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Tools & Hardware

Tips For Buying A Level

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If you have ever shopped for a level then you have seen the many types and lengths. The different brands, colors and names of levels can leave you shaking your head. While there is a lot to write about levels, this will cover only some basics.

1. Length

First, you will notice that there are a lot of different lengths. The biggest reason to buy a level is we either have a project or we want to check the level on something, whether it’s the refrigerator, stove, washing machine or the side of a wall in one of our rooms. 

Choosing the size of level to use is dependent upon the size of the project, or object we want to level. If we are building a short retaining wall we might use a masons level which is 48" in length. If we are remodeling and building a room wall, we might want to use a 72" level. On the other hand to level a table, or washing machine, we could probably use a 24" level.  For tighter spaces consider using a 9 or 10" torpedo level.

2. Check for Accuracy

Start by picking up a carpenter’s level and placing it on a flat surface. You want to check to see where the bubble lines up between the two lines in the vials. Next, turn the level over on the other side and see if the bubble still lines up in the same place as before.  If it does then you know it is accurate.

Next you want to place the level on a wall that is plumb. Now you can check the bubble in the vials on each end of the level to see where they line up between the two lines. Next turn the level over end to end and check the bubble again, making sure the bubble is in the same place as last time.  This is something you should do before you buy and when you first use it. If the bubble does not line up correctly, you have a defective level.


2. Choose Aluminum or Wood

The better levels are made of aluminum or wood. There are levels made of plastic, however they are not as sturdy. Common carpenter level sizes are from 24”, 48”, 72” and 96”.  A mason’s level is usually a minimum of 48”.  The accuracy improves as the length of the level gets longer. However sometimes because of space you need a small level known as a torpedo. This level is usually about 9”-10” long and can easily fit in your pants pocket.


While there are many different models of levels and some that offer additional features, such as being magnetic or digital. There is a level for every budget whether for the DIY’er or professional.


Remember that the number one thing in choosing a level is getting an accurate one. Next consider the material the level is made out of. Now choose the length you think you will use more often, and then add a torpedo level to round out your tool box. 

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Posted 2016-01-11T16:47:32+0000  by Ken_HD_OC Ken_HD_OC