A try square is one of the woodworking square models (combination square, speed square, etc) that you have to own in your toolbox. Whether in woodworking or carpentry projects, you will find this tool very helpful to generate a neat working result.
The primary function of a try square is to check whether an object’s squareness is truly 90° angle or not (both inside and outside squareness).
It helps you to make a perpendicular line to the edge for a crosscut. Again, if you want to check the accuracy of your crosscut, this tool is what you need.
Its body consists of a blade (or beam) and stock (as the handle). The blade is made of metal while the handle can be made from wood or plastic.
There is also an engineer or machinist try square. This model is more accurate, rigid, and solid compared to this carpenter square (try square). Therefore, a machinist square can be used as the standard to calibrate this woodworking try square.
Keep in mind that none of the try squares is perfectly square. Even in the machinist square, there must be a deviation. According to British Standard 3322, your try square has to be no more than 0.01 mm off per 1 cm blade. So, if your try square’s blade is 0.11 mm off while its blade length is 10 cm, it doesn’t meet the BS tolerance standard.
Nowadays, a try square comes with more features. Not only does it check the right angle, but it can also be used for scribing and marking. Graduation helps you measure and mark. Some models provide holes to allow your pen to mark or scribe accurately.
Top 10 Best Try Square Choices in 2023
1. Swanson SVR149 Savage Try Square [Best Overall]
Swanson Savage SVR149 is overall the best try square of our version. It is a complete tool that comes at an affordable price. You can check the right angles surely with it. Moreover, you can scribe a line in 90 and 45 degree angles. The scribe bar tapered edge in every 1/8″ helps you make accurate scribing. It’s easy to use due to the kickstand. The body has durable material with blade length is about 9″ which is good for most of its purposes. Woodworkers, carpenters, and contractors must like it.
Similar to other try squares, Swanson SVR149 will try the outside and inside right angles to check its 90° angle squareness for the perfection of work. That said, you can also scribe a line perpendicularly to the edge for framing and crosscutting. Moreover, you could do a 45° scribing with it.
Interestingly, this try square is able to mark more accurately. The tapered edge of the holes (scribing bar) helps aim your pencil to accurately mark and scribe. It is made every 1/4″ while the opposite side is also made every 1/4″. So, it forms a marking edge for every 1/8″ as a whole.
For construction, it has a sturdy body. The stainless steel blade and the aerospace anodized aluminum handle (with a rubber-coated insert) benefit you to resist corrosion. It’s handy to use due to the retractable kickstand. It will not fall off the board whenever you are making measurements.
- Complete try square with tapered scribing bar
2. Irwin Tools 1794473 Try Square [Combo with Spirit Level]
Most crafts workers prefer Irwin hand tools because of their quality construction and special features. In the case of the try square, Irwin Tools 1794473 is the second choice based on our selection. It is easy to read, seems very sturdy, and affordable, but also serves as a combo tool.
First and foremost, the Irwin Tools 1794473 try Square with level has a stainless steel 8-inch rust-proof blade with a high-impact ABS handle. ABS handles will not break or bend easily, thus, ensuring it serves you better when doing woodworking and carpentry projects.
The stock/handle has a horizontal bubble level. This level allows you to mark accurate readings. Before marking a 90° angle, check that the bubble lies at the center of the bubble tube.
In addition, the angle marking feature is also nice. The precision-etched scales on the blade are easy to read and will not fade over time. You should also observe the angle markings on the blade. You can comfortably mark 10°, 15°, 22.5°, 30°, 36°, 45°, 50°, and 60° angles.
3. PowerTec 80015 Try Square [Plain Model]
Stainless steel is corrosion-resistant and durable. The brass-bound 8-inch hardwood handle, instead, will not break when you are using it.
For the design, this try square has a laser-etched scale on the blade. It is easy to read the measurements whenever you want to mark a metal or wood surface. It’s double-sided, both sides are graduated with inch and mm/cm scale. For the inch side, the increment increases by 1/8 and 1/16-inches.
This try square from the Powertec is best for a simple DIY woodworking project like crafting a square wall planter. Also, it can be a handy woodworking tool for advanced woodworking skill levels. Like crafting a floating shelf or a bunk bed.
