Spirit levels are one of those tools that can make all the difference to a DIY job. Whether it’s putting up some new shelves or building an extension, without a decent level it’s never going to turn out looking professional
A basic level will have a simple spirit filled vials which have an air bubble in them. The vials are set so that you can easily check both horizontal and vertical alignment
But, not all spirit levels are the same and it’s useful to know what to look for when choosing one. Tools aren’t cheap so you’ll want to spend your money wisely
As with all tools you should choose a level that is durable and will withstand the inevitable knocks. Then look at the body of the level. What material is it made of and how well will that retain its shape. If it’s made of plastic it’s less likely to withstand occasional bumps and just how straight and true it is maybe questionable. A level made from hardened aluminium is a good option and having precision-engineered edges will give an accurate marking of vertical and horizontal lines.
As well as having the important features mentioned above, rubberised handles at either end make it a breeze to hold in place one-handed. A Dual View vial means you won’t be craning your neck to view the bubble – you can view, as the name implies, from both angles.
Checking a spirit level is accurate
- If you want to test a level for accuracy before you buy it here’s a simple method
- Find a “reasonably” flat surface and lay the level on it
- If the bubble isn’t smacked in the middle of the vial, lift one end until it is and prop it in place. One or two pennies should do the trick
- Now mark the ends of the level on the surface
- Turn the level round so that it’s sitting in exactly the same position
- The bubble should be in the centre again – If not, try another till you get one that is accurate