A square is an essential tool for any woodworker or carpenter. It’s extremely helpful for making sure that your cuts are precise and accurate.
You know what they say, “Measure twice, cut once”, and having a accurate woodworking square will help you do just that.
Whether you need a speed square, framing square, a combination square, these woodworking squares are the best on the market!
In a hurry? My favorite overall square is the iGaging Precision Double Square because of its accuracy, price, and size.
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- 6 squares thoroughly vetted and hand tested
- 10+ data points and key considerations
- 11+ hours of use
6 Best Woodworking Squares
- #1 Best Overall: IGaging 4” Precision Double Square
- Best Combination Square: Irwin Tools Combination Square
- Best Speed Square: Swanson Speed Square
- Most Accurate: Woodraphic Precision Square
1. iGaging 4” Precision Double Square – #1 Best Overall
The IGaging 4” Precision Double Square is the absolute best square for woodworking I’ve used for a few different reasons.
The double square allows you to handle heavy-duty woodworking without fear. It’s perfect for both beginner woodworkers and those with decades of experience.
This square is extremely accurate and lightweight making it super simple to use.
This square features a hardened satin chrome blade that’s 4” long with a 2.5″ base.
What I Liked:
- Quality built with a chrome blade
- Extremely precise with laser etched marking
What I Didn’t Like:
- Only 4″ long, which might not be long enough for some projects
2. Irwin Tools Combination Square – Best Combination Square
Next is the Irwin Tools Combination Square. I love this choice for the accuracy it offers woodworkers, as well as the size.
It’s two tools, providing a mix of a level and square, all in one tool (so convenient!).
This square features a 12″ stainless steel blade and a cast zinc body. The Irwin Tools Combination Square is a great choice for those looking for quality without breaking the bank.
The only downside I found with this square is that the blade seemed more flimsy than other options but overall, it’s still a great tool for the price.
What I Liked:
- 12″ blade which is mandatory for some projects
- Multi-tool so you don’t need multiple different tools
What I Didn’t Like:
- Blade seemed more flimsy due to length
The Irwin Tools Tri and Mitre Square is another excellent choice that I would recommend.
I appreciate this tool thanks to the level and accurate markings as well as the medium sized blade. If 4″ is too short for your work, but 12″ is too long – this square offers an 8″ blade that’s perfect for any job.
It doesn’t offer the 45 degree angle that the Irwin combination square does, but it’s still a great square with a stainless steel blade.
What I Liked:
- High-quality stainless steel blade
- Offers an 8″ blade – which many other don’t
- Includes level
What I Didn’t Like:
- No 45 degree angle
Another unique option I love is the POWERTEC Try Square with Hardwood Handle.
What makes this square stand out is the wood handle that makes it very lightweight for a simple hold (no plastic here!).
It features and 8″ stainless steel blade with black precision etched scales for accurate measuring. This is one of the best woodworking squares you’ll find and a great gift for any woodworker!
What I Liked:
- Wooden handle is unique and comfortable
- 8″ stainless steel blade
What I Didn’t Like:
- Slightly higher priced than other 8″ squares
- ✔️ MARK WITH PRECISION AND GET THE ‘RIGHT’ RIGHT ANGLE – WOODRAPHIC’s Ruler gives you the ultimate marking precision, allowing the user to…
- ✔️ CHOOSE THE RIGHT SIZED RULER FOR YOUR PROJECT – The conventional square ruler’s signature feature is to establish perfect 90-degree angles….
- ✔️ EASY-TO-READ THERMAL – Each aluminum blade is precisely milled with state-of-the-art MCT equipment followed by sanding procedure and anodizing…
The Woodraphic Precision Square is a more expensive option, but if you have the budget – I believe it’s worth it.
However, there’s a reason for the high price-tag – the quality and precision.
This square is made of aluminum and features a black anodized finish. You can choose several blade lengths ranging from 4″ to 8″ long, each with etched graduations for perfect accuracy.
This is the lightest square you’ll find thanks to its aluminum construction.
If price doesn’t matter, this is the best woodworking squares you can buy.
What I Liked:
- Extremely high quality constructed with aluminum
- Two size options, 4″ and 8″
What I Didn’t Like:
- Most expensive option
6. Swanson Speed Square – Best Speed Square for Woodworking
Next is the Swanson Speed Square which is the perfect speed square for beginner and pro woodworkers.
I like this choice because it is the original speed square that’s extremely easy to use. It’s hard to go wrong with a classic. It has all the basics and is sturdy enough to last through anything.
