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Thread: good level

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    Location
    Oakland, CA
    Posts
    103

    good level

    Maybe more of a carpentry than a woodworking question, but I'm renovating our kitchen (all new everything mostly made by me) and need a quality long level or other solution for same.

    Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    I like the plastic 4 foot levels. Not as pretty as my Grampa’s wooden level, but much more accurate. I think mine is Empire brand . Get them
    from Lowe’s and such.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    344
    Stabila 4’ or 8’. Purchased many years ago. Not cheap but very accurate and almost indestructible. Mine are made in Germany. If that’s no longer the case I rescind my recommendation. Btw, for shorter distances the iPhone level and plumb bob apps are very precise.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    NE OH
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    1,556
    Decent quality 3 line lasers are not terribly expensive now and come in really handy for all types of construction work. Green are most visible outside, but red are fine indoors. I still use my long spirit level for plumbing door jambs, but for pretty much everything else I use the laser.
    --Certainty is the refuge of a small mind--

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Western Nebraska
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    4,141
    I'll second the Stabila. Also the new Milwaukee's are nice. That's about all I trust with a construction level without checking. Easy to check, just set the level on something, note the bubble location, flip it and the bubble should be in the same location. Get a faulty level out of rotation ASAP.

    Sounds like a good opportunity for a laser purchase though. I wouldn't be without one on interior remodeling. They work really well on checking elevations, layout and are the best tool for cabinet placement. I particularly like the little Dewalts, the self leveling ones with the horizontal, vertical and plumb dots up and down. $200-300 will get you a good one. Mine are all red lines, but green lines are more visible (and more expensive).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Western Nebraska
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    4,141
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul F Franklin View Post
    Decent quality 3 line lasers are not terribly expensive now and come in really handy for all types of construction work. Green are most visible outside, but red are fine indoors. I still use my long spirit level for plumbing door jambs, but for pretty much everything else I use the laser.
    I didn't mean to duplicate you Paul, we must have been typing at the same time, I'm slower though.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    New York, NY
    Posts
    2,091
    Bit spendy but worth it I think.
    https://superiorlevel.co.uk/products...15366925713462

    Stabila or Sola are also both very good.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    3,184
    I am a Stabila fan, but they are pricey. I am strongly hesitant to loan them to my neighbors when they come calling. If I had only one brand, it would be Stabila. Still made in Germany, by the way.

    I have had good luck with Stanley and Empire. Frankly, most levels have worked well for me.

    The Milwaukee Redstick Level has really good visibility, but, I think that the True Blue Vials on Empire are very nice.

    If you just want to run a straight line in a large area, get a laser then everything can be evenly set in one shot. Just saying.

    I find it handy to have something small. I prefer to have at least two of them. You can get something like a Stabila Pocket Level (about $10), but I am as likely to grab my "line levels". I don't even remember which brand I have off hand, but I am more likely to drop two of them onto a surface than to place them on a line because they work there as well. I don't remember which brand I have off hand other than the fact that I have a really nice small Stabila that I do not even see as something that they sell anymore.

    Search "
    Stabila 76370"
    https://www.amazon.com/Stabila-10-Pa.../dp/B00C6ME8TO

    but these might serve you just as well:
    https://www.amazon.com/Hanging-10x10.../dp/B07VTQG17V

    Sometimes, that little one is just what you need, but I have a bunch of different sizes.

    I have never used the circle ones, I mean I have one on a few tripods and I own at least one that just sits around, never bothered to use it. I usually just drop on two of the small buble levels.

  9. #9
    Most carpenters I know use Stabila. For cabinet installation I use something more precise, an old Starret grade level that I can read to 1/64" over its 15" length, as well as a laser. The Starrett works well piggybacked on a 6' Stabila with embedded magnets. The modern equivalent is a "precision bench level"https://www.starrett.com/metrology/p...-detail/132-12

  10. #10
    I use my laser much of the time.

    When I first started doing carpentry work it was when I decided to build myself a house so I went out and bought a couple nice levels. They got accidentally knocked over, knocked off, and dropped from day one, seemingly always onto concrete. Since then I just buy the cheap ones. It doesn't hurt me as much when they fall over and when they aren't accurate anymore it doesn't hurt me to buy a new one.

    Alan

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Northeast Ohio
    Posts
    496
    I do not do much carpentry, nevertheless I have three different sizes of Stabila. They are very accurate. I use them frequently when making furniture and cabinets; the small 10 inch one is useful for installing drawer slides.

    I have several Craftsman levels that were the first ones I purchased; they are used as a straight edge when cutting drywall and other non-leveling tasks.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Medina Ohio
    Posts
    4,102
    The most acurite level I use is a water level

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
    Posts
    5,482
    I have a bunch, and won't recommend one type to get. Check them before you take it out of the store, including to see if you like the way the bubble works, and looks. I even have some cheap plastic ones that I cut into different lengths to use for setting tile in showers, to serve both for level, and a straight edge.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    56,579
    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Rosenthal View Post
    Stabila 4’ or 8’. Purchased many years ago. Not cheap but very accurate and almost indestructible. Mine are made in Germany. If that’s no longer the case I rescind my recommendation. Btw, for shorter distances the iPhone level and plumb bob apps are very precise.
    That was going to be my recommendation, too.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Toronto Ontario
    Posts
    10,392
    Hi, I have a 6 foot and a 3 foot Stabilator level, type 196.

    They’ve installed more battery banks than I like to think about, accurate and rugged......Rod

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