4. Kapro 353 Try Square [Semi Speed Square]
Kapro 353 is a complete try square that carpenters and woodworkers should have if the price doesn’t matter. Not only able to mark/scribe 90 degree angles but also 45 and 30 degree angles. To check 90 degree angles of inside and outside the square, surely it’s its job.
Another nice feature is the ledge or kickstand. You can easily slide it out and put it on the edge of the wood boar to hold the handle so that it doesn’t fall off.
The blade is made of stainless steel which is good to fight against corrosion, meanwhile maintaining its looks. On the blade’s surface, the graduation is etched permanently so that it doesn’t fade over time. Besides, the handle is made of aluminum cast.
We call it semi-speed square by the way. That is because it has several holes for angle marking as the speed square has. You can mark the angles of 10°, 15°, 22.5°, 30°, 45°, 50°, and 60° which is great.
More interestingly, you can do parallel scribing as well because it has holes for every 1/4 inch of the blade ruler. So, your work can be so much faster and easier.
5. Woodraphic WR-MS-12 (Square Ruler)
If you often do parallel scribing, you have to consider Woodraphic WR-MS-12. Not only does it serve to check squareness, but also its holes give you more accurate marking and scribing. Aside from that, the holes are also many. There is a hole for every 1/16″ increment that is in line with the notch.
To further make sure you are scribing accurately, it comes with a 0.5 mm sharp pencil as well. You can conveniently mark lengths, diameters, and dimensions by inserting that 0.5 mm sharp pencil lead through the marking holes.
Unfortunately, there are no holes for angles. Because its scribing function is so contrast, a square ruler may be another appropriate name for this tool.
In matters of construction, Woodraphic WR-MS-12 is crafted from premium lightweight aluminum material. Aluminum is not only durable but corrosion-resistant, easy to maintain, and lightweight metal. This carpentry square is available in various sizes. The inch-models are 4″, 8″, and 12″ in length.
6. Stanley 1-45-686 Try square (Metric Graduation)
The Stanley 1-45-686 Try square, in this case, is a handy tool that allows you to make an accurate metric and angle measurement.
This model comes with a stainless steel blade that will not rust or fade. The steel blade is pinned with three rivets onto the aluminum handle to enhance its accuracy.
Also, it has a double-sided mm division to make accurate measurements. The markings are photogravure deep etched to prevent them from fading.
The silver appearance not only gives it a more sophisticated finish. Silver surfaces appear new when clean or polished. You can also measure 45◦ angles with this try square.
7. Hultafors Quattro25 Adjustable Try Square (Adjustable to 45°, 90°, & 135°)
The most impressive thing about Hultafors Quattro25 is its adjustable blade to shape 3 different angles: 45°, 90°, and 135°. This is an adjustable try square that you cannot easily find on the market (so far).
Whether you are a beginner, hobbyist, or experienced woodworker, you should not miss it in your toolbox. It’s not only a try square but also a mitre square and a 135° angle checker tool. Simply slide the blade, it’s very intuitive to feel that you have moved into a new angle degree shape.
The blade is made of stainless steel which is corrosion and wear-resistant. While the stock/handle is made of anodized aluminum which forms a durable surface finish. All of the bodies will be resistant to corrosion.
Since it’s adjustable, it can be folded as well; making the storage in the toolbox easier. Even you can carry it in your pocket or tool belt.
Although it comes in metric graduation (a blade length of 24 cm), its ability to form 3 angles makes it deserve your attention. But, if you are based outside of the US such as in the UK, this choice may be your favorite.
8. Shinwa 62020 [Tiny Try Square Useful in Jig Sharpening]
If you work with tight places or small workpieces, Shinwa 62020 is the perfect choice for you. Setting the chisels in the sharpening jig by using this little square is easy and accurate. Don’t forget to always inspect this little tool using a machinist square if necessary.
This tiny square of Shinwa 62020 is made from solid brass stainless steel material. Solid brass stainless steel is not only a durable material but also corrosion-free and easy to maintain.
9. Crown Tools 20145 [Classic Model]
This particular try square is attractively designed from brass fitted traditional Sheffield products. Brass is also a preferred material because of its durable properties.
The Crown Hand Tools 20145 comes with a tempered and blued steel blade with a hardened Rosewood handle. The steel blade plus hardened Rosewood handle are resilient and will not corrode with time.
