Levels are one of the most underrated and low-key items used in construction.
However, they are essential to ensure accuracy and precision in building structures. Keep reading to learn about the main types of levels that can help you complete your next project.
The 19 Main Types of Levels in 2023
These are the best types of levels that you should have in your toolbox.
Each has unique characteristics and provides specific information you need to complete the job you are working on.
1. Spirit/Bubble Level
Spirit/Bubble levels are the most common type of level, called spirit or bubble levels because they use a bubble vial filled with liquid to determine whether a surface is level or not.
These levels are usually shorter and have a handle for easy use, but longer versions are also available for larger jobs. These levels are best for smaller tasks and ensuring that surfaces, such as shelves or countertops, are even.
2. Laser Level
You use laser levels in construction, surveying, and engineering. These levels use lasers to measure horizontal or vertical distance and help ensure accuracy in building projects.
Laser levels emit a laser beam mounted on the top of a tripod and can rotate. The advantage of laser levels is that they can measure an entire horizontal or vertical plane.
3. Theodolite Level
Theodolite levels are used in surveying and engineering to measure horizontal and vertical angles. They use a telescope mounted on a movable base to measure these angles and can also be used to measure distance using triangulation.
4. Optical Level
Optical levels, also known as dumpy or builder’s levels, use a telescope to measure height and distance. You use optical levels in construction, engineering, and surveying because they allow for angle measurement.
5. Pocket Level
Pocket levels are small, compact tools used for minor leveling tasks. DIY-ers and handymen often use them for projects such as hanging shelves or frames.
Pocket levels provide information regarding horizontal or vertical surfaces. They can be found in hardware stores and come in a variety of sizes.
6. Water Level
Water levels are the most common type of level. It uses a tube of water with a small bubble. Although it is simple, this tool is still highly effective. A Water Level uses a tube filled with water to determine if something is level or plumb.
7. Angle Level
The angle level is also known as a bevel protractor, and you use them for measuring angles. Carpenters and masons commonly use this type of level. It can provide precise measurements for building projects that require angled cuts or placement.
Another use for the angle level is in technical drawing, so you can identify the angle measurements needed for creating blueprints or plans. The unique feature of the angle level is its adjustable arm and rotating vial, allowing for precise measurements at any angle.
You can also use it in reverse, with the arm as a ruler for straight-edge measurements. Overall, the angle level is a versatile and crucial tool for professionals working with angles in their projects.
8. Surveyor’s Leveling Tool
The surveyor’s level is a tool used by land surveyors to determine the elevation and slope of an area. Determining elevation and slope is vital for construction projects, architectural design, and mapping. This level utilizes a telescope with crosshairs aligned with a bubble tube for precision measurement.
9. Line Level
The line level is the most common level used by professionals and DIYers. It measures a single, straight line horizontally or vertically, providing precise measurements for installing shelves, hanging pictures, and more.
You can use this level to check if surfaces are even or plumb. One unique feature of the line level is its small size, making it easy to carry and use in tight spaces.
10. Carpenter’s Level
The carpenter’s level is the most basic and commonly used level. It is typically a small, handheld rectangular tool made of aluminum or wood with one or more bubble vials to determine whether a surface is level.
11. Mason’s Level
Also known as a builder’s level, You typically use a mason’s level for building walls. It measures the levelness of surfaces, such as foundations and walls.
12. Torpedo Level
Torpedo levels are also compact tools, but they have a unique shape that allows them to fit easily in the palm of your hand.
You should use this level for small tasks such as leveling picture frames or checking if a surface is level before drilling into it. Torpedo levels provide information regarding horizontal or vertical surfaces.
13. Scaffold Level
The scaffold level, also known as the elevation level, is used in construction projects to measure the height of a structure. It is usually used alongside other levels to ensure accurate measurements and safety on the job site.
This level is significant for tall buildings or structures where small measurement mistakes can have enormous consequences. Architects, construction workers, and engineers commonly use the scaffold level.
14. Bull’s Eye Level
This level gives small, precise measurements, and you can often find it attached to small tools like a carpenter’s square. Unlike many other levels, a bull’s eye level allows you to measure two planes. Most levels only measure one plane.
