Best Woodworking Squares 2020 – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide
You may think that you know everything there is to know about woodworking squares, but if you’re looking to go pro or want the best model on the market today, you may be surprised at what you find. The most expensive models aren’t always the best, and sometimes you can find a deal for a great square that takes advantage of modern materials design for a fraction of what the most expensive models cost.
Of course, comparing two products can be tricky when you’re shopping online. Product descriptions can sometimes be misleading, and it can be hard to compare apples-to-apples and be sure that you’re getting a good deal for your money.
Our reviews are designed to make the shopping process far easier. We cover each model in detail, showing you the best and worst attributes so that you know what you’re investing in before you buy. That way, you can find the model which is right for you, and hopefully get a great deal, too.
Comparison of our Favorite Picks
|Top Pick||Woodpeckers Precision 1281R||
|The Runner-Up||iGaging Double Square Set||
|Best for the Money||IRWIN Tools Tri and Mitre Square||
|Irwin Tools Combination Square||
5 Best Squares for Woodworking 2020 – Our Reviews
1. Woodpeckers Precision Woodworking Square 1281R – Top Pick
If you’re looking for a premium square, then you’ll be very happy with the Woodpeckers Precision Woodworking Square 1281R. This model comes in both Imperial and Metric versions, so you can get the variety with which you’re more comfortable. It’s also cast from a single block of aluminum. That manufacturing method lends it an incredible mix of both strength and lightness, making it one of the best models on the market in that area. Its design also allows it to be hung off the edge of a board without falling. That allows you to make careful, measured lines all the way to the board’s edge without having to guesstimate.
This model comes with separate rulers on each side so that you can measure from the outside or inside line without having to reposition or do quick mental math. The only thing that could possibly turn people off towards this model is that it’s very expensive. It far above other models when it comes to quality and usefulness, but the price tag is still one that many people will consider excessive for a square. Still, if you want a great product that will make your jobs faster, you’ll love this one.
2. iGaging 4″ & 6″ Double Square Set 4R – The Runner-Up
The iGaging 4″ & 6″ Double Square Set 4R are a good set of squares for woodworking. This set comes with two squares for the price of one, which makes them a tremendous deal that most people will appreciate. These adjustable squares come with steel frames. Together they weigh about a pound, which isn’t terrible, but since they’re made from steel, they’ll be some of the strongest models you can find on the market today. These squares allow for great precision, allowing for measurements down to 1/64th of an inch, which is more than most people will need.
They also come with a great case. If you’re frequently moving from job site to job site, or you just want to make sure that you’re taking care of your tools when they’re not in use, you’ll be very happy with the sturdy case which comes with these squares. Our only gripe with this model is that it sometimes comes under-machined. Sometimes the parts don’t fit together well, requiring lubrication or a little sanding to start to work smoothly. For the price, it’s not a terrible problem to have, but it is enough to drop this set out of first place.
3. IRWIN Tools Tri and Mitre Square – Best for the Money
The IRWIN Tools Tri and Mitre Square is another great square for woodworkers. This model comes with a bubble level built into the handle, making it one of the best choices for those looking to do more with just one tool. It also comes with a stainless-steel blade. Stainless-steel is very strong, but it’s also corrosion-resistant, so you’ll have far more years of use out of this model than you would with one that uses plain, untreated steel. This square also comes with etched markings. These will last longer than printed markings and will be generally impossible to rub off, so you’ll always be able to make precise markings with this tool.
You can get this model for a fraction of the cost of the first two. Since it provides so much quality at such a low price, it’s the best overall value for the money on our list. However, this model isn’t perfect. The plastic handle which contains the bubble level isn’t made to the same great standards as the stainless-steel blade, and that drops it to third. Still, if you’re looking to get a great tool and save some money, this is the model for you.
4. Irwin Tools 12-Inch Combination Square
The Irwin Tools 12-Inch Combination Square is a tool with some potential, but which ultimately fails to deliver the same great experience you can get from some of the other models on our list. However, this model does come with a heat-treated stainless-steel blade, which may be one of the strongest and most durable blades on our list. It’s also 12 inches long, so it’s one of the largest as well. It comes with an adjustable handle which allows you to precisely measure out the distance you need to mark. Plus, the markings are etched on the blade, so they’ll be long-lasting and easy to read, even years after your purchase.
However, this model suffers from quality control concerns. Complaints about this model’s failings vary widely, from rough operation to pieces which don’t fit together right and throw the whole device out of square. Given the variety of problems, there seem to be problems with quality control at the factory. If the handle comes off the blade, it’s hard to reattach it, which leads to a frustrating experience. While this model’s design isn’t horrible, these problems will drive most people crazy, and they’re enough to drop it to fourth place.
5. Starrett K53-14-N Stainless Steel Try Square
Starrett may be a name that you recognize from its long line of great squares, but this model doesn’t live up to those expectations. The Starrett K53-14-N Stainless Steel Try Square doesn’t live up to its name, which is a shame since it’s a simple model which isn’t saddled with extras, you won’t use. However, it does come with a 14-inch blade, making it the longest model on our list. It also comes with good overall material quality. The blade is made from stainless steel and the handle from aluminum. The markings every eighth of an inch will be enough for some workers, but won’t satisfy everyone.
However, this model sometimes arrives slightly out-of-square, and there’s nothing you can do to fix that. That’s the sole purpose of this model, and if it doesn’t work in that regard, it’s not worth anything. It also comes at a relatively high price. The Starrett name seems to drive up the price, even though the quality isn’t as high as most people would hope. You could certainly do worse when it comes to squares than you could do with this model, but you could also do far better for the same price.
Other Square-Tools We’ve Reviewed:
The Woodpeckers Precision Woodworking Square 1281R is the model to get if you’re looking for an easy-to-use square available in Imperial or Metric, with a lightweight but sturdy frame. The iGaging 4″ & 6″ Double Square Set 4R comes with two squares, made from steel, and which have excellent precision, though its sometimes rough machining keeps them out of first place. The IRWIN Tools Tri and Mitre Square has a bubble level, a stainless-steel blade, and etched markings, and since you can get it for a low price, it’s the best overall value for the money on our list. In fourth is the Irwin Tools 12-Inch Combination Square which is made from heat-treated stainless-steel, and comes with etched markings, though its quality control concerns and sometimes-difficult operation cost is a few positions on our list. The Starrett K53-14-N Stainless Steel Try Square comes with a long blade and good material quality, but it sometimes comes out of square, and its relatively high price makes it a poor overall deal.
We hope that our reviews have helped you better understand woodworking squares and have led you to the model which is right for you.
- Comparison of our Favorite Picks
- 5 Best Squares for Woodworking 2020 – Our Reviews