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22 Different Types of Architect Tools

A collage of different types of measuring tools.

Architects are those who design and plan buildings and structures. It came from the Greek word “architektōn” which means chief carpenter. Architecture only became a licensed profession in the U.S. in 1857 after the founding of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

Before it became a profession, anyone with talent and skill could become an architect by reading, apprenticeship, and self-study. The first recognized architect in recorded history is Imhotep who lived around 2600 BCE in Egypt. He designed the first Egyptian pyramid.

Today, an architect envisions the buildings of tomorrow and makes them a reality by utilizing technology as well as some traditional tools.

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Different Types of Architect Tools and Equipment

In our architecture equipment list below, you will find:

  • Architecture instruments
  • Architecture drawing tools
  • Architecture drafting tools 

Architect’s Scale Ruler

Tracing a line using the architect's scale ruler.

Architects need to be able to measure things very accurately while they are planning things out. For this reason, they will make use of various scales and rulers during the planning process.

They will always need to make sure that the angles are accurate and that the measurements are on point. If anything is off even by a fraction, then the structural integrity of a project could be jeopardized.

This architect’s scale ruler is an essential tool for any architect to own. It will allow an architect to measure accurately using the imperial scale.

Sometimes the simplest tools can be the most important. You will want to make sure that you own one of these if you have any plans about becoming an architect.

Desk Lamp

A desk lamp on an architect's office desk.

Many architects work whenever motivation strikes them. This may mean working at odd hours of the day and even into the night.

It’s imperative that an architect is able to see what he or she is doing clearly. This makes owning a good desk lamp imperative for anyone who is working in this field.

Ideally, you will want to purchase a desk lamp that will be able to be adjusted to shine a light at particular angles. You can find desk lamps that are advertised as being specifically for architects.

This desk lamp is no exception, and it will work perfectly for your architectural needs. This desk lamp will be easy to position and it will always provide you with ample light.

Drafting Board

Drafting board on white background.

Architects need to be able to draw out their plans in order to bring them to life. This means that they need a space that will work well for drawing.

A drafting board is a perfect solution for any architect. People also use these drafting boards for artistic purposes, so they are popular with artists and art students as well.

A good drafting board will be the right spot to draw out all of your architectural plans. It will have a large surface area that you can place your drafting paper on.

You’ll be able to comfortably do your work and you can steadily make progress on your plans. These drafting boards are essential for any architect, so you will certainly want to purchase one.


T-square and a roll of tracing paper on white background.

A t-square is another important measuring tool that architects use quite regularly. When you’re using a t-square, you will be able to adjust it to different angles.

This makes taking your measurements simpler and the numbers will always be easy to read. There are going to be many situations where a t-square is the most convenient measuring tool for the job.

This particular t-square is made with a durable aluminum finish. You should be able to get many years of regular use out of this convenient tool.

Having access to the right measuring devices is always going to be important, so make sure to have a t-square available at all time. You won’t have to pay out too much money to get one, so it is definitely a smart purchase.

Drafting Chair

Drafting chair in an office.

Source: Wayfair

Staying comfortable while you are drafting is very important because you need to be able to do good work. It’s advisable to purchase a drafting chair that is meant for architects and artists alike.

This will allow you to maintain the proper posture while you’re working and will reduce the strain on your back. Sitting in a normal chair would not be as effective, so you’ll want to seek out a good drafting chair as soon as possible.

Many of the most sought-after drafting chairs feature high backs. You will be able to sit high up and you will always feel like you’re in a good position to draft.

You will be doing a lot of drafting as an architect, so it is essential to have the right environment to do your work. A good drafting chair won’t be too expensive, so be sure to buy one right away.


Compass used on a tracing paper.

A drafting compass can be used to draw circles very easily. It can also be handy when you need to determine the distance between two points. You’ll be using a compass nearly every day as an architect.

You should do your best to purchase one that will last you for a long time while being very easy to use.

This compass will work swimmingly for your purposes. It is capable of drawing circles that are up to 10 inches in diameter. You can lock it into place very easily with the conveniently adjustable wheel as well. This is a very precise tool that will make your job much easier.

Lining Pens

Black micro-line pens on white background.

Source: Amazon

Lining pens are another crucial tool that an architect will be using regularly. These pens are essential when you need to draw fine lines.

They have a very fine point that will work excellently when you need to draw thin lines. Many people use these types of pens for technical writing purposes and they can be useful for drawing as well.

Buying a good set of lining pens will allow your drawing to go a lot smoother. You’ll be able to make detailed lines in small areas. Sets of these pens aren’t too expensive, so it may be smart to purchase several of them. They will always be useful and you’ll love how natural they feel to use.

Mechanical Pencils

Mechanical pencils spill from a transparent container on top of a blueprint.

