The Ultimate Best 10 Speed Squares Showdown | Reviews & Buying Guide

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speed square

Do you need a speed square?

A speed square is an essential tool for any woodworker. It’s used to measure 90-degree angles and can also be used as a straight edge or marking gauge. There are various types of speed squares, so it’s essential to know the difference between them before purchasing one. This article will help you understand what kind of project you should use your speed square for and which type would work best for that project.

You want to make sure that your projects turn out just right, so you must have the right tools on hand when starting a new project! They’re also highly versatile and come in all shapes and sizes. So, if you have just started working with wood or other materials, this guide will be perfect for you! 

Which one should you buy? Check out this article about different speed squares and see which one could work best with your next woodworking project!

Here’s a quick rundown of what we cover in this best speed square review article:

  • First, we compare our top 10 brands side-by-side in a comparison table.  Ideal if you have little time!
  • Next, we take a deep dive into each model’s features and benefits you’ll find useful
  • Then, we share their drawbacks we think you know about
  • And finally, use our buying guide and FAQ sections to learn more about the product range so you can quickly see which one would best suit your needs.

Sound good?  Great, let’s get started!

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Our Favorite Speed Squares | Compared


10 Best Speed Squares | Reviews


1. Swanson Speed Square S0101 (Best Value)

Pros & Cons

  • Precise measurement
  • It is made by a renowned company
  • It is easy to read.
  • Complaints about lack of accuracy


2. Irwin Tools Rafter Square 1794463 (Best Overall)

Pros & Cons

  • It has several scales for high levels of precision.
  • It is made of high-quality materials
  • Easy right angle marking.
  • More expensive than others


3. WorkPro Rafter Square and Combination Square Tool Set

Pros & Cons

  • Accurate at an angle 90 degrees & 45 degrees.
  • It is easy to read
  • It is user-friendly
  • Lacks 100% accuracy


4. Mr. Pen Rafter Square 

Pros & Cons

  • It is a versatile carpentry square
  • It has a sturdy construction for enhanced durability
  • It is highly portable
  • A sizeable number of buyers have complained that it is low quality.


5. Milwaukee 4-1/2” Trim Square

Pros & Cons

  • It comes with a lifetime warranty.
  • It is highly visible.
  • It is compact
  • The size may be too small for some.


6. Crescent X-6 2-in-1 Extendable Layout Tool 

Pros & Cons

  • It has a quick access thumb lock.
  • It is easy to store.
  • It is highly portable.
  • It is pricy.


7. CH Hanson 03060 Pivot Square 

Pros & Cons

  • It is a valuable tool.
  • It has incredible functionality.
  • It is well built
  • Thick and heavy
  • Edges are razor-sharp


8. Johnson Level & Tool – 1959-0700

Pros & Cons

  • It is easy to read.
  • It has a sturdy design.
  • It offers high levels of accuracy.
  • Label sticker not easily peeled
  • Poor magnet


9. Deartisan Carpenter Square 

Pros & Cons

  • It boasts of a high level of craftsmanship.
  • Multiple scribe notches.
  • It is light and easy to use
  • It lacks grooves to draw straight lines.


10. VINC ARLS Aluminum Carpenter Triangle Square

Pros & Cons

  • It is a lightweight handy tool
  • It is easy to read.
  • It is pretty durable.
  • It is costly.
  • Should have a lifetime warranty owing to its price

Video: The Basics on a Speed Square

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Speed Square Buying Guide 

Now that we have looked at some of the best speed squares you can obtain in the market, we ought to show you how to arrive at the perfect purchase decision. Several brands deal with this type of tool, and you risk falling for a low-quality option if you are not careful. 

Therefore, we have several factors that you ought to consider when you go out shopping. Let’s take a look. 

speed square
CH Hanson 03060 Pivot Square


You should settle on an option that will last for ages, or if not, long enough. How do you tell if a speed square is durable or not? One of the factors to consider is the overall build of your speed square. We advise that you settle for an item with solid construction. 

If possible, buy a speed square made of an alloy, whether aluminum or steel. We also advise that you go for a stainless alloy that will keep off rust, allowing your tool to stay in the perfect condition for as long as possible. 

