The Best Combination Square for 2023

With a combination square, you can take accurate measurements of anything in your house, and will become the handyman of the street!

Best Combination Square

A combination square is a versatile measuring tool that can be used for various tasks such as measuring depth, checking the accuracy of angles, and more. With the aid of its spirit level vial, it can also determine level and plumb. These little tools are also incredibly useful for stonemasonry, welding, and woodworking. Although the better ones might be expensive, there are several reliable options that cost much less. Choosing the right combination square from the many options is not easy. However, we made it easier by gathering a few top picks available on the market.

 

How We Picked

  • Length

    A typical length of a combination square is around 12 inches, but they can range from 6 inches to 24 inches. Longer squares are ideal for larger projects, while shorter squares are for more precise tasks. The length of the square will depend on the specific task you are using it for.

  • Accuracy

    A combination square of high quality can measure accurately to within 0.001 to 0.005 inches per inch. To ensure the most accuracy, hold the square firmly with the blade locked in place before taking a measurement.

  • Calibration On Blade

    It's crucial to check that the markings on the blade correspond to the corresponding measurements on the square's body. This is crucial because it guarantees that when the square is used, accurate measurements are provided.

  • Price

    Combination squares are available at a range of prices to fit any budget, depending on the brand and quality. The price of a tool typically reflects its precision and durability, with more expensive models being more precise and durable.

Our Top Picks

Top Pick

Irwin Tools 1794469 Combination Square

Irwin Tools has almost everything you want in a combination square.

The body of the Irwin Combination Square is made of sturdy cast zinc, while the blade is made of rust-resistant stainless steel. Its black, precisely engraved scales are ideal for marking 90° and 45° angles and transferring measurements. All the qualities you're searching for are included in this combo square, which is a sturdy product at an affordable price.

Buy Now for $12.99

The Irwin Combination Square guarantees durability at a reasonable price.

Runner-Up

Starrett-11H-12-4R Combination Square

Look no further if you want combo squares that are more reliable and precise!

This model is a measuring tool that can be used as a tri-square, miter, depth gauge, height gauge, and level. It is a very flexible layout tool that can also be used to draw parallel lines and right angles. Without removing the lock bolt or nut, the blade can be turned over or placed end-for-end thanks to its reversible lock bolt.

Buy Now for $95.86

The Starrett is a durable combination square that's ideal for a variety of purposes.

Most Cost-Effective

Mr. Pen Combination Square

This model nevertheless allows you to get good outcomes without making significant investments.

It's wonderful to see a brass scriber and a built-in spirit level on a tool that is being sold for such a modest price. This 12-inch long square includes accurate markings within 1/32 of an inch. It has a rust-free stainless steel blade that is very simple to read.

Buy Now for $9.95

The Mr. Pen can accurately measure and draw 90° and 45° angles

Almost Made The Cut

iGaging Premium 4-Piece

Although the IGaging combo square can promise good outcomes, it is not recommended for beginners.

While there is a spirit level and scriber made of hardened steel included in the square/miter head, this model is built with a 12-inch blade, a cast iron center finding head, a cast iron 180-degree protractor head, and a cast iron square/miter head with 45 degree and 90-degree precision ground faces. This premium square is equipped with all the best features.

Buy Now for $84.95

The IGaging Combination Square features a protractor that moves in both directions.

Everything We Recommend

Top Pick

Irwin Tools 1794469 Combination Square

Irwin Tools has almost everything you want in a combination square.

$12.99

Buy Now

Runner-Up

Starrett-11H-12-4R Combination Square

Look no further if you want combo squares that are more reliable and precise!

$95.86

Buy Now

Most Cost-Effective

Mr. Pen Combination Square

This model nevertheless allows you to get good outcomes without making significant investments.

$9.95

Buy Now

Almost Made The Cut

iGaging Premium 4-Piece

Although the IGaging combo square can promise good outcomes, it is not recommended for beginners.

$84.95

Buy Now

Who This Is For

If you work in a technical field like carpentry or are a technical student, you need several tools. A miter square, a try square, a plumb, and a rule can be used as a straight edge and as measuring tools for inside and outside angles. A combination square does all these tasks.  Its straightforward bubble level can show plumb and level while measuring length and depth, checking square and 45-degree angles.

Zinc body vs. cast iron body

Zinc combination squares are less expensive and more rust-resistant than cast iron ones. However, they are also less accurate and less durable. Cast iron and steel heads are also significantly heavier but incredibly durable. To prevent rust, clean them after each use. However, because zinc is dependable and easy to calibrate, they are great for general household use. And just to be clear, they are worthwhile investing in.

Do I really need a combination square if I’m not into carpentry?

A combination square is a multipurpose measuring tool that is generally used to check the accuracy of a 90° and 45° angle, determine the center of a circular object, locate depth, and take straightforward distance measurements. With the aid of its spirit level vial, it can also be used to determine level and plumb. Therefore, experts in stonemasonry and metalworking can also use combination squares to produce precise outcomes.