15. Plumb Bob Level
The plumb bob level, a plummeting level, is used to determine vertical alignment and true verticality. This level is one of the oldest types of levels. It has a plumb line or weighted string and traditional handheld levels with a weight attached at the end.
These levels are often used in construction and carpentry, as well as by surveyors and architects. These professions use a plumb bob level to check the alignment of walls, columns, windows, and door frames.
While the plumb bob level can provide accurate verticality, it is difficult to use on uneven surfaces and requires constant readjustment. It also cannot be used to check horizontal alignment.
16. Rotary Laser Level
Construction professionals often use the rotary laser level for large projects. This level emits a 360-degree horizontal beam, making it easier to check for evenness on larger surfaces.
It’s best to mount it on a tripod for stability and precision. One unique feature of the rotary laser level is its ability to self-level, meaning it can detect and adjust for any slight inclinations or slopes.
You have probably seen this type of level at construction sites. This tool is quite expensive, and it is uncommon for people to have them in their home toolbox.
17. Engineer’s Precision Level
As the name suggests, engineers use an engineer’s precision level. This level provides exact measurements that professionals need for big decisions on the construction site.
What sets this level apart from others is its ability to measure with high accuracy, usually within 1/32 inch or 1 mm. This high level of precision is applicable when determining the slope of a road or building foundation before construction begins.
18. Cross-Check Level
You use a cross-check level to check for the accuracy and precision of another level, typically a spirit or laser level. This level features two bubble vials that must be horizontal for the surface to be considered level.
Construction workers and surveyors commonly use this type of level to ensure accuracy in their work. When building a structure, it is crucial to have accurate and precise levels to ensure safety and structural integrity.
Another unique feature of the cross-check level is its ability to be used upside down, making it convenient for checking overhead surfaces or tight spaces.
19. Post Level
Many people use post levels for measuring the height of posts or other vertical structures. You can also use it for leveling furniture or appliances.
Its small size and shape set a post level apart from others, allowing it to fit into tight spaces and measure specific points. Carpenters, plumbers, and electricians often use post levels in their work.
Frequently Asked Questions
These are some commonly asked questions about different types of levels.
What types of levels are used in surveying?
Surveyors often use a level transit or a digital level to measure elevation and make calculations for land surveys.
What is a line level used for?
You typically use a line level for small projects, such as hanging picture frames or setting fence posts at the same height.
What is the difference between an optical level and a laser level?
There are some key differences between these two types of levels. An optical level uses a telescope and bubble vial to measure angles, while a laser level projects a straight line for marking or leveling.
What is a digital level used for?
You can use a digital level for many tasks, including construction and surveying. It often has additional features such as angle measurements and rectangular indication.
Why is it essential to use a level?
Using a level ensures that whatever you build or construct is even and stable. Stability can prevent structural issues and potential accidents.
What types of levels are used in construction?
A builder’s level or laser level in construction may ensure accuracy in laying foundations and building walls.
Construction professionals may use a digital level for various tasks on the building site. Using the appropriate level for each job is vital to ensure a successful and safe project.
How do you use a bubble level?
Using a level is relatively simple. First, set the level on a stable surface and ensure the bubble is in the center of the vial. Then, measure the desired surface by placing the level on top and adjusting until the bubble is centered.
Keep in mind that different levels have unique features and may require additional steps for proper use. Additionally, regularly check the level for damage or calibrate it to ensure it functions properly.
Why does an architect need to use a level?
An architect may use a level to ensure the accuracy and stability of their building designs.
Uses could involve measuring doorways’ angles or cross-checking each floor’s elevations. Overall, a level helps ensure that the finished building meets safety standards and functions correctly.
What skills do you need to use a level?
To use a level correctly, you should understand measurements and angles. It is also essential to properly set up the level and check for damage before each use.
Following the manufacturer’s instructions and regularly calibrating the level can also ensure accurate measurements.
Which Type of Level Is Right for You?
Overall, levels are crucial tools for creating accurate and safe construction projects.
There are many different levels, each with its unique features and uses. The best level for a particular task depends on the specific job at hand and what features are needed.
So it’s important to choose the level that best fits your needs and properly use and maintain it for accurate results. Remember, using a level is an essential skill in any construction or surveying profession. Happy leveling!