10 Best Combination Squares With Reviews – 2017 | Research Core

Into To The Top Rated Combination Squares For Construction or Home Use 

combination-squareInvented by Laroy Starrett in 1883, a combination square is a tool that few understand how many uses it really has.  This tool is used in woodworking, metal work, and stone masonry in multiple ways.  At its simplest, a combination square consists of a ruler (or ruled blade) and a head or handle attached to it.  The head may be a standard or square head, but a combination square could also have a protractor head  and/or a center head. 

The standard or square handle or head is the mostly common one and is used to lay out or check right angles and 45-degree angles.  The handle basically contains two parts, the shoulder and an anvil.  The shoulder is at a 45-degree angle from the ruler or ruled blade in order to mark or find 45-degree angles.  The anvil forms a 90-degree angle with the ruler and can be used for determining or creating right or 90-degree angles.  The handle also contains an adjustable knob so that it can be moved along the ruler, depending on the size of the job.  Usually the head contains a vial that acts as a level to determine if surfaces are level.  Combination squares often usually contain a scriber, which is a scratching tool to mark a surface at a certain location, even on tough surfaces.  Very hand when you don’t have a pencil!

Let’s Take a Look at 10 of The Best Combination Squares on The Market With Reviews 

Best Seller:
Average User
# 1
Empire Level E250 12-Inch Heavy Duty Professional
Combination Square w/Etched Stainless Steel Blade and True Blue Vial
4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

# 2
IRWIN Combination Square, Metal-Body, 12"
4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

# 3
Empire E255 6-Inch Pocket Combination Square With
Etched Stainless Steel Blade, Inch Graduations and True Blue Vial
4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

# 4
Starrett C33H-12-4R 12-Inch Combination
Square with Square Head Only
4.7 Stars (4.7 / 5)

# 5
Swanson 12-Inch Combination Square
4.4 Stars (4.4 / 5)

The combination square is most commonly used to find a 45-degree angle or a 90-degree angle and create a perfectly perpendicular surface.  However, the combination square has a whole host of uses other than the measuring of 45-degree and 90 degree angles as mentioned above.  It can also measure the center of round surfaces or determine flatness of a surface.  If the model features an attached protractor, it is useful for measuring angles or setting angles.  It can also be used as a depth gauge and most models contain a rudimentary level for determining if flat surfaces are even. When turned vertical, this vial can be used as a plumb. With all of these features in a lightweight tool, why would any professional or do-it-yourself hobbyist not have one of these valuable devices!

You need to consider the kind of job to do when choosing a combination square.  Make sure you buy one to handle the scale of job that you are doing.  In other words, the bigger the space or job, the bigger the combination square you’ll need.  Another factor is durability.  Consider what materials were used to make the blade and the handle or head.  Also check for extra features or accessories that might be handy.

Combination Square Reviews – Keep Reading

# 1 Empire Level E250 12-Inch Heavy Duty Professional Combination Square w/Etched Stainless Steel Blade and True Blue Vial

empire level e250

Heavy Duty Professional Combination Square

The Empire E250 is one the most highly rated overall combination squares on the market today.  The stainless steel blade has a matte finish that will never rust or corrode.  The vial is a trademarked True Blue vial that boasts of being one of the most accurate and durable level vials in the world with easy visibility and superior accuracy.  This 12-inch device carries a lifetime guarantee from Empire.  This combination square also features a hardened scriber to mark surfaces or measurements and a heavy-duty machined square head.  The self-aligning draw bolt increases accuracy.  The stainless steel blade is also etched to ensure markings do not fade.

# 2 IRWIN Combination Square, Metal-Body, 12″, 1794469

Irwin Combination Square

IRWIN Combination Square 12″

The Irwin 1794469 also comes in 6-inch and 16-inch sizes depending on the user’s needs.  This combination square features a rust-proof stainless steel blade (ruler).  The body of the head or handle is constructed of durable cast zinc.  The measurements on the blade are precision etched in black.  The 12” model weighs only 1.1 pounds which makes it perfect for portability.  This device also contains vial to act as a level and an adjustable knob.

# 3 Empire E255 6-Inch Pocket Combination Square With Etched Stainless Steel Blade, Inch Graduations and True Blue Vial

Empire E255

Empire E255 Combination Square

The Empire E255 combination square has all the features of the larger Empire combination squares, but in a reduced size for excellent portability.  This device features a precision machined square head with a self-aligning draw bolt for accuracy and a hardened scriber to make marks on tough surfaces. The stainless steel blade is etched with the numbers to prevent fading.  This Empire model features the trademarked True Blue vial which guarantees accuracy as a level level. Blades are notched for use as a gauge.  Empire offers a lifetime warranty. 

