Best Combination Square For Accurate Measurements In 2020

Best Combination Square For Accurate Measurements In 2020

A combination square is a vital part of any toolbox due to the incredible versatility that they have. It can be used for finding a level, a marking gauge, depth gauge, a ruler as well as a miter and try square. It’s also great for making measurements too.

With all that usability, there can be a big difference in the quality between models. You want to make sure that it is made out of the right materials, has the right markings for you and that it has been made out of the highest quality materials.

Thankfully for you, we’ve worked hard to find the 10 best combination squares out there today. All that’s left to do is check out our reviews and then choose which one is going to be the best combination square for you.

Best Combination Square – Comparison

PictureNameSizeItem WeightPrice
Irwin Tools Combination Square12-inch14.4 ouncesCheck Latest Price
Empire Level E250 12” Combination SquareEmpire Level E250 Combination Square12-Inch0.16 ouncesCheck Latest Price
Swanson Tool TC132 Combo Square12-Inch12.8 ouncesCheck Latest Price
Johnson Metal Combination Square12-Inch4.8 ouncesCheck Latest Price
Starrett Combination Square6-Inch5.6 ouncesCheck Latest Price
Kapro Magnetic Lock Combination Square12-Inch17.6 ouncesCheck Latest Price
iGaging Premium Combination Square6-InchCheck Latest Price
STARRICH Combination Square 12-Inch12-Inch7 ouncesCheck Latest Price
PEC 7121-012 2 Pc 4R Cast Iron Combination12-Inch34.88 ouncesCheck Latest Price
Stanley Contractor Grade Combination12-InchAluminumCheck Latest Price


The 10 Best Combination Squares To Complete Your Tool Kit

Here are our reviews of 10 of the best combination square to complete your tool kit.

1. Irwin Tools 12” Combination Square

    Irwin Tools have been able to make a combination square of the very highest quality. The metal body helps to give it a high level of durability. The 12” size will allow you to complete a wide range of different tasks on the markings it has been very clear and concise.

    The combination square is comprised of two different metals. The blade is made from stainless steel with the body being zinc. Both not only give it that durability but also allow it to be perfectly balanced and, crucially, resistant to any corrosion.

    90-degree and 45-degree angles are both made very easily with this square and it can also be used as a gauge for transferring any measurements you may have. The measurement markings are precise, giving you a very high level of confidence in them.

    The combination square has a rigid and solid feel to it with a weight that isn’t too heavy but shows you it’s a quality tool. The bubble gauge is very easy to read from multiple angles and therefore it’s going to remove any guesswork.

    One of the great additional features of this square is the scribe pin that it has on the bottom of the handle. It allows you to make those markings with ease. It’s better than most other models and adds to the overall usability of the combination square, which is a high-quality product.

    What we liked:

    • Scribe pin
    • Clear bubble gauge
    • Precise scales
    • Well-balanced
    • Rustproof body and blade
    • Highly durable
    • Clear markings
    • Easily adjusted

    What we didn’t like:

    • Can slip out of the square
    • Blade lock can slip

    2. Empire Level E250 12” Combination Square

    Empire Level E250 12” Combination Square

    If you’re looking for a combination square that is going to be able to give you a high level of durability then this would make a great choice. It’s a heavy-duty tool that is going to last for a very long time due to its exceptional build quality.

    The stainless steel blade is going to be able to give you a high level of protection from corrosion. It also features etched markings to give your fantastic clarity. The matte finish adds further rust-proofing to give you longevity with the tool.

    The Empire level features a true blue vial that is going to be able to give you a remarkable level of accuracy. It’s a gauge that you can trust and it’s also very easy to read. It’s ideal for those who often work in tighter or uncomfortable spaces who find marking readings difficult.

    Extra features are always important with a high-quality tool and this combination square has plenty to boast from. The self-aligning draw bolt is a great feature which makes adjustments very easy. That is also helped by the smooth sliding action the square has.

