Ruler Types

Understanding Different Ruler Types and Why They Are Useful for You

A ruler is a measuring instrument that comes in different materials, shapes and sizes. It possesses a straight edge with numbered markings for measuring distances.

Rulers are also referred to as line gauges. They are also made from a range of materials, which includes plastic, metal and wood. These rulers have many uses in printing, carpentry, engineering, geometry and technical drawing. The most commonly used ruler is 12 inches long. But, there are many other varieties out there as well.

Let’s take a look at the different kinds of rulers and their uses.

Desk Ruler

The desk ruler is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word ‘ruler’. They have traditionally been made from wood, but nowadays plastic varieties are extremely common. They are often about 30 cm in length.

Desktop rulers are primarily used for drawing and geometry.

Steel Rule

A steel rule is quite similar to a desk ruler. Steel rules are flat and have straight edges. They can be flexible or rigid and have a length ranging from 6 to 12 inches.

Since steel is denser than wood, steel rules are thinner than desk rulers. This is an advantage because distance markings lie closer to the surface that you are measuring.

Due to their accuracy, steel rules are a popular choice for technical drawing, geometry and engineering.  


Yardsticks are thin and straight-edged pieces of metal or wood that can measure objects within a yard. They have a length of 36 inches. Yardsticks have metric or imperial measurements.  

In regions where the metric system is prevalent, these instruments are called meter sticks. They are utilized in metalwork, carpentry and construction.

Carpenter’s Rule

A carpenter’s rule is also called a folding rule. These wooden instruments comprise straight-edged sections that are connected by pivots at their ends so that they can be folded up.

They are used by carpenters and construction workers since they are easy to use and provide high accuracy for measuring inside edges.

Sewing Tape

A sewing tape is also known as a seamstress tape. These are long flexible strips of plastic or nylon with measurement markings along their straight edges.

They usually have a length of 60 inches and are used extensively by tailors. These tapes are used widely for craft projects and sewing work.

Architect’s Scale

This is a kind of ruler that has different measurement scales. These 3-sided rulers are made from plastic or wood and have 6 measurements on both sides of their 3 edges.

Architect’s scales are used for architectural drawings. For instance, these scales are used for drafting blueprints according to scale. They are also useful for engineering.

Tape Measure

A tape measure is a long and flexible measuring device, which is made from nylon or metal, with distance markings along its edges. It is coiled within a casing.

Tape measures usually vary between 12 inches and 35 inches in length. These devices are useful for construction and other similar applications.

Contact us today to buy a ruler that suits your needs.