Construction projects give us a deep sense of accomplishment. Building with an expert level of precision makes us feel even prouder of our work. Torpedo levels give us that extra precision we need to build professional grade projects. Whether you are hanging a portrait, installing a drain pipe, or building a set of stairs, torpedo levels are an essential tool for every project.
Using a torpedo level is incredibly easy but there are also some things to know before you buy one. Check out our top picks for the best torpedo levels on the market today, then read our buyer’s guide before you make your final choice on which torpedo level is right for you.
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In a rush? Here are our top picks!
If you’ve ever tried browsing for building supplies, you may have been struck by analysis paralysis. What features do I need? Is this one worth the extra $27? But my neighbor swears by this other brand!
Studies show that having more options to pick from isn’t always better. In fact, increased choices decrease our happiness as buyers. (source)
Picking the best tools can be exhausting, so we’re here to help. Here are the best torpedo levels on the market today.
Classic Torpedo Level
The CRAFTSMAN Torpedo Level is a classis styled torpedo level. It is so easy to use. The horizontal bubble indicator is directly in the center of the level and is magnified so you can really dial in the level.
Design is everything when it comes to products. CRAFTSMAN knows this which is why the center bubble is so prominent. This is the most commonly used indicator which is why many levels place it right in the middle. This is also made for your tool bag. The end caps are made of rubber so they won’t damage your other tools. The rubber ends also help keep the level in place during use.
What you don’t get with this level are the fancy features like magnets, LEDs for light, a digital readout, or a conduit screw. Sometimes you just need a simple tool, and this is it.
- ACCURACY: Block vials of the level tool provide maximum accuracy of 0.0005-inch/ ft.. (0.5mm/M)
- DURABILITY: Shock-absorbing end caps of the torpedo level hold up to heavy use
- PREVENTS MARRING: Over-molded rubber end caps for non-marring leveling and shock resistance
Plumbing or Conduit Work
The Klein Tools torpedo levels are all high quality. Because they don’t rely of fancy gimmicky addons they are able to focus on the essentials and deliver a quality product.
This torpedo level is made of aluminum with a high contrasting powder coated orange color so it’s easy to spot if you leave it behind. This torpedo level is made for ‘conduit or plumbing work’ but it can also be used in any household situation. The integrated high strength magnets make it a clear choice if you are dealing with metal, they are super handy to level metal studs, run pipping, or installing new windows.
Usually, any outdoor work stops after the sun sets, but with the well-placed LEDs to illuminate the bubbles, you can keep working into the night with confidence your work is level.
Overall, the Klein Tools torpedo levels are a great tool whether you are a professional or a home DIYer. The price is not much more than other brands and you’ll be happy you chose this one.
Remember to get your carrying case for your torpedo level. Though these levels can take a beating, the glass vials can be broken and then you’d be left in the dark for your leveling needs.
The 2PM Tools digital torpedo level is a great torpedo level with some added benefits. It’s a great deal for such a feature packed tool. It is incredibly versatile and adaptive to almost any leveling problem you have.
This level has a smart digital readout which lets you know what the angle is of what you are measuring plus it can be used as a protractor so you can get the measurement between two surfaces. Some of the other features included are a v-groove magnetic base for stability which is super strong because of the neodymium magnets. Plus, the LED display is bright and dust/water resistant. When you are done, slip it into the convenient carrying bag and move onto the next job.
Check out this customer’s in depth review here, they comment on the quality based on the instruction manual, “The instructions are clear and written in actual English, not the pseudo-English gibberish that often accompanies cheap Chinese products.“ This is a true statement, an instruction manual written in gibberish does not inspire confidence in the product.
- HIGH-ACCURACY -- Accurate to the ±0.1° at 0° and 90° and ±0.2° from 1-89°.; displays angle and bevel readings in degrees, pitch IN/FT, mm/M, and percent slope. Great for roofs, rails, ADA ramps
- JOBSITE TOUGH -- Sturdy solid I-beam aluminum frame, Neodymium magnets, rubber end caps and IP54 dust/water splash resistant protection for harsh working environments
- DUAL FUNCTIONALITY With STRONG NEODYMIUM MAGNETS -- As a true (absolute) digital level and electronic inclinometer / protractor lets you set or check relative angles between surfaces. Plus, magnetic base firmly attach to ferrous metal surfaces like conduit, pipe, steel construction framing, metal fabrication and more
- LARGE, BRIGHT GREEN LED DISPLAY With AUDIO INDICATOR -- This level features a large, bright LED display that flips, so you can easily read your measurements all day and night – even in the darkest spaces. What's more, we craft our digital level with audio indicator functionality, so you can achieve level and 90 degrees even with your eyes closed
- V-GROOVE MAGNETIC BASE -- Magnetic v-groove base firmly attach to ferrous metal surfaces like conduit, pipe, steel construction framing, metal fabrication
The Klein Tools digital level is a highly precise leveling tool. Though not the same design of a torpedo level, it serves a similar purpose. What immediately comes to mind is squaring the blade on your table saw. You want this to be exactly 90 degrees but often the angle indicator on table saws is less that accurate. The magnetic base makes measuring angles incredibly easy.
This digital level is super easy to use. Simply set it on your reference surface, hit zero, and then rotate it and join it onto your next surface. If dealing with metal then the magnets will take care of the rest, otherwise, just rest the bottom portion of the meter onto your surface to find the angle between the two surfaces. In most cases you are looking for a perfect 90 degrees but there can be instances where you want something else, such as when installing a hand railing on a set of stairs, this should be 45 degrees.
