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12 Different Types of Stairs Measuring Tools

Man using a tape measure, pencil, and tablet to measure the stairs.

Whether you’re planning for a home renovation or simply shopping for a new carpet for the stairs, both will entail a measurement for your staircase. You need to consider not just how big your stairs is but also its treads, risers, and square footage, as well as its overall run, rise, and pitch.

You can use an online calculator for the computation, but it’s also worth taking note that the different types of staircases also require different ways to be measured, so be sure you’re aware of the guidelines. You can also use simple tools for the task. Just be sure to use the right stairs measuring tools to save you time and effort.

Below is a list of the essential tools you’ll need.

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Tape Measure

Man using tape measure to measure a cement block.

While a tape measure isn’t a tool that is specifically for stair measuring, it is one of the most common measuring tools on the market. People who work in construction or those who work as carpenters will always have a good tape measure handy. It is easy to take with you to any job, and you can purchase tools that will attach right to your belt loop. This makes it a very convenient little tool that you shouldn’t be without.

If you use a tape measure correctly and are capable of doing the math in your head, then you can use it to measure stairs effectively. Of course, with stairs, you will need to know the rise, length, and various other bits of information. The tape measure can provide you with many of the measurements that you need. This is going to be the tool that people pull out first when they are planning things out.

The tape measure being shown here is a pretty standard model. It can measure up to 25 ft. and will certainly be excellent to use when measuring stairs. Most staircases won’t be longer than 25 ft. so the distance should suffice for your purposes. There are tape measure tools on the market that can measure longer distances, so you can seek one out if you deem it to be necessary.

You likely already own a tape measure, but if you do not, then you should definitely purchase one now. It is something that any construction worker or carpenter should never be without. Even amateur DIY enthusiasts will want to have this convenient tool at the ready for many purposes. Measuring stairs is just going to be one of the many uses you will get out of your tape measure.

Construction Ruler

Construction ruler on white background.

Construction works and carpenters also use rulers fairly often. A sturdy ruler like this will help you to make some quick measurements before making a decision. When you’re getting ready to make cuts, it can be very beneficial to have a straight ruler like this around. You’ll be able to determine if all of your measurements are correct, and you can move forward with confidence.

This tool will be used mostly when you are cutting wood to build stairs. You can use it to measure existing stairs as well, but it will mostly come in handy as a tool to keep your cuts accurate. This ruler is easy to read so that you will always know exactly what the measurements are. It can help to keep you from making costly mistakes, and you’ll generally like having it around.

The ruler itself is very durable, as well, because it is made out of stainless steel. It will be a reliable tool that you can make use of for many years. Whether you want to make use of it for its straight edge, or if you need to make quick and accurate measurements, this will be a handy tool. It’s cost-effective and definitely worth owning.

Stair Tread Gauge

Stair tread gauge on wooden stairs.

Source: Etsy

If you want to make installing stairs as easy as possible, then you should definitely purchase yourself a stair tread gauge. People do use these tools for purposes other than measuring stairs. It is also popular among people who build their own bookshelves. It prevents you from making errors when cutting and will wind up saving you a lot of time.

Laying out your risers and the stair tread is an essential part of the process. This tool will prove to be invaluable to you when you’re performing these tasks. Building stairs can be much simpler when you have accurate information to rely on. Getting the information that you need on the rise of the stairs and the overall measurements is a breeze with a stair tread gauge.

It is true that you could measure everything without buying a stair tread gauge. The reason that people find this tool to be so useful is that it is simple to use. You can get the information that you need while taking far fewer steps if you own this tool. Using a tape measure will be far more cumbersome in comparison.

This stair tread gauge that is being shown here is made out of high-quality wood. It will stand up to regular use and can help you to make stairs very easily. Whether you are making some upgrades or building an entirely new staircase, you’ll want to have this tool around. It will make the process quicker, and you’ll be happy to get the job done right.


Square tool on wooden background.

A square is an important measuring tool that is commonly used in carpentry. People use squares in order to determine many different types of measurements. Getting the math right when you are building stairs is extremely important. A quality square is going to be able to act as a protractor, line scriber, and general measurement tool.

You can get all of the accurate information that you need in order to plan everything out properly. Most people who work in carpentry keep a square around at all times. They need to be able to determine certain information quickly in order to make the proper decisions. Having a square handy can be a lot simpler than using the tape measure and figuring out the math in your head.

You can buy a square like this at a very reasonable price, so it’s a good idea to purchase one. It is another tool that isn’t specific to the process of stair measurement, but it will come in handy. In some ways, other types of squares may prove to be more useful. Even so, if you already own a square, you will be able to put it to good use here.

This compact square will be perfect for your needs. It is small enough to fit in your pocket and is capable of giving you the accurate data that you are seeking. You’ll enjoy the overall convenience of this tool. Being that it only cost a small amount of money, it’s going to be smart to go ahead and buy one.


L-Square tool on wooden background.

The L-square is even more useful than the square mentioned above in certain ways. When you are building stairs, it is important to be able to measure the rise of the stairs in order to build everything properly. An L-square is going to be able to help you measure the rise properly. If you have one of these available, then it can provide the same function as the ruler while giving you the proper framing information that you need.

The L-square that is being shown here is 16-inches by 24-inches. It is made out of hardened steel and can be a reliable tool for you for many years. It has even been treated with a rust-prevention coating that will ensure it stands the test of time. When you want to purchase a measurement tool that can do multiple things, getting one of these is going to prove to be a good choice.

You will have an easier time finishing up the framing on your stairs if you have a tool like this around. You want to make sure that everything turns out perfectly, so it’s good to have the right tools around for the job. Take the time to use this tool properly and you will have no problems measuring the stairs and completing your task. Using this tool in conjunction with some of the others can make your experience the best that it can possibly be.

Multi-angle Ruler

Multi-Angle Measuring Tool on white background.

Source: Amazon

You might find that using the normal ruler doesn’t quite cut it when you’re measuring stairs. You need to consider many different angles, and having to write down so many different measurements while repositioning a ruler may not feel entirely convenient. If you want to make things a bit simpler, then you could consider purchasing a multi-angle ruler. This type of ruler is capable of giving you accurate measurements from many different angles at once.

It is possible to shape this ruler in many different ways. If you need to determine information about your staircase, then using this ruler can make the job easy. You just need to shape the ruler properly and use it to get the necessary information. You’ll be able to measure all of the proper angles in order to ensure that you don’t make any mistakes.

Owning a ruler like this is practical for people who do a lot of carpentry work. It will certainly come in handy for the purpose of building stairs. You can get the right information without having to make several redundant measurements. It will save you a bit of time, and the project can be sped up just a bit.

Stair Step Scribe

Stair Step Scribe on white background.

Source: Amazon

There is nothing worse than making a costly mistake while you are building stairs. If you have completed a significant amount of your project, only to find that the tread of the stairs is uneven, then you’re going to be quite frustrated. This sort of frustration can be completely prevented if you have the right tool. Buying a stair step scribe will ensure that the tread on your new stairs turns out perfectly.

People who aren’t using this type of tool will wind up having some problems when it comes to the tread. Often times, people wind up guessing a bit at the exact measurements. This leads to several mistakes, and it will just make the job take longer than it has to. If you purchase this stair step scribe, then you’ll never be left guessing about what the right measurements are.

It’s really simple to use because you just need to adjust the arms and place them against the edges of the stairs. You can then take the measurements, and you’ll understand everything that you need to know. It’s easy to read visual information that makes the entire process of installing stairs simpler. You’ll be happy that you bought this tool when you get everything done correctly the first time.

A tool like this allows you to be significantly more efficient when building stairs. The right measurements will allow you to make good use of your materials. You can stop wasting materials and having to redo large chunks of your work. It’s worthwhile to purchase this in order to save yourself from potential headaches.


Caliper on black leather background.

Calipers are a traditional measuring tool that many people will be familiar with. The concept of measuring something with calipers is very simple. You place an object between the two calipers in order to determine the specific measurements. Figuring out how wide something is can be decidedly simple when you have calipers around to do the job.

This is useful for stair measurement when you need to determine the thickness of certain materials. This can aid you when you’re trying to get the tread of the stairs to turn out properly. It can also be helpful when you are building pieces of the stairs to ensure that they remain uniform. Calipers aren’t an absolute necessity when you’re measuring stairs, but they can be very useful nonetheless.

There are several types of calipers that you can choose from, too. The traditional types of calipers are manual, and you will be taking the measurements yourself. You just read out the position of the object that you are measuring as you would with a ruler or a tape measure. In modern times, digital calipers have made things even simpler.

A digital caliper is pretty nifty because it gives you a digital readout of the measurements. You will be able to see exactly what the measurements are without having to guess. This is great for when you need to get accurate information. Having the most accurate measurements possible will always make projects like this a lot simpler.


