Digital level opinions

Discussion in 'Workshop Tips and Secrets / Tools' started by Little Scrapper, Feb 6, 2016.

1. Feb 6, 2016

Little Scrapper

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After 25+ years my level is pretty beat up. I'm looking at buying a new level today. It seems these digital levels are popular but I've never actually used one. A well made standard level is darn accurate and probably more accurate than I'd ever need as a builder, but I am curious about these digital ones.

Anyone want to comment on your experience with digital levels? As I age my eyes tend to get a little foggy, thinking this might be the way to go?

2. Feb 6, 2016

BJC

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If I were buying a new level, it would be a high quality 48" digital.

BJC

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3. Feb 6, 2016

blane.c

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I have many levels, if I was going to have just one it would be a small electronic digital level. With a good straight edge it can be as long as necessary. My little electronic digital is very accurate and tells you any angle in a fraction of a degree.

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4. Feb 6, 2016

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9. Feb 6, 2016

BJC

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10. Feb 6, 2016

Little Scrapper

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I checked my new level against the old one by stacking it. .1 degrees seems like a lot but you can still see the difference of .1 degrees on regular levels.

11. Feb 6, 2016

Little Scrapper

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My old level was off by a 1/10" of a degree.

12. Feb 6, 2016

Little Scrapper

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Here's what the difference in 1/10 of a degree looks like on a bubble. I like my new digital one but this just shows a regular bubble level is pretty darn accurate.

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13. Feb 6, 2016

Little Scrapper

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In fact, the bubble is probably more accurate because there's a pretty big swing in 1 degree that the digital level measuring to 1/10 doesn't pick up. If you look at the bubble difference between the two picks that's quite a jump on that bubble. When I shimmed the digital level on a 20" file cabinet top I bet it was a .030" difference. And in order to get the digital level to change to the next digit I watched the bubble move.

14. Feb 6, 2016

Midniteoyl

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15. Feb 6, 2016

Little Scrapper

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Yeah, Stabila has always made a great level. I'm gonna return this Johnson level for the simple reason it's just cheaply made. Not real impressed. You'd think for $130 you'd get a better made level. The buttons feel like they are gonna fall off. Midniteoyl likes this. 16. Feb 6, 2016 Little Scrapper Little Scrapper Well-Known MemberHBA Supporter Joined: Jan 3, 2014 Messages: 5,347 Likes Received: 3,268 Location: Wisconsin Just ordered the digital Stabila on Amazon Prime.$220. I feel much better about that. I'll let you know how I like it on Wednesday.

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17. Feb 6, 2016

Midniteoyl

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Let us know.. The IP65 is a nice level..

18. Feb 6, 2016

Little Scrapper

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Jim, I think what I'll do is wait to return the Johnson after I stack it on the Stabila.....just kinda curious.

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19. Feb 7, 2016

Daleandee

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In building the Cleanex we used several different levels ... a couple of good bubble levels and a SmartTool Level:

It must have worked as the airplane goes straight when I take my hands off of it! :grin:

Dale
N319WF

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20. Feb 7, 2016

ekimneirbo

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I hope I can save some of you some money here. Sears has some excellent Craftsman digital levels and they will do most anything the more expensive ones will. They don't make a 48" as far as I know, but you really don't need one for your airplane. If you need to measure between two points longer than 24" then just use a regular level and set the digital on top of it. Better yet, get a piece of aluminum box tubing about six feet long
to use as a straightedge and set the digital on top of it. You won't see any difference in your reading. I have a little 10" (actually about 11 1/4") Craftsman and its perfect for most anything. It has a lazer beam and works great. $49.99 48292 Then take the money you saved and buy their little digital torpedo level at Sears Outlet on sale now for$21-$23 48295 (not sure if it has a lazer) They also have a 24" 48293$69.99
I'm betting that the 10" one will do everything you want. I have some more expensive ones....they set in a drawer.

Its easy to get caught up in the accuracy of a digital readout and spend more money, but I'm telling you the money can be better spent on other tools. If you have a shorter level, its handier. You can set any of them on a surface and zero them. Then move the surface and see what the new angle is.....but for just leveling two surfaces there always seems to be a need for a different length than what you have. Just use one of your plastic or metal levels and set the digital on top of it. Also be sure the bottom surface where the magnets reside are clean before you start. The high dollar levels don't do anything any better than these Craftsman ones do.
Personally if I could only buy one level, I would choose the 10" because it works in a lot more places.

Notice the lazer beam red dot on the frame square in the third picture. All I had to do was move the frame square to the far end of the box tubing and when the lazer dot was at the same point on the square, the box tube was level. The yellow line next to the tube is string. When I was doing this I did a lot of double checking to be sure it was really level...and it was.

http://www.searsoutlet.com/Craftsma...s/d/product_details.jsp?pid=21320&mode=seeAll

http://www.searsoutlet.com/10-in-Digital-LaserTrac-Level/d/product_details.jsp?pid=19264&mode=seeAll

http://www.searsoutlet.com/24-in-Digital-LaserTrac-Level/d/product_details.jsp?pid=19265&mode=seeAll

Last edited: Feb 7, 2016
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