The 12.08 ounces weight allows you to carry and handle it around the workshop without getting tired. It can also precisely fit inside the toolbox or on your tool belt.
Unfortunately, this woodworking and carpentry tool is only available in 12-inch size. The 12-inch/30 cm dimension allows you to mark small size wood pieces.
Also, you should note that the steel blade is not marked. So you will have to make measurements with a separate measuring tool like a ruler.
10. Swanson Tool TS152 Try Square with Hardwood Handle
The Swanson tool TS 152 is another essential woodworking tool for any experienced woodworker. You should not miss this tool in your workshop. It is an ideal alternative for a woodworking hobbyist who wants to craft a wooden plant or custom wine holder.
This model comes with an 8-inch quality stainless steel blade. The 8ths and 16ths laser-etched gradations are inscribed on the hardened steel blade for enhanced clarity. Also, it reduces metric digit fading. Additionally, the handle/stock is crafted from quality hardwood material to enhance its durability.
What to Consider Before Purchasing Try Square
The following are four key factors you have to always check before purchasing this woodworking square for your carpentry or woodworking project.
It’s always recommended to buy the one body construction try square. However, it seems not easy to find woodworking try squares that come in one body. Most of them are made from separate materials; on one hand, the blade is made of metal (stainless steel), on the other hand, the stock/handle is made from wood or plastic material. This construction puts them riveted to join together. As time goes by, it may loosen and wobble. The quality of production can determine whether it will last long or not. Therefore, relying on brand quality may be the best approach to judge a product.
The accuracy of your try square will determine how good the result is. If the stock and blade wobble, it is a clear sign of inaccuracy.
Unfortunately, among the top 10 best try square products above that we have selected from the market, none of them come with any description about its accuracy.
However, there is still a way to get the answer. What you have to do is to check this woodworking square’s accuracy using a machinist square. A machinist square is way more accurate.
As said before, the tolerance is 0.01 mm per 1 cm of blade length. That means the ratio is 1:1000. If your try square has an 8″ blade (20.32 cm), its deviation from the true squareness must be below .008″. For more accurate information, you should buy the document and learn by yourself. You could also consult an expert.
3. Material (Steel, Stainless Steel, Aluminum, Brass, Plastic, and Wood)
You will find these materials consisting of the try square: steel, stainless steel, brass, aluminum, plastic, and wood.
Hard metal such as steel and stainless steel is used for the blade material. They are sturdy, long last, and corrosion-resistant. However, you should always choose stainless steel blade because it’s more corrosion resistant rather than steel.
Wood, brass, plastic, and aluminum are some materials forming the handle. These materials are not only corrosion resistant but also cheaper than stainless steel; enough to employ as the handle.
4. Design & Features
Considering the try square that comes with scribing holes, level, and other features may be another factor that you have to figure out. By means of these features, it can be a combo tool. It saves you time and money. You don’t need to substitute the tools. If it can do two tasks at a bargain price, that should be your choice.
Features that may be equipped:
- holes that align with the notches for precision marking and scribing
- spirit level
- reverse reading
- Angle increment marking (similar to speed square), etc
5. Inch or Metric
Don’t forget to check its graduation measurement unit system whether it uses imperial (inch) or metric (mm). Some models engrave both and either.
6. Purpose (Woodworking, Carpentry, or Machining)
Make sure you don’t buy a machinist square for woodworking or carpentry projects unless for inspection or calibration of your try square. A machinist square is made with tight tolerance, more accurate than the try square.
Try square is one of the workshop tools that you should acquire in your toolbox. It’s very helpful to check 90° angle and quick to use.
From the above list, our top 3 try square picks that you should consider (in descending order) are Swanson SVR149, Irwin Tools 1794473, and Powertec 80015.
The best try square overall is the Swanson SVR149. It’s very tempting because it is a complete model that comes at an affordable price. You can check angles and scribe it accurately. It also comes with a kickstand feature.
While the second choice is Irwin Tools 1794473. Not only does it serve as it’s meant to be, but also affordable. For that price, you can use it as a mitre square as well. It comes with a spirit level, inch graduation, and angle graduation.
If you need plain try square, Powertec 80015 is the choice.
Other related square tools you might be interested to check out: