A spirit level is the name of a tool that tilers use to help them make a decision as to whether a surface is level or plumb (or horizontal or vertical). The use of the word spirit is also a reference to the liquid, usually coloured, that is inside of the glass vials to help with the level measurement reading. This is known as bubble level, a reference to the air bubble that is stuck inside of the vials.

There are a number of different spirit level types that are available on the market today. There are different colours, designs, materials, brands and even shapes of spirit levels and while the majority should be able carry out at least a basic job, it is still very important to make sure you have chosen the right spirit level to ensure accurate readings for many years to come.

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There are three key questions users should ask before they commit to purchasing a spirit level.

1 Is it easy to read the measurements on a spirit level?

To make sure that work is properly levelled a lot of time has to be spent examining the small spirit vial that has the bubble shaped like a barrel, which is the spirit level’s most important component. A good spirit level should come with vials that feature magnified glasses for the sake of making readings easier and more accurate, enabling the measurements and levels to be read from a number of different angles.

The accuracy level of the best spirit levels is around + or – 0.55mm/m. The majority of reputable spirit level manufacturers will have this information featured online with some – like BMI spirit levels – even have their measurement accuracy printed on their products. Checking the accuracy should be done prior to purchase.

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2 Is the spirit level highly durable?

Durability is important if purchasing a spirit level that is intended to be used over many years, but can also be a factor in its measurement accuracy. This is particularly the case with longer spirit levels that are at a much greater risk of being warped or bent, which would very much have an impact on their accuracy.

While there are some very high quality plastic spirit levels on the market, aluminium spirit levels are still highly recommended for their durability, strength and overall ease of handling.

There are even spirit levels that ensure their durability and longevity by coming with rubber end-caps for the purpose of shock absorption.

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3 Are there any other factors that should be considered?

It is important to choose the right tool for any job. Shorter spirit levels are better for tasks that need to be carried out in small spaces, while longer spirit levels are recommended for superior accuracy over longer distances. Extra glass vials with spirit levels, especially longer ones, allow for easy readings from a variety of angles.

Spirit levels are generally considered to be one of the most important tools in any tiler’s toolbox because it helps to make sure that a project has been properly finished.

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