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A torpedo level is an indispensable tool for professionals, DIYers, and homeowners alike.
Whether you’re installing conduit or just trying to hang a picture correctly, a torpedo level gets the job done accurately.
There are a lot of options out there to choose from. First, we’re going to spend some time telling you all about our favorites. Then, stick around to learn a little more about the important features of torpedo levels and what to look for to find the right one for you.
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The Best Torpedo Level with Reviews
Below is a list of the best torpedo levels we found on the market today. Let us know if you think any other products should make the list!
1. Stabila 25100 Die-Cast Rare Earth Magnetic Torpedo Level
Not so Good
The Stabila 25100 wins the best torpedo level for us, and if you’re a professional that uses one on a regular basis then then should be a serious contender for you.
First of all it has a super strong and heavy duty frame thanks for the die cast metal it is made from. It’s built to last a lifetime and hopefully a level you won’t ever have to replace.
The quality is backed by many users who have bought and used this over a period of time which further backs it up.
It’s on the higher end of price compared to other models, but it’s construction, reliable name and the fact it’s made in Germany all justify the price the tag – well worth the investment.
2. Empire EM71.8 Professional Torpedo Level
Not so Good
The best value torpedo level award goes to the Empire EM71.8 Professional True Blue Magnetic Box Level.
Aesthetically, it is one of the best models we have seen. However it not only looks good but it feels quality too. The aluminum chassis gives this level a heavy duty feel that also provides durability.
The 4 vials on this level are super accurate too, thanks to the patented system “True Blue”, which makes it accurate to within .0005 in per inch in all working positions.
3. Stanley 43-511 Torpedo Level
Not so Good
If you’re looking for a simple, inexpensive torpedo level that has a decent amount of features, check out this one from Stanley. Stanley is a well-known brand when it comes to tools so its no surprise they made a torpedo level that’s both effective and inexpensive.
The case is made of durable, high impact ABS plastic that can really take a beating which is why this level also comes with a lifetime warranty. It has three vials for 0, 45, and 90 degree measurements and a top reading feature for improved visibility. And here’s something you might not expect in an inexpensive level like this: it has a magnetic strip for convenient use with metals.
The Stanley 43-511 torpedo level is an awesome product for a super affordable price. If you’re looking for something to use around the house for jobs like hanging pictures or shelves, this is a great one to add to your tool box.
4. Sola MM Cast Aluminum Magnetic Torpedo Level
Not so Good
Next up is another great torpedo level from Sola. This one has a cast aluminum frame that’s super durable and lightweight. It’s strong enough for every day use and can even tolerate drastic temperatures.
One of the most unique things about it is the three vials are each magnified 30% for more precise readings. If you have a hard time seeing from a distance or just want vials that are easier to read, this is a great option. That’s not all, the vials are also UV protected so they won’t fade. Plus, they glow in the dark for better accuracy in low light.
The red frame is made of cast aluminum. The working surface has a V-groove as well as super strong magnets for attaching steel tubes and frames with better accuracy.
The durable cast aluminum torpedo level from Sola is a great choice if you want to invest in something that will last a long time. The magnified vials make it really easy to read plus they glow in the dark and won’t fade in the sun. Plus, the V-groove and magnet are great for working with pipe, conduit, and metal.
5. Dewalt DWHT43003 Torpedo Level
Not so Good
Dewalt is a well-known brand when it comes to tools so it’s no surprise that they also make an awesome torpedo level. One of the best things about this level is how durable it is. The body is made from lightweight extruded aluminum which is durable in and of itself. But for extra protection, it has over-molded rubber end caps for shock resistance and added protection.
There are two vials for leveling plus an angle finder that rotates so you can identify and match angles in all your projects. That’s not all, the center vial is magnified plus the top and bottom surfaces are milled to provide a more stable base which gives this level outstanding accuracy.
