Last Updated: by
Speed square is a term coined by Swanson Tool Company but is otherwise known as a triangle square, rafter square and rafter angle square. It is a good addition to your woodworking tools because it can help you easily make measurements and lines without getting multiple tools. Most rafter squares out there replace 3-4 other tools. There are a lot of good choices out there but let us help you out. We narrowed down your choices to the best ones below.
- Best Speed Square 2020 Reviews
- Which Speed Square Should You Get?
Best Speed Square 2020 Reviews
You can’t beat the features of the following speed squares:
- Swanson Tool S0101 7-Inch Speed Square Layout Tool
- Dewalt DWHT46031 Aluminum Premium Rafter Square
- Empire Level 3990 12-inch Heavy-Duty Magnum Rafter Square
- Stanley Premium Quick Square Layout Tool
- Johnson Level & Tool Johnny Square Professional Aluminum Rafter Square
Let us check out the features of these products:
1. Swanson Tool S0101 7-Inch Speed Square Layout Tool
Swanson is the company behind the speed square, so although this tool can come with many names, the term speed square belongs to Swanson alone. Being the company behind this tool, you can expect nothing less than excellent craftsmanship and superior accuracy. This 7-inch version also utilizes Swanson’s ‘One Number’ method. This is the unique layout method of this company.
It is made in the USA and crafted from high-quality die-cast material for extra durability. Coupled with a heavy-gauge aerospace aluminum alloy, this will surely last you for a long time. The numbers are filled with black gradations, so they stand out against the main material for easier and quicker reading. With this tool, you don’t need to buy a try square, a miter square, a line scriber, a protractor and a saw guide anymore.
It is a pocket-size tool that you can easily bring with you. And since it is a multi-tool, it takes the place of other tools, so you have more space in your toolbox for other important tools. There is also no need to rummage through your tools to find the right measurement equipment. Just have this on hand and you are great to go.
The ¼-inch-spaced scribing notches come handy. It complements the Diamond cutout to make way for faster rafter seat cuts. It also makes scribing using popular widths of studs a lot easier.
This tool is one of the best because it is heavy-duty. It is made from some of the most durable materials such as the billet aluminum alloy that has been die-cast in order to achieve durability and accuracy.
The inscriptions are legible, thanks to the black gradations. The finish is also matte, so it reduces glare when you are using it in places that are too bright.
There are already included gradations for the commonly-used jack rafters, valleys and hips. This feature comes handy when you are marking out your angles or ensuring accuracy when making square cuts.
It includes a booklet that has complete information and instructions on how to use the tool as well as diagrams and tables that you can refer to when constructing things.
It feels lightweight enough to use it for extended periods of time without fatigue. A lot of people also like how thick it is. It is thicker than the others.
The price of this tool is affordable.
Some said the squareness is not true and the edges tend to be rough.
2. Dewalt DWHT46031 Aluminum Premium Rafter Square
This tool can be used for a variety of purposes but is more ideal to be used as a guide for your saw. It is 7 inches in length like the previous one, so it has a compact size that you can bring with you anywhere. You can easily put it in your pocket as well. The aluminum body is thick and heavy-duty, which means it will last for a long time.
The color graduations make it easier to read the inscriptions. It has a nice contrast, to make seeing the markings faster and easier.
The base is large. This is a nice feature to have as it has a better and more effective surface grip on the materials you are working on.
You can make rip cuts with the help of this tool as it comes complete with scribe line notches.
The manufacturing company backs this up with a lifetime warranty.
It is also affordable. If you are on a budget but you are still in need of a good speed square, you should get this one instead.
The edges are dead straight. It is one of the most accurate squares out there.
There were those who find this too bulky.
3. Empire Level 3990 12-inch Heavy-Duty Magnum Rafter Square
Made from solid aluminum, this rafter square will serve you well or many more years as it is resistant to bending or breaking. Use this to cut or mark boards with a width of up to 12 inches. It was made with the intention to make measuring and marking easier for carpenters. With its legible and visible laser-etched markings, you can make accurate readings all the time. This product is completely made in the USA, so you can be assured of quality.
This is one of the most durable speed squares around. With its solid aluminum material, you can be assured that this tool will not break or bend easily even when subjected to a lot of damage.
There is no need to buy an extra saw guide. This has a frame design that is thick enough for such a purpose.
This product comes with an instructional manual that contains a lot of helpful information.
The conversion tables are permanently stamped. It won’t fade over time.
It has just the right size that is perfect for a variety of projects. The weight is also ideal. It doesn’t feel too heavy, but it is not flimsy as well.