    The edges of the square can be quite hard which will be an issue for some and it can also be a little finicky. Those are only small issues, however, as the overall quality is very high and most importantly it will enable you to have accurate measurements.

    What we liked:

    • Heavy-duty
    • Etched blade
    • Accurate blue vial
    • High durability
    • Self-aligning draw bolt
    • Hardened scriber
    • Machined square head
    • Stainless steel
    • Rustproof

    What we didn’t like:

    • Sharp edges
    • Can be finicky

    3. Swanson Tool TC132 12” Combo Square

      You know as soon as you pick up most tools the level of quality that they’re going to have. This is one such instance as the zinc body feels very solid in your hand. The brass bolt also gives you the right impressions and adds an extra level to an already brilliant level of build quality.

      That is added to by the stainless steel ruler that it has. It not only give it the level of durability that you’re going to be looking for but it also will prevent any corrosion too. It is CNC machined and this is a combination square which should last for many years.

      The accuracy is also impressive. It’s easy to make sure that your surface is square at all times. When it comes to making your marking, the brass scriber is going to be able to easily make them and the socket that it is housed in will help to keep it safe and secure without popping out.

      The durability of the combination square doesn’t just come for its metal parts. The vial that it features is not only easy to read, it’s also impact resistant. You don’t have to worry if you happen to drop it as the combination square will be highly resistant to it and won’t break.

      Despite the bolt itself being made from high-quality brass, the spring-loaded mechanism sometimes isn’t tight enough which can be an occasional problem. The edges are also very heavily rounded and that can take some length out of your measurements.

      What we liked:

      • Zinc body
      • Stainless steel ruler
      • Brass bolt
      • CNC machined
      • Highly accurate
      • Brass scriber
      • Impact resistant vial
      • Black etchings

      What we didn’t like:

      • The spring-loaded bolt isn’t great
      • Heavily rounded edges

      Also Read: Best Woodworking Tools You Should Have [Must Have Tools]

      4. Johnson 12” Metal Combination Square

        Being able to clearly see the markings is a vital part of having a great combination square. While some have markings that are on the surface, the best models have them deeply etched into the metal. The etchings on this Johnson model are very high quality.

        It means that they won’t fade away and you’ll never have to end up squinting to get those measurements. That’d all be for nothing if the rest of the combination square didn’t have the same level of durability but thankfully it does.

        The cast zinc head is durable and that is helped by the strong steel blade that it has. The rustproof coating which prevents any corrosion to ensure this tool lasts for many years. The vial is made from strong acrylic to make it further resistant to any drops.

        The auto-lock blade assembly is a highly useful feature and that is aided by the self-aligning draw bolt. The tool can occasionally go off square which can lead to some accuracy issues. It’s not often a problem but something to look out for and it’s good to have a reference point to check.

        On balance, this is still a combination square that rates highly and is better than many other squares out there. Perhaps the most impressive aspect is the durability it has and this might be the last combination square that you ever get as it will last for that long.

        What we liked:

        • Cast zinc head
        • Durable acrylic vial
        • Steel blade
        • Stamped graduations
        • Rustproof coating
        • Self-aligning draw bolt
        • 45 and 90-degree angles
        • Auto-lock blade assembly

        What we didn’t like:

        • Can be hard to get square
        • Can have accuracy issues

        5. Starrett 6” Combination Square

          When it comes to high-quality combination square, Starrett is never too far from the conversation. This is a square that lives up to that reputation and the 6-inch size makes it rank very highly in portability to easily take it with you from one site to another or simply carry it around.

          It feels extremely solid in your hand and that’s because of the materials that it is made from. The cast iron head together with the hardened steel blade helps you to get those accurate measurements time and time again. You want to have that high level of confidence when you’re using a tool and this gives you that.

          It is also a combination square which ranks highly in aesthetics too, which is not something that you can say about most of these products. The black wrinkle finish looks great and helps to give the combination square a good amount of style. While that isn’t exactly a vital feature, everyone wants their things to look good.

