Ever tried to get something level without a level or laser? How about using a box level only to find out when you're done, the level was broken. The vial came unglued enough not to notice on the level, but enough to notice on your finished work. Well let me introduce you to the Johnson I-Beam Magnetic Professional Aluminum level model 3878. This is part of their 3800 series of levels and is the 78″ level. Don't need a 78″ level, no problem. Johnson also has other sizes available in the 3800 series. They have a 18″, 24″, 36″, 48″, 72″, 78″ and a 96″. However we used the 78″ size.
Some people like the box frame levels better and while they do have some advantages and disadvantages, I really like the I-Beam style. Primarily because they are lighter and I can service them myself if and when I bust a vial. I have to say my favorite manufacturer of levels is Johnson. Not because we took a trip and had an inside look, not because the levels are made in the USA, but because I believe they make the best levels around. Well the trip was cool. I never realized how much went into making a level and how much passion Johnson has about making sure each product is to the highest standard. Okay, I am sure you want hear about the level and not my love affair for Johnson Levels.
Now I have to say reviewing a level is pretty hard, unless you have a scientific machine that measures some calibration or the square root of the pie, okay I am bored with all the science talk. However Johnson takes care of the accuracy issue for you. Johnson builds the accuracy into the frame. Even if you smash a vial or have a problem, they take care of it for you. Say you smash your vial, well call them or send them an email and they send one right out to you. Don't believe me, check it out for yourself over at Johnson. Okay, let's talk about the level.
One reason I like this level is because of the aluminum construction which makes the level lighter, but still has strength to take abuse. The level has five vials to read from with two also having the option of the top read. On the end of the level, Johnson implemented nice end caps to help protect from drops and bumps. As you should know, this series has the ability to change the windows and vials yourself. If you bust a window or vial, you can take the two screws out and replace them yourself. As you can see in the video, the magnetic side is very powerful. Yes I was wrong, I said they were rare Earth magnets, but it's not. Just one heck of a strong magnet. The level had no problems holding onto a piece of pipe. Image how well it would hold onto a metal stud with more surface area.
One thing I really like about these levels is how easy they are to read compared to some of the other levels we have tested. They aren't cloudy nor do they seem to get cloudy over time. They always have that nice green easy to read color.
Now I am not sure where else I can go with this review of a level, so I guess we will close things out here. As you know we are big fans of Johnson. They make quality levels and lasers and this level is no different. If you are looking for an I-Beam level, you have to check out the 3800 series by Johnson.