Best Speed Square – Reviews And Buying Guide 2020

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Swanson Tool


Johnson Level & Tool

Medium Priced



Depending on the nature of your project and experience level there are different options for you to choose from when selecting the best framing square. Whether you’re looking for an aluminum speed square for lightness, heavy steel for durability or plastic for both versatility and delicateness for glass-projects, trusting industry brands like Johnson, Stanley, and Swanson makes sense and our customer feedback proves that.

While some framing squares are more significant than others, easier to read, more full, thicker, lighter, and even plastic its essential to consider the quality of the tool still carefully, the reputation of the manufacturer, and other customers experiences before making your purchase.

From cutting lumber to building a treehouse, getting precise measurements for inside and outside edges, shelving projects and framing, each of the five best framing square reviews below should offer the perfect tool for anyone serious about getting the best quality product, price, and results from the next time they open up their toolbox. Check out our best Speed Square Reviews below to get the most bang for your buck, and solid return on your investment of time and efforts.

Best Speed Square Reviews



Swanson NA202 Metric Speed Square Layout Tool (Aluminum)

Swanson NA202

Two metric and degree scales for common and hip-valley rafters

The aluminum Swanson NA202 Metric Speed Square Layout Tool is an ideal choice for frequent woodworkers, contractor professionals, and DIYers. It’s also great for scribe cutting, cutting lumber, aluminum, iron, and even for use with a circular square.

Made in the USA, this is a trusted and tried product which customers find success in, and return to buy more of for friends and family. Good quality, and precisely 90 degrees the size is also an ideal speed square for creating more significant cuts. Customers report that the Swanson NA202 is easy to use and understand, and even includes an excellent helpful booklet for tips and tricks with us. Built to last, this is a sturdy and reliable speed square, fits perfectly inside your work apron, and checking for squareness in all dimensions.

Getting precise measurements from an inside or outside edge is made more accessible, and creating lines at 45 degrees is likewise to be reported flawlessly with this speed square. Built to last, this is a good, sensible investment for anyone looking to get a good return in quality, and have a speed square for years to come in a variety of projects.

  • Metric version available
  • Supports larger cuts
  • Includes helpful quality booklet with tips and tricks
  • Accurate readings and built to last
  • Made from sturdy aluminum mold
  • Get precise measurements for inside or outside edge
  • Great for making lines at 45 degrees on most materials

  • Some customers report that it is not as cumbersome as 12” version
  • Needs buffing out of the box for some
  • Slightly tricky to read in comparison to other more expensive speed squares
  • Only centimeters, no millimeter’s measurement
  • Limited in some cases to just rougher carpentry work projects


  • Trusted and MADE IN THE USA
  • Metric degree scales for hip-valley rafter measurements 0.5 cm speed notches to support scribing lines
  • Trusted high-grade aluminum and matte finish to enhance readability

You can also fill the indentations with a little dye to reveal markings better if you choose, and buff it down out of the box – which is not uncommon for speed square maintenance and common out of the box tools such as this.


Johnson Level & Tool 1904-0700 7-Inch Johnny Square

Johnson Level & Tool 1904-0700

This aluminum rafter angle square boasts a solid aluminum body with CNC machined edges for greater accuracy and durability for any job or worksite

Jonhson level tools are some of the most trusted, reliable, durable, and accurate industrial available products in the industry. From laser guided levels, to spirit levels and marking technologies for carpenters Johnson has a strong reputation for producing both quality products and satisfied customers.

The Johnson Level & Tool 1904-0700 7-Inch Johnny Square has CNC machined edges for accuracy and is the top choice for creating a saw cut line for rip cuts, is convenient to use, and easy to read in both high and low-light-level conditions. Customers report that this Johnson speed square comes with the best notches in the market, pencil slots, easy to understand markings, and a beautiful finish and color.

The Johnson speed square is easy to level, has laser etched markings, and is made with a thick and sturdy body for rough jobs and being resistant to accidental impact. Customers reported great success, both professionals and DIYers in performing angle and rafter cuts, making indents for scribing, and a great solution to replace plastic rafter squares.

If you’re a roofer, then the Johnson speed square is also a popular choice, and framers, carpenters, and deck-builders also absolutely praise this speed square. The Johnson Speed Square makes the perfect addition to any woodworking toolbox, an excellent gift for your husband or loved ones, and has shown to hold up to regular, daily use and abuse on the job.