It comes in both 7″ and 12″ options with a blue powder-coat finish that is rust resistant. If you’re just getting started with woodworking and you want a square that’ll get the job done, this is the square for you. It’s also made in the USA – which some people might prefer over other options.
What I Liked:
- Extremely affordable and the cheapest on the list
- Made in the USA
- Rust resistant finish
What I Didn’t Like:
- Can be difficult to read measurements
Types of Squares and Uses
There are five main types of squares on the market. If it’s your first time purchasing a square, it’s critical to understand the available options.
The framing square works as a tool for framing roofs and laying out stair stringers. You can find these constructed in two materials – aluminum or steel. There are options with a rafter-length table printed on the tool and without.
You can identify a framing square by the way it looks. A framing square is essentially two rulers melded together into a right angle, making it simple to measure and frame items even if you are not an expert.
Some framing squares can fold into a singular ruler length for transportation, making it easy to move the tool from one location to another. When pulled apart, they make a right angle for precise measurements every time you need them.
Framing squares make it easy to achieve perfection in framing, whether you’re a professional carpenter or someone attempting to complete a project yourself. I recommend a framing square for laying out and marking any necessary patterns in a project.
The speed square has several other names – rafter square, rafter angle square, and triangle square. It’s one of the most basic squares, known for its simple, effective, and durable nature.
You can identify a speed square by its triangular shape.
It typically has a triangle-shaped hole in the center and a line beneath, surrounded by tons of built-in segments and tools for creating a flat surface.
Most speed squares are built from an aluminum alloy, made to last for a decades. They come in several sizes, so you can find a woodworking speed square for projects big and small.
I recommend using a speed square to ensure the lines are straight. It has a ruler, t-edge, right angle, diamond-shaped hole, and angles – everything you need to make proper measurements on the go.
A combination square takes the basic square and elevates it to the next level. It’s a multi-measuring tool that allows you to measure right angles, forty-five-degree angles, circular measuring, depth, and even basic distance measurements.
It’s worth noting that you need some experience with tools to use the combination square. Although it’s versatile, there’s no use if you can’t utilize the tools. There is a blade, adjustable knob, anvil, shoulder, and bubble vial.
The ruler portion of a combination square is made of steel or an aluminum alloy to ensure durability. It has markings on both sides of the ruler, allowing for extensive measuring options for any project.
I recommend using a combination square to have accuracy in all measurements from right angles to depth. If you need to find more indicators than a basic speed square allows, go with the combination square.
A try square is another L-shaped tool, much like the framing square. Its purpose is to accurately display right angles, allowing carpenters and other woodworkers to ensure accuracy in their projects. The try square is much smaller and less versatile than a framing square but still very useful.
You can identify a try square due to the tiny structure of the tool. They have handles, often made from wood, plastic, or resin for an easy grip.
The ruler portion of the try square is made from steel or an aluminum alloy to ensure its durability. Some manufacturers take the opportunity to balance out the lines and numbers on the metal portion with gorgeous designs on the wooden part.
I recommend taking advantage of the try square if you need to check a right angle, check the straightness of a surface or line, mark and measure, or examine a structure for stability. If you need a square but don’t want anything massive, pick a try square.
Last up is a marking square.
This type of tool is a little different from the other squares. It allows you to transfer markings from an accurate measurement onto a piece of wood. Rather than using a ruler, you can simply place the tool and make the markings as necessary.
Many squares have a marking ability built into them. With these, you can make accurate measurements and ensure you have markings in the correct place before moving forward with the next phase of the project.
Almost any square can work as a marking square. If this ability is the most critical to you, ensure you pick up a tool that specifies a marking capability. There are plenty out there, from speed squares to combination squares.
I recommend using a marking square to make precise marks on a project.
Which Types of Woodworking Squares Are Best?
The best square for woodworking depends on the project at hand. For example, if you need to measure a corner, you may benefit from a framing tool. If you need something with multiple functions, a combination square is ideal.
I think it’s critical to examine your project and determine what square you need from there. Take a look at the following items before you spend a dollar
- The size of your project and the scale at which it needs to be measured
- The precision necessary to make precise measurements
- The needed strength of the square for your project
- Your budget
A bigger project may warrant a bigger square, while a smaller one doesn’t need a massive tool. Your budget will also be a critical factor in making your decision.
Factors to Consider in a Square
There are several items you should give thought to before buying a square of any kind. I have a few that I consider to be the most important.
Size is one of the most prominent factors to consider in a woodworking square.
