Simple in design, a framing square allows you to accurately measure edges and corners. An important tool for many complex projects, a framing square plays an important role of a calculator as you work. Here are a few tips and reviews to help you find the best framing square for your next project.

Comparison Table – Framing Square

Mr. Pen
Weight: 8.8 ounces

Dimensions: 12.2 x 8.1 x 0.1 inches

Material: Iron

Measurement System: Inch

Empire Level e1190
Weight: 15.2 ounces

Dimensions: 16 x 24 x 0.13 inches

Material: Aluminum

Measurement System: Inch

Johnson Level & Tool CS5
Weight: 8 ounces

Dimensions: 3.2 x 2.5 x 2.6 inches

Material: Aluminum

Measurement System: Metric

Weight: 1.35 ounces

Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.6 x 0.65 inches

Material: Aluminum

Measurement System: Inches & Centimeters

Swanson Tool Co
Weight: 2.06 ounces

Dimensions: 16 x 1.99 x 0.12 inches

Material: Aluminum

Measurement System: Imperial

ATE Pro Tools
Weight: 7.7 ounces

Dimensions: 12.25 x 8.25 x 0.1 inches

Material: Metal

Measurement System: English/Standard & Metric

Weight: 3.84 ounces

Dimensions: 12.17 x 5.79 x 0.59 inches

Material: Metal

Measurement System: Inch

Weight: 1.71 pounds

Dimensions: 24 x 16 x 0.08 inches

Material: Steel

Measurement System: Inch

Weight: 1.75 pounds

Dimensions: ‎24.02 x 16.14 x 0.39 inches

Material: Aluminum

Measurement System: Inch

Weight: 4.8 ounces

Dimensions: 7.32 x 7.2 x 0.83 inches

Material: Aluminum

Measurement System: Inches

Top 10 Best Framing Squares


Mr. Pen- Carpenter Square

Mr. Pen- Carpenter Square

This framing square measures 8 x 12 inches. The Mr. Pen Carpenter Square is an L Square Ruler that includes 1/16-inch graduation on one side and metric units on the other. This is an easy-to-read square that features bright white numbers on a black design.

Sturdy and Durable

This premium-quality carpenter square is made out of carbon steel making it durable and sturdy. This anti-rust square is perfect for stair work framing, and roofing. You can also use the Mr. Pen-Carpenter Square when making patterns and layouts and as a straightedge when you need to determine the flatness of a surface.

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  • This is a sturdy and durable framing square
  • It is easy to read
  • It’s a great tool to make layouts and patterns with
  • It isn’t exactly square but is off by an inch and a half
  • The marking tends to flake off quickly

Empire Level e1190 Framing Square

Empire Level e1190 Framing Square

Made of black or blue anodized aluminum, the Empire Level e1190 Framing Square measures 16 x 24-inches. Highly visible, this framing square features long-lasting and deeply stamped graduations. This rust-proof framing square includes conversion tables and 1/8, 1/10, 1/12, and 1/16-Inch stamped graduations.

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  • This framing square is a good value for the price
  • It’s durable and easy to use
  • The graduations won’t fade
  • The sticker takes a bit of work to get off
  • The engraved numbers are very legible

Johnson Level & Tool CS5

Johnson Level & Tool CS5

Measuring 16 x 24-inches, the Johnson Level & Tool CS5 framing square is made of aluminum, so it will not rust. It features numbers and graduations that are stamped permanently in 1/8, 1/10, 1/12 and1/16 increments. Equipped with a clear anodized finish, this framing square also includes board foot tables, brace, tables, rafter tables, and octagon scales.

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  • This is a great product for a large product
  • It’s very sturdy and great for making straight lines
  • Nice heavy construction making it a great overall value
  • Some users have had issues getting correct measurements with it
  • The measurements could be detailed better

ZOTA Multi-Angle Measuring Ruler & Rafter Square

ZOTA Multi-Angle Measuring Ruler & Rafter Square

The ZOTA Multi-Angle Measuring Ruler & Rafter Square is made with a heavy-duty aluminum alloy and includes laser-etched markings. Measuring 8 x 12-inches, this is a universal angler ruler and a seven-inch rafter angle square as well as a carpenter square. This 3 in 1 product gives you tons of versatility to work on tiling, roofing, flooring, brickwork, and carpentry.


