June 22, 2015

Milwaukee Tools 2015 New Product Symposium


Last week I was able to head off to Milwaukee Tools for their annual Product Symposium where they unleashed all of their latest and greatest tools and gear. There is a lot coming too. To get a sense of what I'm trying to get at, picture a giant red tidal wave with white lightning bolts shooting out of it (a toolnami, if you will). Hearing about each and every one of these new tools over the course of a single day was like being attacked by a grizzly bear made entirely of information. Honestly, towards the end, my mind was beaten down to the point where I felt like Brad Pitt from 12 Monkeys. Now here I am a few days later, trying to decipher my scribbled notes and jumbled memories.

Here's what I've got for you...

ArrowContinue reading: "Milwaukee Tools 2015 New Product Symposium "

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

July 30, 2012

Sola MM 5 25 Torpedo Level - Review


It wasn't until last year that we even knew about Sola levels. We were approached out of the blue by the company, an act that leaves us with two distinct thoughts:

1. Thank the heavens that they contacted us.


2. How the hell did we not know about this company?

Sola, a company with a big market in Europe and is now making inroads in the US, makes some top-notch levels that use a unique method of vial stabilization. If you cut open an inexpensive level you'll see that the vial is probably held in place by wishes and unicorn dreams. A Sola, on the other hand, uses a two part system, one rigid and one flexible, that ensures the vial won't move even in extreme temperature situations (more info on that here). According to Sola, it's a system that is superior to the one that is used by the mighty Stabila. We reviewed Sola's 4' level here.

The company recently sent us one of their torpedo levels to check out. And check out we did...

ArrowContinue reading: "Sola MM 5 25 Torpedo Level - Review"

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

March 30, 2012

Sola Focus Vial 4' Level - Review


So when you think "high-end level," you think, "Stabila." Right? Well, yeah, but as it turns out there is another player in the arena. We were contacted by Sola Levels last year and thought, "why not, we'll give anything a try." Honestly we had never heard of the brand and thought it was just another mid-range level vying for some market space. We got to talking to them and it wasn't long before we were convinced otherwise.

ArrowContinue reading: "Sola Focus Vial 4' Level - Review"

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (3) | social bookmarking

August 31, 2011

Swanson Savage Lighted Torpedo Level - Review


OK, it's official. We're totally inundated in levels. It feels like this is the 50th one we've reviewed this year, and it's getting tough to come up with interesting things to say. This one, made by Swanson, is the torpedo version of their Lightning Level that we reviewed a while back.

This one has all of the same features; an aluminum body, a little button that lights up the vials and a timed shut-off (10 minutes), so you won't drain your battery dead the first time you leave it on in your tool bag. It also has a groove along the top, so you can work with pipes.


We generally liked the larger version, but feel that the technology is actually more practical in the smaller format. A lighted 2' level is OK, but how often are you going to be using a 2' level in the dark? A torpedo, on the other hand, gets used in wall cavities, under sinks, in crawl spaces, and plenty of other areas where visibility blows.


We used it a bunch at the site and we liked it quite a bit. So yeah, this one falls in the positive side of the ledger book. It's going to cost about $25.

So there you have it, yet another review of a torpedo level! Huzzah!


Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

August 25, 2011

Channellock Levels - Review


Channellock, known specifically for things like pliers and wrenches have recently made a leap and expanded their line to include levels. Their first release in this area consists of three torpedo levels. One of each of them showed up on the doorstep, courtesy of Channellock, and we brought them to the site and handed them out in order to get some feedback. Here's what we got....

ArrowContinue reading: "Channellock Levels - Review"

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (6) | social bookmarking

July 1, 2011

Bostitch Box Beam Clamping Level - Review

bostitch_clamping level.JPG

We're on the verge of renaming the site LevelSnob.com, given the sheer amount of levels we've covered in the past few months (and will be covering in the next few). The latest is Bostitch's Box Beam Clamping Level, which allows you to clamp the tool along a piece of wood, sort of like a magnetized level and a metal stud. Bostitch sent us a sample a couple months ago to check out and we've used it at home and on the site enough to draw some conclusions. Those conclusions are....(ahem)...

