In woodworking and carpentry, several square tools can spring in mind when it comes to checking squareness, measuring small distances, and marking out on wood. A speed square is one of them. It is a triangle-shaped instrument with a t-edge, line guide, scribing holes, right angle, protractor, ruler, diamond hole, common scale, hip scale, and pivot position.
The t-edge acts as a lipped fence to keep the speed square upright while not in use. And it is also a way of attaching it to the surfaces where squareness checkings, short distance measurements, straight-line drawings, and notch markings are performed.
Various cuts at key lengths for joinery and rafter layout purposes may be found on the triangle. They also have a line guide for scribing a notch. With a speed square, you may draw parallel lines at a predetermined distance from one another, generally 1/4 inches, without sacrificing squareness.
The speed square is especially important in roof building for determining roof pitch and cutting an exact seat into the rafter to match the double plate of the wall. It also comes with common and hip value scales that are very beneficial for rafter construction. That’s why a speed square is also called a rafter square.
The diamond-shaped cut-out on the square is a unique feature you could utilize to square any line drawn on the board so that a perfect 90-degree line can be drawn from the line to the board’s edge.
A speed square may be used as a saw guide for perfect square cuts, line scriber, protractor, out of square corner angle finder, roof pitch finder, protractor for angle measurement, framing square, stair layout square, among other things.
Top 10 Best Speed Square Reviews in 2023
1. Empire Level E2994 Speed Square 7″ [Best Overall]
The empire level E2994 is our overall best speed square option for various reasons.
Firstly, it is built of a thick matte 6063 aluminum, which indicates outstanding strength, sturdiness, and longevity.
Secondly, it has permanent graduation that will not fade with time. This is due to the graduations being laser engraved, which is a cutting-edge permanent marking method that is easily legible even in low-light circumstances.
Another significant factor to consider is the increased thickness of the t-edge. Its strong edge makes it safe to use as a saw guide.
Low-quality speed squares can rust, corrode, bend, or break with time, but this one will endure longer thanks to its anodized finish, making it a terrific companion that will remain with you through thick and thin.
Finally, the empire level is light in weight, making it simple to move about or move across work surfaces. Besides, the standard rafter conversion between inch per foot and degrees, the diamond shape carved out, and the fact that it is created in the United States are all elements of this interesting square.
- Come in 7.4 ounces in weight, it’s highly portable
- Corrosion, rust, bend, and crack resistance
- Permanent graduation created via laser etching
- Strong and long-lasting
- High precision
- The line guides for continuous scribing notches are missing
2. Milwaukee MLSQ070 Speed Square 7″ [Best Runner-up]
Made in the United States, this is a fantastic brand with consistent results. The Milwaukee MLSQ070 speed square is composed of finely machined extruded aluminum with a robust anodized finish and permanent laser engraved graduations.
It is available in two distinct forms. Milwaukee’s MLSQ070 7-inch rafter square and Milwaukee’s MLSQ070 7-inch magnetic rafter square. The main difference is the latter’s magnetic feature, which allows it to keep a firm grip on ferrous materials.
It has continuous scribing notches ranging from 1 inch to 6 inches at 1/4 inch intervals for simple ripping of lumbers and is extremely lightweight despite its sturdy construction. Overall, this is the runner-up choice that you will consider it as well.
- Only 7.9 ounces in weight
- It has a magnetic feature that allows it to stick to ferrous objects readily
- Material that is strong and long-lasting
- Laser-etched graduations that are long-lasting
- Extruded aluminum precision machined
- There is no diamond shape cut on the square
3. Swanson Tool SW1201K Speed Square 7″ & 12″ [Best Budget]
The Swanson tool Co., Inc is a 2-in-1 speed square that comes in 7 and 12-inch sizes and is built of a heavy-gauge aerospace aluminum alloy with a non-glare matte surface for easy reading in any light.
Besides, it also includes a 62-page illustrated pocket reference book that explains how to use the tool to create accurate angle cuts on roofs and staircases.