Luckily, most of these new models are made of one or more alloys, making them more durable and rugged. You can also consider options with a more rustic look made of wood. However, we vouch for the former if you have to decide on one. 

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Intended usage 

What do you plan to do with your speed square? This will largely dictate the speed square you will end up with. A carpenter and an architect will use different speed squares owing to the level of precision in their jobs. 

When considering the intended usage, the tool’s material and durability should be at the top of your list of considerations. If you are exposed to more elements, such as outdoor work, we suggest getting a stainless steel or aluminum alloy product. Remember to pick an appropriately engraved tool for the outdoor job to ensure that the measurements do not fade. 

Size and weight 

The size and weight of your speed square determine its portability. Luckily, most speed squares in the market are lightweight and can be moved from place to place. All in all, ensure that you settle on an option that will get the work done. If heavier tools give you more control, pay for metal speed squares. 

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What do other buyers have to say about the given speed square? This should be one of your first considerations when buying an item. You can consider buying the product if the reviews are positive. However, several negative reviews should tell you that there is a problem with the product. 

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Speed Squares Frequently Asked Questions

Which is the most common size for speed square?

There are many sizes of speed squares on the market. It can be hard to pick one that will work best for you. The most popular size is 7 inches, but there are also 6 inch and 12-inch options available. Determine your needs before picking an extent, so you don’t get stuck with an item that doesn’t fit your needs or expectations.

On the other hand, you can use these sizes for different purposes. For example, if you have just started working with wood or another material, a 7-inch square will work best! Choose one appropriate to your needs and expectations to fit nicely into what type of project you will be doing.

speed sqaure
WORKPRO Rafter Square

What are the primary purposes for your speed square?

The Speed Square is the Swiss army knife of carpenters everywhere. Not only does it include all the functions of a combination square, try square, and framing square – but it also includes basic measurements like length and area in both imperial (inches) or metric (centimeters).

The Speed Square combines a framing square, try square, and combination square in one device. It is used to make basic measurements on dimensional lumber and marking lines when cutting with a saw at 45 or 90-degree angles.

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Why is a speed square called a speed square?

It was an invention by Albert Swanson way back in 1925. He would later create the Swanson Tool Co., and the name Speed Square is branded to them, but the name has stuck to describe them.

A Speed Square is called a speed square because it can be used to quickly calculate the most common angles in carpentry (90 and 45 degrees) and use this tool for marking lines on lumber when cutting with saws. A framing, try, or combination square is not always convenient enough, so people find these functions useful all packed into one tool.

How thick is a speed square?

Speed squares come in different thicknesses on their various sides. A thicker side is often designed to be a saw guide, making it quite thick and dangerous for some people since you may not expect the edge of such an object to be sharp that could cut your hand. The other sides are typically thinner so that they won’t slice down through whatever material or sheet metal you’re using them with.

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Speed Squares Conclusion

The Best Value speed square is the Swanson Tool Co S0101. This Swanson Tool Co Speed Square is made of heavy gauge aerospace aluminum and has markings for the Swanson Blue Book rafter length and roof construction. The black gradations make measurements easy to read against a matte finish. 

It also features markings for using the one-number recessed layout method, which is faster to measure than traditional methods and easier to compare measurements in different zones. For the money, it’s the best value available.

Our Best Overall pick went to the Irwin Tools Rafter Square 1794463. The IRWIN Tools Rafter Square is the professional’s choice with its durable deep-stamped markings that are most visible under low lighting conditions. It has an aluminum body that cannot be corroded and is weather-resistant, so it can withstand whatever challenges Mother Nature throws at you. 

This tool also features a variety of scales: 1/8in, 1/10in, 1/12in, and 1/16in so that there is never a need to measure twice! The square includes rafter tables, brace and octagon scales, Essex board measures for use on construction sites.

Here are some other articles you may like:

Top 10 Combination Squares for Everyday Woodworking | Reviews & Buyers Guide

5 Best Woodworking Squares for the Money | Reviews & Buying Guide

10 Best Framing Squares and Buyer’s Guide: Everything You Need to Know

Here are our favorite combination squares:

CLICK any image to see Ratings & Reviews on Amazon

Walter Snyder