Black & Decker BDSL10 36-Inch Accu-Mark Level Review
The Black & Decker BDSL10 36-Inch Accu-Mark Level makes it a simple task to precisely hang decorative items on your wall by taking all the guesswork out of where to position the hangers on the wall. Simple and effective solutions to common problems are things that we like to see in the tool world. When you add new functionality to an already versatile tool like a level, we think it is brilliant. We may be the only publication that goes nuts over levels and tape measure comparisons, but so be it.
We liked the retail packaging approach to this tool since it is very minimal, yet completely describes the attributes of the tool. In the case of the Black & Decker BDSL10 36-Inch Accu-Mark Level, it is a level that can be used to check how plumb and level all kinds of things are, but it has some other features that makes it unique. We found the overall build quality of the level to be very good. The body of the level is made of a single piece of extruded aluminum (a similar process they use in automated gutter and fascia systems) in an I-beam configuration. The top and bottom edges of the level are machined to exacting tolerances to ensure not only a straight line when used as a straight edge, but also to ensure that you get accurate plumb and level measurements. Both ends of the level have shock absorbing rubber end caps should you ever drop it. The liquid filled level vials are located in the center and are oversized and easy to read.
Now where the Black & Decker Accu-Mark departs from a traditional level is that it has two movable “Accu-Mark Targets.” These ride in the center of the level beam on tracks and they can be positioned as needed anywhere simply by sliding them. On the back side of the level are two sets of pads. One set is spring loaded with a hard, non-marring material that keeps the level from touching the wall surface and lets it slide easily on the wall until you put pressure on the level. When you press against the level to hold it into position on the wall, the spring loaded sliding feet move in, allowing a soft rubber like material to come in contact with the wall to help you hold the level against the wall in the location you need it with just one hand. What this does is free up your other hand to put in the pencil marks where you need them.
Testing and Use
To test this level, we put it up against a 3 foot Stabila 37436 level from our tool collection to verify how accurately it measures both on the level line and plumb line. From what we could tell, there were no noticeable differences in the readings when we compared the two. This is a good thing for the Black and Decker since the Stabilla cost about four times as much and we’ve found it to be extremely accurate.
For the Black & Decker BDSL10 Accu-Mark system, we decided to hang a decorative mirror on a wall. What we did was first figured out the positioning of the mirror and then we marked the center point on the wall. Next we took the level, found and marked the midpoint of the back side of the mirror between the two hanging brackets. With the Accu-Mark level lying on the back of the mirror, we slid the Accu-Mark Targets so that they lined up exactly over the hanging brackets on the mirror. With the bracket positions set on the level, we took the level to the wall, lined the center of the level (there are little tick marks to indicate this on the level) with the center point we marked on the wall previously. Next we leveled the level until the bubble was exactly centered between the two marks on the level vial. With pressure from just one hand, we were able to hold the level against the wall and with the other hand we took our pencil and put a mark on the wall in the center of the Accu-Mark Targets. After this we took the level down, then installed our 50 lb rated E-Z Anchors in the wall where we marked it. Lastly, we then took the wall mirror and simply installed it where we put the anchors in the wall. As expected, the screws in the wall aligned perfectly with the hangers on the back of the mirror. Now reading through this might seem like a lot of work, but in reality, the whole process of measuring, leveling and installing the mirror took less than two minutes.
We really think the Black & Decker BDSL10 36-Inch Accu-Mark Level will work great for folks that have to install bathroom towel bars or just about anything that needs two mounting points on a wall. After our little trial with this tool we are pretty confident that almost anyone can get satisfactory results. For our Performance rating we gave this tool a 8/10 since it really does work, was simple to use and is well made. For our Value rating, we also gave the level a 8/10 because it offers a lot of bang for the buck and we think that even some contractors will find it useful and rugged enough to make it part of their professional collection.