An optical level is an instrument used to establish or verify points in the same horizontal plane. It is used in surveying and building to measure height differences and to transfer, measure and set heights. These levels are robust and reliable, ideal for outdoor use. Hand held optical level versions are also available which are pocket sized and convenient for quick jobsite scans.
These levels come in a number of different magnifications; 20x, 24x, 26x, 28x, 32x and greater. The greater the magnification the bigger the image appears so the measurements on a staff is easier to read. However, the greater the magnification the smaller the field of view. So you see a smaller area through the eyepiece, this can mean that finding the staff to read can become harder. Most magnifications sold are between the 24x and 28x.
This versatile piece of equipment is used for a range of measuring jobs including:
profiling and general levelling tasks
As well as being user-friendly these instruments automatically self-level after a reading is taken saving time on laborious measurement jobs.
Types of Optical levels
Dumpy level: telescope is rigidly fixed to the standing axis of the instrument and can be rotated in just one direction. Three levelling screws and a spirit level are used to establish a vertical standing axis and a horizontal line of sight to enable staff readings to be taken. Popular choice with surveyors of all disciplines, civil engineers, landscape gardeners, builders and general contractors.
Tilting level: telescope is not rigidly fixed to the standing axis, but can be tilted a small amount in the vertical plane about a pivot situated below the eyepiece of the telescope. A circular (spot) level mounted on the tribrach is usually levelled independent of the main bubble. Many designs and models of titling levels exist.
Automatic level: horizontal line of sight is established by means of a combination of optical prisms and mirrors, supported by wires as in a pendulum. This reduces the need to set the instrument truly level, as with the previously mentioned levels.
Optical levels offer superb accuracy and value for money, generally half the price of a reasonable quality rotating laser. These levels are an excellent choice for construction professionals and surveyors looking to invest in a quality piece of kit that will stand the test of time and the rigours of the most demanding environments.