Masonry levels are an important piece of equipment if you plan to undertake any serious work with brick, stone, or concrete. They’re a step above standard woodworking levels both in terms of precision and durability, as they need to be tough enough to withstand the rigors of a construction site.
Whenever you’re working with brick, precision is of utmost importance. Brick walls and columns need to be precise in order to function properly, which is why the masonry level is such an important tool.
I’ll break down some of the best masonry levels available on the market, and explain how to select the right one for your needs.
Quick Answer: 6 Best Masonry Levels
- Best Overall: Stabila Mason Kit
- Runner Up: Crick Tool 48 Inches Wood Level
- Budget Pick: Goldblatt 3-pc. Torpedo Spirit Level Set
- Also Consider: Sola X PRO Aluminum Box Profile Spirit Level Set
- Best 6-Foot Level: Stabila 72-Inch Builders Level
- Best Torpedo Level: Stabila 10 Inch Die-Cast Magnetic Level
Why a Masonry Level?
If you’re into home improvement and DIY, then no doubt you already have a couple of different levels lying around the garage or tool shed.
So, what makes a masonry level special? Why spend the extra money on a masonry level if you already have a perfectly good level?
Well, there are a few things that differentiate a masonry level from a standard woodworking level.
Firstly, masonry levels are designed to be seriously tough. They need to withstand those inevitable job site drops, falls from the top of a ladder, and taps or wacks with a trowel.
Secondly, they’re designed to be easy to wipe clean. This is important as your level will inevitably end up being covered in mortar, grout, and concrete.
They’re also made to be easy to carry. While you might not think this is all that important, masonry levels are typically longer than woodworking levels, so having ergonomic carry handles can make your life easier.
Top 6 Masonry Levels
- Level Length: 48”, 24”, and 10” torpedo
- Lightweight, durable, and easy to clean.
- Dead blow shields are designed to withstand trowel blows.
- Soft canvas carrying case designed to hold 3 levels plus extra.
- Reinforced ribbed aluminum construction.
When it comes to masonry levels, you’ll have a tough time finding something better made than German manufacturer Stabila’s lineup. Their masonry levels are notoriously tough, durable, and light, and feature dead-blow shields protecting the bubbles from accidental damage.
The set of three comes with a 48” level, a 24” level, and a smaller 10” magnetic torpedo level. It also comes with a canvas carry case to carry all three levels plus room for more. The 48” level has two hand grips for easy transport, while the smaller torpedo level is ideal for tight spaces.
The levels are exceptionally light and feature an easy-to-clean surface that’s easily wiped clean of mortar or concrete. They’re also highly precise, with measuring accuracy not exceeding 1/32” over 72 inches.
Reinforced ribs on the frame add durability and strength, while the tough aluminum frame has two patented strike zones designed to protect from repeated trowel blows.
- Level Length: 48”
- Accurate to .015”
- Three-piece wood frame.
- Hardened stainless steel perimeter reels.
- Wood is sealed with penetrating oil.
Crick Tool is another premium level manufacturer, making some of the finest handcrafted wood levels you can get your hands on. The laminated wood level is American-made, with stainless steel perimeter rails to protect the body of the level from damage.
The tool looks and feels like a work of art in addition to being a functional masonry tool. While it may look similar to cheaper levels you’d find at your local hardware store, the build quality is actually significantly better.
Level vials are sealed and fully mounted and pressed into the three-ply wood frame rather than simply screwed in. This drastically increases the accuracy and longevity of the level, as the vials won’t come loose and lose their accuracy over time.
One thing you’ll want to keep in mind is that you’ll need to take basic care of the hardwood in order to prevent humidity from damaging the wood. A basic rub down with linseed oil or mineral oil will work to prevent any warping.
The green vials are accurate to .015” along the length of the level, so you can be confident you’re getting a quality leveling device.
- Level Length: 48”, 24”, and 9”
- Central magnified vials can be read from both sides.