The Dewalt DWHT43003 is a pretty basic level as far as form and function but it’s made really tough and can withstand some abuse. Plus, it’s extremely accurate and a good pick for a solid performer to use around your house or workshop.
6. Klein Tools Torpedo Level
Not so Good
Klein’s Billet Aluminum Torpedo level has a precision ground level surface to increase accuracy. The lightweight aluminum frame is extremely durable and has a V-groove to easily accommodate pipe and conduit. We also really like the bright orange color.
It’s really easy to spot in your tool bag or on your work bench because it doesn’t blend in with anything else. As for the vials, there are four. They’re large, easy to read, and actually light up so you can see them in low light.
There’s even a large top-view window so you can see the readings from multiple angles. A tapered nose design makes it easy to slip this into your pocket so you always have it with you on the job.
This reliable, fairly priced torpedo level from Klein was built to last and is really convenient to use. Large vials and a top-view window let you get measurements from just about any angle. There’s even a thumb screw for broader applications.
7. Empire Level 841.6
Not so Good
Our next torpedo level is from Empire. The bright blue frame is made of anodized aluminum alloy which provides significant strength and durability without excess weight. Not only does this make it easy to find in your toolbox or workshop, it’s also easy to spot when you’re using it for conduit or pipe installation.
This torpedo level also has powerful magnets for a strong, solid hold. That’s not all, it also has a V-groove to make pipe and conduit positioning easy. There are four vials which display 0, 30, 45, and 90 degrees. These vials are bright, clearly marked, and easy to read. Plus, this level also has a thumb screw that allows a wider variety of applications.
The Empire Level 841.6 is a durable, compact level that’s a good choice for any handy man’s tool box. It’s reasonably priced and has a V-groove and thumb screw for a better range of applications.
8. Stabila Torpedo Level
Not so Good
Stabila is a well-known brand when it comes to levels and this torpedo level really demonstrates why. It’s made of durable aluminum and has a magnetic base for added stability. There are two vials for leveling, 0 and 90 degrees so you can make sure everything is positioned right vertically and horizontally. Plus, it has an adjustable vial to use as an angle finder.
It looks like a regular vial only it rotates by turning a dial. There are markings around the dial that you can set from 0 to 90 degrees either left and right. This let’s you choose the angle you want for whatever job you’re doing. Stabila offers a lifetime warranty on this tool and maintains that the fixed vials won’t fog, leak, or lose accuracy.
This Stabile torpedo level is a perfect choice for someone who uses a level like this frequently and requires precision accuracy. The adjustable vial makes this a versatile tool that can do just about anything you need a level for. It’s a tough, reliable level that would make a great addition to any workspace.
9. Empire True Blue
Not so Good
This torpedo level from Empire is really easy to read. The vials are designed to highlight the meniscus of the bubble. Plus, the the vials are designed for increased readability and there’s a top-view window so you can read it from just about any angle.
It’s equipped with magnets so you can work hands free with metal surfaces. Plus, the ABS plastic with reinforced aluminum rails makes it durable and lightweight and extends the life of the tool. There’s also a V-groove edge which makes this a good choice for anyone working with pipe or conduit.
The Empire True Blue torpedo level is a small, handy tool to have in your home. It’s perfect for hanging photographs or shelves and durable enough that it comes with a lifetime guarantee.
10. Digi-Pas DWL280PRO
Not so Good
The Digi-Pas DWL280PRO is different than anything we’ve seen so far. What makes it so special? It has an LED digital display that shows reading in degrees, In/Ft, mm/M, or % slope. The display automatically inverts is the level is turned upside down so you don’t need to worry about keeping it upright.
There are two vials, too, so you can use it as you would any other level, too. It’s waterproof as well as shock and freeze proof so you can use it outside even in freezing cold, wet weather. The body is made of durable ABS plastic with added rubber protection on the edges.
How to Choose the Right Torpedo Level
Here’s where we’ll tell you all the things you should consider to make sure you pick the perfect torpedo level for you and the type of jobs you typically do. As you probably noticed, there are a lot of differences between the products on our list and it helps to know what to look for.
