners as it is very easy to read the numbers here, thanks to the number one method of graduation. This 12-inch square can be used as a protractor, tri square, cutting guide, and also for scribing.
DEWALT Premium Rafter Square
The DEWALT is an expensive tool but completely worth the extra money.
To begin with, the reason why it is slightly more expensive than its other competitors is that it is very well thought out and put together speed square.
It offers maximum visibility with the black on white contrast between the body and the number markings and makes it very easy to read. The numbers have been stamped and etched on, which means they will stay in place for quite some time.
This thing is very precise and works to give the most accurate results. With its sleek black design, it also has a noticeable logo at the center. It can prove to be a nice and stylish addition to your toolbox.
Overall, this is a very good product. One drawback here is that the paint on the body has the habit of coming off in small bits rather quickly. So, it is likely that it may wear off much sooner than you would want it to.
Swanson Tool Value Pack Speed Square
This Swanson Tool is another great product that we just had to include on our list. It is the best speed square for the money, and we will tell you why!
First of all, this thing has a heavy-duty aluminum-alloy body and has a die-cast for the best durability. This tool promises better accuracy when working on your tasks and construction projects.
Gradations have been included here to mark Valley, common, hip, and jack rafters. It does an excellent job determine and mark the angles and helping you make square cuts on the board.
The visibility of this thing is also good enough. Its body has a no glare and matte finish, with black gradations to make the numbers stand out. This makes it quite easy to read and take accurate measurements accordingly. You can use this thing as a layout square or even an out of square angle finder.
This is a great product that can prove to be very helpful and handy when needed. It has a lot of great features, but also comes at quite an affordable price. So, if you think this is what you are looking for, make sure you check this thing out.
IRWIN Tools Rafter Square
The next speed square we have on our list is quite a popular choice amongst both professionals and DIYers. If you are looking for a tool that is easy to read, this can be just what you need!
With just one glance, you will notice the contrast of the yellow numbers against the blue body. This clever combination of the two colors makes the numbers very visible and easy to read.
The aluminum body makes the tool weather resistant and rustproof, so there is no doubt it is a long-lasting product. It is a high-quality speed square that is very convenient to use.
Furthermore, the square includes multiple scales, with those being 1/8 inches, 1/10 inches, 1/12 inches, and even 1/16 inches. It features rafter tables, brace and octagon scales, and an Essex board measure as well. You will find this 7-inch product very precise, giving you some of the most accurate results.
If you are looking for a tool that will help you achieve a professional finish, this particular product will be the perfect choice for you. It does, however, has some drawbacks.
The first one being that it is actually a bit expensive compared to some of its competitors, which is not surprising given the quality of the product. Another slight problem some people may have is that the pivot is a bit too small.
Stanley Premium Adjustable Quick Square Layout Tool
The Stanley 46-053 is a reliable quick square that can help you find angles very easily. It is very well made and quite a popular option amongst many woodworkers and professionals and many others doing some DIY work.
At first glance, you will notice this thing has a little arm to help you find the angles, a feature that you will not find in most of these products. It has a black body with bright yellow graduations, which ensure maximum readability under all light settings.
It has been constructed using heavy-duty aluminum. So, not only is the product sturdy and durable, but it will also not rust easily.
This tool has a base length of 10-3/4 inches, and a rule length of 6-3/4 inches, and has all the measurements and scales that you require and can be typically found in a speed square.For the scales, you will find that the Jack and Hip, Common, and Valley scales have all been included here.
Moreover, this is a multipurpose tool with an adjustable design that can be used as a protractor as well as a saw guide. Even though this is a great product with some very useful features, it does leave some room for improvement on the build quality of the whole thing.
WORKPRO Rafter Square and Combination Square Tool
Mr. Pen Metal 7 Inches Rafter Square, Carpenter Square
CH Hanson Pivot Square
Along with precision, a speed square that is also easy to mark can be really helpful. That is why, with its high accuracy and locking mechanism for easy marking, the CH Hanson 03060 Pivot Square is one of the best speed squares you will find.
There are a lot of things that contribute to making this tool very easy to use with great accuracy. First of all, thanks to the pivot mechanism lock, this square makes measuring and marking any angle super easy and precise.
This thing features three VU resistant vials that allow you to identify roof pitches, indicate grade, and do some leveling and plumbing with complete ease.
The product has been constructed using the best quality machined aluminum alloy. That means not only does it have an excellent quality build, it is also quite durable. Along with the sturdiness of the product, it also looks great with its innovative design.
That is not all either, as this thing even comes with a pouch. So, you can carry it around very easily, while also protecting other tools such as the marking pencils or even the technical guide that we all know can be very helpful.
However, one thing to note here is that there have been some complaints about the fit and finish not being up to the mark.
VINCA ARLS Aluminum Rafter Carpenter Triangle Square
The next product we have here is a 7-inch square that is just as good as any of the others on our list. If you are looking for a reliable speed square that also comes at a reasonable price, look no further! This particular is all that, and more.
It cannot be stressed enough just how convenient easy-to-read squares really are. This model is no exception to that.
The manufacturers here have made the body to be black and have placed yellow markings on them so that you are able to read them easily and get some accurate measurements. We believe you will get some of the best results when using this thing.
