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

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speed square

Speed squares, also known as a speed square or carpenter’s square, is an essential tool for any woodworker. You can use it to measure angles and draw right angles on boards, cut off excess material from a board, mark two lines that need to be parallel, and more.

Carpenters use this tool all day long to get accurate measurements while building structures of all shapes and sizes. But what exactly is a speed square? What does it do? Why should you buy one? 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!

This article will answer these questions by reviewing the different types of speed squares available on the market today and highlighting their benefits. We will also talk about how they can make your job easier when working with projects.

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
  • A renowned company makes it
  • 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 of 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 is 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, and we should show you how to make 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.

Like most tools, there are subtle variations between models, and choosing the right one can be overwhelming. It’s important to know what features you should look for when buying a speed square and which ones aren’t as important. The first thing we will cover is the materials used to give you an idea of what type of speed square will work best for you.

speed square
CH Hanson 03060 Pivot Square


The most common material for speed squares is aluminum. They are lightweight, durable, and affordable, which makes them an excellent choice for most people. Speed squares made with this material tend to be a bit more expensive, but those who have bought one swear by it as you can use them repeatedly without wear or tear. Their longevity will save you money in the long run.

In addition, there are plastic speed squares that are lighter and can be used on softer materials such as wood. They tend to be cheaper, but not everyone thinks them to be as durable as aluminum ones. They also tend to be a little flimsier, making measurements a bit difficult at times.

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Square Size

There usually are two sizes: 12 inches and 7-inch speed square. The smaller one is perfect for those who need more accuracy as they are easier to handle. But the square will be a bit harder to use on larger surfaces as you’ll have to make several measurements before cutting.

The twelve-inch square is the type of square most people use as it is the standard size and is powerful enough to be used even for large projects. It is the perfect size if you work on construction or carpentry and can cover a large surface area in just one go.

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It would help if you were looking for a speed square that you could use to make an accurate angle measurement. Some brands will offer different types of markings; others will have both inch and metric units available, which is essential if you work on international projects or buildings that require the use of one unit over the other.

When using a speed square, make sure that the measurements are accurate. If they aren’t and you need to use them for anything meaningful like construction or carpentry work, it could ruin your project because of poor quality control. It would help if you did your research when shopping for speed squares, so you don’t waste your money.

A laser-cut steel blade edge is also good to have because it helps with accurate measurements. It prevents the material from moving around while getting a precise cut which can be frustrating when measuring things out on a board.

Before buying a speed square, think about the type of work you will be doing with it and how important accuracy is to your project. If you need highly accurate cut lines, then take a look at the features and think about what would work best for you so you don’t have any problems getting your measurements correct.

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Speed squares are used by professional carpenters or construction workers and anyone who needs to get accurate measurements every time. Their ease of use and accuracy makes them an excellent choice for most people, especially when it comes to simple projects that need custom cuts or you want a result that looks like an expert did it.

Most speed squares offer different measurements such as one-quarter of an inch, one-half of an inch, and three-quarters of an inch which means you can get the same type of measurements without using a tape measure. They work by simply placing them onto a table or surface and then sliding it along so that both ends touch the edge on either side. The markings will then indicate where you will need to cut with a pencil.

Speed squares are an essential tool for your DIY tool kit because you can use them on different surfaces, whether using wood, metal, or any other material. If you have never used one before, it is best to learn about them to know how they work and why they are so good to use.

Speed squares are one of the most commonly used hand tools because they make accurate measurements easy and can be used on different surfaces without a problem. They have many benefits associated with them, including making a project more manageable and giving you better results in less time.

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A speed square is a tool that allows you to get accurate measurements on surfaces with great ease and convenience. The markings on the sides of your guide should be evident so that you can easily see where you need to cut or how much you need. But the one thing some people do not like about this type of square is the print used for the markings.

If you cannot read the imperial or metric measurements on your speed square due to poor print, make sure that it is of high enough quality before buying one. You can ask for help from an expert or read reviews online to get more information about the tools you are considering buying.

In addition to finding out if the printing used will make for easy reading, you should also be on the lookout for the durability of the speed square. If it is a high-quality product, then it will last a reasonable amount of time and be able to withstand several impacts with some force behind them without breaking apart or rubbing off the etchings.

Some manufacturers have the measurement markings an utterly opposite color to the mainframe, making it very easy to read – even in poor lighting.


Before buying a speed square, make sure it is durable because this will affect the accuracy of your measurements. A speed square should resist rust, bending, and warping when exposed to extreme weather or working conditions. If you drop it or bump into something with it, there is no point in choosing one that won’t hold up in harmful conditions.

Many people buy a speed square that will withstand being dropped, or in some cases, they drop it on purpose to test the durability before buying. The materials used in the manufacturing process are often made of aluminum, which is solid and lightweight. This allows you to get accurate measurements without having to tire yourself out when you are trying to cut.

Avoid any flimsy they can easily bend because this will affect the accuracy, and if you can quickly turn them, it is unlikely that you will get accurate measurements. If the speed square is warped or rusted, this won’t help with doing your work accurately.

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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 due to their jobs’ need for precise measurement.

When considering the intended usage, the tool’s material and durability should be at the top of your list of considerations. We suggest getting a stainless steel or aluminum alloy product if exposed to more elements, such as outdoor work. 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 to mark lumber lines 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 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:

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Walter Snyder