Best Architecture Rulers Today [Architectural Scales Reviewed]

Architectural scales are a definite addition to any architect’s toolset. Even with the onset of computer-aided design, the scale still rules the roost as far as measurement tools go.

Hence, it is crucial to choose the right scale so as to make sure your designs are cogent, clear-cut, and designed to perfection.

Featured Image via Sven Mieke@sxoxm

However, with the onslaught of online marketplaces, it has become really difficult to pinpoint which products deserve your attention and which ones are best left on the shelves. To make the job of choosing the perfect tool for your needs easier, we’ve put together a small guide.

First off, we review eight of the best architectural rules on the market in the following article and the best engineering rulers right here. We follow this up with a small guide on what to look for in architectural rulers.

Without further ado, let’s begin with the best architecture rulers product reviews!

1. Arteza 12″ Triangular Architect Scale Aluminum Color-Coded Grooves

This set of rulers has been on the market for a while. The ruler is a standard triangular architect’s ruler, with three color-coded sides for ease of use. All three sides have different scales, hence the color coding helps with remembering which scale is on which side. There are six scales spread over three sides on this ruler.


The ruler comes with an anodized aluminum build, which makes it much sturdier than a generic plastic architectural ruler. It is 12 inches in length (as per the standard), and gives you the option of choosing between any of the following scales on the imperial scale:  1-1/2″, 1, 3/4″, 3/8″, 3/16″, 3/32″, 1/2″, 1/4″, 1/8″.

The color-coded grooves are easily visible and make your job much simpler. However, the markings are embossed and not etched – and time is not kind to embossed markings. Clearly, there have been some compromises made as per the price. The fact remains, however, that it is a fairly sturdy and inexpensive ruler that gets the job done.

2. Pro Art 180 12-Inch Architectural Triangular Scale

This scale comes in at a much cheaper price, mostly because it’s made from plastic and not metal as a lot of people are usually used to. However, it comes with no compromises in terms of sturdiness or legibility, and the machining has been done incredibly cleanly. The length of the scale is, as is standard, a cool 12 inches.


This scale is very sturdy for a scale that costs very little and is likely to last long. The markings are not etched but instead are printed on – however, the legibility of the ruler is not in any way compromised by the fact of the numbers being printed. The scales themselves will take some time to get used to because they’re not demarcated in any way.

That’s true for a lot of scales out there, though, at the same time, they tend to be priced much higher than this one is. This scale is perfect for those who are just starting off with their use of an architectural ruler and/or need something cheap but relatively long-lasting. Another plus point is that this ruler comes with both imperial and metric demarcations.

3. 12-Inch Architectural Scale Ruler Set [Imperial] by DRAF

If you’re looking for the absolute best in rulers and you don’t want to compromise, this is the ruler for you. Laser etched readings give you assurance of many years of trouble-free use, while the unibody aluminum construction on all three rulers in the set gives it the necessary heft to give smooth, straight penciled lines.


It is no surprise that architecture majors end up working much longer than most other majors. Hence, tools that come in bundles have a distinct edge over singular rulers. This set (three rulers) comes with two architectural rulers with different scales, and one simple aluminum ruler. All of the rulers are 12 inches long as is the standard.

You’ll surely appreciate the bending which never occurs on account of the incredibly sturdy construction. The company offers a full refund if the products are not to your satisfaction – the first we’ve heard of in the entire market. The fiber laser etched markings will definitely last much longer than a plastic scale – and won’t bend or break. It’s definitely worth the outlay.

4. Aluminium Triangular Architect Scale by 6 Dimensions

This scale is one of the regular listings on various “top 10” architectural rulers across a number of renowned architectural blogs. This ruler comes with 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, 3/8, 3/16, 3/32, 1, 3 and 16 scaled markings across 3 colour-marked sides. The sides of the ruler are coated with plastic which protects you from sharp metallic edges which can cause cuts.


This ruler does all that you’d expect from an architectural ruler. It has a number of scaled markings which give you the requisite accuracy as well as precision for getting the results you deserve. Then, we come to the measurements, which are legible (albeit embossed rather than etched). The ruler comes with three colored markings, which are red, green, and silver.

The gradations are marked clearly in inches, and the edges are tapered for the best possible use. The usage of this instrument is not limited to just architectural students and architects, however – these are useful for people across a number of different fields. Be careful about the corners, which sadly have no plastic coverage – a nitpick on an otherwise useful ruler.  

Guide to Buying the Top Architecture Rulers

The small guide that follows intends to outline the major factors that should influence your decision.

  1. Material – Plastic, Aluminium or Bamboo?

This one has the most impact on which scales you will be considering for purchase. This is for the sole reason that plastic rulers offer flexibility, lightness, safety, and ease of use which aluminum rulers just cannot. On the other hand, aluminum rules the roost when it comes to sturdiness and long-term use. Aluminum is also a fair bit more expensive than plastic.

Bamboo is a more antiquated, rare, and generally less used type of material for an architectural ruler. However, it does deliver on heft and lightness – though it loses out on accuracy.

  1. Length of the intended use of the ruler

This will influence not only the material but the kind of lettering to go with the scale too. If you have something more than a passing interest or are transitioning from being a novice to an amateur, we would recommend going in for an aluminum ruler. Plastic rulers are best suited as secondary or spare rulers or as first rulers for those just starting out with drawing.

Aluminum rulers further offer the choice of getting the lettering either embossed or laser etched onto the ruler. Laser-etched rulers tend to be more expensive, but people report theirs having lasted for over three decades. Hence, you should have a clear idea about your intended use before you go out there and buy an architectural ruler.

  1. The number of scales you’ll need

This point is slightly more technical. This point squarely depends on how many scales offered are of any realistic use to you – most scales go for the full-fledged 11 scale treatment which is neither feasible nor usable for many architectural users. Hence, you should make sure you only go for the scales you actually need, rather than going in for the novelty of all 11 scales.

This wraps up our discussion on which factors need to be kept in mind before you go out there and buy an architectural ruler. Granted, there are many other factors, but these elements will make sure you get the best possible architectural ruler according to your budget and use.

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