A digital electronic level of these dimensions is for instances where you cannot use a torpedo level because of the size constraint. I know, mind boggling to think that you would need to level anything smaller than 6 inches, but it happens.
- This Digital Angle Gauge and Level can measure or set angles, check relative angles with zero calibration feature, or can be used as a digital level
- High visibility reverse contrast display improves visibility in dimly lit work environments
- Strong magnetic base to attaches to conduit, pipes, saw blades, vents, ducts, and other ferromagnetic surfaces
- V-groove edges enable optimal alignment on conduits and pipes for bending and alignment
- 0 to 90-Degree and 0 to 180-Degree measurement ranges provide easy use in applications such as woodworking, bending conduit, installing electrical panels, and working on machinery
The Kapro Professional Box Level is not quite a torpedo level but it deserves to be mentioned here. I love when I can use the same tool for more than one purpose, hence why this level is included here. The ruler straight edge is a great feature to have with a level.
This comes in handy when placing two screws level with one another or ensuring a large surface is actually level. Smaller torpedo levels should not be used for large materials because the surfaces can warp over long distances. It is also great to have a larger level to see how much the material is deflecting from a true flat surface.
A level of this size is hard to carry around but there are some great tool bags which are made for a 24inch box level, like this ToughBuilt 26 inch wide mouth bag.
Multipurpose Torpedo Level
The Qooltek Multipurpose Laser Level is a unique tool. Any tool which allows you to get more done with the same equipment is worth considering. This torpedo level has the standard horizontal, vertical, and 45 degree bubbles, but it is also equipped with a laser to help project the level onto another surface.
Another great addition is the integrated measuring tape. Leveling and measuring usually go hand in hand so having the easily accessible tape measure is a great convenience.
This torpedo level is relatively low priced. Though there are plenty of great reviews for this product, it has it’s fair share of quality control issues. Honestly, for such a low price that it is totally expected. This is still a worthy tool to include in your toolbox just be aware of its limitations and potential quality problems.
- 📏 3-PRONGED APPROACH - combines a fine-tuned tape measure, a triple-positioned leveling bubble and a NEW laser level to provide maximum results.（Note: Laser Ranging Error,that is given as "+/-2mm at 10m and 25m";If the laser is the Vertical Level or the Horizontal Level, you shouldn't adjust the Beam.)
- 📏WORKS FOR INDOOR - designed for any situation where a straight line or accurate measurements are needed, such as measuring locations on a wall, space between hangers, level the nails, level for hanging pictures. Regardless of the situation, it's completely plug & play. Note: Fades in sunlight or outdoor use.
- 📏8-FOOT Measuring Tape - comes loaded with an 8-foot measure that includes imperial and metric linear measures, with graduations down to 1/32" and 4mm.
- 📏BACKUP BATTERY - ships with 3 x LR44 button-cells battery, just to make sure you keep going with maximum convenience.
- 📏IDEAL For The Job That Requires A Straight Line Or Accurate Measurement.(Ideal gadgets for 🎁Man and building some Thanksgiving decorations)
Buyer’s Guide for Torpedo Levels
How to Use a Torpedo Level
For most situations, using a torpedo level is as simple as placing the level on the surface you are trying to level and then lifting the side which the bubble deflects away from. Adjust the surface until the bubble is as close to the center as possible. You’ll notice the bubble is slightly smaller than the area between the two center lines, you’ll need to gauge what you are okay with. Digital levels, like the Klein Tools Digital Level, can provide that 100% certainty your work is exactly level.
What are the three bubbles for?
Most torpedo levels have three bubbles. The usual angles associated with these are 0 for horizontal surfaces, 90 for vertical surfaces, and 45 for angled surfaces like a staircase railing. The way to use these is to position the torpedo level onto the surface your are trying to level and then move the material such that the corresponding bubble in dead center in the vial you are reading.
It can get kind of confusing which way to go with the material to get the right level so play around with the torpedo level and the material you are working with. Remember to take a step back to make sure your work is actually visually level. Often our eyes can tell if something is wrong but we get too absorbed in what we are doing to realize.
How Accurate is a Torpedo Level?
With a perfectly leveled material you can get accuracies up to .5 millimeters per meter with a torpedo level. Remember you will need to make sure the bubble is exactly in the center of the vial, this can take some practice.
What is the liquid in a level bubble?
The bubble inside a level must move freely without friction to provide the best accuracy. The liquid inside is usually oil or alcohol. This provides the maximum amount of lubrication and minimum friction. This also keeps the bubble together as one large bubble to avoid it breaking up into lots of smaller bubbles.
What to Consider When Buying a Torpedo Level
Lots of construction work involves some form of ferrous (magnetic) material. Magnets definitely help keep the level in place so you can adjust the material into place while checking the level at the same time. This is a convenience lots of jobs could not do without. These types of torpedo levels usually have a v-groove cut into the long edge to assist with keeping it centered on a pipe.
Depending on where you are working, LEDs may be what sells you on a torpedo level. If you are working in a dark place, then this will make a difference. I like to use a headlamp, like these rechardgeable headlamps, for all my work but the added illumination is well received.
If you really don’t trust your eyes to center the bubble then a digital level is totally the way to go. This is certainly a welcome addition to any level as long as it is accurate.
This is usually only for pipe work where you screw the torpedo level onto the end of the pipe. There may be some other situations where you could probably use this for but the primary purpose is for conduit and plumbing work.
As always, the choice is yours on what torpedo level you get. Try not to be lured by fancy brands and focus more on what your specific needs are. Solving your problems should be your primary focus. I hope you now feel confident in purchasing your next torpedo level.