Things to Know Before Buying a Spirit Level
Spirit levels are typically made from durable polypropylene or reinforced aluminium. Longer spirit levels are often used on site and tend to be made from aluminium with reinforced ribs to stand up to every day wear and tear. Aluminium spirit levels often have a powder coating to protect them from corrosion and make them easy to clean.
Smaller spirit levels tend to be made from durable plastics which make them lightweight and robust.
Many spirit levels have shock resistant end caps that help protect the level if it gets dropped or knocked. These also help to hold the spirit level against surfaces to make one handed use easier. The end caps are often removable to allow flush fitting. Some companies manufacture replacement end caps.
Spirit levels may have a milled surface to facilitate a true line and a groove in the bottom to allow levelling on pipes or other curved surfaces.
To ensure that the bubbles are easy to read, some spirit levels have magnified centre vials. Others use mirrors to ensure that you can read the level from a variety of angles. Some spirit levels have LED lights to illuminate the bubbles in dimly lit locations.
Longer spirit levels usually have three vials, two for horizontal levelling and one for vertical. The two horizontal vials help you to achieve a more accurate result over longer distances.
Smaller models have two vials, one for vertical and one for horizontal levelling, whilst pocket levels like tend to have just the one vial for both vertical and horizontal use. These small spirit levels are ideal for levelling plugs and sockets.
The vials are the most important element of your spirit level.
Spirit levels often come with some additional features to make them useful in a range of scenarios. These include the following…
Integrated Steel Ruler
An integrated steel ruler makes it easy to measure, level and mark up in one simple step. Look for one that is clear and easy to read.
Some spirit levels include magnets for attaching to pipework, back boxes, appliances and the like. These are a great feature as they enable you to work hands-free.
To enhance your levelling operation, some levels also include a simple laser feature for projecting a red line onto a wall in front of you. This is particularly handy if you want to hang long items such as shelves or curtains poles.
A spirit level is an essential measuring tool for every home even if you just want to hang a picture. Using a spirit level allows you to achieve a perfect line when assembling pictures, shelves, cabinets and curtain poles.
Spirit levels are also an essential tool in garden landscaping for attaining level patios and decks, fences and features.
Of course, the spirit level is also essential for many tradesmen, from bricklayers to electricians to plumbers and window fitters.
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Spirit Level FAQ's
How do I use a spirit level?
Spirit levels contain one or more vials that are filled with a coloured liquid that contains an air bubble. The vial features two markings or guidelines on its outer surface. When the bubble is positioned between the markings you know you are level.
To mark a horizontal level place the spirit level against the surface and adjust it up or down until the bubble is between the two guidelines. You now have your level.
If you are hanging a shelf with brackets, place the spirit level on the shelf surface and position the shelf where you want it on the wall. Using the spirit level, ensure the shelf is level and mark where the bottom of the shelf will sit.
Next, hold one of the brackets up against this line. Place the spirit level on top of the shelf bracket to ensure it is level. Place a pencil into the screw holes of the bracket to mark the wall. Do the same for the other screw holes and then repeat for the other bracket or brackets. You now have all your drill holes marked for fixing the brackets and accurately aligning the shelf.
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