Empire Level Laser Etched Squares Review

Empire Level Laser Etched Squares
PTR Review
  • Pro Review 9.4

The new Empire Level laser etched framing and rafter squares are made from lightweight anodized aluminum and seem to work as good as they look.

Overall Score 9.4 (out of 10)

Empire Level Laser Etched Squares Transition Away from Deep Stamping

Empire Level hasn’t stopped looking for ways to improve on their hi-vis squares like the e2992 Rafter Square. The newly updated Empire Laser Etched Rafter Squares (e2994, e3992) and Framing Square (e1190) have undergone a patent-pending laser etching process. This results in a permanent etch with better readability in any light condition. The move is a clear transition from the deep stamping technique Empire previously used. Deep stamping was certainly good, but laser etching is even cleaner and more accurate.

There is no change in color—the new squares are still that hi-vis white on blue that stands out so well. Also, the e2994 features a 40% wider heel to provide more stability on any working surface. It really comes in handy when you want to slap it up against some pressure-treated lumber that has eased edges (like most 4×4 posts, for example). In addition, both new e2994 and e3992 Empire Level Laser Etched Squares have laser-etched QR Codes. These provide easy access to online application instructions and conversion charts. With the jobsite getting smarter every day, it’s handy to have that information on standby. Plus, it’s a great way to connect our kids with the tool knowledge we hope to pass on to them.

Using the Empire Level 12″ Rafter Square

We received some of these new squares and immediately put them to use. We squared up some new Deckorators composite decking we were installing on an old 1920’s bungalow home. It was timely, too, since my existing 12″ rafter square took a bit of a left turn. I lodged it underneath something heavy (which dented it and rendered it somewhat less than useful). I found the new Empire Level rafter square to be lightweight and simple to use.

Empire Level framing square
The Empire Level e3992 framing square is bold, blue, and easy to read in almost any light thanks to its laser-etched numbers and markings.

Another thing to positively note about the Empire 12″ framing square is the presence of indents in 1/4-inch increments across the inside of the square. This gives you the ability to drag the rafter square along a piece of material and mark out a rip line with a carpenter pencil or other marking instrument.

“With highly visible laser-etched graduations, the new squares are 2 times more accurate than traditional squares and will never wear off, giving users the confidence that they are measuring correctly the first time. We know that our users don’t have time to re-work mistakes, so we are committed to increasing their productivity by providing the most accurate and durable layout and measuring tools on the market.”

Rick Gray, Senior Vice-President and General Manager of Empire Level
Empire Level framing square cut guide

New Empire Level Laser Etched Squares

  • e2994 7″ Rafter Square
  • e3992 12″ Rafter Square
  • e1190 16″ x 24″ Framing Square

Empire Level Laser Etched Squares Features

  • Permanent laser etched markings for high visibility that lasts
  • Constructed with 6063 anodized aluminum for lightweight durability
  • Rust, corrosion, and crack resistant
  • Wider heel for more stability on any working surface
  • Lifetime warranty
Empire speed square

These are nice squares. I found the 7″ and 12″ Empire Level rafter squares to be rugged, durable, and lightweight. The fact that Empire includes easily downloadable use guides makes them all the more powerful for roofing applications and other complex layout tasks. They’re also priced right, so it’s not a difficult choice to pick these up. If you’re still using an old square or even a plastic rafter square, you should consider grabbing a couple of these and adding them to your kit.

For even more applications, the Empire e1190 16″ x 24″ framing square was a great product, and we appreciated the integration of 1/8″, 1/10″, 1/12″, and 1/16″ graduations and conversion tables etched right into the square. Since this level is also made from anodized aluminum, you’re looking at a product that won’t rust and, assuming you don’t run over it with your 2015 Ford F-150, it should last a good long time.

Check out other Empire Level marking and layout tools from our friends over at Acme Tools!

Related articles