Best Speed Square Reviews | Top-Rated Tools We Love To Work With

Last Updated: by Peter Lynn

“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 to 4 other tools. There are many good choices out there but let us help you out. We narrowed down your choices to the best ones below.

Our pick for the best speed square is the Swanson Tool S0101 7-Inch Speed Square Layout Tool. This tool is super lightweight and very easy to read and use. It is highly durable, thanks to its aluminum construction. It is also one of the most affordable speed squares on the market.

The Best Speed Squares Are:

ProductDetails
1. Swanson Tool S0101 7-Inch Speed Square Layout Tool

  • Size: 7 inches
  • Weight: 8 ounces
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2. Empire Level 3990 12-inch Heavy-Duty Magnum Rafter Square

  • Size: 12 inches
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Weight: 1.05 pounds
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3. Stanley Premium Quick Square Layout Tool

  • Size: 7 inches
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Weight: 4.8 ounces
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4. Johnson Level & Tool Johnny Square Professional Aluminum Rafter Square

  • Size: 7 inches
  • Material: Extruded Aluminum
  • Weight: 4.8 ounces
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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 do not need to buy a try square, a miter square, a line scriber, a protractor, and a saw guide any more.

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 essentials. There is also no need to rummage through your tools to find the right measurement equipment. Just have this on hand and you are good 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 without fatigue. Many people also like how thick it is. It is thicker than the others. The price of this tool is affordable.

Specs

  • Size: 7 inches
  • Weight: 8 ounces

Pros

  • Pocket-sized
  • Strong and highly durable
  • Inscriptions are legible
  • Comes with a booklet that contains complete instruction and information

Cons

  • Some users said the squareness is not true and the edges tend to be rough

Verdict

Best of the Best: You cannot 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 is 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.

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2. 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 will not fade over time. It has just the right size that is perfect for a variety of projects. The weight is also ideal. It does not 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 will not easily come off. It also has a nice finish that makes reading the markings easier.

Specs

  • Size: 12 inches
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Weight: 1.05 pounds

Pros

  • Highly durable, thanks to its aluminum build
  • You do not need to buy an extra saw guide
  • Instructional manual is very helpful
  • Size is ideal for a wide range of projects

Cons

  • Edges are really sharp

Verdict

Excellent Durability: You can rely on this speed square for different woodworking projects. It has 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.

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3. 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 will not get damaged quickly, so if you need it for heavy-duty work, you will not 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.

Specs

  • Size: 7 inches
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Weight: 4.8 ounces

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Super lightweight and compact
  • You can use it in place of several measuring tools
  • Edges are really straight

Cons

  • Does not come with scribe notches

Verdict

Great Readability: 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.

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4. 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 on 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.

Specs

  • Size: 7 inches
  • Material: Extruded Aluminum
  • Weight: 4.8 ounces

Pros

  • Delivers a perfect 90 degrees
  • Very easy to read
  • Aluminum construction for longevity
  • Comes with scribing notches to help you make rips

Cons

  • Some users said the edges are not as deep as they would have wanted it to be.

Verdict

Great Accuracy: 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 will not break the bank. Both professionals and DIY enthusiasts will find this tool a great addition to their woodworking arsenal.

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Factors To Consider When Buying A Speed Square

Ease Of Reading

One of the very first things you need to consider when buying this tool is the ease of reading. You need to get a model that is very easy to read. This is a very important factor that you should not ignore, as this is a tool that you will be consulting frequently.

Losing even one second across the whole process could cost you minutes every day, which would result in hours every month.

As such, you should go for a model that delivers high contrast between the backgrounds and the markings. You can also go for a model with anti-glare coatings, as this boosts the visibility of the markings.

Scribing Notches

This is one feature that tends to separate the boys from the men in the world of speed squares. Some speed squares come with a minimum of one scribing notch.

We highly recommend that you only go for models with scribing notches if you do many rip cuts. You are likely to lose a lot of value when you use models without scribing notches for rip cuts.

Some models come with about 7 notches while others can come with up to a dozen. Nevertheless, this is not a feature that everyone will find useful. However, you should get one with scribing notches if you do more of rip cuts.

Durability

Another vital factor is the durability of the tool. Speed squares are made with different materials. Some are made with plastic while some are metallic.

Plastic speed squares are susceptible to breaking and they are not safe to use around power tools.

Those made with metal are more durable, and they can survive everyday abuse. We also have those made with aluminum, and these are also durable but not as strong as those made with metal.

Conclusion

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. The clear winner for the best speed square is the Swanson Tool S0101 7-Inch Speed Square Layout Tool because it is accurate, easy to read, durable, and lightweight.