If you didn’t know it yet, there are actually many different kinds of rulers, aside from that trusty foot-long measuring stick you got for kindergarten.
Instead, you can get a type of ruler that can ideally meet your unique needs.
That means you won’t have to be limited to measuring things only up to 12 inches, or just get straight lines from your ruler.
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The right kind of ruler can truly expedite your work for various projects in carpentry, construction, architecture, and tailoring.
The right tool is supposed to make things easier, so you’re able to do a job more efficiently.
With the right ruler, the work can take much less effort, and a lot less time.
Factors to Consider
Exactly how do you determine if a ruler is best for your needs?
While price is always a factor, you need to check out certain details more closely to see if a ruler can best serve your needs.
The price, of course, is always a pertinent factor, but it’s hardly the top priority.
A lot of the best rulers don’t really cost that much, and some affordable ones only cost the same as a cup of coffee.
Even the most expensive (at least on our list) are still very reasonably priced.
Here are some considerations that you should focus on:
If you’re not into DIY projects (or at least not yet), you might think that all rulers are simply straight measuring sticks.
It’s true that the foot-long version of the ruler is a classic design, and we even have one of those on our list.
But there are other designs to consider aside from the usual desk rulers, when you check out the many different kinds of rulers out there.
Some look like a bunch of interconnected rulers, while others have a triangular shape.
You may even have a “ruler” that looks more like a printed-on piece of paper.
The good news is that most manufacturers tend to specify what their rulers are for, especially if they offer an unusual design.
That way, if you’re into sewing then you can go for a ruler designed specifically for tailoring and cutting fabrics, and not one meant for carpentry.
The choice of material is crucial, though there are plenty of options to choose from.
Some rulers are actually paper guides, and the use of paper cuts down on the cost.
But these can be flimsy and may not last too long, especially if you’re using them closely with scissors.
Other rulers can be made of plastic, which is obviously hardier than paper and but even bend a little.
Plastic rulers are generally lightweight, and they may even be transparent so you can see underneath.
The main problem with plastic is that they can still break, and they can be damaged when you use them with cutting tools like saws.
Or, your ruler can be more solid, such as wood or metal.
These rulers are less susceptible to scissor damage, and are less likely to break if you drop them to the floor.
But these materials may add to the overall cost.
Most of the better rulers tend to offer 2 different type of length units: English and metric system.
The English units give you the measurements in inches, while for metric you use centimeters and millimeters.
These 2 systems are so commonly used that it doesn’t really make sense to get a ruler that only uses one of these systems.
How easy is it to read the marks on the ruler?
With all the different kinds of rulers, you still need to make sure you can measure stuff accurately.
Some are easier to read than others, so much so that you can get the right measurement at a single glance.
You have bigger numbers, with some rulers even offering explicitly fraction marks between the inch marks.
Others, on the other hand, may be not as easy, which can then lead to silly measurement mistakes.
Clarity of Measurements
You need clear marks, with the right sort of color contrast between the measurement marks and the background.
You should also check the permanence of the measurement marks.
Printed marks tend to fade over time, especially when you keep on rubbing on the marks.
But some measurement marks are more permanent because they’re etched on the ruler through laser.
That way, you won’t have to worry about faded marks for many years to come.
Size and Portability
Foot-long rulers may suffice for many, but some may want rulers to be much longer (like T-squares).
The main problem with longer rulers is that they’re unwieldy, as their bigger size is more awkward to deal with on your work bench.
In addition, you have problems bring the ruler with you if it’s too big.
But you may opt for foldable rulers, especially if you go with angulizer rulers.
Foldable rulers don’t take up as much space for travel or storage.
Ease of Use
Not all rulers are easy to use.
Sure, there’s no issue with the basic foot-long rulers and protractors.
But it’s a different thing altogether with interconnected rulers, such as an angulizer ruler.
That’s a bit more complicated, so it’s great if your purchase at least has a manual to go with it.
It should be designed so that it’s also no trouble to adjust.
Our TOP 5 Different Kinds of Rulers
With the important factors to consider identified, it should be easier for you to determine whether a certain type and model of ruler can meet your needs.
But which models are best for different kinds of rulers?