What Is a Torpedo Level?
Before we get into the important features, let’s talk a little about what a torpedo level is. Basically, it’s a smaller version of a spirit level and it’s meant to be used in tight spaces. It gets its name from its long, thin torpedo-like shape. Some brands even have tapered edges and look even more like a torpedo, designed to easily slide the level into your pocket.
These levels are on the small side. In fact, all of the products on our list range from 5.5 to 10.3 inches long which is quite compact when compared to some of the large levels contractors typically use for big jobs. They all have at least two vials, that measure 0 degrees and 90 degrees, so you can make sure you work is level both horizontally and vertically. There are a lot of torpedo levels that have three or four vials, too. Technically, you only need two to make sure things are level and plumb but having a 30 and/or 45 degree vial gives you a little more flexibility.
Do You Need a Torpedo Level?
Every once in awhile, a tool comes along that everyone has a use for. A torpedo level is one of those tools. They’re great for plumbers, electricians, and carpenters, of course, but you’ll find countless ways to use one around the house. You can use it for simply hanging photos, putting up shelves, building flat pack furniture, or anything else you need a level for.
Basically, unless you’re a contractor who uses one every day, a torpedo level is one of those things that you don’t really think about until you need it. And that’s exactly why everyone should have one. They’re relatively inexpensive and will always come in handy. Keep it in your tool box or tucked into a kitchen drawer and the next time you have to hang something, you can do the job right.
One of the most interesting things about torpedo levels is, although they’re generally a pretty simple tool, there’s still a decent range available. Not all are created equal which is why it’s important to know what features to look for.
We touched on vials a little already but let’s get into the nitty gritty.
All vials are not made the same. For one thing, the material can be plastic, glass, or acrylic. Glass is typically the best choice for a few reasons. It’s tough and less likely to leak, crack, or fog over. Plus, if you’re looking for something that will last a long time, glass will hold up better in the long run. Look for shock proof vials that can take a bit of a beating. That way, they won’t break if accidentally dropped or if they’re banging around in a drawer or a tool box between uses.
Some companies use vials that are UV resistant. This is obviously really important if you do a lot of work outside. It means that the coloring in the liquid won’t fade and the material won’t be damaged by exposed to the sun. The level will last longer and its performance won’t suffer.
The vials are filled with liquid, most commonly diluted ethanol. There’s an air bubble that moves as you adjust the level which is how you read the angle. If you have trouble seeing the meniscus, or the edge of the bubble, there are some things you can look for to help. Most levels have a bright greenish yellow liquid filling the vials but some do attempt to make the bubble more apparent. You can also find levels that have glow-in-the-dark liquid in the vials which are great if you work in tight spaces or low light. There are some that comes equipped with LED lights, too.
Now, as for how many vials the level has, this varies a bit. You need at least two so you can measure both horizontally and vertically at the same time. These are sometimes called “level” and “plumb” and measure at 0 or 180 degrees and 90 degrees.
Some of the best torpedo levels provide other measurements, too, most commonly 30 and 45 degrees. This just adds some versatility to the level by giving you more angles to measure.
We included a few options that also have a rotating vial. If you need to measure a lot of different angles, this is the way to go. The vial is set into a dial that has markings for different angles. Simply turn the dial to the angle you need and the vial is automatically positioned. Is this a feature you need? Not necessarily. But if you ever do need it, this is a nice feature to have.
Another thing to look out for is how easily you can see the vials. Yes, they’re all visible when you’re looking at the level head on, but how often are you really looking directly at the front of the level when you’re working? That’s why some of these levels have openings in the top of the frame. All you have to do is look through the holes and you can see the vials easily from just about any angle.
While you might only be planning to use your torpedo level at home or in a small workshop, most of these were made to be able to handle working in more strenuous environments. When it comes to durability, the most important thing is the material of the frame.