  • Pencil slots and easy to read markings
  • Nice finish and color
  • Perfect for replacing plastic rafter squares
  • Long even marks, ½” 1” ½” etc.,
  • Durable and reliable for precise measurements
  • Trusted for deckbuilding and most wood projects
  • Free beer bottle opener in center of tool

  • Could be a brighter color scheme for readability in different light conditions
  • Only etched markings, not engraved
  • Dings easily
  • Easy to scratch the finish


  •    Trusted Stanley Brand
  •    Heavy duty build Includes
  •    Valley scales, Jack & Hip Scales
  •    A multipurpose and adjustable design
  •    Use as both bevel or protractor for added use

Overall this is a trusted, Johnson leveling tool and an affordable solution for most speed square needs. It is convenient, has multiple scales, features, and customers found it both comfortable and practical to use for different types of small and large construction or around the house projects.


Stanley 46-053 Premium Adjustable Quick Square Layout Tool

Stanley 46-053

This Adjustable Quick Square Layout Tool has a base length of 10-3/4

If you’re looking for a reliable valley scale, jack and hip measurements then the Stanley 46-053 Premium Adjustable Quick Square Layout is a premium, multipurpose speed square that is sure to get the job done.

With an adjustable design, the Stanley is a preferred choice among customers, will save you time, money, and effort. The speed square is also reported by customers to be great for building shelving and other woodwork projects which require beveled joints cut at same degrees, exact dimensions, and other small rafter tails projects. Whether you’re building a treehouse or a doghouse, tables or shelving, or simply just looking for the best speed square available on the market, the Stanley 46-053 Premium Adjustable Quick Square is an excellent choice.

The Stanley speed square is a trusted tool because professionals who have purchased this product or similar models from Stanley have reported it holding up under regular for five years on average – an undoubtedly great investment for your wallet and peace of mind on your next big project. Save yourself hours of unnecessary calculations, loss of materials and time and money with this optimized speed square designed with an adjustable screw to get the same precise measurements time and time again without having to readjust the next time you start a big project.

Customers were also very fond of the adjustable arms feature and had great success using this speed square for resurfacing their deck and call it a must have for any garage and shop.

  • Unique adjustable arm for precise right angle
  • Great substitute for a protractor
  • Exact dimensions are made easy with fixed markings for repetitive cuts
  • Perfect for shelving projects, DIY projects, and on the job work
  • Lasts for ten years or more under regular use

  • One customer reported the adjustable arm screw coming loose
  • More than one arm may be unnecessary for some projects based on preference
  • Bearing edge not as long as standard speed squares

Overall, if you’re looking for a reliable, durable, simple to use speed square that it suitable for multi-use, easy to understand and includes extra features then the Stanley 46-053 Premium Adjustable Quick Square Layout Tool is the way to go.


Johnson Level & Tool model # 7-Inch Aluminum Rafter Angle Square w/Manual

Johnson Level & Tool

This aluminum rafter angle square boasts a solid aluminum body with CNC machined edges for greater accuracy and durability for any job or worksite

The Johnson Level & Tool model # 7-Inch Aluminum Rafter Angle Square w/Manual is great for hobbyists and non-profs, ideal for DIYers, and perfect for simple projects.

Customers have reported success in using this Johnson speed square for projects like dressers, spice racks, lumber work, and other rough jobs. This speed square is excellent for the shop, and even includes a helpful pencil holder.

If you’re looking to add a reliable, efficient, and precise speed square to your worktable or miter station, then this Johnson Speed Square is the top pick by both new and experienced contractors alike! Customers call this the best speed square because it’s a “true” speed square, great for breaking down material, is made from robust and flexible aluminum and is handier than conventional rafter squares.

Made in the USA, Johnson is a trusted name among carpenters, roofers, and do-it-yourself hobbyists that have been purchasing framing squares, speed squares, and other balancing, cutting, and precision work tools from this brand for decades with great success.

  • Made in the USA
  • Great for rough layouts and breaking down materials
  • Makes ripping down lumber easy with ¼” notches
  • True square
  • Durable and flexible aluminum build
  • Great quality for price
  • TOP CHOICE for hobbyists and DIYers
  • Perfect for framing projects
  • Scribe up to 5.5”

  • Markings are not high contrast
  • Not ideal for everyday carpentry or heavy use
  • Some have stated the pivot does not have a crisp edge
  • Few complaints of paint wearing off in a few months of use
  • Powder coating may be undesirable for some and throw off scribe notches by approximately 1 millimeter


  •    Aluminum build with CNC machined edges
  •    Permanent graduations with easy to read numbers
  •    Integrated distance and angles scales
  •    Continuous scribing notches perfect for ripping at 3-1/2″ and 5-1/2″
  •    2×4 board dimensions markers for measuring 1-1/2″, 3″, and 3-1/2″
  •    Low glare protective powder and finish
  •    Thick edge and multi-use saw guide

The Johnson Level & Tool model # 7-Inch Aluminum Rafter Angle Square w/Manual is an ideal, affordable solution for amateur builders, DIYers, and also roofers or woodworkers looking to add an extra speed square to their toolkit. This speed square is accessible, practical, has many uses, and has overall positive feedback from customers and reflects a trusted brand.