To get you started in your search, here’s a list of the 5 rulers you should consider first:
“For School Goers and Adults”
Our Rating: 4.5
At first glance, this measuring stick seems like a nice starter ruler for a first grader.
It’s extremely affordable, mainly because of its simple design and also because it’s made with plastic.
This is a foot-long ruler that’s familiar to just about everybody, unlike the other different kinds of rulers.
You have inch markers on one side, up to 12 inches.
The other side is in centimeters, going up to 30.5 centimeters.
Standard rulers only mark the whole numbers on the rulers.
But here, the inch labels include fractions such as ½, ¾, 5/8, and even 9/16.
You won’t have to squint and count the index marks in between the whole numbers.
For the centimeter side, you have marks in millimeters as well, with the midpoints marked.
For example, between the markers for 6 and 7 centimeters, you have a label for 65 millimeters.
Varying Index Lengths
It also helps that adjoining index markers all have different lengths.
For the inch side, the longest markers are for the whole number inch marks, then for the half-inch, quarter-inch, and so on.
The shorter index marker lengths offer enough space for the fraction labels.
For the centimeter side, the one-tenth markers in between the centimeter indices start short, and gradually get longer until the midway point.
Then the lengths get shorter again until the next whole number mark.
It’s not just the different index lengths and fraction labels that make it easier to get the measurement.
The colors help as well.
For the inch side, you have white marks and labels on a blue background.
For the centimeter side, the marks and labels are in light blue, which contrast nicely against the black background.
The non-glare surface also helps, so that you don’t have to be inconvenienced by the glare caused by strong lights in the room reflecting on the ruler.
“Versatile and Durable Multi-Angle Ruler”
Our Rating: 4.5
For those who are only familiar with the standard foot-long ruler stick, the design of this multi-angle ruler is quite complicated.
That’s because this measuring tool is like having 6 interconnected rulers, when other similar rulers of this type only have 4 rulers.
This is also called a 2-piece multi-angle ruler because at one end, you also have a tile positioning hole opener.
You can use this ruler for literally more than a thousand different tasks.
Your purchase includes a user manual that explains some of these uses.
The rulers are designed to work around various angles, with knobs that you can loosen to adjust the angles for your rulers.
You can then tighten the knobs to lock down on the angles, to maintain the consistency of the angles you’re measuring and transferring.
The tile positioning hole opener also offers 5 templates for holes with different diameters, ranging from 25 to 75 mm.
Once you’ve tightened the knobs to find the best position, you can move the ruler onto your tile to mark the hole where you’re supposed to drill.
Storage and Portability
The rulers can fold so that you have a more compact tool to tote around.
The whole thing can fit inside the storage pouch, which is also included with your purchase.
Then you also have a nice storage box with a cover to store in your tool when you’re not using it.
The ruler sticks are made with aluminum, which makes them both strong and lightweight.
They won’t easily bend or break, as they’re 5mm thick.
They’re also highly resistant to rusting.
The knobs are also made of metal as well.
Each ruler stick here comes with measurements with the zero-mark right smack in the middle.
On one side, the measurements go on 2.5 inches to both sides of the zero mark.
On the other side of the ruler, you have the centimeter marks going up to 6 cm on both sides of the zero mark.
At the very end of the interconnected rulers, you have the tile positioning hole opener.
The hole opener looks like the business end of a flyswatter with a hole right in the middle.
It’s easy enough to read the measurement marks, as they’re white on a black background.
In addition, these marks aren’t printed on the aluminum, which would have faded in just a few years.
They’ve been etched through laser, which basically makes these marks permanent.
“For Quick and Easy Cuts”
Our Rating: 4.5
Now this one doesn’t look like a conventional ruler at all.
This looks like a plastic sheet you use over your fabrics so that you can make the cuts you want in the right sizes and locations.
This sheet measures 11.25 inches by 16 inches, which is a good size to drape over your fabrics.
Uses for Quilting
This tool is perfect for quilting! Even allowing precise cutting down to quarter-inch increments.
It also lets you cut some great shapes from triangles to strips.
How it’s Designed
This quarter cut slotted ruler has slat openings placed a quarter inch apart.
That means you sure have a lot of slat openings you can use.
This is made with some kind of film plastic, so the sheet bends easily enough.
What You Need
You can fold the fabric you’re working on several times, so that you can have up to 8 layers of fabric.