ArrowContinue reading: "Bostitch Box Beam Clamping Level - Review"

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

June 27, 2011

Checkpoint U6 V-Groove Multi Reading Level - Review


Well this is kind of an oddball. We've never seen a level quite like it. It's the Checkpoint U6 and it's a U shaped item, about the size of a nice skipping stone that is capable of taking level readings on six different angles; 0, 90, 45, 22.5, 30, and 60. It has a v-groove all around it, as well as a series of magnets, so it's perfect for steel pipes and conduit.


It's one of those tools that exudes the aroma of quality. Maybe it's the solid weight, maybe it's the look of precision machining, we're not sure, but whatever it is, just holding the tool justifies its $35 price tag.

It's a cool little item, but we don't have a whole lot more to say about it than that. Works as advertised...high quality...compact...there you go.


It's probably not a tool for everyone, the general carpenter probably won't have much use for it, but if you do a lot of work with pipes and want a pocket-sized reference, this is the way to go.

Available in a variety of colors at Amazon

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

June 24, 2011

Stabila Pocket Level


, one of the leading names in high-quality, high-durability high-price levels has recently released an itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini level. This one is really small, as in keychain small.

It's about $20 which might seem like a lot for something the size of a Matchbox, but when you take into account Stabila's stellar reputation (which we wholeheartedly vouch for), it makes sense. This level may be small, but it will last a lifetime and unless you're really careless with it, it'll probably stay accurate. Go here for a look at how the innards of a Stabila measure up to the competition. More info on the micro level at Stabila.

At Amazon.com

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

April 27, 2011

Johnson Hot Shot Laser Mouse - Review


We've covered a number of Johnson levels lately and this latest is the smallest so far. Called the Mouse for obvious reasons, this one shoots a straight laser line against the surface that the unit is sitting on. It comes with bubble levels on the X and Y axis so you can make the line plumb or level, depending on your needs. Johnson sent us one to check out and our thoughts are as follows...

ArrowContinue reading: "Johnson Hot Shot Laser Mouse - Review"

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

April 12, 2011

Johnson 10" Magnetic Welder's Torpedo Level - Review


Johnson recently released a torpedo level specifically intended for the welder and were nice enough to send us one to check out. Unfortunately, we didn't have any welding projects and, in fact, we've yet to hook up the 100 amp line that we buried out to the garage last summer, rendering our welder inoperative. So anyway, we just tossed the level in the tool bag and used it for a number of weeks as our primary torpedo.

ArrowContinue reading: "Johnson 10" Magnetic Welder's Torpedo Level - Review"

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

March 14, 2011

Origin Laser Cornerstone Classic


Look at this thing. Just look at it. It's unbelievable.


This is one of those rare times when industrial design arcs up and breaks the sound barrier of art. Meet Origin Laser's Cornerstone Classic, a self-leveling three plane reference laser that's the damn prettiest looking tool we've seen in a long, long while.

There's a lot that this tool can do that no other laser can. We got in an email exchange with Tim Litvin, the inventor of the tool and we'll just let him speak for himself...

Our self-leveling system is not pendulum-based, but uses a precision tilt stage with two brushless DC motors; the motors are slaved to tilt sensors capable of leveling to better than 1/32" at 100 feet. The Cornerstone can also be manually leveled when necessary, and its alignment is unaffected by pushing its buttons... unlike a pendulum-based laser level.

The Cornerstone also features a "goniometer" steering function: this is a virtual pivot enabling the tool to be steered, pivoting around the axis created by the intersection of the vertical planes. Put another way, the laser cross on the ground can be positioned over a mark, and the Cornerstone can be steered pivoting around that mark. This makes for a very quick setup. The juice comes from rechargeable Li-ion batteries, helping us to keep the weight down to a solid 3.5 lbs, and the size down to that of a holster-able tool for spontaneous use anywhere.

Bosch recently released a similar item, the GLL3-80. The Cornerstone seems to be based on an entirely different technology that affords the phenomenal accuracy of 1/32 over 100'. According to Bosch their tool can attain 1/4" over 100' and doesn't have any of the manual leveling or 'steering' features.


The tool is completely made in the USA. That, bundled with the precision technology involved makes for a bank-breaker. We pulled this off their website,

Machined from 7075 aircraft aluminum, 360 brass and 440c surgical stainless steel; projecting three athermalized laser reference planes through patent-pending, diamond-turned aspheric optics, and powered by rechargeable Li-ion cells.

If you think that sounds expensive, you're right. The Cornerstone Classic is going to set you back about $5,000. Big money, no doubt.

Check out Origin Laser Tools for more information.

Press release and more insane images after the jump.