Swanson Tool T0118 Speedlite Square Layout Tool, Orange

Swanson Tool T0118

Center line (C/L) guide for locating center of round stock

Made of high impact polystyrene, the Swanson T0118 Speed Square is very rugged, long-lasting, hold good form and is the perfect solution for alternating to use when you have more delicate projects such as glass, laminates, or plexiglass.  The ideal speed square for avoiding unwanted scratches or damages to sensitive projects, and also a flexible, practical speed square for everyday use.

The Swanson Tool T0118 Speedlite Square Layout Tool has even been trusted by customers that were working on build houses from the ground up! For daily use and abuse, in comparison to not only other competing plastic speed squares but even some aluminum squares this remains a top, affordable choice. Contractors were surprised when they received their product and found it perfect for penciling a quick line, scribing, and measuring pitches with great success.

Finally, for DIYers for smaller projects, such as creating dioramas this is likewise a good choice. Hands down, customers report the Swanson speed square to be the most affordable, practical solution and were very pleased with their purpose, its ability to maintain its form, and the accurate measurements provided.

  • Made from high-impact polystyrene
  • Rugged design for frequent use
  • Accurate and steady form
  • Great for use on delicate projects like glass, laminates, and plexiglass
  • Perfect alternative to a metal speed square

  • Some customers wish it were a little thinner in build – although this would make it less sturdy and solid
  • Not suitable for pulling out nails or secondary uses
  • Markings could be revealed and embellished better into the plastic (oil-based stains can fix this)
  • Less finish over time makes it less square


  •    1/8″ spaced notches for scribing lines
  •    Centerline (CL) Guide for locating the center of round stock
  •    Made of light-weight, strong and durable industrial grade plastic
  •    3.2 oz
  •    8 x 8 x 1 inches

Overall, this is an affordable solution for most speed square needs, and while it isn’t anything fancy, it remains a popular, meaningful choice for a speed square and various project types for both amateurs and professionals.


Choosing The Best Speed Square For You

Before choosing the best framing square for you, take into consideration a few of the following factors and possibilities:

  •    How often do you plan on using it, and how much are you looking to invest?
  •    What are the primary purposes for your speed square? Woodwork, roofing, tiling, or working with glass and plexiglass or fabrics?
  •    Will this be your primary or secondary speed square tool?
  •    Are you looking to use your speed square as a “multi-tool,” such as for removing screws, as a light hammer, or even protractor and beer bottle opener?
  •    Looking for extra stability, such as adjustable arms? Then the Stanley 46-053 Premium Adjustable Quick Square might make the most sense.
  •    Plastic or metal?
  •    How important is visibility to you?
  •    Do you have specific color schemes, brightness, or color conditions that you’ll be working in?
  •    Is your preference inches or metric?

Depending on your level of experience, project-type, and demands it is possible that there are more than one-speed square solutions above that will fit your needs. Most importantly, as we’ve demonstrated above doing your due diligence into each product, customer satisfaction and feedback, manufacturer reputation, popularity, and diversity in tool-types or models likewise all should play equal roles in determining which speed square is best for you.

Sometimes people are only looking for a backup speed square, or because they are new something a little less expensive so that they can test it out, practice, and make any mistakes which might tarnish the integrity before buying a more expensive, sophisticated speed square. If this is the case for you, then consider investing in the Johnson Level & Tool 1904-0700 7-Inch Johnny Square, Professional Easy-Read Aluminum Rafter Square to get started!

Still not sure what’s the best FIT for you?

Remember, the best quality does not always necessarily follow the highest price. Quite to the contrary plenty of successful brands and manufacturers such as, for example, have been able to lower their costs to make them more affordable for customers, while remaining competitive and using reliable, trusted materials.

Each professional or DIYers’ unique personality will dictate the most effective speed square for you. Speed Squares that are made in the USA are often of especially durable quality, as well as those which are imported from most places throughout Europe. Speed squares are both practical and convenient and make sense for those looking to save both money and time. There is no job too big or small for a speed square, and if you’re going to be building a house from the ground up it is a must-have!

Good luck on your next project – and thanks for reading!

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