Tool Review: Sola Levels

by luke on November 21, 2014

Sola Level ReviewSola Levels

The level is the indispensable, unsung hero on the jobsite. Levels are responsible for providing us with the plum and level planes that lay the foundation for the entire structure of the finished product.  An adequate set of levels should include a 12” or 16”, 2”, 4ft. and 6ft. For large jobs a transit or laser level is a great supplement to the traditional bubble level.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the level everyone and their brother owns, they are usually cheap and maybe made of plastic. Basically they work…sort of. If you can get a level for (literally) a quarter of the cost then why not go cheaper. The more expensive level won’t ever make you more money or a better carpenter right?…

There are a lot of benefits to stepping up to the plate and purchasing the more expensive tool. I upgraded from my “box store” set a few years ago and looking back it was hard to justify at the time, but I am exceptionally happy with my decision to do so. After much searching, I found there were really only two “A List” brands: The old gold standard Stabila…and Sola, a “new” player. Both Stabila and Sola are top brands to buy. However, there are a few things the Sola brand has accomplished that have taken them to the next “level”. 🙂

Stabila has been making levels since the early 1950’s. They offer a lifetime warranty and have built a reputation based on excellence; this is evident the moment you pick up one of their levels. On top of that they are exceptionally accurate, and in fact, are the gold standard of what you should demand of a high-end level. It may seem there are only so many functional changes you can make to level over time. Aside from ergonomics, there is very little difference from the level your Dad bought 20 years ago and the one you are going to pick up tomorrow.

Sola Level Bubble

The Bubble

Sola has worked to not only to bring the high-end level into the 21st century but improve the concept as well. Sola is an Austrian company with roots in innovation. The first thing you’re likely to notice is the magnified bubble. This may seem trivial; however, it can make a huge difference when you’re holding the level at a full arms extension trying to get that perfect read while setting a sliding door. The easier the bubble is to read the more accurate the finished product will be. This accuracy will not only save time…it can also reduce the frustrated beer intake as well!

Another major improvement Sola made is the “tightness” of their bubble. Space between the edges of the bubble and the lines allows the bubble to stay within the lines (level right?) for a larger range of planes. Sola’s bubble almost touches the lines. This bubble/line sizing allows for no margin of error. Making reading level, or more importantly NOT level a task that can easily be completed with a quick glance. When working in dark spaces you will love that Sola’s vials also “glow-in-the-dark”!

These characteristics may seem slight. However, the only TRUE purpose of a level is to provide an accurate reading. Unfortunately, you’re “not the best, but gets the job done” level set often fails to do this. When spending a considerable amount of money on any new tool…you need it to withstand the rigors of a job site to get return on your investment. Sola is 110% professional grade with a lifetime warranty. Did I mention they also make a mason series that you can beat directly on the level with a hammer!? I think they are onto something here.

I’ll share a link to their website where you can find more information about their products. Currently, you’ll be hard pressed to find them in stores, the best bet is online. You can find them in our online store by searching for “Sola” or following the links below. I recommend the 10”, 4’ and 6’ to start.

FYI: I didn’t get paid or compensated to write this review or recommendation. I wrote this because I did my research and wanted to share what I found; Sola, a company making significant contributions to a traditional tool.

-Nick Michaud

Sola Big “X” Box 16″ Aluminum Level w/Contoured Grip – BX16

Sola BIG RED 48″ High Profile Aluminum Box Level w/Handles – BR48

Sola BIG RED 72″ High Profile Aluminum Box Level w/Handles – BR72

Sola Magnetic BIG RED 78″ and 32″ High Profile Aluminum Box Levels w/Handles – Door Jamb Set – BRM7832

 

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