In today's market place you can spend a couple of bucks or a couple of hundred dollars on a level. Both have their pros and cons to each, but what we really need is a level in between. We need a level that can take a beating, but still stays true and accurate. With that said, we can narrow down the field, which brings me to one option, the Empire Levels. Empire Levels have been around since 1919, so it's safe to say they know what they are doing. Last year, Milwaukee Tool bought them, which means they now have greater support to be innovative and bring new products to market. Which brings me to the new True Blue box levels. These levels are designed to not only be functional, but they can take a beating and still remain accurate.
I am not going to get into every little detail, but I do want to cover the most important aspects of these levels. When looking for a level we want one that is accurate, tough, easy to read. and functional, which the Empire Levels have. Empire Levels have different options and sizes when it comes to levels, but for today I am going to cover the E70-Series and EM71-Series. Both have pretty much the same stats, but with the EM71-Series, you also get the magnetic feature for those who need a magnet in their level.
First on the list is accuracy. The accuracy on these levels are crazy. According to Empire Levels, these are accurate up to .0005″ per inch in all 10 levels and plumb working positions. I would say that is about as accurate as you can get. Another item Empire Levels thought of was the edge of these levels. They have an Accu-Edge2 frame profile which is milled in a way to give greater accuracy and precision.
Next on the list is a level needs to be tough. When it comes to being tough, Empire Levels put all their knowledge to use and designed a heck of a tough level. First, they started out with a heavy duty 6061 T5 aircraft aluminum, which has reinforcements. Next, they took their solid block acrylic vials and mechanically locked them into place along with their two-part epoxy system. On the ends of the levels, they provided a nice rubber bump cap that helps absorb shocks from drops. The levels are also IP54 rated.
Another item on the list is a level needs to be easy to read. So how do these stack up? Empire Levels levels decided to use a blue liquid which does a great job and makes it easy to read. Now, it's not as easy to read as the Johnson yellow levels in certain conditions, but the blue still does a great job. On some of the Empire Levels, you can get Ultra View LED and this does an excellent job of showing the contrast from the liquid and bubble. Just push a button and the vials light up. This works very well in direct sunlight and also darker areas.
Last item on the list is a level should have some functionality to it. As I noted these have end rubber caps to help take some of the abuse when they get bumped or dropped. The nice thing about the end caps is that they are very easy to remove. Great for when you have to get in corners. The levels also have a nice solid hang hole. On the EM-Series Empire Levels uses a rare earth magnet. If you are not familiar with these magnets, they are extremely strong.
Overall these are great levels. The Empire Levels meet all the aspects of a quality level and that includes accuracy, toughness, easy to read and functional. Now I know we all have our favorite levels, but next time you're at the store, pick one up and give it a shot. We always love knowing your thoughts, so leave a comment below, on our YouTube channel or in our power tool forum.