A spirit level is one of those tools that you don't realise how important it is to have until you need to use it. Whether you have some home improvements planned or you're just looking to hang some shelves or even build some furniture, you'll want to make sure everything is nice and level. From bricklayers, carpenters and tradesmen to the average Joe, a reliable spirit level is a key part of any tool kit.
We've put together a list of the best and most accurate spirit levels you can buy online from Amazon, Halfords and eBay, so you can pick the right choice from the comfort of your own home. Featuring sets and singles from some of the best brands in the business like Stanley, Bosch and Draper, take a look down below to find the perfect spirit level for you.
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All spirit levels contain vials that are partly filled with a liquid, such as a coloured spirit or alcohol, which leave an air bubble inside. When the level is placed on a surface, this bubble rises to the highest point in the vial meaning that when a surface is level, the bubble will be in the centre. This is usually indicated by two lines or a circle.
You'll want to place the level at the centre of whatever it is you're measuring, whether that's on top of a worktop or against the side of a bracket or beam. If the bubble is too far to one side or the other of the vial, you'll be able to adjust the angle of the surface until it is in the middle.
While there aren't many drastically different shapes of spirit level, there are plenty of different sizes to choose from. Our buying guide is here to help you find the right choice for whatever project you have in mind, because a spirit level is something you just can't do without!
One of the first things to consider when looking at spirit levels is the vials, as they're the most important thing to get right when choosing a suitable option. Most will have at least two vials, for horizontal and vertical (plumb) measurement, but many also have a third in order to measure either a fixed or adjustable angle.
If you're working in a low-light environment, you may also want to consider luminous or reflective qualities in the liquid or a magnifying lens over the vial itself. The quality of the vials will have an impact on how accurate the spirit level is, which is as crucial when putting up shelves as it is in construction.
Depending on the job, the accuracy of the level can be important. For many household tasks, you may not need something extremely accurate as it won't matter if a bookshelf or picture frame is a millimetre out. For DIY or professional construction, however, those small increments can prevent doors from hanging correctly in frames or windows lining up properly.
You'll want to look out for how accurate a spirit level is by checking its margin of error. The best levels are accurate to +/- 0.5mm/m, which simply means they have been tested to make sure they're never more than half a millimetre out.
Next, you'll want to make sure that your level is long enough to be able to measure whatever it is you're constructing. Spirit levels come in many different sizes ranging from 6 inches to 6 feet, depending on the job they're suitable for. You may need a few different-sized levels for a project, so it's worth thinking about any tight spaces or measurements over large gaps you may encounter.
There are, however, some specialist shorter levels that have their own set of properties. A torpedo level is used for tight spaces and, as well as only usually being around 30 cm long, also has a central vial that is readable from the top rather than a traditional flat edge. They also often have magnets to attach to metal surfaces and a third angled vial.
Pocket levels are extremely short, and as their name suggests, they are small enough to slip into a trouser pocket. The most unique type is the bull's eye, which is used to make sure worktops and desks are level. If you're looking for something for furniture, pictures and other things around the home, these are a great option to consider.
Lastly, there are a few extra quality of life features that may be worth looking out for as you choose between spirit levels. We've already mentioned that some types of level have magnets attached, so if you're working with metal, consider these. Another handy feature is holes for you to be able to hook up your level when not in use.
Shock absorption, or other protective features, are also well worth having if you're taking on building work or working at height. Most levels designed for building sites and professional work will be durable enough to take a few bumps and drops.
Click to purchase
Professional Spirit Level｜1600A016BN
The Overall Best for All of Your Projects
Xtreme Torpedo Level｜0-43-609
This Small Package Has It All
A Hidden Gem From a Professional Brand
Torpedo Spirit Level｜79579
Just Edges the Stanley Due to Accuracy and Price
Shockproof Torpedo Level｜0-43-511
Great Value From a Brand Leader
Spear & Jackson
Not Just a Novelty
FatMax Beam Level｜XTHT1-42131
An Extremely Sturdy Choice That's Great for the Building Site
Bull's Eye Level
Something Unique for 360-Degree Levelling
Bag Set With Pro Levels｜OX-P028603
The Perfect Level Set for Budding Professionals
Alloy Spirit Level｜54465
A Good Size for a Bargain Price
The Bosch Professional is our pick for the best spirit level available online today as it's simply a high-quality, accurate tool that's easy to read and available at what we think is a very competitive price.