- Heavy-duty 6061 aircraft-grade aluminum chassis.
- Impact-resistant rubberized end caps.
- Smaller 9” level features night-light and etched ruler.
If you’re looking for a capable and well-made masonry level set without breaking the bank, then this 3 piece set from Goldblatt makes a solid option. The set comes with a 48” torpedo level, a 24” torpedo level, and a compact 9” torpedo level.
The levels feature easy-to-read high viz green bubbles that are clear and legible from a distance. Rubberized end caps on the two larger levels protect against damage from drops. Comfortable hand grips make handling the level easy, while a UV protective finish protects against color fading over time.
The smaller 9” level is magnetic and features a built-in nightlight for working in dark places, as well as a ruler etched into the side to make quick measurements.
The levels are made from light and durable 6061 aircraft-grade aluminum, and have machined top and bottom surfaces.
- Level Lengths: 48”, 24”, and 10”
- Lightweight and ergonomic design.
- Break-resistant acrylic block vials with 60% magnifying lens.
- Better viability in low light due to the luminous backing.
- Highly accurate measuring tolerance of 0.029°.
Sola is a premium Austrian level manufacturer that claims to make the most accurate box beam levels in the world. Their X PRO lineup is a little lighter and more ergonomic than their BIG RED series levels, making them ideal if you’re looking for a more portable option.
The set of three comes with a 48”, a 24”, and a 10” level, all with ergonomic, torsionally rigid aluminum profiles. The FOCUS vial fluid is exceptionally durable, will not be affected by electricity, sunlight, and won’t bubble in case of shock.
Each level vial is made from a break-resistant acrylic block and features a +60% magnifying glass with good contrast and luminous backing for easier reading in low light conditions. Two-material shock-absorbing end caps with anti-slip protect the level in case of a drop or wack with a trowel.
The measuring tolerance is the standard position is an impressive 0.029°, making it one of the most accurate leveling devices available.
The cost is also significantly less than a similar set from Stabilla, although these levels don’t offer the same level of toughness.
Best 6-Foot Level
- Level Length: 72”
- Certified level accuracy of 0.029° in both vertical and horizontal positions.
- Wide frame designed for added strength.
- Crystal clear epoxy locked vials are guaranteed never to break, leak, or fog.
- The yellow electrostatic epoxy coating prevents mortar adherence and corrosion.
If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line 6-foot level for those tasks where accuracy is paramount, then this well-made unit from Stabila is an excellent option. The strength to weight ratio is fantastic, with the strong and wide frame weighing in at just over 2 pounds.
The three crystal clear epoxy-locked acrylic vials are easy to read from any direction and will outlast your typical homeowner level by many years. They’re guaranteed to never break, leak, or fog up and feature a certified level accuracy of 0.029° in both the horizontal and vertical position.
The frame is designed with a wider than normal profile, which adds strength to the box beam frame. Oversized rubber handholds make carrying and positioning the level a breeze, while removable rubber end caps and anti-slip wall pads add extra stability and impact resistance.
Like Stablila’s other products, the level features a high-viz yellow electrostatic epoxy coating that prevents mortar from sticking to it.
Best Torpedo Level
- Level Length: 10”
- High-strength rare earth magnets create powerful hold.
- Fits perfectly into a tool pouch.
- Crystal clear unbreakable non-fogging acrylic vials.
If you’re looking for a torpedo level for those tight, hard-to-reach spots, then you’ll have a tough time finding a better one than this magnetic die-cast torpedo level from Stabila. It’s a great option when you need to have both hands free to position and align materials.
Extra-strong rare-earth magnets provide a powerful hold on any metal surface, leaving your hands free for getting work done on scaffolding or ladders. Two crystal-clear acrylic vials (one vertical and one horizontal) are non-fogging, unbreakable, and won’t leak.