Torpedo levels are most commonly made of ABS plastic or an aluminum alloy. Both of these materials are lightweight and durable but there are some differences. The biggest one is that plastic can be molded into just about any shape. Plastic is also not effected by heat or cold whereas aluminum will get hot and cold depending on the temperature of the environment. There really aren’t that many differences between the two but if you’re going to be working with you level outside, plastic has a bit of an edge over aluminum as it won’t be affected by the temperature. One more thing to consider is this: aluminum conducts electricity, plastic does not. So, plastic is also a better choice if you’re going to be doing electrical work.
There are some more rugged levels available that have rubber molding around the edges that adds a little more protection. These can tolerate banging around in a tool box or even being knocked off a table or thrown in a drawn.
It might not seem like color is very important but it is something to think about, especially if you’re using it in a crowded workshop or storing it in a cluttered tool box. A bright red or blue level stands out and is really easy to spot so you won’t waste a lot of time hunting about for it.
If you ever work with metal, get a torpedo level that’s equipped with magnets. It lets you use the level hands free and is one of the most convenient features you’ll find. Rare earth magnets are more powerful than strip magnets and are a more popular choice but strip magnets are still available, too.
You don’t really need a level with magnets if you don’t work with metal. Magnets attract metallic dust, especially if you use it in a workshop. This can actually cause problems if you use it on wood, drywall, or any material other than metal. It’s possible these small shards can scratch and damage any non-metal surface. If you do use a torpedo level with magnets on a non-metal surface, be sure to wipe away any debris before you get started.
A V-groove is basically a way to help you guide pipes and conduits into place quickly and accurately. It’s a pretty simple concept. One side of the level is shaped like a V. The material fits into the groove which gives you more control. As we said, typically this is conduit or pipe but it will work with anything round. It helps stabilize the material and makes the job easier and provides more stability. If you work with pipe or conduit regularly, a V-groove is a must-have feature.
Some torpedo levels are equipped with thumb screws which are essential if you’re working with conduit. The thumb screw attaches the level to a piece of conduit so you can use the level while bending. It comes in really handy for this specific job. If you aren’t planning to bend any conduit, the thumb screw isn’t necessary. That said, if you like everything about a torpedo and it just happens to have a thumb screw that you aren’t planning to use, it’s not going to get in the way.
We included one digital level on our product list but there are a lot of them out there. Digital torpedo levels are a perfect choice for anyone who has a hard time reading the measurements using vials. Usually, these levels have a large screen that displays the angle. Some even include other measurements, like inches per foot, millimeters per meter, or even slope. If you use a level a lot or if you’re the kind of person who loves gadget and like to have the newest tech, you’ll probably really appreciate a digital level. They are nice to use and perform well but, at the end of the day, they work just as well as as low-tech torpedo levels.
Torpedo levels comes with different warranties. Believe it of not, a lot of the products we included on our list actually come with a lifetime warranty. It’s usually a safe bet that any product that comes with a lifetime warranty is well made. That said, there are torpedo levels we found that come with warranties around one to three years that are well made, too.
The most important thing about any warranty, really, is to know what’s covered and what isn’t. That way, if anything ever goes wrong, you’ll know. One of the most common things that can go wrong with a torpedo level is the vials. Sometimes the leak or cloud over, which makes the level pretty useless. So, keep an eye out for any problems and make sure the vials are covered by the warranty.
Wrapping it up
There aren’t a lot of tools that are essential for everyone at every level, but a torpedo level is definitely one of them. Professional contractors use them all the time for various jobs but there are so many ways you can use this around the house.
As you can see from our reviews, there are a lot to choose from and, even though they all perform the same basic task, none of them are the same. If you’ve ever been hanging a framed photograph or putting up shelves and thought, “Man, I wish I had a level,” get one. Torpedo levels are small, lightweight, and even the highest end models are affordable.
Read through our product list to learn more about the best options available so you’ll have one the next time you wish you did.