Regardless of the type of material that you work with, whether it is metal, wood, or plastic, getting pinpoint precision is an absolute necessity. Without that, the workpieces that you are going to end up with will not look pretty.
Apart from looking aesthetically pleasing, some objects need precise cuts for maintaining functionality too.
Now, did you know that the workshop’s accuracy factor begins right after getting the best straight edge? Those are going to make it easy for you to get price cuts and get the most accurate measurements of the workpieces you will handle.
With one of these in your arsenal, you would not have to worry about getting inaccurate cuts anymore. These will make carrying out wood, metal, and other material works feel like a breeze.
Our 7 Best Straight Edge Picks
As there are too many options in the market to pick from, you might get pretty baffled when you are trying to choose one for yourself. But worry not because we are here to make that choosing process easier for you by offering the list we have compiled exclusively for you. The list goes something like this:
1. Starrett 380-36 36-Inch Steel
Having beveled edges can slow down the process of measuring the straightness of objects massively. And Starrett knows that exactly well.
To start with, the length of the unit is 36 inches. It will enable you to mark large-sized workpieces easily. For most of the workpieces, you would not have to go through the process of marking one half and then lifting the unit to mark the other half. That process can ruin the accuracy substantially.
Also, the unit has a construction of stainless steel. That material makes it not only exceptionally sturdy but keeps the weight low. The overall weight is just 5.7 pounds, which means you would not have to use that much muscle power to lift it up.
The lightweight nature of the tool makes it highly portable as well. And the exterior has a brushed finish, which makes it look professional.
Even though the unit is relatively lightweight, the body is pretty thick. Because of that, it will be able to retain its shape exceptionally well. It will not bend, nor will it lose its shape that easily.
That will ensure that the accuracy of the unit remains intact over time. Also, there is a rust-resistant coating on the body. That will make sure that it does not catch rust or corrode.
As we mentioned, the edges are not beveled. It will be easier for you to get precise markings on your workpieces. Also, the marks that are on the body are 380-36. They are clearly labeled as well.
The straight edges are also going to make it easier for you to handle the unit around. You will be able to mark one board and then move onto the other one within seconds because of that.
- Body is of stainless steel
- Brushed finish on the exterior
- Edges are not beveled
- Thick and does not bend that easily
- 36 inches in length
- Some users might find it a bit hefty
- Many of the units arrive in damaged packages
2. Jackson Safety Contour Magnetic Guide
As the straight edges are often used on metal workpieces for welding purposes, the capability to resist heat is quite essential. And Jackson is here to offer a unit that does have that capability.
Unlike some of the units out there, this one has magnets on one side of the bar. It has three 30 pounds magnetic bar, which will let you place it in any of your preferred position on metal surfaces.
The bars are also adjustable. As a result, you would not have to hold it in place for marking or welding the object for that. That means both of your hands are going to free for maneuvering other tools.
Moreover, the edge of the side that does not have magnets is exceptionally straight. That will ensure that you can get precise and accurate markings on the object that you are handling. Also, the overall construction is pretty solid.
It is made of durable material, which will allow it to achieve an extended lifespan. Also, because of being that sturdy, you would not have to worry about it bending either.
As we mentioned, the unit can resist heat exceptionally well. For that reason, you would not have to worry about it losing structural integrity when you use a blow torch or welding machine around it. The surface can also resist splatters. Molten metal is not going to stick with the edge that easily.
Lastly, the length of the unit is 24 inches. And even though it has a sturdy build and is large in size, it only weighs 2.2 pounds. Because of that, you will be able to move it around pretty quickly.
- Can resist heat exceptionally well
- 24 inches long but weighs only 2.2 pounds
- Magnetic bars on one side
- Built reasonably well
- Surface can resist splatters
- Magnets are a bit too strong
- Only one usable side
3. Taytools Anodized Aluminum Straight Edge
Are you on the lookout for something that is easy to grab? Want something large? Well, no matter which one you were looking for, you will get both of them in this.
First of all, the bar is 50 inches long. Because of that, it will be a pretty easy task for you to mark straight lines on large-sized objects. You would not have to mark the material in multiple steps. And the overall thickness of the unit is 7/16 inches. For that reason, it will not bend or lose the straightness of the edges that easily.
Even though it is one of the largest straight edge bars in the market, the unit’s weight is pretty minimal. It only weighs 2.6 pounds, thanks to the anodized aluminum construction that it has. That material is also highly durable. You can easily expect it to last for years after years without showing any structural issues.
And the cross-section of the unit is contoured. Now you might ask why the cross-section has to be contoured in a straight edge bar. Well, that is there to make it easier for you to grab it.
You will be able to get a firm grasp of it, even though it is quite large in size. Also, there is a hole on the top of the body. That will enable you to hang it around when you are not using it.
