This review was created as part of a paid affiliate program with the Home Depot.
My first order of business with this and every product review is a disclaimer: I am not a professional contractor. I am a farmer and a fine furniture maker. When it comes to construction and renovation projects, I’m a DIYer and weekend warrior. That said, I doubt many professional contractors will be reading my tool reviews. My goal in reviewing tools and products is to provide honest feedback based on my own use and experience with these tools to other regular folks like me- wanting to get their hands dirty, try new things, and get the best value for their hard earned dollars.
The more time I’ve spent in the shop the last few years, the better I’ve become at seeing “square.” In that same vein, the more things being out of square has started to bother me and thus, I’ve started to use levels more and more. A few years ago, I’d have grabbed a driver and some screws and hung a handful of pictures by eye. Now, I can see if one picture is 1/8” higher than it’s neighbor, and it drives me nuts. Outside of picture hanging though, (a task for which my laser level has made the use of a bubble level unnecessary) and the odd cabinetry job, I don’t see much use for a short (this one is 16”) level. That said though, this little gizmo has some cool features which made it easier for me to think of excuses to use it.
First, the audible “level” indicator is awesome. If you’ve got your hands full of stuff and are working on a ladder or at a weird angle and can’t see the readout or the bubble, that is a pretty fantastic feature. April and I used the level when hanging the windows in the Tiny House, and that feature alone made the job a cakewalk.
Some things to consider: As a construction tool in Seattle, this would be pretty likely to get wet. Rain and electric components aren’t generally a great match, so I’ll be interested to see how this holds up through some of my winter construction projects. Because the digital components have no true zero, which do you trust, the bubble or the readout? A perfectionist could drive themself crazy trying not only to get the two to match up perfectly, but also, there are very few instances (at least in my builds) when bubble-centered-accuracy isn’t enough. And with all that said, while this level proved to be incredibly accurate in my tests, it’s not a Starrett or Mitoya, and I doubt the average end-user of this tool, homeowners, need that kind of precision in anything they do.
· Precision milled edges- guarantees 0.0005 in accuracy
· Dual Backlit digital display- industry’s largest display
· Audio Indicator with 7 measuring modes
· Audible “level” indicator is awesome
· The digital readouts really are big easy to read, and the fact that they light up so you can see them in the dark or shadows is also a really great feature.
· This is both a plus and a minus- it’s so accurate, it’s tempting to get lost in the minutia. How level is level “enough?”
Things I wish were better/different:
· I wish the readouts were centered on the tool.
· I’d like to see a vertical bubble just for a rough reference.
· On a short level like this one, a laser feature would be pretty cool, but then again, I may just be too obsessed with lasers for my own good.
This tool retails at $99.00. Would I buy it?
After using a laser level the last few months, the only time I need a bubble level is when the sun is too bright to see the lasers… so maybe I just need brighter lasers? In all seriousness though, if I were to buy this tool, I’d buy a longer one for longer registering surface and accuracy.
*I acknowledge that the Home Depot is partnering with me to participate in the Prospective 2018 Campaign. As part of the program, I am receiving compensation in the form of products and services, for the purpose of promoting The Home Depot. All expressed opinions and experiences are my own words. My post complies with the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.