Source: Amazon

High-quality mechanical pencils are going to prove to be useful during architectural work. You will be drawing rough sketches to get ready for a final design.

Using a pencil will allow you to erase things as you are adjusting your ideas. Mechanical pencils work well because they can draw fine lines when you need to and it is easy to keep them stocked with lead.

These mechanical pencils feel nice in your hands, so you’ll enjoy making use of them. There are 15 different mechanical pencils in this pack and also a lot of lead refills.

This will keep you properly supplied for a long time if you choose to make the purchase. Mechanical pencils are going to be a constant companion on this job, so you’ll always want to have reliable writing tools around.

Electric Eraser

Electric eraser used for cleaning up this sketch of an eye.

Source: Amazon

Any type of eraser should be fine to use for your architectural purposes. Even so, it is smart to make everything as convenient as it can possibly be.

You may want to look into purchasing an electric eraser. These convenient tools can make erasing something very quick and it will allow you to move on swiftly.

You don’t want to waste too much time when you’re busy working on a project. Being able to save yourself from several minutes of extra work by having an electric eraser is a good idea.

These are very simple to use and you’ll always have things to erase during the planning stages of a project. Purchase one of these to make your life a little bit easier.

Tracing Paper

Rolls of tracing paper on top with a tracing paper also as background.

Tracing paper is another item that you will always want to keep in stock. You’ll be drawing out plans constantly and trying to gather your thoughts.

You’ll need to use tracing paper during the sketching process for many different things. Luckily, this tracing paper is very cost effective and you’ll always be able to have it around.

This tracing paper here is 12 inches wide and comes in a 20-yard roll. That is a significant amount of tracing paper for you to make use of. You will be able to take care of all of your tracing needs when you keep this tracing paper in stock.

Cutting Mat

Old cutting mat with a pen, pencil, cutter, and papers on the side of the frame.

A self-healing cutting mat will be very handy to own. You’ll be able to make good use of this cutting mat when you’re making models to show off your designs.

You want to have the right surface to work on and you don’t want to damage a normal table or desk while you’re cutting something. This is going to work very easily and you’ll be able to enjoy the fact that it can be cut without showing marks.

It features grid lines that make it easy to keep things lined up properly too. Making models and doing other types of architectural work on this mat will require precision.

You’ll find that the grid lines will really help you to stay on task. This is a convenient thing to own that you won’t want to be without.

Paper Trimmer

Paper trimmer used to cut paper into its desired size on white background.

Source: Wayfair

This is a simple tool that isn’t specific to architectural careers. Many people need to cut the paper down to size for their jobs.

You have probably seen paper trimmers in libraries and various offices in the past. Architects will need to use them to cut the paper down to a specific size in order to suit their drawing.

This paper cutter is adjustable and will work to cut the paper down to several different sizes. It’s made out of durable materials so it can be a staple of your office for many years to come.

You’re going to need to size your paper fairly often, so it’s a good idea to have a paper trimmer around. It will see a lot of use and you’ll be glad to have a high-quality tool such as this.

Precision Cutting Knives

Precision cutting knife used for cutting.

Source: Amazon

Precision cutting knives are very important for architects when they need to make models. After the designs for your project have been completely drawn out, the next step is going to be to create a scale model of your building.

To do this, you’re going to need to fashion it out of wood or another type of material. Generally speaking, you’re going to be carving these models yourself. You will want to use really sharp knives that you can use with precision.

This knife set here is specifically meant for architectural modeling. It can also work very nicely for general woodworking purposes, but it will suit your modeling needs perfectly.

You can use these knives to create fine details in the models that you are crafting. This will allow your presentation to stand out and you will get the results that you are looking for.

Creating models is something that you will be doing regularly in all likelihood. Ensuring that you have the best set of knives to use for this purpose is imperative.

These knives are excellent and can be used for many years without any problems. This set comes with several interchangeable blades as well, making it a very versatile kit.

Protective Gloves

A pair of hands in protective glvoes while writing on a notebook and holding a tool.

While you are working with knives, it is always going to be smart to protect your hands. Your hands are very important to your work and you need to be able to draw in order to make your living.

If you can’t draw properly, then making architectural plans are not going to be very simple at all. This is why you need to purchase protective gloves to use while you are working on your scale models.

You can buy gloves that are cut resistant and these will keep you safe from any mishaps. The gloves themselves actually feel very natural to work in, so it won’t be cumbersome in any way.

This is an important safety step that you should not avoid. Failure to wear the gloves could lead to unwanted cuts and the precision knives listed above are very sharp.

These gloves are commonly used by people who work in kitchens, as well. They give you a high degree of dexterity in your hands, while still keeping you protected. It is the best thing that you can do in order to safeguard yourself from unwanted injuries.

You’ll feel much safer while you’re wearing the gloves and they can be purchased at a very reasonable price.

