By: Fix-It Club

A larger level will help you to measure true horizontal and vertical for an object.
A larger level will help you to measure true horizontal and vertical for an object.

Levels are secondary household tools, not in everyone's toolbox. However, they are handy for many small jobs, relatively inexpensive, and easy to use.


What a Level Does

A level indicates the horizontal plane. With a bubble of air inside a vial of encased liquid, the level shows when its frame is exactly horizontal with the earth's surface, called "level." Longer levels typically have additional vials turned perpendicular so the tool can measure vertical "plumb."

Builders typically use longer levels, measuring 2-, 4-, or 6-feet in length. Homeowners and renters usually prefer levels that are 2-foot or shorter in length. A 6-inch level is useful for leveling smaller picture frames on walls. Small 2-inch square levels are used in recreational vehicles to ensure that major appliances are level before operation.

How to Safely Use a Level

Levels are simple in operation. Place the level's frame on the object to be leveled (horizontal) or plumbed (vertical). Move the object until the bubble is in the center of the vial, typically marked. That's it.

If working with a longer level, be careful when carrying or using it to ensure that the vials are not damaged. Most modern level vials are made of plastic.

How to Maintain a Level

Make sure that the vials are not damaged. If broken, replace the entire level rather than just the vial. Longer levels typically have a hole on the end so they can be hung up for protection.

Tools Related to the Level

Other handy leveling devices include the square, especially the combination square with a leveling vial.


Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Home Repair Tools: Whether you prefer to use the Yellow Pages for anything that needs fixing around the house or consider yourself a regular do-it-yourselfer, there are a handful of tools that everyone should have in their tool box. Learn all about them in this article.
  • Measuring and Marking Tools: Find out which tools come in handy when calculating sizes and marking off placement in certain home improvement jobs on this page.
  • Square: The main job of a square is to ensure something is perpendicular to something else. A combination square can even assist with leveling objects. Learn more about this useful hand tool here.