Posted On Fri, Feb 2, 2024

A spirit level, also known as a bubble level or a water level, is used to determine whether a surface is horizontal/parallel (level) or vertical/perpendicular (plumb). It typically consists of a rectangular or cylindrical body with one or more bubble-containing vials. Centring the bubble within the vial indicates that the surface is level or plumb. 

There are various types of Spirit Levels, each designed for specific applications and requirements. Below are some common types of Spirit Levels: 

1. Box Section Spirit Level: 

Box Section Spirit Levels are a commonly available, durable, and versatile type of spirit level. They are rectangular or box-shaped and are made from aluminium. Often these will have 2 or more vials and carrying handles in longer sizes. Browse our range of Box Section levels HERE. 

Box section spirit level blog image

2. I-Beam Levels:

I-Beam levels are made of lighter materials than box section levels. They usually feature tube vials and are more economical. More lightweight than their box section counterpart, they are easy to carry around the jobsite. However, they are typically considered less durable than box section levels. A cross-section of an I-beam level will reveal an I-shaped level. 

 3. Torpedo Level: 

Torpedo levels are lighter and more compact. They are often pocket-sized and include vials for both horizontal and vertical measurements. Often made with ABS or metal, torpedo levels are convenient for taking measurements in tight spaces. They offer easy-reading and are useful for quick checks.  

4. Electronic/Digital Level: 

Digital levels have large LCD displays for easy reading. They provide a numerical display of the angle or slope. They often boast higher accuracy than traditional spirit levels and may include additional features like memory storage and audible guidance. They can also be easily re-calibrated. Read more about the FREEMANS Digital Spirit Level HERE. 

5. Laser Level with Spirit Vials: 

Some laser levels include traditional spirit vials in addition to the laser beam. This combination allows for both visual and laser-based levelling. 

6. Plumb Bob: 

While not a spirit level itself, a plumb bob is often used in conjunction with a level for vertical alignment. The weight on the end of a string acts as a vertical reference, and the level ensures accuracy. 

Most of the above levels will be available as a magnetic option- the levels can adhere to metal surfaces and thus allow hands free use.  Choosing the right type of spirit level depends on the specific task at hand. Consider factors such as the length of the level, the number of vials needed, accuracy and robustness required. 

I. How to use your Spirit Level effectively: 

Box section spirit level - Blog post2

  1. Place the bottom edge of your spirit level on the surface of the object you are trying to level 
  2. Hold the level in a way so you can see the vials easily 
  3. Ensure that the level vials are parallel to the surface 
  4. Adjust the surface until the vial bubble is directly between the two guideline marks 
  5. The tube vial in the centre helps the user find the true horizontal whereas the vials on the sides will help with the finding of the true vertical. Some Spirits levels may also be fitted with 45° vial for angled levelling.  

II. Lengthening the life of your Spirit Level:

✅ Clean your Spirit Level regularly with a soft, clean cloth.

✅ Avoid knocking or dropping of the Spirit Level as this can damage your vial or alter its accuracy.

✅ Store your Spirit Level in a cool and dry place, ideally in a protective case.

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