# 4 Starrett C33H-12-4R 12-Inch Combination Square with Square Head Only

Starrett Combination Square

Starrett C33H-12 Combination Square


The Starrett C33H-12-4R features a machine-divided, hardened and tempered steel ruler (or blade) on which is mounted an adjustable square head. It also has a reversible lock bolt that allows the blade to be turned over or moved end-for-end without removing the lock bolt or nut.  The head is made of cast iron for impressive durability.  The manufacturer boasts of the superiority of cast iron when compared to other die cast head on the market.  This combination square can work as a level or a plumb with its built in vial. 

# 5 Swanson 12-Inch Combination Square

best combination square

Swanson 12″ Combination Square

This Swanson combination square features a cast zinc body for the handle (head) and a stainless steel 12-inch blade or ruler.  The bolt that allows the user to adjust the handle at various points on the blade is made from brass.  The vial that serves as level is made of impact-resistant acrylic.  The scriber, made for etching on tough surfaces, is made of brass too. The spring-loaded blade ensures firm, accurate setting, and the blade also features etched letters that will not wear off.  This combination square comes in 6-inch and 16-inch models from Swanson and all three sizes have Swanson’s one-year limited warranty.

# 6 Stanley 46-028 12-Inch English/Metric Combination Square

Stanley Combination Square

Stanley 46-028 Metric Combination Square

The Stanley 46-028 boasts durably etched markings on its 12-inch hard-chrome-plated blade (or ruler).  This blade is said to be rust-resistant to increase its lifespan.  Stanley certainly believes it will last that long as this combination square comes with a lifetime limited warranty.  The handle or head is a high-visibility yellow color to easily locate your tool on the job site.  The handle (or head) is also die-cast and features brass hardware (scriber and bolt).

# 7 Empire E280 16-Inch Heavy Duty Professional Combination Square w/Etched Stainless Steel Blade and True Blue Vial

Empire E280

Empire E280 Heavy Duty Combination Square

The Empire E280 is a whopping 16 inches long with a stainless steel blade with etched markings for long lasting accuracy.  This combination square also features a heavy duty machined square head that has a self-aligning bolt and a hardened scriber.  Empire combination squares feature trademarked True Blue vials that guarantee accuracy.  Empire offers a lifetime warranty.

# 8 Stanley 46-131 16-Inch Contractor Grade Combination Square

Stanley 46-131

Stanley 46-131 Contractor Combination Square

This Stanley 16-inch combination square is designed for the contractor in mind.  It’s hard-chrome-plated blade (ruler) is rust-resistant and deeply-etched with measurements for long-lasting readability.   All working surfaces are precision-machined for accuracy.  The die-cast metal handle features brass hardware.  The handle also holds an easy to read vial for use as a level and a built-in scriber for marking surfaces.  This combination square comes with Stanley’s limited lifetime warranty.

# 9 BORA 531120 12-Inch Magnetic Combination Square with Etched Stainless Steel Blade, Inch Graduations, High Visibility Vial

Bora 531120

BORA Magnetic Combination Square

The Bora 531120 is a 12-inch combination square with a unique feature.  This combination square features rare earth magnets that are extremely powerful and assist in several functions.  These powerful magnets make it easy to slide the ruler into place and allow you to just let go.  The scriber is also held by the powerful magnets.  The cast zinc body of the handle is milled on five sides for accuracy and contains a vial to use as a level or plumb.  The ruler or blade is made of stainless steel and permanently etched.  It can be turned over or end for end without unlocking the nut because of a patented design.

# 10 Oshlun MTM-CS 12-Inch Combination Square Set

Oshlun MTM-CS

Oshlun Combination Square

The Oshlun MTM-CS is almost the granddaddy of all combination squares.  It features three different heads (handles).  It has the traditional square head (handle), but also has a protractor head and square head.  It features a slotted and etched 12-inch stainless steel blade.  The Oshlun has a double 180-degree protractor scale.  It includes a depth gauge, height gauge, scriber, and a vial that serves as a level.  Oshlun offers a lifetime guarantee for this product.

Check Out The Video Below On How To Use a Combination Square