The scale of your project will determine the size of the square. If you have a smaller project under your belt, you need a smaller square. If you have a larger project on hand, you need a large square for your needs.
If you have a small square and need to measure a large project, it will take a long time to make the proper markings. You may even find it impossible to get the job done. It’s critical to determine the length you need and locate a square that fits that need.
It’s also critical to note that the larger the square, the flimsier it will become.
Ensure you purchase a woodworking square made from durable material so it will last as long as possible.
Precision is another critical factor to consider with a woodworking square.
You need a square that is as accurate as possible to avoid frustration and having to repeat steps on your project.
It’s also critical to have a square with a true right angle.
You can’t form a proper construction without a true right angle – your structure will be off. A proper woodworking square will have a true right angle, which could mean spending a few extra dollars to save you time.
Clarity of Measurements
The clarity of measurements is an additional factor to consider.
If you can’t see the measurement markings, how do you know if your measurement is accurate? Where is the angle indicator? It’s easy to make incorrect measurements when you can’t easily read markings on your tool.
The best markings are dark black, set in place enough that you can see them at any angle. Many squares have divots filled with ink to ensure the marks stay in place for as long as possible.
The material of a square is also worth considering.
If you don’t have a square made from a strong, durable material, the square could flex and fold as you measure yielding inaccurate measurements.
Stainless steel or anodized aluminum are the best choices for a woodworking square.
If the square has a handle, it’s typically made from wood, metal, or a form of plastic. These materials allow an ergonomic hold and a way to get an excellent grip when utilizing the square.
Durability is one of the most critical factors when purchasing any square.
If you spend money, you want to purchase one that will last. It’s a waste of money to purchase anything less than a quality, durable woodworking square. Durability typically goes hand in hand with material.
Hardened steel and aluminum are the best materials when choosing a square that will last.
Speed squares are perhaps the most durable choice of the bunch. They are made of solid metal and don’t bend too much pressure. Many people can go their entire lives without replacing their speed square.
Price and Warranty
The price and warranty can be a final deciding factor when choosing the square that’s right for your needs.
You want one that fits within your budget and offers a warranty replacement option if something goes wrong while using the square for your project.
As a woodworker, carpenter, or DIYer – you’re going to use a square many, many times. This isn’t something you really want to cheap out on!
A warranty is also critical. A warranty can be a life changer when making the most of your purchase.
Set your budget ahead of time to ensure you pick a woodworking square within your means.
It can be quite uncomfortable to hold a metal square for extensive periods. Many don’t consider comfort, but it should be a priority when picking a woodworking square. If you aren’t comfortable, how can you make it through the project?
Some squares are designed to fit well in the hand. There are ergonomic choices and items with wooden handles that can make working with a square more comfortable.
Not all squares are created equal. There may be good-quality squares that aren’t comfortable.
What Woodworking Squares Do You Need?
We’ve talked a lot about woodworking squares, but which ones do you actually need? The woodworking square you need for your endeavor largely depends on your experience and the project at hand.
Beginners should start with a speed square, no more than seven or eight inches. This tool provides the easiest measurement opportunities and makes ensuring flat sides much simpler. Speed squares have been around since the beginning of the woodworking and carpentry and are great options for anyone.
Those more advanced may enjoy the benefits that come with a combination square. There are plenty of functions in these squares which makes it more convenient.
If you want to keep it simple, go with a framing or a speed square. They will get the job done without requiring anything too complicated.
Check out the video below to learn how to use a speed square.
How to Make a DIY Woodworking Square
Did you know you can make your own woodworking square?
If you’re crafty, it’s possible to make yourself a square instead of putting money down on a premade option!
Here is how you can make yourself a woodworking square for all your project needs:
- Cut post to length: Ensure your wood has parallel sides and cut it to fit the size of the square.
- Cut mortise: Create the mortise with precise measurements.
- Cut the beam: Slice the beam, making it about a third of the width of the post.
- Glue the beam: Add the beam to the post with a little bit of glue.
- Adjust the square: Adjust the square until the measurements come out perfectly and every side is even.
- Finish: Add the finishing touches to the piece before letting it dry completely.
Check out the video below for more help!
Final Thoughts on the Best Woodworking Square
Finding the best square for woodworking is essential. But there are many different options that can make it overwhelming to choose.
My favorite woodworking square overall is the iGaging Precision Double Square because its affordable, durable, and extremely accurate.
If money doesn’t matter, I’d go with the Woodraphic Precision Square as it’s a lightweight square made of aluminum that’s very precise and easy to read.
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