Summary: The standard level goes high-tech with the Empire 48" digital laser level. This tool is reviewed by a real user who used the level the frame out his basement walls. The level was more accurate than a standard level. It can also be used to plumb and was very easy to use. Visit www.toolselect.com to get more great tool reviews.
MARK: Didn't even have to read the instructions. I just played around with it a little bit and then, it was really easy to figure out. You could use this as a plumb bob if you needed to transfer measurements to the bottom.
BARNABY: Hey, what's going on? Barnaby here. Remember when a level was just a couple of bubbles in a bar and that's all it was. Now, they've gone digital and high tech, and that's what we're going to be talking about is a digital level. This one by Empire. It's a four foot, it's got a dot laser on the end of it. It has an audible alarm when you reach level. It also has a 10 memory function. What we'd like to do with tools like this is put in the hands of guys like Mark. Have you take it out to the job site and put it through its paces and then, what we're really interested in is your perception of performance, design, quality, and value of this. But first, let's talk about you. What do you do in life?
MARK: I'm a remodeler. I do kitchens, bathrooms, basements, decks.
BARNABY: All right. So, level is key and so slope. Right?
BARNABY: Yes. So let's talk about this. What do you use it for?
MARK: Well, what I actually used this for was to frame basement walls.
BARNABY: Okay, and so, how did it work for you versus other levels you've used?
MARK: Well, this is a lot more accurate. The standard bubble-type level basically is just close enough.
MARK: This gets you, gets you plumb when it reads zero or not [inaudible 00:01:21] you know you're perfect, you're right on.
BARNABY: Just some good piece of mind with that because, I mean, I always ... I just remodeled a bathroom and it's like that bubble is just peeking past the line, you go, "Eh, it's close enough."
MARK: Yeah, exactly.
BARNABY: Okay. So, was it easy to use? I guess that's part of the performance. Was it hard to look learn?
MARK: To be honest, I actually ... didn't have to read the instructions. I just played around with it a little bit and then it was really easy to figure out.
BARNABY: Okay. Well, let's get into the design of it and talk about the various features and then we can also kind of overlay how those how those work for you as well so-
BARNABY:Take me through it.
MARK: Well, this is aircraft aluminum. You got your shock absorbers on the end. You got your plumb vial. You got your level vial. And then of course, you have your digital readout here.
BARNABY: Right. Those are nice big numbers for us kind of ocularly challenged guys. Right?
BARNABY: Okay. So, take me through the buttons. What sort of things does it do?
MARK: Well, you can zero it out if you're on one slope or one plane, you can transfer that over to another area.
BARNABY: That's convenient.
MARK: Yes, yes. If you're doing ... especially for landscaping or something like that. That would be very useful. You got your units of measure. You've got inches and feet. You've got percent for grade.
MARK: And you've got your degrees.
BARNABY: Okay. And the audio alarm?
MARK: Audio alarm, you turn on if you're having trouble seeing your screen. It starts chirping when you get close to zero. It will do a progressively closer chirp.
BARNABY: Okay. Then what about the numbers? I mean, a lot of times, you get into positions where it's upside down and then, "Yeah, I got to flip it back over."
MARK: Well, yeah, and sometimes if you're a little dyslexic or not thinking, you could transfer the wrong number. This level actually flips the numbers over for you.
BARNABY: Oh good. So when it's overhead and whatever, it will always give you the nice vertically-oriented so you can read it.
MARK: Yes. Just like a smart phone.
BARNABY: Yeah. It's back lit, was that an advantage for it?
MARK: Yeah. If you're in a darker spot. A lot of times when you're doing remodeling, you're in a dark corner or something. You can actually turn that on and off just by hitting the on/off button again, so it can be lit or it can be off.
BARNABY: Okay. Then laser.
BARNABY: Let's talk about that.
MARK: Yeah. This has a laser.
BARNABY: Okay. So, like for plumb?
MARK: Yeah. You could use this as a plumb bob if you needed to transfer measurement to the bottom. It does at the offset right here is 1.375.
MARK: What I thought this would really be handy for is projecting a slope. If you're doing landscaping and maybe you're on a hill or something, building a deck, you can use this to transfer your slope.
MARK: So you can level out your pylons or whatever.
BARNABY: Okay. Well let's talk about the quality of it because man, I tell you what. You drop a level and you're thinking, "Oh my gosh! Are those bubbles ever gonna be true again?" This ones electronic, do you think it's going to hold up on the job site?
MARK: Yeah. This thing right here ... it actually, you can recalibrate it. It has a function to ... and you can do that with the zero button too.
MARK: You get a [no 00:04:21] plane, [no 00:04:22] level. You know, you can re-zero it. You've got your E-shock what the company is calling their E-shock pads on the end.
BARNABY: Well that's nice.
MARK: If you do drop it. Hopefully you don't have to replace it.
BARNABY: Right. It's aircraft aluminum. What advantage does that bring to the plumb?
MARK: Well, this is a lot lighter. This is ... I've got a wooden carpenter's level ... and this is [inaudible 00:04:43] and that's a four-footer. This is probably a little bit lighter than that one.
BARNABY: Okay. Easier to hold up over your head and move around.
MARK: Especially when you're doing it all day. Yeah. This doesn't really tax you out too much.
BARNABY: Yeah. I guess you could always ... when not in use instead of leaning it out against the wall, like I do, where it's [inaudible 00:04:58] you could put it back in the bag. Right?
MARK: Yes, yes.
BARNABY: Okay. So, let's talk about the value because this guy comes at a price, obviously, with the electronics and stuff. Who do you think it's intended for?
MARK: I think this is more for the pro. The average homeowner probably isn't going to need something this accurate. But if they did have it, I mean, they'd make their life a lot easier.
BARNABY: Okay. And so, would you go out and buy this sort of thing?
MARK: Yes, I would. I've never owned a digital level before. I'm in love with this thing. I'm a true believer now. I want to get a whole set of these.
BARNABY: Isn't that the way it goes with guys. It's like one is never enough. I want the whole set! And so, that's what we do here at ToolSelect.com. Real stats, real people making it really easy to figure out which tool is right for you.