For its heavy-duty quality, it has a good price. It is a bit more expensive than the previous one, but you will like the affordability when matched with its quality.
The etchings are deep. The markings won’t easily come off. It also has a nice finish that makes reading the markings easier.
Some said they got one that has edges that are really sharp.
4. Stanley Premium Quick Square Layout Tool
When it comes to quick and accurate measurements, this layout tool from Stanley will not fail you. It has a black body that offsets the yellow graduations for maximum readability even when using it under low light conditions. The body is made from high-quality aluminum material, making this a tool that you can rely on for a long time. It can also be used as a saw guide and as a 0-90 degrees protractor scale.
At a cheap price, you are getting a quality rafter square. The build is excellent and won’t get damaged quickly, so if you need it for heavy-duty work, you won’t have problems with it.
It is light and compact. It can easily fit in the pocket.
It takes the place of a variety of other measuring tools. It also has great scribing benefits.
This tool has a cleaner look to it. It also boasts of better accuracy.
This product comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
The edges are straight, and the measurements are spot-on.
It doesn’t come with scribe notches.
5. Johnson Level & Tool Johnny Square Professional Aluminum Rafter Square
Built from solid aluminum has edges smoothed out by a CNC machine, you can know this rafter square will be a go-to measuring tool for your various construction work. Since it has a thick edge, this can also work as a saw guide. The protractor scale has been etched to provide excellent results. It comes with scribing notches as well.
One of its best features is its EZ-Read finish that was engineered by Johnson Level to ensure excellent readability. It protects the tool from glare and diffuses light in order to make the markings crisp and readable even when using it out in the sun. It also has better friction to keep the tool in place.
Because it has undergone calibrations from a CNC machine, you can expect this to deliver a perfect 90 degrees.
It is easy to read even when you are working outside. The anti-glare coating really works. There is a nice contrast between the markings and the body, so you can easily read the measurements.
The conversion information is a nice touch.
All the markings are laser-etched. That means they are unlikely to wear off and they will last for a long time.
This stays in place. The increased friction makes it easier to measure without this sliding out a lot.
The durability is at par with the others. The aluminum construction makes this resistant to damages. Even when you drop it constantly, it will not break easily.
There are scribing notches that can help you make rips.
This product is backed by Johnson Level’s one-year warranty.
Some said although it is laser-etched, the etchings are not as deep as they would have wanted it to be. It also tends to have sharp edges.
Which Speed Square Should You Get?
Best of the Best: Swanson Tool S0101 7-Inch Speed Square Layout Tool. You can’t go wrong with this tool because it is the best in many aspects. It is the best when it comes to its durability. The clarity of the inscriptions are also the best. The materials used are resistant to wear and tear. It is portable enough to be brought anywhere you wish and has a multi-function that can replace many other tools. This is a great buy for anyone serious about doing woodwork.
Great Contrast: Dewalt DWHT46031 Aluminum Premium Rafter Square. Anyone buying a rafter square knows how important contrast is. You need to make sure there is a good contrast between the color of the writings and the material of the speed square. That way, you can easily see the numbers. This makes it easier to work on your projects and avoid mistaking the numbers.
Excellent Durability: Empire Level 3990 12-inch Heavy-Duty Magnum Rafter Square. You can rely on this speed square for different woodworking projects. It has a heavy-duty construction and builds to withstand impact and damage, so you will be able to use this for a long time. Get this if you are looking for a precise and well-built speed square. If you are a professional contractor who goes from one place to another and who tends to drop his rafter square a lot, you will find this a good choice because of how durable it is.
Great Readability: Stanley Premium Quick Square Layout Tool. The black body and yellow markings make this tool easy to read. It also has accurate measurements. This is the tool to get if you want something that is fairly-price, has good readability and has a nice size and weight. It has all the features you need in a reliable basic layout tool. However, it is lacking in some more advanced features that professional contractors might look for. This tool is better used by hobbyists.
Great Accuracy: Johnson Level & Tool Johnny Square Professional Aluminum Rafter Square. This tool has great accuracy because the manufacturing company took extra care in making sure the angles are right. It also has great readability. There is a nice contrast between the laser etchings and the body, so you can use this even when working outside in broad daylight. The price is great as well. It won’t break the bank. Both professionals and DIY enthusiasts will find this tool a great addition to their woodworking arsenal.
Looking for other useful tools for woodworking? Learn more here.
Now make sure you have everything you need for easier construction or woodworking projects. Check out our homepage to find more product reviews. Find the best products out there that can help you accomplish your projects easily.