Success at your job site depends on the details, and that includes getting an accurate reading from your level. If your level is off, even by a small amount, it could lead to larger errors throughout your build. If your level has been dropped or roughed up on a job site, it could have lost its accuracy and might need to be replaced.
Thankfully, checking a box beam level for accuracy is quick and easy. Follow the steps below to test your level, so you can make measurements on your next projects with confidence.
What You’ll Need for Your Level Accuracy Test
To check the accuracy of a box beam level, you’ll need a flat surface that’s longer than the level you’re using.
Grab a pencil or a piece of chalk to get the most accurate reading possible. Place your level on the exact same spot twice when you are checking the level’s accuracy. To make sure it’s in the exact same spot: make a pencil or chalk mark at one end of the level going around one of the corners.
Testing Your Level
Once you place your level on the surface, take a reading. Place the level on a flat surface and check the position of the bubble vial.
(With a single measuring surface, like on Keson box beam levels, you can easily tell which side of the level to place on your testing area, indicated by its single milled surface, shown in the image above.)
In the example to the left, you can see that the bubble vial is not 100% in the middle; instead, it’s on the right edge of the FOCUS vial. This means the table isn’t perfectly level, but that’s okay. Take note of where the bubble lies in relation to the rings or, on the FOCUS vial, the green shaded areas.
Then, rotate the level horizontally (180 degrees) and place it in the same location on the flat surface. This is where marking the edge of the level comes in handy. You can ensure the level lines up against the pencil or chalk line once it’s rotated.
If the air bubble is in the same position in the vial in both the first and second readings, the level is accurate. If the bubble is in a different spot in the second reading, then the level is not accurate and should be replaced. Check it again before replacing.
Testing for Plumb Accuracy
You can perform a similar test to check that your level gives you an accurate plumb reading. Hold the level up against a door frame, take note of the bubble location, then flip it vertically 180 degrees and check for plumb again. If the bubble stays in the same location, your level is accurate. If not, it’s time for a replacement.
It helps to have a level that will make it easier to see the bubble, such as the FOCUS vial technology featured in Keson box beam levels, which has 20% magnification for faster, more accurate level readings.
Solutions for Measuring With Confidence
You’ll want to use a level that’s tested for quality and accuracy, so you’re not second-guessing your measurements throughout a project or installation. With maximum deviations of less than 0.3 mm in standard position and less than 0.5 mm in inverted position, box beam levels like the SOLA Big Red are hard to beat when it comes to accuracy.
Keson recently partnered with SOLA as the North American partner of SOLA levels.
“Our team could not be more excited,” says Aaron Nosek, President of Keson LLC. “We are excited to supply world-class levels for construction to our distributors and end-users.”
In fact, in an independent study, given a choice between SOLA’s FOCUS vial technology and a traditional ring vial, over 80% of professionals preferred the FOCUS.
Don’t Second Guess Your Measurements
Builders can feel confident about their project’s success when selecting high-quality levels. Look for features like quality vial mounting, which ensures the vials will stand up over time and can compensate for temperature changes. Levels with a heavy profile weight can also help to guarantee that on-the-job accidents or drops don’t mess with its performance.
Accurate tools are a big part of what makes your job successful. You need to rely on your tools to perform perfectly every time you use them, so run an accuracy test to check your level after any falls or hard knocks.
Learn more about Keson’s alliance with SOLA and their superior-quality levels here.
Prefer to learn from a video? Follow along with this instructional video to learn how to ensure your level’s accuracy.