Easily create a layout in laminating, lumbering, paving stone, bricking, and tiling with the Zota Ruler & Rafter Square. Providing precise angle measurements, this product is corrosion and scratch-resistant and is calibrated in both metric and inch measurements. This is a durable square that allows you to set up angle measurements in just seconds.


This multifunctional ruler is great for DIYers, craftsmen, and builders. Ergonomic and portable, the Zota Ruler & Rafter Square features a unique tightening mechanism that allows for operation with just one hand. This high-quality tool will not wear easily and has a polished edge that helps to protect your hands.

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  • This is a good quality product that is super handy
  • It is very easy to use and read
  • You can use it with just one hand
  • The instructions weren’t very helpful
  • It doesn’t have an indentation for a pencil

Swanson Tool Co Savage Builder Square

Swanson Tool Co Savage Builder Square

This anodized builder square comes with a laser-etched scale. The Swanson Tool Co Savage Builder Square is made out of anodized aerospace aluminum to give it maximum durability. This tool is ideal for building stairs, roofing, and framing. Providing incredible accuracy, this builder’s square is an important tool for any carpenter and is built to last.

Lightweight and Portable

Portable and lightweight, the Swanson Tool Co Savage Builder Square are equipped with precise, laser-etched white gradation to give you the most accuracy. It also includes a reverse reading scale and includes a highly visible orange finish that is a great contrast for easy reading.

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  • It’s very visible and easy to read
  • This durable square is very versatile
  • It’s accurate and precise
  • It’s off about a 1/8-inch
  • It’s very hard to read

ATE Pro Tools Framing Square

ATE Pro Tools Framing Square

This L-shaped square measures 8 x 12-inches and features two-sided markings. The ATE Pro Tools Framing Square can be used for roofing or carpentry and provides true 90-degree inside and outside angles. One of the sides includes American Standard Inches while the other side has the European Standard Metric system in mm.

Durable and Versatile

Constructed out of steel, this durable framing square is 0.1-inches thick, so it will last you a long time. The ATE Pro Tools Framing Square also includes a pre-drilled hole to make storage easy. This is a great tool for a DIYer, mason, latherer, carpenter, construction worker, or handyman.

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  • It’s a durable product that doesn’t have a very reflective finish
  • This is a versatile tool that will last a long time
  • It includes both inches and the metric system
  • It does not have a smooth coat of paint
  • It won’t give you a flush fit unless you sand it

Tarvol Carpenter Square

Tarvol Carpenter Square

This 12-inch long carpenter square is made with heavy-duty, industrial grade, hardened steel. It features a 90-degree angle along with a combination handle. This is a great choice for roofing and carpenter work and has a 100 percent money-back guarantee.

Easy to Read

The Tarvol Carpenter Square features glossy numbers along with a powder-coated finish that protects it from corrosion and rust. This is a great addition to the toolbox of a roofer architect, drywaller, carpenter, or even a DIYer, and it also comes with an insert hole to make storage easy.

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  • It has a good guarantee
  • This is a versatile tool that is easy to store
  • It is rust and corrosion-resistant
  • The blade is a little bit pliable
  • It’s not a heavy-duty tool

IRWIN Tools Framing Square

IRWIN Tools Framing Square

The Irwin Tools Framing Square is made of steel and measures 16 by 24-inches. This is a professional-level tool that features permanent and deep stampings that won’t fade. Equipped with a stainless-steel finish, this is a very durable and rust-proof product.


Featuring several scales including 1/8, 1/10, 1/12, and 1/16-inches, the IRWIN Tools Framing Square is equipped with Essex board measurements, octagon and brace scales, and rafter tables. You can use it as a ruler, saw guide, and protractor for a variety of different projects.

Durable and Heat-treated

Constructed out of proprietary steel, this framing scale has been heat-treated in order to control hardness the IRWIN Tools Framing Square also comes with a forged tip that gives you a secure grip along with maximum contact in order to eliminate stripping. Great for heavy-duty impact projects, this is a versatile tool that will come in handy for any professional applications.