          Durability isn’t the only aspect that Starrett is famous for. The tools they produce are also highly accurate. This combination square stays accurate too with the lock bolt that it has which tightens easily to give you a secure fit without any awkward movement.

          The scriber is also heavy-duty and easily slots in and out of the handle without coming loose. There are very few downsides with this combination square but if you were being picky, the measurements can sometimes be a little difficult to read if you’re getting glare from the sun.

          What we liked:

          • Cast iron head
          • Black wrinkle finish
          • Reversible lock bolt
          • Heavy-duty scriber
          • Accurate spirit level
          • Squared blade
          • Easy to head
          • Made from hardened steel
          • Engraved lines

          What we didn’t like:

          • Can be hard to read
          • The finish can cause glare

          6. Kapro 12” Magnetic Lock Combination Square

            With such a standard and often used product, it can be hard to have any innovative features. This square from Kapro is different as it has a magnetic lock, removing the need to screw it in when needing to get that secure fit once again. It speeds up the process and allows you to quickly get on with your measurements.

            There will be some that prefer to have the screw lock in order to get the tightest fit that they possibly can. The magnet can pop off at times which can be frustrating but this is a rare occurrence and therefore not much of an issue.

            The large size makes it useful for those bigger jobs that you might have. The etched graduations are easy to read from all angles and will help you to get those highly accurate markings. The vial is also easy to read too with very clear material.

            The combination square also comes with a belt holster which is a great touch and makes dropping the tool a lot less likely. Even if you do drop it, it’s very unlikely that the combination square is going to be affected by it.

            The cast zinc body together with the stainless steel blade helps to give it an immense level of toughness. The scribe is also stainless steel and therefore you don’t have to worry about any of it rusting. It’s an impressive combination square with a lock system which is very easy.

            What we liked:

            • Magnetic lock
            • Accurate measurements
            • A large size
            • Etched graduations
            • Easily readable
            • Stainless steel blade
            • Cast zinc body
            • Stainless steel scribe
            • Belt holster

            What we didn’t like:

            • No centimeter markings
            • The magnet can pop off

            7. iGaging Premium 6″ Combination Square

              iGaging have been able to make one of the most durable combination squares in the world. It has a remarkable level of toughness which is due to the tempered steel blade that it has. It’ll never break, even with some long drops.

              The satin chrome finish that it has will not only be resistant to corrosion but it also looks great too. That level of design is added to by the etched markings that it has which are going to be easily seen in all conditions.

              The cast iron head feels very solid in your hand and lets you know that you’re working with a very high-quality tool. The scriber is also hardened and it will ensure that you’re going to be able to use the tool for many years without needing to replace it.

              A neat feature of this combination square is that it has a padded storage case. That makes it highly portable and you can carry it without any fear of it being damaged. It also has a highly portable size which makes it very easy to carry.

              One area where this combination square does fall down is with the sliding action. It’s not as smooth as others and that can be frustrating at times. The ends also have a slight upwards angle but that can make it hard to lock the combination square at its fullest length.

              What we liked:

              • Tempered steel blade
              • Satin chrome finish
              • Etched markings
              • Cast iron head
              • Hardened scriber
              • Padded storage case
              • Heavy-duty
              • Portable size
              • High precision

              What we didn’t like:

              • Sliding action can be rough
              • Can be hard to lock at full length

              Also Read: Best Planers for Delicate Woodworking Jobs & Home Carpentry

              8. STARRICH Combination Square 12-Inch

                While perhaps not having the exact level of quality as others on this list, this combination square from Starrich is still a good tool. It has all the features that you’d expect with durable materials, etched markings and a heavy-duty scriber.

                One of those durable materials is the stainless steel bade that it features. It will ensure that the combination square doesn’t break but also that it doesn’t rust either. On the blade are the deeply etched markings which make it very easy to read.

                The combination square also ranks highly in terms of its style. The matte finish is a very nice touch and the green vial looks great while also being very easy for you to read. The square feels solid and is going to be able to give you a high level of accuracy.