ArrowContinue reading: "Origin Laser Cornerstone Classic"

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

February 25, 2011

Johnson Glo-View Heavy Duty 48" Aluminum Box Level - Review


We've always found that of all the levels, a four footer is the most useful. It's long enough to deal with framing and it can also handle most trim applications as well. The shorties are too little for twisted and crooked studs, and the six footer is a bear to deal with on the horizontal. So when we leave the shop, it's usually with our four foot Stabila, the level that we hold head and shoulders above all others. But Johnson recently sent us their new four foot box-beam level so, for a few projects, we used that one instead. Here's what we thought....

ArrowContinue reading: "Johnson Glo-View Heavy Duty 48" Aluminum Box Level - Review"

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

February 4, 2011

Johnson Tiling & Flooring Laser Level - Review


Tiling is all about layout and once you get used to spotting bad tile layout, public bathrooms become even worse places than they already are. How could someone leave a 3/4" wide tile at one corner and a 4" tile at the other? Auuugh...the horror.

So anyway, Johnson Level & Tool recently sent us a nifty little item called the Tiling and Flooring Laser Level. Unfortunately, we don't have any tiling jobs coming up, but we are in the process of laying out some wall to wall bookshelves and so we utilized the laser for that project.

The tool basically projects two lines at a right angle. The unit is marked with degrees (sort of like a rafter square) and it has standard and metric measurements along the short sides. These latter marks were nice because we could position the laser against an inside corner and check for square using the measurements as offsets (5-1/16"). It also projects the laser lines a solid 1-1/4" off the floor, so you don't have to worry about the lines getting blocked as you're laying down thick tile.


In a short time we've come to think that calling this a Tiling and Flooring laser sells it a bit short. We'd suggest maybe going with "Right Angle Layout Level" or something like that. This tool will no doubt be a help to anyone laying tile, but also to anyone marking out a 90 degree corner of anything, whether it's a stud wall or (like we were doing) a set of shelves. It was great to be able to finalize our corner location and know where both walls of shelving would end up. Without the laser, it would have been a pretty tedious process.

One thing that did bother us about the laser is that the battery case doesn't stay on all that well. On a bunch of occasions, we would grab the body of the laser and the little black lid would fly off. There is also no easy way to use the tool on the vertical, like for a tiling job in a shower or something similar.


If you're a DIYer embarking on a tile job and you've invested all this money in tile and supplies, the $40 spent on this tool will go a long way to ensure that the results will look good. Also if you do a lot of non-tile layout, you might want to consider this as well. It sure took time off of our project.

The Tiling and Flooring Laser Level comes with batteries and a case.

At Amazon.com

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (4) | social bookmarking

January 25, 2011

Johnson Level EcoTech Series Bamboo Bricklayer's Level


If you've never dealt with bamboo on your own property, you probably hear the word and your mind goes to a tranquil image of a meditative panda bear quietly crunching away at the stalky plant. If, on the other hand, you've had the misfortune of actually having to contend with bamboo, the word probably causes you to see red and start to uncontrollably shake. Bamboo is a total nightmare to deal with. It makes mint look mild in its invasiveness, and it can grow up to two feet in a day.

So anyway, the folks over at Johnson Level have found a nice way to utilize this pest of a plant. They've started making levels out of it. Makes sense too, once you discover that bamboo has the tensile strength of steel. Who knew?

These new levels (there is currently a 2' and a 4') also have stainless steel edges and end caps. If you're looking for more information, the press release is after the jump.

ArrowContinue reading: "Johnson Level EcoTech Series Bamboo Bricklayer's Level"

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (4) | social bookmarking

 1  |  2  |  3  |  4 

next >>

Join the Mailing List Newsletter
Enter your Email

Powered by FeedBlitz
Subscribe - RSS

facebook_badge.jpg twitter_badge.jpg

Recent Reviews
Recent Comments
Bryan: Can you get the older molded stud 4 sure I read more
kevin kirkpatrick: I had a green Poulan for 20 years and it read more
Gary Schultz: Thinking about the red wing 2218. Will be doing a read more
Walt: How much does the 80 Volt Kobalt weigh? read more
Niks Piks: I own a Festool sander for more then 10 years, read more
Site Navigation

Visit our other properties at Blogpire.com!


This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
All items Copyright © 1999-2017 Blogpire Productions. Please read our Disclaimer and Privacy Policy