Hand using a lever tool on the ceiling.

A level is going to be crucial when you are trying to install stairs evenly. You will want to use a level in order to make sure that things are positioned exactly right. Stairs that aren’t level will not be safe to use, so it is important to do everything that you can in order to install them correctly. Measuring whether the stairs are level or not is easy when you purchase any kind of level that is on the market.

You simply place the level on top of the stair to see if it is level. If you have done your job correctly, then the level will be confirming that everything is okay. If you see what it is slanting to the left or right, then you know that you need to make some adjustments. This is an easy tool to use and you will want to bring a level to every job that you do.

This level is a very standard design featuring three vials. It is 48-inches long and will work quite well for determining if your new stairs are level. This is also quite durable, so you won’t have to worry about buying a new one for a very long time. It’s a good tool that you’ll get a ton of use out of.

Level, Pitch, and Slope Tool

Johnson Level & Tool 750 Pitch and Slope Locator on white background.

Source: Amazon

Of course, being able to determine information about the level, pitch, and slope of the stairs is going to be very important, as well. You need to make sure that the stairs you are installing are going to be perfectly safe. This means that the slope needs to be just right, and everything needs to be perfectly level. For this reason, buying a level tool that can also determine the pitch and slope of the stairs is going to be very useful.

This tool is going to help you to easily identify the proper measurements. It will make installing the stairs and preparing all of the pieces a lot easier. Sometimes even the most simple tools are going to make a huge difference in the success of a project. Purchasing one of these tools will give you access to information that is imperative to the process.

This particular tool is also designed to be pretty durable. It is made out of a rugged plastic that can withstand an impact without breaking. If you drop it down the stairs, it isn’t going to stop working just because it took a few bumps. This is useful because accidents can happen while on the job, and you don’t want to have to purchase a new one every time that you get clumsy.

People use this tool for purposes other than determining the slope of stairs too. It can help you to find the pitch of your roof and can give you accurate information about angles for many projects. It is very inexpensive, so you should purchase one to make your project go smoothly. It will be worth the small price that you have to pay for it.

Construction Calculator

Calculated Industries 6135 2 Piece Scale Primary Pro XE Advanced Digital Plan Measure | Bundled with Free Construction Primary Plus EZ Contractors Prompting Calculator

Source: Amazon

At first, you may think that a calculator seems a bit out of place in this type of list. Anyone that is familiar with construction and carpentry knows that mathematics is a big part of the equation. You will be using math on a daily basis in order to determine measurements, analyze angles, and to generally ensure the success of any given job. The numbers really do matter when you are trying to do things correctly on projects like this.

Owning a really good construction calculator can make getting the math right very simple. You can plug in the measurement numbers and determine everything that you need to know with ease. This calculator here even comes programmed with many common building calculations that will be useful to you. It can act as a trusted companion on your jobs and will save you time.

Being able to rely on a calculator will allow you to focus on other aspects of the job. You can plug in the information and avoid having to take time figuring things out for yourself. It is perfect for people who work in construction, carpenters, and even roofers. This calculator will also be quite useful for measuring stairs.

There are a lot of different measurements that you will be taking in order to complete the stairs. Keeping everything straight is going to be simpler when you have the calculator at the ready. You’ll have an easy time keeping the numbers accurate, and you’ll be able to get the job done faster. Your stairs will turn out nice, and you will be glad you made the decision to buy a high-quality calculator.

Laser Distance Measure Tool

Hand holding a laser distance measuring tool.

There will be certain times when you will want to use a laser distance measuring tool. This can help you to quickly determine how far away a certain object is. When it comes to measuring a staircase, you can determine the length of the staircase very easily when you have this tool available. This is more of a luxury than a necessity, but some people always keep a laser distance measure tool on them for the sake of convenience.

Tools like this are very simple to use because you just have to point it and turn it on. The laser distance measure tool sends a laser out, and it will make contact with the object that you are pointing it at. It will then give you a readout of exactly what the distance between you and the object is. This is a simple concept, and it’s easy to put into action.

Construction workers and carpenters use tools like this to determine distance quickly. It is more common among construction workers, but many people like to use these devices. It can be a handy little tool to keep around when you want to figure out the distance between objects in a timely fashion. It certainly isn’t the first tool you will think of for stair measurement, but it can be good to have on you all the same.

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