                While we didn’t have any of these issues, some users have reported poor packaging. This has led to the product not arriving in pristine condition. This appears to be rare though with any situation is quickly resolved.

                The machine squared head of the combination square is impressive and the self-aligning draw bolt is very easy to use. You can have very few complaints with this combination square but it doesn’t have quite the same level of quality as others in this list.

                What we liked:

                • Stainless steel blade
                • Etched markings
                • Heavy-duty
                • Clear green vial
                • Matte finish
                • Self-aligning draw bolt
                • Durable scriber
                • Machine squared head

                What we didn’t like:

                • Lower quality
                • Poor packaging

                9. PEC 7121-012 2 Pc 12″ 4R Cast Iron Combination Square

                  Cast iron is a material that always feels extremely solid when it’s in your hands. It helps this combination square stand out from many others. Iron is a material that can rust very quickly but the hard-wearing paint on this tool will prevent that from happening.

                  It comes in a blue plastic case to make it easy to carry without damaging it. The satin chrome blade will be protected but that isn’t really required with the strength it has. It all adds up to an extremely well-made combination square.

                  The accuracy of this combination square is brilliantly high. It’s dead square and will be able to give you a lot of confidence in the work that you’re doing. That is helped by the fact that the bolt it has will be able to keep a very tight lock.

                  With a lock that tight, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the sliding action is going to be difficult. That couldn’t be further from the truth, however, as the combination square is very easy to adjust, enabling you to get all the angles that you need.

                  It has the quality that you’d expect from a tool that is made in the USA with the only downfall being that the scriber can be a little loose in the socket. It’s not too bad, but something to keep an eye on while you are using the square.

                  What we liked:

                  • Square head and blade
                  • Cast iron
                  • Satin chrome blade
                  • Blue plastic case
                  • Highly durable
                  • Stay tight
                  • Made in the USA
                  • Smooth sliding action
                  • Highly accurate

                  What we didn’t like:

                  • Loose scribe socket
                  • Customer service

                  10. Stanley 12” Contractor Grade Combination Square

                    Stanley is a company who is famed for the level of quality that they have with their tools. This combination square is another fine example. You’ll be able to get a lot of use out of it for many years without anything on the tool failing.

                    It is precision-machined to be able to give you the accuracy that you’re looking for. It will remain square and you are going to be able to have a high level of confidence in the work that you are going. It’s also very easy to use.

                    The vial is clear and easily visible and the markings are deeply etched onto the blade. Those blades are chrome plated to ensure that the tool never rusts. Another great part of the materials can be found with the locking mechanism.

                    It’s made out of brass which not only makes it look great but also gives it a very tight fit. That together with the smooth sliding action makes it ranks extremely high in usability. It feels very solid in your hand and performs very well.

                    There are few if any, downsides to this tool. Delivery can sometimes be an issue with some users reporting that parts can be missing, especially the scriber. Even though this can be easily rectified, it can be a nuisance.

                    What we liked:

                    • Clear vial
                    • Precision-machined
                    • Deeply etched
                    • Chrome-plated blades
                    • Brass locking mechanism
                    • Tough scriber
                    • Great accuracy
                    • Solid feel
                    • Smooth sliding action

                    What we didn’t like:

                    • Some users report delivery issues
                    • Scriber can be missing

                    Wrap up

                    All the combination squares in this list are high-quality and they will make you very happy with your purchase. In terms of choosing the best one for you, a lot of this will come down to personal preference with the different sizes, locking mechanisms and etchings that they have.

                    You want to make sure that you’re choosing a combination square which is highly accurate, is made of durable metals with rustproofing and all the other features such as the etchings, scriber, and bolt meet your requirements. When you’ve worked that out, you’ll be able to enjoy your new combination square to make those tricky jobs easier than ever.

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                    Sean J. Stone

                    Sean has been a woodworking enthusiast for 8 years, and in that time has written huge resources on woodworking and tools.

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