The gradients on this blue speed square are painted black, allowing for good visibility even in low-light situations. Aside from the standard hip scales, rafter scale, common scale, and protractor found on all speed squares, the 12-inch Swanson speed square has line guides spaced at 1/2 inch intervals for a total length of 9 inches, while the 7-inch speed square has line guides spaced at 1/4 inch intervals for a total length of 3 inches.
This squaring, measuring, and marking tool is created in the United States and has an accuracy of 0.05. It weighs only a few ounces and has a diamond cut only on the 7-inch square.
- High graduation visibility
- Excellent quality and durability
- Excellent price-to-value ratio
- It’s lightweight
4. iGaging 36-BS-47 Speed Square Set 4″ and 7″ [Best for Professionals]
The iGaging speed square is a di-material speed square with two components. Individual speed squares measuring 4 inches and 7 inches are included with the equipment. The objective here is to have the appropriate tool size for the job. As a result, a 4-inch speed square would be ideal for a smaller project setup, whilst a 7-inch speed square would be ideal for larger projects and materials.
The triangular square of this iGaging speed square is CNC stainless steel with precision laser engraving, while the base is CNC solid aluminum with a blue anodized finish. This is the pinnacle of toughness, endurance, and sturdiness.
Because of the accurate laser etching along the length of the speed square’s base, it may be used as a ruler.
The graduations of the iGaging speed square were engraved with precision laser technology, which is highly recommended for equipment like this since it is permanent and has a black-on-silver contrast.
Both the 7 inch and 4-inch squares have guidelines that may be used to draw straight lines parallel to each other at 1/8 inch intervals.
A 0.7 mechanical pencil, a tube of lead, and a plastic container for convenient organizing and storage are all included in the iGaging speed square bundle.
- Very long-lasting
- Graduation that lasts thanks to laser etching
- With 4′ and 7′ squares, this is a useful tool
- CNC machined edges
- Issues with the final product’s appearance
- There is minimal graduation contrast.
- Inconsistent precision
5. Evwoge HK2016385 45-Degree Triangle Ruler Inch and Metric
Although the 45-degree aluminum angle ruler inch-metric triangle excels at what it does, leaving little room for criticism. It’s essentially a triangle with a huge central hole for holding or fastening the ruler to work parts with the finger.
It is constructed of aluminum, which is a robust and durable material. This 45-degree aluminum alloy angle is designed to be resistant to deformation, rust, and corrosion thanks to the oxidation treatment applied to the aluminum.
This tool’s graduation is laser engraved, making it long-lasting and resistant to wear. It’s dual reading, the imperial and metric scales are on the front and side of the angle. This means that there is a 60 mm metric scale and a 2 1/2 inch imperial scale on each triangular face of the instrument.
This 45-degree square has a 0.6-inch thickness, allowing it to stand upright on its own, and is well polished, making it easy to position over delicate cutting edges.
It’s a must-have tool for double-checking internal squareness and adjusting the height of a table square blade or router table. It may be used by woodworkers, housebuilders, carpenters, engineers, hobbyists, artists, and DIYers to clamp boxes and photo frames.
- Both metric and imperial units are available
- Permanent laser engraved graduation that is quite exact
- Very long-lasting
- With a weight of about 3.84 ounces, it is extremely light
- Machined to perfection
- External squareness cannot be checked successfully
- It is not possible to obtain angular measurements
- A lack of contrast
6. Irwin 1794464 Speed Square 7″
The Irwin 1794464 is a 7-inch aluminum speed square produced in China. It’s built of a robust rust-proof metal with deep marking for easy reading and visibility, much like many other speed squares.
The hip valley cut top cuts, seat cuts, common top cuts, protractors, and guidelines for scribing notches at 1/4″ intervals for a total length of 2 1/4 inches are all included in this speed square.
The speed square is available in a variety of scales, including 1/8, 1/10, 1/12, and 1/16 scales. It’s silver in hue and barely 8.8 ounces in weight.
In spite of the affordable price, you could use it for squareness checking, marking, and measuring. Surely, it is ideal for woodworkers, carpenters, and DIYers, among others.
- It is constructed of long-lasting material
- The markings are deep and long-lasting
- The markings are well-defined
- The contrast is poor
7. Dewalt DWHT46031 Speed Square 7″ Premium Choice
The Dewalt DWHT46031 is a painted aluminum speed square with a broad flat base for woodworking and construction applications.