Why You Should Trust Us

We reached out to specialists with up to five years of expertise in the building sector, particularly in carpentry. We also made sure that they frequently utilized combination squares while measuring and cutting during their years of practice. Additionally, we looked for a variety of consumer reviews online based on their needs, grievances, pains, satisfactions, and preferences. It can be challenging to know what characteristics to watch out for because combo squares appear so identical at first glance. As a result, we looked into several models and narrowed down to four of the best combination squares.

 

How We Picked

Length and size

Combination squares often come in four sizes. While the four and six-inch squares are perfect for carrying around on your tool belt and are helpful for small jobs, they might not be long enough for other tasks. The 16-inch models are significant for higher work that the 12-inch models are insufficient for. However, the 12-inch models are ideal for medium applications and possibly the most adaptable. A 24-inch model will be a better option if you anticipate working with large workpieces.

Ease of use

As far as measures for building go, combination squares are generally flexible. Simply knowing what the measurements read makes them quite simple to operate. When measuring the length, height, or depth of recesses, you can use the ruler or the handle as a foundation. Check or mark 45- and 90-degree angles using the “square” section, and the level using the bubble.

Accuracy and reliability

Your combination square must guarantee you an accurate job, and this is quite crucial. The manufacturing process and material of the tool both affect accuracy. Take into account, as well, the blade’s divisions. The accuracy of less expensive models might be lower. Blades and markings punched out of the same sheet of metal for inexpensive combo squares can have a slight blur.

Price

Although combination squares come with different price tags, they are within most people’s budgets. Consequently, a college student should be able to afford one. You can purchase a nice device for under a hundred bucks if you only need one for home or personal use. However, if you want to improve the quality and accuracy of your work, choose a more effective and high-quality model. These are more expensive.

Durability

The resilience of your combo Square’s construction depends on the materials used and the level of craftsmanship. Therefore, to avoid inaccurate measurements, make sure the square’s head is secure.

Overall build + design

Combination squares are available in a limited number of designs and are useful in a variety of situations due to their replaceable heads. Consequently, you can change to a protractor head or a center head depending on your project needs. Regardless of the model you choose, make sure it is accurate and robust enough to achieve versatility, especially if you want to work on a challenging project.

 

Our Picks For You

Best Pick - Irwin Tools 1794469 Combination Square

Best Pick

Irwin Tools 1794469 Combination Square

Irwin Tools has almost everything you want in a combination square.

The body of the Irwin Combination Square is made of sturdy cast zinc, while the blade is made of rust-resistant stainless steel. Its black, precisely engraved scales are ideal for marking 90° and 45° angles and transferring measurements. All the qualities you're searching for are included in this combo square, which is a sturdy product at an affordable price.

Buy Now for $12.99

Who It's For

If you require a flexible and durable model for your significant jobs, the Irwin combination square is the perfect option.

Why It's Great

The Irwin combo square comes with an integrated bubble level so you can quickly check your level. It has a rust-resistant blade with precisely etched graduations that are also painted black to make them easy to read, allowing you to get your measurements quickly at all times. The 12-inch length is also adequate for larger measuring and marking tasks. The Irwin is perfect for marking angles at 90 and 45 degrees.

Potential Flaws

Despite the versatility of the Irwin combination square, accuracy concerns mean that it might not be the best choice for intricate construction work. Attempting to get the head back can be frustrating, as well, as we have observed.

Other features

In addition to having a built-in bubble level, it also has measurements in both metric and standard units. These measurements on each side of the blade increase its usability as a straightforward measuring tool.

Product specifications

LxWxH: 5.51 x 12.4 x 0.79 inches
Manufacturer: Irwin
Weight: 14.4 ounces
Model Number: 1794469
Size: 12-inch

Runner Up - Starrett-11H-12-4R Combination Square

Runner Up

Starrett-11H-12-4R Combination Square

Look no further if you want combo squares that are more reliable and precise!

This model is a measuring tool that can be used as a tri-square, miter, depth gauge, height gauge, and level. It is a very flexible layout tool that can also be used to draw parallel lines and right angles. Without removing the lock bolt or nut, the blade can be turned over or placed end-for-end thanks to its reversible lock bolt.

Buy Now for $95.86

Who It's For

The Starrett combination square is a precision instrument that is arguably more suited for engineers while being somewhat expensive.

Why It's Great

The blade is strong without being brittle due to the hardened and tempered steel used in its construction. The permanent attachment of markings to the surface is achieved by machine etching. The ruler's 4R graduation type, which has increments of 8ths, 16ths, quick reading 32nds, and 64ths, greatly enhances measurement accuracy. The reversible lock bolt allows the user to switch the blade without removing the nut.

Potential flaws

Even though the performance of this combination square is excellent and on par with the Irwin's in every regard, it is expensive. Although it costs much more than the majority of other combination squares, it's pretty accurate.