Also, the accuracy that it can offer is quite praiseworthy. The edges are 0.003 inches straight within the entire 50 inches length. You are guaranteed to get precise and accurate lines on top of your workpieces.
- Overall length is 50 inches
- Features a construction of anodized aluminum
- Offers superior amount of accuracy
- Sports an ergonomic design
- Hanging hole
- Surface gets scratched pretty easily
- Some of the units arrive damaged
4. Starrett 380-12 12-Inch Steel
Even though there are plenty of large-sized straight edges out there, you might need something that is relatively small in size. Well, you should definitely check this one that is Starrett is offering then.
To start with, the finish that it features is relatively smooth. It is not as rigid as the other ones that most of the brands are offering. For that reason, it will not only look good, but you will also be able to hold it comfortably.
There is rust-resistive coating as well. That will make sure that it does not catch rust, nor does it corrode that easily. It will not show any visual imperfections over time.
Alongside that, the unit features a pretty solid overall construction. The body is made of stainless steel. Because of that, it achieves a high amount of ruggedness. You will not be able to bend it that easily. Also, the bar is quite thick. The thickness is about two inches, making it capable of retaining its shape for a long time.
The body also has markings, which will make it easier for you to draw straight lines on objects. Also, the edges are neither beveled nor graduated, which will make sure that the markings you make are accurate and linear. Making accurate cuts on metal objects will be much easier for you with this.
Lastly, the unit is reasonably lightweight. It only weighs 11.2 pounds, which is comparatively low. It will be relatively easy for you to maneuver it around and work with different workpieces simultaneously. And for the small size that it has, carrying it around will not be a hassle either. You can easily put it inside small bags or covers.
- Made of premium stainless steel
- Body is reasonably thick
- Provides an excellent amount of accuracy
- Easy to carry and easy to maneuver around
- Exterior is smooth
- Coating on the exterior chips over time
- Some of the units arrive with burred edges
5. Starrett 380-24 24-Inch Steel
Having something that is not that large and not that small is like being in the safe zone for straight edges. And that is what you are going to be at by getting this.
First of all, the unit is 24 inches long. That is like the middle in regards to the size. So you would not feel like you have something that is excessively large, nor will you feel like you are handling something that is small in size. As a result, carrying out most of the marking task will feel effortless for you.
Even the weight is in the middle point. It is not that hefty as the large ones out there, nor is it too light that you will find it challenging to work with it. The heft of it is just 2 pounds, which is comparatively light.
For that reason, moving it around will be easy for you. And it is reasonably thick as well. The thickness is 13/32 inches, which provides the structural support that is needed to retain the shape.
Aside from that, the durability of the unit is up to par with the rest of the bars. It is entirely of stainless steel, which does not only make it sturdy but allows it to keep the weight low.
And the exterior has a smooth coating that makes it look professional. The markings on the body are clearly labeled. Because of that, you will be able to easily get precise markings on the surfaces with it.
Lastly, the edges are extremely straight. It does not have the beveling or the graduation like some of the other bars. You will be able to get precise and straight lines using it.
- Not that large and not that small in size
- Weight is pretty minimal
- Features a smooth exterior
- Clearly marked labels
- Does not have any graduation or beveling
- Tends to catch rust pretty easily
- Comes in a poorly packaged box
6. OEMTOOLS 25355 24″ inches
Rust is one of the main problems for metal objects. And the same thing goes for straight edge bars as well. However, if you get this one that is from OEMTOOLS, you can stay worry-free regarding that.
First of all, OEMTOOLS utilized cold steel for the overall construction. That construction makes this exceptionally sturdy. In fact, the overall durability of the unit is relatively higher than most of the average bars.
To add a cherry on the top, it has a powder coating finish on the exterior, making sure that it does not rust or corrode that easily. It is going to last for years.
Aside from being built like a tank, the precision of the edges is +/- 0.001 inches. That means you are going to get extremely straight lines on your workpieces using this.
Carrying out precise cutting tasks will be pretty much effortless for you after getting this. Also, the exterior is properly polished. That makes it achieve a professional look.
Also, the bar is ¼ inches thick. That amount of thickness will add to the structural rigidity of the unit. You will not have to worry about it bending or losing its shape.
The top of the bar has a hole that will make it easier for you to store it. You can easily hang it on your tool shelf when you are not using it. Also, you will receive a protective edge cover, which will allow you to store it properly.
Lastly, the length of the unit is 24 inches, which is more than enough for carrying out a lot of the marking tasks. It is large enough that you will be able to mark the entire surface at one go for many of the cases.
- Precision is +/- 0.001 inches
- Powder coating on the exterior
- Can resist rust and corrosion
- Includes a protective edge
- Features a hanging hole
- Might be too heavy for some users
- Powder coating chips away pretty easily
7. POWERTEC 71213 Anodized Aluminum
Are you on the lookout for something that comes with inches marking on the body? Do you want a straight edge that has an ergonomic body? Well, POWERTEC has nailed it in both of the factors in this unit that they are offering.