The markings on this speed square are crisp and easy to see, with an excellent white graduation against a black backdrop contrast. This level of contrast makes it simple to read in a variety of lighting settings for marking and measuring.
Another useful aspect of this wonderful black-and-yellow tool is its broad flat base, which maintains the tool upright around the work area when not in use and gives a solid grip against the work surface’s edge. With such a firm grip, you may rest confident that the tool will not slip during the marking out, measuring, and square checking procedure.
This Dewalt speed square also has a glossy surface that makes it simple to wipe clean plus corrosion and wear resistance. It contains a half-diamond cut-out and guidelines that allow notches to be scribed at 1/4-inch intervals for a total of 2 1/2 inches.
Need the longer one? Grab the Dewalt DWHT46032 12″ model.
- Due to the great contrast
- The graduation is quite obvious
- It is only 8 ounces in weight
- Painted markers would fade with time
- Its rounded guidelines are prone to errors
8. CH HANSON 03060 Speed Square [Best Heavy Duty]
The Taiwanese CH Hanson 03060 speed square distinguishes out with its three bubble vails, which help to the tool’s accuracy while leveling, plumbing, and determining roof pitches.
Because it is composed of aluminum, it is designed for long and tough use. The final square has been precisely machined to make it even more sturdy and resistant to wear over time.
Another useful feature of this CH Hanson square is the ability to lock an angle in place for repeatable layouts. All you have to do is to adjust the angle, lock it in place, then make as many layouts as you want.
Because its pivot adjusts to 0.5 degrees by the distance between each degree mark, angular measurements with this Hanson speed square are more precise. You may use this tool to precisely measure any angle, pitch, or elevation, as well as determine if a line is plumb or level.
A Hanson speed square, marking pencil, bag, and technical reference to roof framing are included in a set from the proper provider.
- It’s great for leveling, plumbing, and figuring out roof slopes
- Works without the need of a level
- Allows for 0.5-degree angle measurement
- It’s light
- Lock had a poor performance
- Finishing is poor
- There are no notch guiding lines
9. Swanson Tool Co S0107 Large Speed Square 12″ [with Layout Bar]
The Swanson tool Co S0107 huge 12-inch speed square layout tool is a larger version of the Swanson tool Co S0107 inch speed square layout tool, featuring an extra 5 inches for larger tasks and a layout bar.
It has a guideline every 1/4 inches, the diamond isn’t carved out, and the graduations are black, making it highly apparent. It’s built of aluminum and boasts a 0.05 measuring precision.
The layout bar on this speed square is really exceptional. When dealing with out-of-square corners or constructing stair stringers, the layout bar is a must-have tool.
You will receive a pocket-sized instruction manual with crucial how-to instructions and information when you purchase this item.
- Appropriate for bigger projects
- The visibility of the graduation is excellent
- Exceptionally precise
- They might not be appropriate for small projects
10. Crescent EX6 LSSP6 Speed Square 2-in-1 Extendable Model
The Crescent EX 6 2-in-1 extended layout tool LSSP6 combines a standard 7-inch speed square with a 6-inch fold-out extension arm. That said, this square can draw a total length of 12 inches when fully extended. The arm may be released and secured back into position after usage using a quick access thumb lock. With this tool, a separate 7-inch and 12-inch square are no longer required.
The 7-inch speed square is built of solid aluminum, making it corrosion-resistant and long-lasting. On the other hand, the arm is composed of extremely tough plastic and is hinged at one end.
Because the Crescent 2-in-1 speed square is only 8.8 ounces in weight, it’s easy to carry in aprons or on work surfaces. It contains laser-etched graduations and guidelines for scribing parallel lines every 1/4 inches.
- It’s light
- Material is long-lasting
- Graduation engraved using a laser
- It’s not as square as it should, particularly along the plastic arm
- The extensible arm made of plastic may not be long-lasting
- It’s possible that the thumb lock isn’t consistent
- The contrast is low
Things to Consider Buying Speed Square
It’s one thing to have a speed square, but it’s quite another to have one that performs exactly what you want. When determining which speed square to buy, there are a number of considerations to consider, especially when there are multiple possibilities to pick from.