For this to work, you need a rotary cutter with a good, sharp blade.
You can cut strips with a width of 1¼ inches extremely fast without mistakes.
How to Use it
The first step is to zero in the ruler properly, by having the ruler line up with the folded edges of the fabric.
Then you quickly cut along the zero slat to square up the edge of the fabric.
You then continue on by cutting through the slats at 1.25-inch intervals.
Do 4 quick cuts at the slats for 1.25, 2.5, 3.75, and 5 inches.
You then end up with 4 strips, all measuring 1.25 inches wide.
From this point, you can then cut squares, triangles, or diamonds.
Not for Markings
The main issue with this ruler is that it’s not meant to be used for making marks with ordinary pens and pencils.
The widths of the slats are designed for the rotary cutter blades.
You can use this for markings, but only with special pencils (or maybe even pens) with extremely fine points.
On the other hand, if you’re just making marks along the way, you can use an ordinary ruler instead, you know.
“Absolutely Accurate Angles”
Our Rating: 4.5
This is one extremely popular model, with lots of people raving about it in their customer reviews.
It takes out the guesswork when you’re measuring, marking, or transferring angles for consistency.
It saves a lot of time and effort, as it minimizes any mistakes you might make along the way.
This is like having an interconnected set of 2 stainless-steel rulers, so that you can form a V-shape.
However, the hinge mechanism allows for a 360-degree turn, so you can measure angles of all sizes, whether on the exterior or on the interior.
Each of the 2 rulers has measurement markings in inches, going up to 5 inches long.
Like regular rulers, on the other side you also have measurements in millimeters, going up to 130mm.
If that’s too small for your needs, there’s a larger model going up to 10 inches.
Accurate Reading with LCD
This won’t let you guess the precise length you’re measuring.
That’s because there’s also an LCD screen near the hinge, spelling out the length.
You’re also able to measure the angle as well.
This is powered by a lithium battery.
With this tool, guessing the precise measurement won’t be necessary.
The hinge also comes with label directions, showing you how to turn it to either tighten or loosen the knob.
The accuracy is up to a tenth of an inch for lengths.
For angles, the reading will give you an accuracy to within (plus or minus) 1 degree,
Using the Ruler
This is great for woodwork, when you want to make sure that you have the proper angles for your project.
For example, you can make sure your angles are even at the corners when you’re making a wood frame.
If you’re making a chair, you can make sure that the legs of the chair tilt out from the seat at precisely the same angles.
Steps to Use it
To start, align the rulers first before you turn it on by pressing the button.
The zero will be whatever the current angle is when you turn the ruler on.
However, you can hold the button at any angle, and that will be your new zero angle.
The ruler will then automatically shut down when you don’t use it for a certain period of time.
“Time-Tested Tool Design”
Our Rating: 5
This is the 7-inch Speed Square, which does seem an ironic name as it comes with a triangular design.
A lot of DIY enthusiasts have this tool, since it’s extremely affordable and very helpful indeed.
In fact, you can find this ruler in the toolbox of plenty of roofers, carpenters, and construction professionals.
The design is time-proven, since it’s been around since 1925.
It combines the features of several other tools, all in a single item.
You can use this as a protractor;you can just set this against your board, then pivot to the angle you need.
The markings up to 90 degrees are all marked clearly.
The Speed Square also works as a tri-square, so that you can do repetitive multiple markings.
It will save you a lot of time when you’re positioning floor joists, laying out stringers for your stairs, or locating studs.
As a cutting guide, you can use this as your fence and do 45-degree or 90-degree cuts.
You also have lots of ¼-inch notch marks here, to make scribing and ripping stocks a lot easier.
At first glance, the overall design looks a bit too busy.
But it’s actually easy to read, especially with practice.
You have black marks against the metal background, with a matte finish to minimize the glare.
This is actually made with heavy-duty aerospace-grade aluminum alloy, so there’s no doubt about the durability.
Conclusion: Different Kinds of Rulers
Who says you need to pick one among the many different kinds of rulers?
If you’re an avid DIY enthusiast or a true professional, it won’t be surprising if you end up with all the rulers on this list.
From carpentry to quilting, you can make sure you’re able to make accurate measurements, precise marks and quick cuts with all these different kinds of rulers!