First of all, the unit is 18 inches long, which might seem too small, but it is suitable for most marking surfaces. In fact, you might not even have to lift it up multiple times to mark the upper surface of some objects.
And the upper body is ribbed, which will provide an extra grip when you are holding it. As a result, the possibility of it slipping out of your hand would be pretty low.
The edges of the unit feature precision milling. For that reason, you are going to get an unparalleled amount of accuracy while using it. All the lines that you are going to make using it will be remarkably straight. Also, there is a hanging hole on one side of the unit, making it easier for you to hang it when you are not using it.
Aside from being easy to store, the overall construction is of anodized aluminum. That heavy-duty material is going to ensure long-term durability. Alongside that, it will provide an adequate amount of protection from regular abrasions and wears.
Also, because of that material, the overall weight is considerably low. That means handling it around will be an easy task for you.
And the unit is exceptionally thick as well. That thickness will make sure that it does not bend or lose its shape that quickly. Also, the marking that it has on the body is in inches. The markings are clearly labeled, which will increase the accuracy of the lines you will make using this.
- Sports an overall construction of anodized aluminum
- Reasonably durable
- Has inches marking on the body
- Can be easily stored
- Handling it around is an easy task
- Not that resistant to rust and corrosion
- Some of the units arrive with scratches all over the body
What to Look for Before Buying?
Before you do jump into making a purchase decision, you should keep some things in mind. By keeping those in mind, you are not only guaranteed to get one that will offer you good performance but also it will be worth the money that you are going to spend. The factors that you need to consider are as follows:
The Overall Construction
The first thing that you need to consider is the overall construction of the unit. Different brands are going to utilized different materials. But the most common ones among them are the anodized aluminum and stainless steel. Some will even feature cold steel construction. Among these materials, the most durable one is cold steel.
So if you are prioritizing the build quality before everything else, you should shoot for the units that are of cold steel. Aside from that, the durability of the aluminum and stainless steel also up to the mark. So you will not be making that much of a sacrifice regarding durability by getting one of those.
Other than the build quality, you need to also consider the weight of the units. In this factor, the lighter the body, the easier it will be for you to maneuver it around. With the lighter ones, you will be able to easily lift it up and move it from one workpiece to another. For that reason, we would recommend shooting for the lightweight ones.
Among all of the materials, the ones that are of anodized aluminum are going to be the lightest in comparison. The stainless steel ones have a medium weight, and the least lightweight ones are the cold steel ones.
The outlook plays an important role too. In this regard, the more polished the exterior will be, the more professional it is going to look. Aside from just looking professional, the rigid surfaces are not that easy to hold on to too.
Hence, we would recommend shooting for the ones that have proper polishing on the exterior.
Yes, you should consider comfort too. The ones that are not comfortable to hold on to will be harder to work with. And you are going to have to hold it for a long amount of time while marking surfaces.
For that reason, we would suggest shooting for the ones that have grooved cross-sections. Those are the most comfortable ones to hold on to.
Another thing that you should factor in is the exterior coating. What you have to make sure of is whether the one that you are shooting for has a rust-resistant coating or not.
If you happen to get one that does not have that coating, it will catch rust and corrode pretty quickly. And rust and corrosions do ruin not only the exterior looks but also harm the structural integrity of the bars.
The length is something that is going to depend entirely on the type of work you handle mostly. If you mostly handle large-sized objects, you would want to shoot for the long bars.
Those will allow you to mark the entire surface of the objects in one go. However, if you mostly handle small-sized objects, you would be better off with a medium to small-sized ones. Those will be easier for you to maneuver.
Alongside the build quality, the thickness also plays an important role in the case of structural stability. No matter what the material the bar is of, if it is not thick enough, it will bend pretty easily. Alongside that, the chances of it losing its shape will be quite high as well. For that reason, you should only opt for the ones that are thick.
Straight edge bars are generally large. And storing a large object such as that can be a hassle. However, most of them will come with a hole on the top. That hole will enable you to hang them in your tool closet.
So if you do not have any plans to purchase a separate cover for these, you should shoot for the ones with the hole on top.
Most of the units are not going to have markings on the body. Those are the ones that are only for making straight lines. But if you do have the plans to measure and mark an exact length of a straight line, you need to opt for the ones that have markings on the body.
Do make sure that you get the one with clearly labeled marks, or else it would be difficult for you to get accurate straight lines.
When you receive the packages, make sure that the bar is straight throughout the entire length because some units ship with uneven edges. If you get one of those, it would be quite difficult for you to get straight lines.
The bars that are in the market come in different sizes and features a construction of different materials. Most importantly, not all of them are going to offer the same amount of utility factor.
But we would like to conclude here by ensuring you that no matter which one you pick from our recommendation list, you will get the best straight edge that will be worth every penny.
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