Builders Level vs Transit Level – What’s The Difference?

When it comes to building, making sure that the workspace you’re in is level is paramount.

It helps with the construction, laying the finish, and everything in between.

There are different types of levels available, but the most basic is the builders level and the transit level.

What’s a Builders Level?

A builders level, also known as a “dumpy” level, is an optical instrument used in construction to check elevations and set up level points. It’s usually used in building and surveying but can also be used for transferring, setting, or measuring horizontal levels.

It’s essentially a telescope on a tripod that can move around in 360° around its axis.

It needs to be manually leveled, and the tripod legs set firmly into the ground.

Cheap to acquire, easy to use, it’s one of the first things small construction companies, DIY enthusiasts, or guys with a summer project pick up.

Peeking through the telescope will help you make sure the object you’re inspecting is at the same elevation as the tripod itself.

What’s a Transit Level?

A transit level is much like a builders level except with one small adjustment.

Instead of only being able to move in a 360° around its axis, it also is able to elevate itself 45° directly upwards or downwards.

While still a cheap piece of equipment, it’s still slightly more costly than a simple Builders Level.

It’s heavier too and isn’t quite as simple to set up, with needing manual adjustments for leveling in both vertically and horizontally.

Difference Between Builders Level & Transit

2 people required with an optical instrument

The builders and transit levels are identical devices, with the transit level being the one capable of some vertical movement as well.

They’re both cheap and easy to use, introduction-level construction equipment.

However, because of their optical nature, they require two people to use. One person needs to do the reading, and the other by the object doing any sort of adjustment, unless, of course, you’re only surveying.

Which one is good for you?

This could depend on a lot of things, from your own personal experience to your budget to your actual project. As an estimate, a builders level costs little over $200 at different outlets, and the transit level is a further $60 on top of that.

They are both, however, very easy to use devices but do require the assistance of a second person if you’re going to do any sort of adjustments or marking on the object you’re trying to level.

Related Guides

Rotary laser levels for grading

Reader Interactions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *