Whether you’re an artist, an architect, or carpenter, a T-square is an essential tool for your work arsenal. Like an upgraded straightedge, this drawing instrument helps you draw accurate, properly placed lines with ease. As its name implies, a T-square consists of a long ruler attached at a 90-degree angle to a wide, straight-edged head. It helps ensure that your work is always aligned with the edges of your drawing surface, and it also lets you draw parallel lines in little time. Improve your drafting with one of our picks below.
1. Ludwig Precision Standard T-Square
The crosspiece of Ludwig’s T-square has a good lip that allows you to keep it flush against your working surface and smoothly reposition it as needed. Featuring a large plastic head and thin aluminum body, it is lightweight and a little bendy, but it will serve you well if you take care of it. The increments—in both inches and centimeters—are clear and marked in a way that makes them easy to read without too much clutter.
2. Alvin Transparent Edge T-Square
We’re drawn to the retro look of this T-square from Alvin, a great option for drafting. Set perfectly square into a black wood head, the straightedge features a light wood body with see-through acrylic edges for improved visibility, and the edges are slightly raised above the surface for smudge-free results. Unlike our other picks, this one doesn’t have any measurements, but it’s a straightforward tool for drawing clean lines exactly where you want them. We like this 18-inch-long model for everyday use, but other sizes are available.
3. Westcott Junior T-Square
If price is more important to you than longevity or aesthetics, we recommend Westcott’s T-square, which is a straightforward, unfussy tool to measure and draw straight lines. Its transparent plastic body makes it extra easy to place markings exactly where you want them. It also has a subtle lip that allows it to slide easily against the side of your drawing surface. Because it’s plastic, however, it could snap if handled with too much pressure. The measurements also have a tendency to wear off with frequent use.
4. Alvin Stainless Steel Professional Graduated T-Square
Made entirely of metal, Alvin’s T-square is our top pick for its sturdiness and reliability. Its tempered stainless steel body is firmly attached to an aluminum head, meeting at a perfect right angle. The head, slightly offset, can be rested against the edge of your working surface to ensure proper alignment every time. This tool comes at a premium price, but it’s worth it: While cheaper T-squares can loosen over time or even warp, Alvin’s will maintain its accuracy even with frequent use. We also like how the measurements are marked on the ruler: Both large and small increments are labeled, with the major markings printed in a larger font for immediate visibility.
5. Mr. Pen T-Square
For those who would rather use a T-square that lies flat to the drawing surface, Mr. Pen’s 12-inch T-square offers a good balance of economy, function, and accuracy. Made of carbon steel, it has a black finish with white, laser-printed measurements that are easy to read. The double-sided square metric measurements on one side and and imperial measurements on the other. It is heavy for its size, which helps when cutting paper or photos.