Like all the other products on this list, this one too is made of aluminum. This aluminum construction makes this tool very durable and hard to bend. It is perfect for heavy-duty tasks and even has a wide enough base to make sure the materials get a firm grip on the square.
So, do you think this is what you have been searching for? This is quite a well-liked product and with good reason. It is not only affordable but very convenient to use as well. One issue to note is that the edges might be a bit too sharp for some.
Empire Heavy-Duty Magnum Rafter Square
The Empire 3990 Heavy Duty Magnum Rafter Square is another aluminum speed square we have on our list. You can likely tell by now this is product is also going to be quite sturdy and durable like its competitors.
Moreover, the manufacturers have promised that this thing will not bend nor break easily, like many other diecast squares. This model has a large enough edge for you to easily hold it firmly on boards. It is very precise and has been built to last quite a long time. With this, you can mark and cut boards that are up to 12 inches wide.
Not just that, if you want to use this as a reciprocating saw guide, you can safely do so thanks to its thick frame design. This 1.05-pound product has a graduated notched area which makes it convenient to pull layout lines. Like most squares, this one too has conversion tables directly stamped on it.
Overall this is a pretty good product that is not only precise but also very durable. However, one issue you may face with this thing is that is not very easy to read. This is because the markings are not painted, which makes them a bit difficult to read.
You, of course, would not want to misread the measurements when working on a project, so you should think if this may be a problem for you.
What To Look For Before Buying?
Speed squares are a pretty common and useful tool. However, they are not all exactly the same. If you are thinking of buying one, there some things you need to keep in mind to find the best quality speed square.
The very first thing you should consider when buying one of these things. Speed squares can be of different materials. The material the product is what decides just how durable it is.
You may have noticed how aluminum is a pretty popular choice among most manufacturers when making a speed square. This is because materials like these are sturdy and hard to break. They can also be weather and resistant proof which only makes them even more long-lasting.
It is very important that are able to read the numbers on a square easily if you want to make the correct measurements. That is why the readability of the tool is something you should prioritize.
There are many models that have the only numbers engraved onto the body without any colors or contrast to make them easy to read. This can make it challenging for some to clearly see them under certain light conditions.
The best tools here are the ones that have a dark body like black or dark blue, with bright yellow or white markings on them. This contrasting color combinations maximize readability no matter what the light conditions are.
When working on a project, you want to make sure the measurements you take are as accurate as possible. Speed squares are made to provide you with these quick and precise measurements, but what good are they if they are not even accurate?
A speed square that is not accurate does not really have much of a purpose.
Luckily, most of these you come across are actually quite precise and accurate. If you are someone looking for this tool to do some DIY projects, you probably do not need it to be completely precise as being just a little bit off is not a big deal in these cases.
However, if you are looking for something more professional, you will need something that is highly accurate.
No matter how accurate or durable the speed square is, it does not mean much if it bends within just a weeks of getting it. A bent square cannot accurately take measurements, nor can it be effectively used as a saw guide.
As mentioned earlier, the durability of your product depends on the material the square is made of. Materials like aluminum not only make them durable but also resistant to rust.
The weight of your speed square can play a significant role in determining how the results will turn out. If you plan on working with roof pitches, you will probably want something that is not only easy to hold, but also quite lightweight. Doing so will prevent any aches in your arms and shoulders.
On the other hand, if you are going to use it on projects on a workbench or flat surfaces, you will want a speed square that is on the heavier side. This makes sure that the tool stays firmly in place and no traction is lost.
You will find that speed squares come in a variety of sizes. The most common size you will come across is 7 inches. This one allows you to very accurately and precisely cut lines for a range of projects.
It is enough if you are working on something somewhat adequate in size.However, if you are working on a larger project, you will probably want a speed square that is around 12 inches.
Lastly, no matter how great a product is, it does not mean much if it makes you go over your budget. Although it is true that most high-quality products tend to be expensive, you can still find some affordable speed squares that are able to do the job just fine.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is a speed square used for?
Speed squares are used to help you take measurements and cut projects accordingly. A speed square is a combination of different types of squares like try squares and framing squares, all rolled into one. Mostly, woodworkers, carpenters use these, however, they are popular among DIYers as well.
- What size-speed square should I get?
The right size of speed square depends on what kind of project you intend to be working on. If you are starting out or working on a large project, you can go for a 12-inch speed square.
- How thick are speed squares?
The thickness of a speed square varies. There are many that even have different thicknesses on different sides. The side that is meant to be used as a saw guide are usually thicker than others.
- Why is it referred to as a speed square?
They are called speed squares because, well, it is a square! These are made and designed to enable you to make accurate measurements. It was invented by Albert Swanson and is basically a trademark name used by the Swanson Tool company. However, it is still generally used to identify an entire class of tools.
- How to make a circle with a speed square?
Most of the speed squares you will come across have a notch at the 90o edge, which is used to identify the angles. To draw a circle, position a nail at the center of where your circle will be and place the notch onto the nail, and then use a pencil to run it around the nail using the speed square.
Well, there you have it! We believe these 9 products are really some of the best, and we hope with this best speed squares review, you can find the right one for yourself. Before you make a purchase though, make sure to go through our buying guide thoroughly so that picking the best tool becomes easier.