A Buyers Guide to Levels

Guide to Levels

In this guide you will find the following information:

  1. Factors to Consider When Choosing the Right Level
  2. Types of Levels
  3. Level Brands
  4. What level accessories will you need?
  5. What is a level? 
  6. Levels: To Buy or Hire? 

We hope our guide to levels helps you make the right decision!

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1. Factors to Consider When Choosing the Right Level

A Buyers Guide to Levels - One Point Survey - A Buyers Guide to Levels

There are many different levels available so there is a lot to consider when trying to choose the right one for you. Here are some things to consider:

  • Accuracy: Levels are more accurate than other tools but some more so than others. If you require ultimate accuracy, you should consider a Precise Level. A precise level makes use of a parallel plate micrometer which is placed in front of the lens allowing small alterations to the image of the bar-coded staff. This allows for extremely high levels of accuracy.
  • Manual vs Auto: Some levels will ‘auto-level’, meaning it will do all the hard work for you! Others require you to do it manually. If you would prefer an automatic level you should consider a Dumpy Level.
  • Price: Levels can be expensive but there are plenty of options for those on a budget. If you do require something more affordable check out the Leica NA320 Automatic Level! The NA320 is perfect for every day levelling tasks combining accuracy and simplicity.

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2. Types of Levels

There are a variety of levels available, all with different qualities suited to specific needs and applications.

Types of levels include:

Dumpy Levels

A Buyers Guide to Levels - One Point Survey - A Buyers Guide to Levels

Dumpy levels, also known as automatic levels are an optical instrument used to set horizontal levels and are a tried and trusted member of any construction team.

The operator must look through the optical eyepiece to measure against a staff or tape measure placed at the point being measured. This site levelling technique is particularly useful to surveyors during site surveys as well as a whole host of other uses within the construction industry.

When operating a dumpy level, you must ensure that the level is securely placed, preferably on a tripod, and that the bubble is level. This can be adjusted using the levelling screws. Next you must sight the instrument by looking through the eyepiece and focusing on the staff or tape measure at your chosen point of measurement.

A decent dumpy level should auto-level to a certain degree although it is worth checking the instrument to see that this is working as expected.

Our recommended dumpy levels are the Leica NA700 Range which offers high performance at an affordable price. This range is extremely hard wearing in all site conditions. Different magnification levels are available throughout the range to cater for your exact needs.

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Best Dumpy Level

Leica NA700 dumpy laser levels  - A Buyers Guide to Levels

Winner: Leica NA700 Range

A fantastic range that offers great features at an affordable price. The Leica NA730 Plus, in particular, is considered the most reliable and durable level on the market with 30x telescopic magnification

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Precise Level

A Buyers Guide to Levels - One Point Survey - A Buyers Guide to Levels

A precise level makes use of a parallel plate micrometer which is placed in front of the lens allowing small alterations to the image of the bar-coded staff. This allows for extremely high levels of accuracy.

Precise levels can perform a huge number of surveying jobs including: -

  • Levelling of all types
  • Heighting for construction of roads, railways, pipelines, tunnels, etc.
  • Setting out work
  • Area levelling to high accuracy
  • Deformation measurement and monitoring of bridges

We recommend the Leica NA2 Precise Level. This universal level meets all requirements of precision levelling! We also have all of the optional extras you may require including the Leica GPM3 Parallel Plate Micrometer, the Leica FOK73 Eyepiece, the Leica GPLE2N Nedo Invar Staff and much more.

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Best Precise Level

Leica NA2 levels - A Buyers Guide to Levels

Winner: Leica NA2 Precise Level

Leica NA2 is a universal automatic level which meets all the requirements of precision levelling even in extreme conditions.

It is perfect for all surveying task thanks to its high levels of precision and efficiency when doing routine levelling task on building sites and for its accurate geodetic control and engineering projects. 

The heavy-duty Leica GST20 Wooden Tripod can be used with the Leica NA2. 

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Digital Levels

A buyers guide to levels - one point survey - A Buyers Guide to Levels

A digital level is an instrument that can be used to perform advanced levelling work, automatic height calculations and basic construction work.

It uses gravity as its reference point and reads bar-code scales from a bar-coded staff to capture extremely accurate readings.

Measurements from the bar-coded staff are automatically displayed and/or stored for your convenience and for future reference.

We recommend the Leica Sprinter 150M Digital Levelthe perfect tool for advanced construction levelling tasks. Store up to 1’000 measurements, download and transfer them for further calculations to Excel® to a PC via USB and much more!