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  • This is a great choice for drafting patterns
  • It’s versatile enough to be used in many different applications
  • It is rust-proof and durable
  • It’s a little thick and heavy
  • It sticks to magnets really well, but that’s annoying when you are working

TRUPER E-16X24 Framing Square

TRUPER E-16X24 Framing Square

This aluminum framing square measures 16 x 24-inches. It’s a good choice for construction projects as well as cutting fabric. The numbers are easy to read and do not fade quickly.

Durable and Versatile

Made of forged steel, the Truper E-16X24 Framing Square is 1/8-inch thick. It features die-cut letters and has measurement in both inches and metric measurements.

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  • This is a durable product that will last you a long time
  • It has easy to read number that won’t fade
  • It features inches and metric measurements.
  • It’s too heavy for some users
  • It can be hard to handle

IKAAR Metal Rafter Square

IKAAR Metal Rafter Square

The metal carpenter square is seven inches long. The IKAAR Metal Rafter Square is made out of aluminum, so it won’t rust. It is also engraved with both inches and degrees to help make wood cutting and material layout easy.


You can use the IKAAR Metal Rafter Square as a framing square, protractor, or miter. Featuring a highly accurate and precise design, this is a great choice for woodworkers, artists, builders, DIYers, and manufacturers for any building or remodeling project.

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  • This is a versatile tool that won’t rust
  • It is precise, durable, and accurate
  • It is easy to use and can be used by professionals and DIYers
  • None

Framing Square Buyer’s Guide

What is a Framing Square?

Also called a carpenter or steel square, a framing square, is a vital tool for any professional woodworker, carpenter, or even a DIYer. The main purpose of a framing square to give you a precise right angle when it is needed and also create straight lines. The two most important functions of a framing square are measurements and layouts, but you can also use it for several other purposes.


Designed to give you better functionalities and versatility, a framing square can be used for many different purposes. It’s important to figure out how you will be using the framing square before you buy one.

Some framing squares are best used for woodworking while others are better for complex construction projects. If you want a framing square that has more functionalities, you may want to consider a model that can combine all the important features that you need.


Made with either steel or aluminum, it very important to know what a framing square is made out of since the material it is constructed out of will play an important role as far as the square’s sturdiness and accuracy.

If a framing square is made out of aluminum, it will be lightweight and easy to handle in comparison to one that is made out of steel. A steel framing square is more accurate and sturdier, but it will be more prone to become hot if you leave it in the sun.

Readability and Graduations

When choosing a framing square, look closely at the marking and graduation to make sure they are easy to read. It can be hard to use a framing square in low light. Plus, some markings can dissolve or fade, which can make the tool useless.

Measurement System

Typically, when you are looking at framing squares, there isn’t a lot of information on its measurement system. Plus, different framing squares can feature different measuring systems as well as various types of scale. The square or octagon scale is a very important part of a framing square since you need it to cut an eight-sided figure, and it is most useful for stair newel.

Inch Divisions

Since a framing square is a measurement tool, different models will come with inch divisions as well as sub-divisions. When choosing a framing square, it’s important to identify both the inch-divisions as well as various subdivisions of those inch markings.

Informational Tables

The informational tables that are found on a framing square will help to provide an arithmetical guide when you are measuring complex layouts. Having a good quality framing square can be useful when they have measurement tables that make it easier to determine accurate measurements.

On a framing square, the tables are often found on the back or front or even the tongue of the square. You will usually find the following tables on a good-quality framing square. Here are the tables you should look for:

  • Essex Board Measure Table
  • Conversion tables (Decimals to Inches)
  • Rafter Tables


When choosing a framing square, make sure to pay attention to the blades. When a framing square has a soft and thin edge, it can be susceptible to an accidental hit and may also move out of place, which can make it hard to see the graduations. But, if you have a framing square with a sturdy blade, it will be comfortable to hold and stay in place better, which helps to give you more accurate measurements.

Framing Square FAQs

What do you use a Framing Square for?

Basically, framing squares are used for measurements and layouts on a right angle or other types of pitches. You can find other uses for a framing square if you are a carpenter, furniture maker, or even a DIYer such as basic measurements and miter saw lines. Overall, it is meant to provide more functionality in your work.

What is the best type of metal for a Framing Square?

