For the diverse uses and advantages, the combination square has become a staple tool for the carpenters. Starting from the measurement of fractions of an inch as well as an angle as accurate as 0.001 of a degree, these are ideal. To get the most out of it, you must choose the best combination square for your work. That’s where we can help and make the choice easier for you.
What is a Combination Square?
A combination square is a tool which is used in multiple functions like woodworking, stonemasonry, metal working etc. It’s mainly used for the measurement purposes. A combination square is usually made of a ruler and interchangeable heads; the standard or square head or handle is the most common one. The handle or head has two parts- the shoulder and an anvil.
From the ruler or ruled blade, the shoulder is at a 45-degree angle. And, the anvil is at 90-degree angle with the ruler. For being able to move along the ruler, the handle also contains an adjustable knob. Often, they contain scriber and vial also.
How to Choose a Combination Squares
When you want to buy a combination square, you need to know the characteristics of the best combination square; which features make the combination square best and how to choose the right one.
Most of the combination squares have the following parts-
- Blade or ruler
- Head (also called anvil)
- Bubble vial
The blade is one of the major components of a combination square. All are steel; choose the square with the hardened and tempered blade. Thicker blades are always better. The blade size should be appropriate for the scale of work you are going to do. Choose in that way.
The head is another significant part of which the quality of combination square depends. The heads made from cast irons are better than those made of die-cast alloy. The best ones are made from forged and hardened steel.
Choose your combination square wisely. The parts of the square should be as hardened as possible. You should choose from a reputable brand.
Make sure that the combination square is tuned and square. Check it out; strike a line, reverse the square, and then, strike another line in the same place. The square is out of true if the lines are not on top of each other exactly.
If you want to invest, do it on a quality combination square.
Our Recommended 5 Best Combination Square
A combination square of best quality has some criteria like accuracy, versatility, ease of use, durability. It mainly depends on the type of your work and also budget. You have to choose the right square for you very carefully.
1. Starrett 11H-12-4R Combination Square
The combination square of Starrett has a reputation for maintaining quality and providing accurate results.
This Starrett combination square features reversible lock bolt, scriber, and spirit level. The square has cast iron head with good black wrinkle finish. The 12 inches blade is of hardened steel and machine divided. The bear surface is ground accurately. The blade has sharp graduation. The graduations are- 8ths, 16ths, quick reading 32nds, 64ths. It comes with long time warranty.
Because of the hardened steel blade, cast iron head and lock bolt, this square have most durability. As the graduations are sharp, the blade is easy to read. The Starrett combination square has much accuracy and will last long.
This combination square a bit is expensive.
If you have a good budget and you want to buy a long-lasting combination square, you should consider this Starrett combination square for your work; this is worth it.
2. Stanley 46-131 Contractor Grade Combination Square
You can reasonably consider Stanley 46-131 16-Inch Contractor Grade Combination Square if you want to buy one.
The Stanley combination square features hard-chrome-plated blades which are rust resistant; they are durably etched. It has yellow, die-cast handle with brass wire which is highly visible and long-lasting. It has contractor grade combination square, a level vial, a scratch awl, and also a square for English measurements.
The working surfaces are machined precisely. The blades are coated for rust resistance. It has built-in scriber. Its length is 16 inches. Dimensions are 6.2 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches. It comes with a decent warranty.
Because of its color, it’s easy to locate. The square is much durable. It has easy to read vial. It has high accuracy.
The combination square might be difficult to adjust. For measuring the 90-degree angle, they are not accurate.
If you have a moderate budget for the combination square, you can surely consider it.
3. Swanson Tool TC132 Combo Square
The Swanson combination square is a budget-friendly square. So, if you want a quality square in less money, you can consider it.
This combination square features die cast zinc body. The blade is of stainless steel and loaded with brass bolt spring. It has brass scriber and level. The acrylic vial is impact resistant. The blades have black etchings. Its size is 12 inches and dimensions are 0.8 x 5.6 x 12 inches. The product has some decent warranty.