This part will go through the numerous factors to consider while selecting the optimal speed square for you.
Do not bother calling it a speed square if it cannot square at 90 degrees or measure accurate length.
When looking to acquire a speed square, this is one of the most critical elements to consider. Among the best speed squares examined, aluminum and plastic are the most prevalent material kinds available.
We suggest investing in an aluminum speed square since they are powerful, durable, and long-lasting.
A plastic speed square may be durable, but it isn’t as durable or wear-resistant as its metal counterparts.
Suppose you prefer the aluminum alloy speed square. In that case, you can make your choice among the Empire level E2994, Swanson tool COS0101 7-inch speed square, iGaging bench square, 45-degree aluminum alloy angle ruler, Dewalt DWHT46031 rafter square, CH Hanson 03000 square, SwansonHanson tool COS107 Big 12-inch speed square, and the credence EX6 2-in-1 extendable layout tool.
3. Graduation Visibility
If your speed square’s graduation starts to fade in just several uses, it might be waste of money especially for a frequent use. The visibility of graduation lies on how it’s put on the square surface.
The two most critical visibility issues among the tools we looked at are whether they are laser etched or printed, and whether they have strong contrast or not.
Laser etching is a result of advancements in technology. It removes some parts from the surface and considered as the long-lasting one and extremely noticeable. We recommend this graduation. While working, speed squares rub off on various surfaces, which tends to wear it down over time, but a laser-etched marking takes a long time to wear off. When it starts to wear, the tool has probably reached the end of its useful life.
A painted surface (printed graduation), on the other hand, would easily wear off over time as it rubbed off on other surfaces. In the end, the graduations would progressively fade away until they were no longer apparent. Badly, only the Dewalt DWHT46031 speed square is printed, while the others are laser etched. For a less frequent use, you could choose it.
The concern with contrast is that high-contrast colors, such as black and white, stand out more than low-contrast colors, such as white and silver. Although it may be argued that etched marks are visible whether or not they have high contrast. It’s fantastic to have a high contrast color, but a laser-etched tool will suffice – for what it’s worth.
There are a variety of sizes on our list of top speed squares, including the Igaging 4 inch square, the regular 7-inch square, and the Swanson 12″ speed square, measured along the hypotenuse side of the speed square triangle. These obviously come in a variety of sizes and are tailored to match individual requirements.
The scope of the job mostly determines the size you choose. When dealing with big lumbers, such as 2 by 8 and up, the larger square comes in helpful since its size makes it easier to set up layout frames and transfer measurements from one lumber to the next. Since they normally come with a layout bar, they’re also great for laying out rafters, stairways, angles, and birds mouth joints.
The 7-inch speed square is highly recommended for general carpentry and woodworking purposes since it is suitable for most operations, portable, lightweight, and convenient to carry around in your pocket or apron.
Smaller speed squares with a 4-inch hypotenuse length are suitable for jobs where a 7-inch square would be too large. They may not have a wide range of uses, but they would excel when used to construct clamp boxes, photo frames, and other similar items, and they are incredibly portable and convenient.
A lightweight choice is preferable because you will most likely raise the square multiple times while working on a project. As a result, the task is less stressful and exhausting.
On our list of the best speed squares, the average weight is around 8 ounces. A speed square with a broad base that is less than, equal to, or slightly heavier than this is preferable since it is easier to move around when marking, measuring, and checking for squareness.
In short, the Empire level E2994, Milwaukee MLSQ070, and Swanson tool SW1201K are the top three choices of the best speed squares. They are sturdy, incredibly accurate with flawlessly squared edges, and flawlessly squared edges.
It should be emphasized that speed square is not for high accuracy purposes to check 90 degree. If you’re in a situation where you require a lot of precision, have a look at our top rated machinist squares. The speed square’s squareness can be assessed with that machinist square as well. In terms of graduation accuracy of your speed square, check it with precision ruler.
But, if you want a jack of all trades tool, a combination square is a perfect match. It can check 90 degree, draw lines, be roof pitch finder, be protractor, and many things. This is to save money or minimize the number of specialist tools.