Other features

The square head works for many different things, including leveling, measuring, mitering, tri-squaring, and scribing parallel and right angles. Because of the head's heavy-duty cast iron construction and wavy surface, it is easy to keep a firm hold while working. Whether you're a toolmaker, mechanic, carpenter, or homeowner who prefers to "do it yourself," the Starrett combination square comes in a range of forms to fit your needs. The blade's glossy chrome surface also makes it lovely and simple to read, and the built-in spirit level is always a welcome bonus.

This combo square's cast iron head has a black, corrosion-resistant finish. It has a scriber, a bubble level, and a hardened steel blade, which provide remarkable durability.

Product specifications

LxWxH: 1 x 1.4 x 12.3 inches
Manufacturer: Starrett
Weight: 1.22 ounces
Model Number: 11H-12-4R
Size: 1212-inch
Color: Black

Most cost-effective - Mr. Pen Combination Square

Most cost-effective

Mr. Pen Combination Square

This model nevertheless allows you to get good outcomes without making significant investments.

It's wonderful to see a brass scriber and a built-in spirit level on a tool that is being sold for such a modest price. This 12-inch long square includes accurate markings within 1/32 of an inch. It has a rust-free stainless steel blade that is very simple to read.

Buy Now for $9.95

Who it is for

The Mr. Pen combination Square is the best option if you want a very functional model at a reasonable price.

Why it is great

The head of the 12-inch Mr. Pen combo square is made of rust-free die-cast zinc. The blade is flexible for everyone who wants just one combination square. It has clear markings and is rust-proof, thanks to its stainless steel construction. It's fantastic to have a brass scriber and built-in spirit level on a tool with such a modest price tag.

Potential flaws

Although this model is inexpensive, it won't perform well for more intricate or complex projects but will work adequately for light woodworking. Additionally, we saw that the blade has painted measurements, which are easily washable.

Other features

Even though the steel blade is precisely marked with inch and centimeter calibrations in 1/16,1/8, and 1/32 inches, it is a bit thin, and the head casting is also thin, so it might not be as sturdy as a tool of greater quality. The blade's markings are painted, making them harder to read and more likely to wear away. The blade is calibrated in inches on one side and centimeters on the other.

Product specifications

LxWxH: 13.27 x 5.59 x 0.83 inches
Manufacturer: Mr. Pen
Weight: 10.2 ounces
Size: 1212-inch
Material: Stainless Steel
Color: Chrome

Almost made the cut - iGaging Premium 4-Piece

Almost made the cut

iGaging Premium 4-Piece

Although the IGaging combo square can promise good outcomes, it is not recommended for beginners.

While there is a spirit level and scriber made of hardened steel included in the square/miter head, this model is built with a 12-inch blade, a cast iron center finding head, a cast iron 180-degree protractor head, and a cast iron square/miter head with 45 degree and 90-degree precision ground faces. This premium square is equipped with all the best features.

Buy Now for $84.95

Who it is for

If you're looking for a combo square with additional capabilities to improve your work, the IGaging model is the ideal option.

Why it is great

In contrast to other picks, this kit includes a 12-inch blade, a center head, a 180-degree protractor head, and a square head, all of which are manufactured from cast iron for strength. You may use it for a larger range of projects than you would with a standard combination square, thanks to its center, square, and protractor heads. Due to its 24-inch blade length and square head that features a bubble level and scribe, it should be able to tackle even the most significant jobs due to its center, square, and protractor heads.

Potential flaws

This model may not be the best option for experienced users, but it may be a good choice for beginners. Even though it is quite pricey, it is not appropriate for anyone who utilizes metric because it only displays imperial measurements.

Other features

Although the price of the iGaging Premium 4-Piece Combination Square is significantly greater than that of most other combo squares, if maximum accuracy is important to you, the purchase might be justified.

Three die-cast zinc heads are included in the kit, including a common head with the customary bubble and scriber. This excellent 12-inch square with a stainless steel blade has 4R divisions at the center that are machine etched at 1/8, 1/16, 1/32, and 1/64 inches.

Product specifications

LxWxH: 12.71 x 6.06 x 1.57 inches
Manufacturer: IGaging
Weight: 3.08 pounds
Size: 12" 4R 4 Piece
Style: Square
Material: Steel
Color: Chrome

Care and Maintenance

How to clean your combination square

Using your combination square on a construction site, in particular, increases the possibility of it becoming dirty. Cleaning your tools right away after usage is always a good idea. To eliminate deposits, you must periodically disassemble and clean the parts with a nonabrasive scourer and a little spirit or rubbing alcohol.

Where and how to store when not in use

You must keep your combination square clean and properly protected from damage and yourself from harm. Most of the time, if your bench has a well, you can keep it secure. Nevertheless, you can utilize a box if you only work with wood occasionally.

Blade care

As soon as the blade is dry, lightly lubricate it with paste wax by wiping it over the slide. When not in use, be careful to set it down on a flat surface. Never strike any objects with your blade.