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Setting Things Straight - Stabila 187 Level Review


I've used bad and good levels. Some with broken or misadjusted vials, some "I-beam" levels which catch stuff in the flanges and the brand I finally settled on is Stabila. I haven't found anything better.

I prefer the 187 series to the 80 series level as they are designed for masonry which means they can be hit with trowels and the like. They are a bit heavier than the general purpose, but have the same basic function. The advantages are so simple and obvious that other level makers are now producing copies. Here is what I like about it.

  • Sealed box beam construction - doesn't trap stuff, no flanges to bend. Stable and resists twisting. Easy to wash when you are using with concrete/mortar.
  • Non-marking rubber end caps -allow you to more easily hold the level steady with one hand, bracing the rubber end against a wall or floor.
  • Big bright unbreakable sealed vials - don't break or get out of alignment. Work with the level both flat or on edge. The top vial is easily visible from above the level. This is IMPORTANT. Guaranteed for life...
  • Yellow - so I can find it.
  • Accurate - what good is a level which is not?

Of course it is not completely perfect. Occasionally I wish it was just an inch or two longer so I could use it as a straight edge to mark across 4' wide sheet goods (this may not be an issue with their newer levels which are allegedly 48"), and the price is somewhat higher than some others, but considering that the one I'm showing here has been at work in a couple of continents for more than a decade, the value of their solid construction is well worth paying for.

Stabila makes a wide range of levels including level sets for door framing, torpedo levels and magnetic levels. I don't have personal experience with any of these, so check them out carefully before you buy, but if they are anything like the 187 series, they are definitely worth a look. stabila-187-level.jpg

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  • Comments (1)


    Stabilas are good levels for one eyed drunk carpenters. I wouldnt use one below grade on an out house.


    Thanks Anonymous! I'll remember that. -JD

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