The level is the perfect size for sliding in and out of a toolbelt pouch, while the level accuracy is certified precise to.029 degrees in the top read position. Keep in mind there is no 45° level vial, but this is a fairly minor issue for most uses.
How to Pick the Right Masonry Level?When you’re picking out a masonry level there are a few features you’ll want to be aware of.
As mentioned previously, masonry levels are designed to be highly durable and easy to clean when they get covered in mortar and concrete. They also need to be highly accurate and tend to sport features that make them significantly longer lasting than your average homeowner level.
Masonry levels are generally longer than your typical homeowner levels. Two, four, and 6-foot levels are common sizes, whereas homeowner levels tend to be less than or equal to 2 feet.
This is due to the higher level of precision needed when laying brick, pavers, landscaping, and other masonry jobs.
If you’re looking to get a lot of different tasks done, then going with a set with multiple levels makes sense. This will give you the ability to use a longer 48-inch+ level for longer surfaces, as well as a shorter torpedo level for those tight hard-to-reach spots.
If you’re only going to get a single masonry level, then I’d recommend a 4-footer, as this will give you a high degree of accuracy and it’s not too much of a pain to carry from one job site to another.
Perhaps the most important thing to consider when it comes to masonry levels is accuracy.
Pay attention to the certified level of accuracy stated by the manufacturer. This is stated either in degrees or in distance (mm, cm, inches). Many higher-end masonry levels will feature 0.029° accuracy, which is about as good as you can get with a bubble level.
Also pay attention to the difference between the accuracy rating in the horizontal position, and the rating in the vertical position. You’ll often find the vertical position accuracy to be less than the horizontal one, but that’s not always the case.
You’ll also want to look for vials that are clear and easy to read. Look for vials that are scratch-resistant so they won’t get scuffed and difficult to read.
Masonry levels need to be able to withstand the demands of a construction site. Like other tools, they’ll need to be able to able to survive being dropped, tossed around in a truck bed, and tapped with a trowel from time to time.
Be on the lookout for good rubberized end caps, and sturdy overall construction. Also, pay attention to how the vials are secured into the level’s body. More durable levels will be pressed into the level frame, rather than simply screwed in.
Generally speaking, higher-end levels will be significantly more durable than a cheaper option and will outlast them by a significant margin.
Another important consideration when shopping for a masonry level is how easy they are to clean. Your level will inevitably get covered in mortar in no time. So you’ll want one with a coating that makes wiping away caked-on mortar a breeze.
Look for levels designed specifically for masonry use, as they’ll typically feature some type of coating designed to protect the frame from mortar buildup.
When you’re working with masonry, things can get dusty quickly. You’ll also want to look for a relatively smooth level that doesn’t have a lot of nooks and crannies for dust and concrete to build up.
While this isn’t strictly necessary, as masonry work doesn’t typically feature metal, it can still be a useful feature if you plan to use the level for other purposes.
If you plan to use your level for measuring door frames, steel studs, and when you need hands-free operation while working on a metal surface, then a magnetic level makes sense.
Lightweight levels are generally the way to go when it comes to masonry use. This makes them easy to transport and reposition and quickly checking if a surface is level is a breeze with a lightweight level.
Most masonry levels feature durable and lightweight aircraft aluminum construction which offers an excellent strength to weight ratio.
Wooden levels are more of an old-school option, but some masons swear by them. Keep in mind wood levels will require regular application of lubricating oil to keep them from warping over time.
Price & Warranty
Of course, price and warranty are serious considerations when picking out an important tool.
You might be a little surprised that high-quality masonry levels can easily cost $200 or more, but the reality is these levels will far outlast cheaper options. They also feature specific design capabilities that cheaper homeowner levels simply don’t have.
Warranties vary from lifetime warranties for high-end brands like Stabila and SOLA, to 1 to 3-year warranties for cheaper options. Shelling out the extra bucks for a level with a lifetime warranty makes sense in my opinion, as you can be confident you’re getting a product that will last for a lifetime of normal use.
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