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Best Digital Level

Leica sprinter 150M digital level available at one point survey - A Buyers Guide to Levels.

Winner: Leica Sprinter 150M Digital Level

Measurements have never been so easy to perform with the Leica Sprinter 150 - allowing you to perform your job quickly & efficiently, perfect for advanced construction levelling tasks! Optional extras include the Leica GEV267 Data Transfer Cable and much more.

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3. Level Brands

Leica Levels

A Buyers Guide to Levels - One Point Survey - A Buyers Guide to Levels

Leica Geosystems are market leaders in the production of high standard survey equipment. 

With almost 200 years of experience in the art of capturing, analysing and displaying spatial information, Leica Geosystems have produced the most complete range of products; whatever your needs.

Leica Digital Levels and Precise Levels are designed with more precision and accuracy in mind. These products were built for more advanced surveying tasks that require accuracy over large distances.

Some top selling Leica levels to consider include:

  • Leica LS10 Digital Level: The new Leica LS digital levels range replace the popular Leica DNA03 and DNA10 digital levels. Although pricey it is more than worth it with the range of high quality features it offers, such as: Highest accuracy level, digital camera aiming, auto focus efficiency and much more! The Leica LS10 eliminates common levelling errors such as misreadings and transcription errors ensuring the user peace of mind and minimising mistakes and unforseen costs. 
  • Leica NA720 Automatic Level: This level is built for builders, engineers & surveyors! Nothing stops this level; a short drop to the ground, a fall into water, vibration from machinery – the NA720 keeps going! That along with excellent features & an affordable price makes this tool a must have!
  • Leica NA2 Precise Level:This level offers brilliant & efficient features such as a push button compensator check, top class optics & much more!


Topcon Levels

A Buyers guide to levels - one point survey - A Buyers Guide to Levels

Another well-known market provider is Topcon. They supply and provide mature, easy to use, feature rich and versatile tools.

Their lasers are highly refined and designed to assure you are getting the best and most accurate results every time.

Topcon offers the AT-B4 Site Level. Thanks to the finely tuned auto-collimation system, the Topcon ATB4 autolevel is an ideal device for determining height differentials on busy and noisy job sites! We have this available for hire or purchase as well as our convenient calibration and repair service to help guarantee optimum long-term performance.


4. What Level Accessories Will I Need?

A Buyers guide to levels: One point survey  - A Buyers Guide to Levels
  • Tripod – These are useful tools to have in the levelling world. It can help to provide a stable and level flooring, making results more accurate. The Leica CTP104 Aluminium Tripod is a high quality and affordable tripod to consider.
  • Levelling Staff – Ranging from E-type, bar coded, standard invar & industrial invar, there are many levelling staffs to choose from to assist you with levelling. Our NEDO Fibreglass Levelling Staff is especially sturdy and durable and is ideal for levelling close to power lines and railways.
  • Levelling Plates: These plates can enhance the accuracy of a level – we can provide the Leica GPM3 Parallel Plate Micrometer which can be used with the Leica NA2 & NAK2 Precise Levels.
  • Eye Piece: Level eye pieces can improve magnification on levels without having to pay more for a newer tool! If you own a NA2 or NAK2 Precise level, we offer the Leica FOK73 Eyepiece which is designed to work specifically with those levels!

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5. What is a Level?

A Buyers Guide to Levels - One Point Survey - A Buyers Guide to Levels

Levels are used in the building & surveying industries to set up level points & check elevations.

Generally, a level consists of a telescope, a level & usually a tripod for mounting.

There are a wide range of different levels that can be used for a variety of different applications, such as:

  • Levelling & Settlement Determinations on Buildings
  • Heighting for construction of roads, railways, pipelines and more.
  • Area Levelling
Visit our levels page to find out more!

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6. Levels: To Buy or Hire?

A Buyers Guide To Levels - One Point Survey -  - A Buyers Guide to Levels

Deciding you want or need a level is the first step, next you will need to decide whether buying or hiring is best for you. It all depends on what you’ll be using the level for, how often you will use it and how many you may need.

Buying a level outright can be ideal for those customers who know they will be using it regularly, especially as some levels can be relatively inexpensive.

If you only need it for limited use, it would be wise to consider hiring!

Read more about the pros & cons of both buying & hiring in our guide!

Buying vs Hiring »

Contact Us

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If you have any queries feel free to contact us.

One of our experienced team will be happy to help

Email: info@onepointsurvey.com

Phone: 0800 633 5131

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