Swanson combination square is user-friendly and cheap. It’s very durable because of its body materials. The blade comes with a firm and accurate setting. The vial is impact resistant.
Sometimes, the delivery product is off from square by some degrees. The blade is a bit flimsy.
Despite some issues of the combination square, you can buy it. It is a quality square and most importantly budget friendly.
4. iGaging Premium Combination Square
You can consider the iGaging combination square if you like the combination square with some extra features and functions.
The blade is made of fully hardened and tempered steel; it has the Satin chrome finish. It has a protractor head in addition to the square head. The graduations are machine divided, etched and 4R -8ths, 16ths, 32nds & 64ths. Its length is 12 inches and dimensions are 12.7 x 6.2 x 1.7 inches.
The square has some additional functions. The Protractor head adds some versatility to the combination square. It’s easy to read and gives accurate measurements.
It has a learning curve where the instructions aren’t very clear. It is not durable like high priced squares. The customer service is not satisfactory.
The combination square has many extra functions. If it feels up your needs, you should consider iGaging combination square for buying.
5. IRWIN Combination Square with Metal-Body
You can keep this square under your consideration to buy. It is mostly good by parts if you avoid the locking mechanism.
The IRWIN combination square features cast zinc body. The blade is made of rustproof stainless steel. It has black-precision etched scales. For transferring measurements, it can be used as a gauge. Its length is 12 inches and dimensions are 5.5 x 12.4 x 0.8 inches.
This combination square is of heavy build. The increments are easy to read. The square is durable. The square provides accurate measurements.
The combination square has a faulty locking measurement. Some products have been reported to be off the square.
Despite some reports, the combination is pretty good. It has also many fans following for its accuracy and affordability. You can definitely consider IRWIN combination square for your work.
How to Use Combination Square?
Using a combination square is not a difficult task to do. You can do it easily.
- Firstly, place the square shoulder against the edge of working surface you would like to cut. Then, draw a line along the edge of the blade till your pencil reaches the anvil. When it’s done, the line must be at 90-degree angle the edge of the working surface.
- Using for angles,
The line must be at 45-degree angle the edge of the working surface.
- To draw a line parallel to the edge,
Place the anvil along the edge of the working surface and your pencil at the end of the blade ruler. Then, along the work surface move the handle side, letting the pencil to follow the motion of the handle. Once, for the desired length it’s completed, lift up your pencil to notice the parallel line along the working surface.
- For use as a ruler,
Loosen the knob and slide the handle off the blade. And, use it as a ruler.
- For using the handle as level,
Loosen the knob and slide the handle off the blade. Place the anvil upon the surface wished to be measured and use the handle as a normal level. It is level if the bubble is in the middle of the vial.
- To check for plumb,
Firstly, check the vertical surface which is to be measured. Now, against it, place the blades outside edge. The bubble must be in the middle of the vial; ensure it.
How Powerful is a Combination Square Tool?
A combination square can be used for multiple purposes. It is a resource to the carpenter toolbox.
To Measure an Angle
combination square can be used in measuring angles (90 and 45 degrees) which are needed in picture trim carpentry, framing, and for many other similar types of functions.
The built-in spirit level can be used as a level. If the bubble is centered on the vial, the piece of thing you are checking is at level.
From the face side of combination square, the flatness can be checked.
While working, it is sometimes needed to strike a line parallel to the edge of the piece. You can do it by using the scriber of the combination square.
To Check Depth
By using the blade of combination square, you can check the depth of some dado or mortise when needed.
Besides, it is also used in finding the center of round jobs, measuring the center of the circular bar and so on.
Why is Combination Square Better Tool Than Other Squares?
The combination square is a nice combination of many of the tools like tri-square, protractor, dedicated marker, ruler etc. It can do all of the jobs alone. So, undoubtedly, the combination square is the better one.
Being so useful, the combination square has become a compulsory too for the carpenters and others who need it. But, of course, you have to choose the right one. You have to know the best combination square for your work. Buy according to your purpose. We have tried to help you in the choosing process. The rest is up to you. We wish you all the best.