Professional Tool Reviews for Pros


Level Reviews, Measuring & Squares

The following reviews of measuring tools includes tape measures, box levels, squares, and laser measuring devices. That last category is becoming more and more extravagant. Advanced laser measures can be used for both distance as well as calculating volume and area from multiple measurements. For level reviews, new measuring tools include laser systems that can generate horizontal, vertical, and plumb lines simultaneously. Level Reviews, Squares & Measuring Tools on the Jobsite Aside from the tools mentioned above, we also review new smart tools with Bluetooth functionality so tradesmen can understand what works—and what’s gimmicky. There’s also the new Bosch digital levels, Milwaukee InkZall liquid paint markersEmpire Level laser etched squares, and the Fluke VT02 Visual Infrared IR thermometer. As technology improves, our reviews continue to analyze and compare modern tools against the trade and true performers. In this way we can see if new advances improve or just make more complex the tools we use. The last thing we want is to slow down the process of layout and measuring.

Swanson BBL24M 24" Magnetic Box Beam Level Review

Swanson Box Beam Level BBL24M Review

When a durable, indestructible 24″ level is desired, Swanson takes up the call and delivers its BBL24M Box Beam Level that has the features to take a beating and then some. With rubber “Super Shock” end caps and solid block acrylic vials, the Swanson Box Beam level is certainly a tool that isn’t afraid to take a beating and come out on top. We took it for a spin in our real-world test and found it to be an extremely easy-to-use, no-nonsense product that will provide years of reliable service.

Swanson Savage and Lil' Savage Magnetic Torpedo Levels Review

Swanson Savage Magnetic Levels Review

Sometimes you make do with an average level, but when you finally get ahold of something professional, like the Savage series of magnetic torpedo levels from Swanson Tools, you’ll immediately recognize the difference. Their billet aluminum construction and clear, easy to read vials make them a handy tool that you’ll want to make sure are within easy reach for plumbing, trim and even electrical work. These torpedo levels even include four rare earth magnets which make them indispensable when working around commercial power applications and when leveling up electrical boxes.

Gauge-It thickness gauge

Gauge-It Thickness Gauge Review

The Gauge-It Thickness Gauge is a quick, reliable and easy to use way to check how thick your wood working material is. No more trying to eyeball or guess, just Gauge-it! Simple, few moving parts and easy to read are all good things when we are talking about measuring tools.

Gauge-It Table Saw Gauge

Gauge-It Table Saw Gauge Review

The Gauge-It Table Saw Gauge is the all-in-one answer for checking blade angle, blade height, miter angles and more. Take the guess work out of trying to read and set clumsy table saw bevel measurements and start cutting right the first time with guaranteed accuracy.

New Bosch DAF220 Miterfinder

Bosch DAF220K Miter Finder Preview

Bosch is making a move into the precise measuring and leveling world with the DAF220 Miterfinder. The days of miss cut angles and wasted trim are over. The Bosch DAF220 Miterfinder is like having four tools in one with functions that include an angle finder, cutting calculator, protractor and a level.

simple man products box finder

Simple Man Products Box Finder

Say dry wall and most guys will tell you they hate working with it. Sure there are the few drywall contractors that seem to love working with the stuff, like the sub contractor we once hired that was able to hang 5/8 inch thick, twelve foot long sheets on a 10 foot ceiling by himself! We are always on the look out for tools that can make drywall work easier for the rest of us.

Swanson TL041M and TL043M Savage Levels Preview

Swanson Savage Levels TL041M and TL043M

This week we got to do some hands on with the new Swanson Savage Torpedo levels. These new levels are made of solid billet aluminum and feature new “Brightview” vials which almost seem to light up from within. The way they are designed they really tend to suck in light to make the level easier to read, even in dimmer areas. The Savage series of levels (including the Lil Savage) have 4 really strong rare earth magnets which, in the demo we tried, allowed us to pick up a 12 pound block of steel without losing grip. If you’re doing commercial work with steel studs this could really come in handy.

Swanson T04424 Wood Magnet Preview

Swanson Wood Magnet T04424

At this year’s 2009 International Builder’s Show (IBS) in Las Vegas we got our hands on the new “Wood Magnet” from Swanson Tool Co. It’s a unique leveling device that fits onto any 2X material and instantly gives you accurate level, whether vertical or horizontal. It also has an integrated rubber band which allows it to be strapped onto 4X4 lumber to level up posts and foundation supports. What makes it truly unique, though is its adaptability. Instead of bringing along a 5- or 6-foot level, for example, you can simply strap the Swanson Wood Magnet onto a straight piece of 2X4 (up to 8 feet long) and instantly convert it into a long level.

Irwin Strait Line chalk reels

Irwin Strait Line Chalk Reels

The recently updated Irwin Strait-line series of chalk reels all feature redesigned bodies, steel handles and larger center clutches to give better performance. The Mach6″, Speed-Line Pro”, Speed-Line” and the Aluminum chalk reels were all specifically engineering to make them more innovative, faster and tougher.

Black & Decker BDSL30 Accu-Mark Level

Black & Decker BDSL30 24-Inch 3-in-1 Gecko Grip Level Preview

The Black & Decker BDSL30 24-inch level is really three tools in one. The 24-inch level is great on its own, offering large easy-view bubbles for making sure your pictures and shelves are perfectly level. Not stopping there, Black & Decker added a 9-inch torpedo level that pulls out from the right side of the BDSL30 and can be used simultaneously alongside its 24-inch host. But wait, there’s more… The 9-inch torpedo level comes complete with an integrated stud finder to sweeten the deal. A stud finder integrated into a level? That’s absolutely the most absurd…ly perfect combination we can think of. In fact, why aren’t all torpedo levels made this way?