When precision is key, a reliable straight-edge ruler is an indispensable tool. While you can buy any old ruler or yardstick at the hardware store or in the school supply aisle, they can be skewed, warped, or printed with markings that wear off. High-quality, metal straight-edge rulers in long lengths make life easier. For woodworkers or anyone who needs a perfectly flat surface, engineer’s straight edges can also serve to ensure the evenness of a flat surface. When it comes time to choose the right straight-edge ruler for you, peruse five of our recommended selections below.
1. Mayes Straight Edge Aluminum Ruler
For many projects, the measurements in 1/16-inch increments on one edge and 1/8-inch increments on the other edge of this 36-inch-long aluminum ruler will be sufficient, and the clarity and simplicity of the embossed markings make it a go-to tool. It also has a satisfying heft that makes drawing long, straight lines a snap.
Mayes Straight Edge Aluminum Ruler
2. Shinwa 24-inch Cutting Ruler
Right from the start, it’s easy to tell that Shinwa’s Japanese-made cutting rule is different from your standard straight edge. The beveled edge ensures a clear, shadow-free view of your pencil line or cut, and a rubber strip on the back prevents slipping. The ruler is clearly marked every 1/16 of an inch and has a hanging hole for convenience. Note that it is only 24 inches long, which can be easier to maneuver but may be too short for some projects.
Shinwa 24-inch Cutting Ruler
3. Starrett AR2-36 Straight Edge Rule
Even on a teacher’s budget, there’s no excuse for not getting yourself a high-quality tool with Starrett’s durable, affordable, straight-edge ruler. Made from 0.075-inch-thick anodized aluminum, it has a hole for hanging, which is the best way to prevent warping.
Starrett AR2-36 Straight Edge Rule
4. Powertec Straight Edge Ruler
If all you need to do is draw straight lines and measure, any straight-edged ruler will do. But for woodworkers and others who work in 3D, a classic straight edge (sometimes referred to as an engineer’s straight edge) measures the evenness of a surface—like a level, only more precise. Powertec’s anodized aluminum option can stand on its own and has standard and metric rules along the bottom.
Powertec Straight Edge Ruler
5. Starrett Steel Rule
It may seem odd to pay a lot for a straight edge, but the performance of this 36-inch-long, US-made tool speaks for itself. Starrett uses spring-tempered steel for its steel rule, which resists being bent out of shape. You can use it for drawing straight lines and measuring without worrying that it will affect its ability to determine a level surface.
Starrett Steel Rule