Best Spirit Level Buying Guide And Reviews

The subtle art of ‘eyeballing it’ might fly when hanging a picture or two, but our natural, built-in calibrates can only do so much. Pretty much any other task will require more accurate means of levelling. From DIY furniture making to professional building construction, it’s impossible to envision any project that doesn’t need a spirit level.

Also known as a bubble level, a spirit level is designed to indicate whether a surface is vertically plumb or horizontally level. But in addition to helping make sure you’re working on a flat surface, a spirit level can also verify a needed pitch as well i.e. when installing plumbing, walkways, and gutters that need a pitch for water runoff. So, how do you go about finding the best spirit level for the job?

Key Features and Considerations When Buying a Spirit Level

a) High Visibility

Even the most accurate spirit level in the world won’t be of much help if you can’t see the bubble clearly. Luminescent reflectors with vibrant colours and high contrast really help improve the visibility.

b) The Right Sensitivity

A spirit level is only as good as its ability to provide truly level measurements. If you’re in for some light duty projects, there are cheaper levels with a low sensitivity rate of 10mm/m. However, other tasks will require a more specialised tool with a sensitivity rate of 1mm/m or higher.

c) Durability

This also goes hand in hand with the intended purpose. A spirit level meant for professional jobs will obviously need to be hardier than your occasional, picture hanging level. However, it helps to ensure the vials are unbreakable and won’t be affected by the cold or electricity no matter what you’re working on.

d) Optional Features

  • Digital Displays – Advanced digital displays offer more precision for angles.
  • Magnetic – Rare earth magnets act as a third hand and offer maximum holding strength.
  • LEDs – Lights help offer more visibility when working in low lit conditions.

The Best Spirit Level Reviews

1. Stabila Type81SREM 10-inch Rare Earth Magnetic Spirit Level


Stabila remains one of the most trusted brands in the UK. Their motto ‘Always Trust, Never Adjust’ guarantees users of practical, dead accurate tools; and the Type81SREM is no different. Despite being low cost, Stabila’s 25cm magnetic spirit level is equipped with everything a professional needs to get the job done.

This strong and ultra light level comprises of a cast aluminium alloy profile that is quite slim. The surface is covered with electrostatic powder coating for easy cleaning as well as scratch resistance. In the horizontal position, the level gives high accuracy measurements up to 0.5mm/m which drops to 0.7mm/m in the overhead position. The manufacturer incorporated rare earth magnets for extra holding strength.

What I like about it:

  • High accuracy guaranteed to last up to 10 years
  • Rare earth magnets offer 5 times the holding power
  • Comes with a belt pouch

2. Stabila 196-2-120 3 Vial 48in Spirit Level


Here’s another model from Stabila that is quite popular among tradesmen from different occupations. Unlike the previous version, the Stabila 196-2-120 3 Vial Spirit Level is 48 inches long and features 3 vials. All vials are electronically calibrated and epoxy locked into the frame with spring steel hairline indicators.

The heavy duty, extra strength ribbed frame features oversized handholds with rubberised grips for a reliable hold. The larger handholds allow for a solid grip even when using work gloves. Likewise, the ends are fitted with removable end caps for an even better grip on walls and floors without leaving scratches. Accuracy remains the same at 0.5mm/m in the normal position and 0.75 in the overhead.

What I like about it:

  • Stronger, longer ribbed frame
  • Anti-slip, anti scratch wall pads at the ends
  • Larger handholds for working with gloves

3. STACO 32032 Spirit Level


Originally designed and developed in Denmark, STACO is infamous for their innovative, ergonomic and environmental designs. That’s why their 2000mm spirit level has become a common household hand tool for both home projects and professional use as well. The STACO 32032 Spirit Level is a brown, wooden-looking level with the bells and whistles that make up a high end level.

But don’t be fooled by the wooden look; this level is actually made of UV resistance, shockproof aluminium. In addition to the middle horizontal vial, there are two more vertical vials at the side. Like the best spirit levels on this list, the tolerance is at 0.5mm/m. You’ll also notice some special caps at the end. These not only protect your wall for flush measurements, they also absorb shock to safeguard the level against falls.

What I like about it:

  • Shockproof aluminium construction
  • 3 vials with high accuracy measurements
  • UV resistant frame with shock absorbing ends

4. STANLEY FATMAX Pro Box Beam Level


Designed to be consistent, reliable and highly accurate, the STANLEY FATMAX Pro Box Beam Level boasts of extra strength construction that is ideal for working in demanding, hazard-packed sites. Thanks to a 4-foot length, the Pro Box Beam is ideal for general building and bricklaying. In addition to rock solid construction, this level is dual machine levelled making its accuracy true and durable.

The Beam Level from Stanley measures accurately to within 0.5mm/m. Similarly, the 3 solid block acrylic vials are machined to exact tolerances guaranteeing smooth, quick bubble movements. They are also magnified by 20% for improved, all round visibility. Users will also appreciate the bi material hand grips that offer a secure and comfortable grip on the level.

What I like about it:

  • Rock solid box beam construction (5 times stronger than regular levels)
  • 20% magnification on vials
  • Can be used in up to 8 different orientations

5. Draper 79579 Torpedo Spirit Level


If there’s one thing that Draper’s good at, it’s constructing high quality hand tools whose price and quality can be appreciated by both professionals and DIYers alike. Introducing our budget model of the day, the Draper 79579 Torpedo Spirit Level is a small, handy accessory for taking quick and simple measurements.

This affordable spirit level comes in all plastic construction; so you might want to be careful not to expose it to tough conditions. However, the vials themselves are unbreakable and offer all round reading. There are three vials – a vertical, horizontal, and a special vial that rests at a 45 degree angle in case you want to create an even pitch. The level has an accuracy of 1.75mm/m in the standard position. In addition to the protective rubber end caps, there’s also a hanging hole for convenient storage.

What I like about it:

  • Budget friendly price
  • Ultra light plastic construction
  • Special vial for 45 degree measurements

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How to use a spirit level?

A spirit level is used to measure horizontal and vertical levels, and is an invaluable tool when doing any type of DIY.

In order to measure accurately, your spirit level must be placed in the centre of a firm, horizontal surface. You are watching for the bubble inside the spirit level to sit in between the two marks on its tube – this will show you that the surface is level.

If the bubble sits on the right of the marks, the thing you are measuring needs to be moved to the left. If the bubble sits to the left of the marks, your measuring surface needs to be moved to the right.

A bigger and longer spirit level is more accurate and easier to use than a smaller one.

Q: What liquid is in a spirit level?

Spirit level liquid is usually alcohol such as Ethanol, or another coloured spirit. The vial is not completely filled, as this is what allows the bubble that is used to measure surfaces. Colourants such as Flourescein are often added to increase the visibility of the bubble.

Q: How to check a spirit level for accuracy?

  1. Place your level on a flat surface and check that the bubble is bang in the middle of the two marks.
  2. Draw a line around the level, and mark around the bubble with pencil.
  3. Next, turn the level end to end and place it back down on the flat surface.
  4. Check the level of the bubble again, and if it is in the same pace then your level is reading accurately.

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