Whether you're a professional, like the name suggests, or an avid DIY-er, investing in this feature-packed option will be money well spent. It's also available in a 120 mm variety if you need something a little longer.
The only thing keeping the Xtreme Torpedo off the top spot is its slightly peculiar shape – everything else about this level is top-notch. It features incredibly accurate vials that are visible from every angle as well as a lightweight and compact design.
The standout feature, however, is the adjustable angled vial, which allows you to precisely check any angled beams, archways or brackets. For a price point of around £15, you won't find a more useful level for your toolbox anywhere.
You'd be forgiven for not having heard of Hilka, but their tools have been sold in the UK for over 50 years. Their spirit levels are incredibly accurate and extremely cheap for the professional standard that they are.
The two large handles make working overhead, or at height, feel extra secure. You really will not be disappointed with this level, and we can't sing Hilka's praises any louder; they deserve to be a household name.
Similar in many ways to the Stanley Torpedo, this offering from Draper just edges it in our list because of a slightly lower price point and a tangible accuracy certification. It may not be quite precise enough for serious construction, but it is more than sufficient for work around the home.
Picking between these two budget Torpedo options may come down to the branding as they share many features, including ABS protection, magnetic plates, and v-grooves among others. For our money, we'd opt for the Draper at the budget level, but they're very close.
With high-visibility vials and shockproof rubber ends, the Stanley Torpedo is the perfect choice for any home improvement or DIY projects. At such a low price, it's also a fantastic option to pick up and have handy in the garage or home just in case.
While the accuracy isn't certified, a large majority of customers who have bought this level have reported it to be extremely accurate. The magnetic plate and v-shaped groove make it great for any metallic or cylindrical objects.
This may look like a fun little novelty item, but this pocket level from Spear & Jackson is actually an incredibly useful piece of kit for checking the levels of lots of different surfaces quickly. It's also inexpensive and handy to have around the home for levelling things like tables and desks.
The fact that it's small is also its main disadvantage, as you're unable to measure any gaps or draw along a straight edge to mark wall fixtures. This one is worth picking up if you already have access to a longer level.
If you're working in an environment where you expect your level may see its fair share of bumps, bangs or falls, then the Stanley FatMax is the choice for you. Thanks to its extra strength cross-section design, this will take everything a busy building site can throw at it.
For home use, however, it might be a bit of an overkill. There's little sense in paying a premium for a feature that you won't get any use out of! Still, if you're happy to spend a bit extra to ensure you'll have a long-lasting and durable level, this is a great choice.
This bull's eye level is something different to the rest of the options on our list. Its biggest draw is that it makes quick work of adjusting certain surfaces, such as when you're adjusting the legs of a desk to ensure the tabletop is even.
It is something of a novelty, however, as the same results can be achieved with a traditional spirit level only with a little more time. It's also a little expensive for what you get in our opinion, so you may feel your money is better spent elsewhere.
If you're a trainee, apprentice, or freelance professional looking to get set up with all the right tools, then investing in this three-piece set from OX Tools could be a worthwhile investment. Whether you're a landscaper, bricklayer or general handyman, these are a great set of levels that also come in a durable case.
Obviously, these are a premium product and we understand that spending over £150 on some spirit levels isn't going to be what everyone has in mind. It may be a little steep for those starting out, but if you can afford them, they're well worth it.
This spirit level from Rolson is probably the closest thing you'll get to a basic, or standard, option. While it doesn't come packed with features or extras, its good size makes it a handy option for shelving or other bulkier work you may encounter in the home.
The big plus is the price point, as you're unlikely to find many lengthier levels for under £10. The straight edge makes it great for planning any wall fixtures and suchlike, but it isn't suitable for any serious construction work.
Aside from spirit levels, there are numerous other tools and accessories you'll need to get your DIY projects done safely and efficiently. We've rounded up buying guides for three more must-haves below to help you sort through the best of the bunch!
Every tool shed, garage or bag should have a good spirit level. Whether you have a specific project in mind or you're just looking for something to have handy around the house, hopefully, our article has been able to point you towards something suitable for all your needs.
Author: David Sexton
No. 1: Bosch｜Professional Spirit Level｜1600A016BN
No. 2: Stanley｜Xtreme Torpedo Level｜0-43-609
No. 3: Hilka｜Spirit Level｜63505036
No. 4: Draper｜Torpedo Spirit Level｜79579
No. 5: Stanley｜Shockproof Torpedo Level｜0-43-511
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