If you’ve ever hung a crooked shelf or a misaligned piece of drywall, you know the value of a level. It can make the difference between a lopsided mess and a precise work of art. Leveler tools determine whether a surface or object is truly horizontal or vertical, also known as level and plumb.
Manual vs. Digital Levels
A manual level has a floating bubble between two lines that indicates straightness, while a digital one provides an electronic reading. Here are some factors to consider:
• If you’re working in the dark, use a digital version for easy visibility.
• For a project that requires absolute precision, a digital level reduces the margin of error that can come with eyeballing the liquid bubble.
• Bubble levels are always ready when you are—they don’t require batteries or calibration.
Types of Levels
Consider the project as well as the amount of space you have to choose the right type of level for the job.
Carpenter’s Level. Also called a standard level, this is the most common type. It’s useful for all kinds of building and hanging projects and comes in lengths between 2 and 8 feet long. A shorter level may be used for a project like cabinet installation, while a longer one is ideal for bigger tasks, like putting in countertops or flooring.
Torpedo Level. Built like a miniature carpenter’s level, a torpedo level is made for tight spaces. Use it to hang picture frames, build shelves inside a closet or install straight baseboards on a corner wall. Most torpedo levels range from 6 to 12 inches long.
Line Level. This tool hangs on a piece of string that can be stretched between two points to determine if a large area is straight and flat. It is often used as a construction level and can be especially helpful when you’re working on roofs, ceilings or raised posts.
Self-leveling Laser Level: A laser leveler is built for longer distances. It projects a beam of light to show a straight plane and is commonly used in construction, carpentry and plumbing.
A sturdy, versatile level is a must-have for any construction project to help you get the job done right.