When buying a carpenters level there are several key
features to evaluate. First, carpenter levels come in several standard lengths
and sizes, and are typically constructed out of plastic, aluminum or wood. The
aluminum and plastic ones frequently are I-Beam constructed, whereas the wooden
ones are usually constructed out of one solid piece of hard wood. Prices vary on
carpenter levels from around $10 to $150 depending on the quality and size you
When buying a carpenter’s level
focus on buying a quality one. A poorly constructed level will cause endless
grief both during and after the completion of the home improvement project.
One of the key features to
evaluate, when selecting a carpenter’s level, is the construction of the vials
on the level that house the bubble. When buying a carpenter’s level, look for
ones that have bubbles such that when the bubbles are centered between the
markers on the vial that their ends just touch the inside edges of the markers.
Lower quality levels have bubbles that are either larger or smaller than the
space between the line markers on the vial.
Bubbles that are too small or large, relative to the
vial markers, lead to inaccurate measurements. Also, look for levels that have
bubbles that move quickly with even the slightest tilt. Levels that have fast
reacting bubble movement will provide more precise measurements. Finally, look
for carpenter’s levels that have glass covers over the bubble vials to protect
them from breakage. The higher quality levels always use a glass cover over the
Another area to consider when buying
a level is the actual material used in the construction of it.
Carpenter levels that are made out of machined
aluminum or hardwood will usually outperform other materials. They are also
stronger and sturdier and will more likely withstand the occasional drop.
Also, make sure when selecting a level that the edges
are free from burrs and other imperfections that could cause accurate
measurements. Their sides should be perfectly smooth. Stay clear of levels
that have caps on the ends such that there is a seam on the business sides of
the level. These seams can sometimes have ridges on them, or grow ridges due to
the susceptibility of catching material in them. Even the slightest ridge can
cause inaccurate measurements.
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Carpenter’s levels come in a
variety of lengths, such as 16 inches, 18 inches, 24 inches, 48 inches, 72
inches and even 96 inches. The size of the level you buy depends upon its
expected use. However, keep in mind that the longer the level the greater the
accuracy. For most do it yourself applications a 24 inch level, such as the
Johnson Level B10241 24-Inch -InchBig Johnson-Inch Wood Level,
is sufficient. For bigger projects, such as framing a home addition, a larger 48
inch level, such as the
M-D Building Products 63388 48-Inch Carpentry and Construction Aluminum Level, should be used.
There are several other types of
levels besides the standard carpenter’s level. Other levels include:
This is a very light weigh
level that is designed to hang on a string.
The torpedo level, such as the Stanley 43-512 Lighted Shockresistant Torpedo Level is 6-9 inches in length,
and is typically used in tight spots. It
is also used frequently for installing deck posts.
This is a length of clear, flexible tubing that has markers on it. The water
level works on the principal that water at both ends of the tubing will come to
rest at the same height. This allows for the transferring of heights around a
room or deck area. A water level is frequently used in hanging dropped ceilings
and for installing footings on decks.
Electronic levels have spirit vials for manual readings as well as digital
displays for more accurate measurements, such as the
M-D Building Products 92379 24-Inch SmartTool with Module And Case. They also provide
degrees and percentage of slopes information which is helpful in the
installation of drain pipes or any surface that is angled.
you are looking to buy a carpenter’s level or one of the other types, every
homeowner should have a level in his toolbox. Carpenter levels are relatively
inexpensive and have many uses. To prevent inaccurate measurements and
frustrations always look for higher quality ones. Finally, make sure you do not
short change yourself on length, as the longer length levels provide more
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can help provide funds for your new home improvement project if financing is
Additional Framing and Carpentry Resources
Carpenter's Levels from Amazon.com