This all depends on the type of project you have planned. Usually, a framing square is made of either aluminum or steel. Steel squares tend to be more durable as well as more accurate. In comparison, an aluminum framing square is a better choice for a handyman or DIYer since it is more lightweight.

How accurate are framing squares?

Used to solve construction problems and in many of the most practical building purposes, a framing square is not really square. To get an accurate reading when working on a woodworking project, it can be best to hammer the blades to square so that it doesn’t move. To ensure you had an accurate reading from the framing square during extensive work, you may want to double-check your reading with another marking tool.

How do you use a Framing Square?

Convenient measurement tools, a framing square have even more uses when you consider the newer models on the market. The basic use of a framing square is to measure cuts. The first thing you do is measure the cut with the framing square by lacing the blade of the square parallel against the material’s surface. Next, mark the cut line and read the marking to ensure its accuracy before cutting along the mark.

Why are Framing Squares usually 16-inches?

Typically, a framing square will have a 16-inch tongue and a 24-inch body. Since this is a standard proportional length, 16-inch squares are pretty common since they make the tool durable and easier to read.

Why is important to have pressed markings?

While you may not think this is very important, it really is. Since the function of the framing square is to provide accurate measurements and angles, the tool is pretty useless if you can even read the graduations or numbers. Look for higher quality framing squares from brands that have laser etch or hard-press measurements in the metal that won’t wear off. And, if you can find one, look for a framing square that has a contrasting number color to the metal that makes it easy to read in low light.

What type of Framing Square do you need for woodworking?

There really isn’t one framing square that is the best for every woodworking project. Remember that you need to choose your framing square based on the project you have planned to make sure that the framing square will perform the way you need it to.

What Framing Square should you get if you need to make different angles?

If you need to use a framing square to make different angles, then the speed square will probably be the best option since it was designed to help you create many different types of angles.

What type of measurements should a Framing Square have?

Another very important question that is again dependent on the type of project you have planned. All framing squares are universally designed with the American measuring system, but some also include the metric system. If you don’t know which of the measurement systems you will need, choose a square that has both types so you will not be caught without the measurement system that you need.

What are scale ranges and graduations?

The graduations on a framing square refer to the amount of space in between each of the markings. Typically, you will see options that range between 1/8, 1/10, and 1/12-inches graduations. Which graduations you require will depend on how precise you need to be for your project.

The scale range is also important, but it isn’t as easy to spot when you are looking at different brands. A scale range is necessary when you are creating octagonal, square, and hexagonal shapes. Check for descriptions that include octagonal and square scales, but whether you need them will still depend on the need of your project.

Are conversions and tables important?

Yes! When you are doing complex layouts, conversions and tables will help you with all those hard mathematical equations. The best framing squares feature tables that are etched into the metal for added convenience. Just remember that if you won’t be using the tool for complex projects, then these conversions and tables aren’t necessary, but the ones that do include them tend to be of higher quality. The most popular conversions and tables to look for are rafter tables, decimal conversions, and Essex Board Measure tables.

Are the width and length important?

Absolutely! There are framing squares that have longer tongues and bodies than other squares, which can make a difference depending on how the tool is meant to be used. The width of the tongue and body is as important as the material that the framing square is made out of. A thin blade makes the tool easy to handle and makes it less accurate since it can easily slip out of place. A thick blade will stay in place better and also give you more accuracy.

What is a Tapered Framing Square?

Known to provide the best accuracy thanks to their construction, a tapered square is not commonly found any more that doesn’t include some of the more modern features like conversions and tables. This is an older type of square that is considered a vintage collectible.


Despite being such a simple tool, there are a lot of variations on the market to choose from. When choosing a framing square, it’s important to decide how you will be using it before you make your purpose. That way, you can be sure to find the best framing square for the projects you have planned.

John Billiou

John Billiou

LOCATION: Visalia, California


John Billiou assumed operations of the family business in 1989 with a “big appetite” for success.

Based in Central California, Billiou's Has been serving the Parts Needs of Lawn & Garden Dealers Across the Western United States for 70 Years.

Today, the company distributes new equipment and parts in 13 Western states and John said their No. 1 customers are cities and counties.

Billiou’s provides field support through their call center, field sales force, and an extensive website.

Billiou’s team strives to longstanding value to the customer and readers by making reliable and solid buying recommendations.

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