Adjustable Triangle

Adjustable triangle on white background.

Source: Amazon

The adjustable triangle is yet another crucial measurement tool that you’re going to become very familiar with. This triangle will help you to measure angles accurately while you are drafting.

This tool is something you will always want to keep near your drafting table because you need to know the angles in order to do your work properly. This is an easy tool to use so you will always be able to get the accurate information that you need.

There is an aluminum thumbscrew that holds the triangle into place at a certain angle. You can adjust it to your liking and this will allow you to secure the triangle exactly how you need to.

It’s really simple in its design, but it is quite effective. You’ll enjoy using this triangle on a regular basis and will appreciate how useful it is.

Engineer’s Scale Ruler

An architect/engineer uses the engineer's scale ruler.

An engineer’s scale ruler is also going to be useful for architectural purposes. This is different from the architect’s scale ruler in only one key way. This measures everything in the metric scale. It is a good idea to be able to measure things in metric, as well as in imperial scale.

Most architects own both an architectural ruler and an engineer’s ruler. This will always be useful to keep around because you need to have the most detailed data possible.

There will be times where you will want to know what the measurements are in metric. Buy one of these engineer’s scale rulers today because they are inexpensive and undoubtedly useful.

Metal Rulers

Hand holding a metal ruler on white background.

Architects also use standard, flat, metal rulers fairly often. These can be useful for many quick measurements and they will sometimes use the rulers to help when they need to draw a straight line.

Owning rulers such as this one will always be useful and you will want to have one around. A good metal ruler can last for a really long time and they aren’t expensive, so it’s easy to purchase one.

This metal ruler is capable of measuring up to 72 inches. It will prove to be useful to you in several ways. It has a flat edged design that can help you to mark things off and draw straight lines.

The aluminum construction will allow it to stand the test of time as well, so it is a recommended purchase.

Drafting Brush

Drafting brush on white background.

Source: Amazon

The drafting brush is actually meant for cleaning up your drawings. When you are sketching with pencil, things can actually get pretty messy.

You need to be able to wipe off the paper in order to make your drawing look presentable. A drafting brush is built to be able to help architects clean away the excess lead and other debris while they are working.

You may want to use this drafting brush a few times during the process of drafting. It’s smart to keep a drafting brush hanging right by your workstation.

It is going to be the easiest way to keep your drawing looking as it should and it will allow you to prevent many mistakes. You can’t have a mess prevent you from seeing things properly, so be sure to wipe the drafting paper off from time to time.

Measuring Tape

Measuring tape with tracing papers as background.

A measuring tape is going to be handy when you’re crafting models. You will want to keep it nearby when you are making cuts in order to ensure that everything is measured to scale.

You can easily keep a measuring tape on your belt loop or even just on the table nearby while you are working. Your model will likely be larger than your rulers, so you’ll want a good measuring tape that can measure up to 25-foot distances.

If you buy this measuring tape, then you will always have an easy time making your measurements. This is a quality measuring tape that has a convenient lock feature for when you need to make your measurements.

Simply release the lock and you will be able to reel the measuring tape back into its casing. This is a common tool that you will want to have available.

Related: 20 Different Types of Measuring Tools | Types of Stair Measuring Tools | Types of Picture Framing Tools

French Curve

Pink French curve on white background.

A French curve can actually be very useful when you are drawing curves. You will be able to sketch something out more accurately when you have a French curve at the ready.

It isn’t something that you will use all of the time, but many architects do keep a French curve in their kit. Being prepared for any situation is important, and if you can draw curves a little easier and save yourself some time, then it makes a lot of sense to do so.

This French curve is also commonly used for sewing purposes. It comes with four French curve metric ruler pieces.

You can use them to make detailed drawings while maintaining accurate measurements. They’re affordable and you will want to consider purchasing one for your kit.


An architect types on the laptop surrounded by architect tools on a wooden desk.

Of course, in the modern era, a lot of work is done using computers. Architects can do a lot of planning using their laptop computers. This can make testing out certain designs a lot easier than it would be using only paper and your own knowledge of mathematics.

Laptops will make the job of an architect a lot simpler by giving them all of the resources that they need to make informed decisions.

You can also purchase advanced software that can assist you with your architectural needs. This is going to allow you to do your work more effectively and can potentially save you a lot of time.

You should own a good computer of some sort if you want to work as an architect. Laptops are convenient because they can be transported from your home environment to the office with ease.

Architectural Software

A person holds and touches the screen of a tablet with the words "SOFTWARE" displayed on the screen.

The architectural software is making the lives of architects a whole lot easier. You can create a home or another type of building using this convenient software.

This will allow you to test out some of your design choices so that you can determine how viable they are. Having access to this software helps architects to avoid guesswork.

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