The rechargeable Milwaukee RedStick Digital Level with PinPoint is chock-full of functionality. Give yourself some time to learn your way around it, and it will reward you with usefulness exceeding that of a traditional bubble level. Here’s how it works.
- Heavy-duty construction with IP65 rating and a 3-year accuracy guarantee
- Pre-programmed common slopes and memory for custom slopes in Pin Mode
- Rechargeable 5V RedLithium battery
- Optional leveling tones guide you to the desired measurement
- Measures in percentage, degrees, inches per foot, and millimeters per meter
- Excellent carrying case
- Traditional bubbles would be helpful for quick measurements and wouldn’t require waiting for boot-up
- A small display on the back of level would be helpful
- Volume control would be great
RecommendationThe Milwaukee Redstick with PinPoint is packed with features that give you much more information than a traditional level. You’ll want to give yourself time to learn the interface. You may also want to keep the directions handy so you don’t miss out on all its features. With its dynamic main display, digital top view window with digital bubble, and optional audible cues, this RedStick guides to your desired measurements and lets you easily transfer custom slopes from one place to another. Perhaps ironically, I wish it had traditional level and plumb vials for quick measurements that don’t require waiting for boot-up. Volume control for noisy job sites and a laser-etched rule would also improve the tool. Still, those critiques shouldn’t dissuade you from this tough-as-nails, accurate as-can-be, and exceedingly useful technological accomplishment from Milwaukee.
Level With Me
Before I began this Milwaukee RedStick Digital Level review I thought, if nothing else, Milwaukee sure nailed the look of this tool. It’s beautiful—really a work of heavy-duty art. And you look like a boss when you bring it to the job!
That’s great, of course, but I had to find out if the level made a compelling practical case for itself. The USB-rechargeable 5V RedLithium battery had enough juice out of the box to get right to work. The level’s circular main display boots up just like a computer (because it is one!), taking about 6-7 seconds (more on that in a moment.)
Then, you easily navigate through the level’s functions and options with the triple dot menu button and scroll through submenus with the up and down arrows. It’s here you select settings and measurements in angles, percentages, inches per foot, and so on. The display’s color graphics are particularly impressive. There’s a high-contrast mode that makes the display easy to see even in bright sunlight but be advised: polarized eyewear will counteract this to some extent.
Ask For Directions
The menu navigation is intuitive but you’ll do yourself a favor to keep the quick start guide at hand for the first couple of days. The basic functions are easy to find but you’ll limit all the Milwaukee RedStick Digital Level with PinPoint can do for you by fumbling around on the job without the instructions.
There are countless applications for this level. You’ll see me measuring the slope of a fence on one side of a building so I can mirror the slope for the fence that will go on the opposite side. Using the Pin Mode, I measure the angle and pin it so I can transfer it to another place. This angle registration and transfer are immensely helpful. You can store two custom angles in Pin Mode.
Now let’s say you’re tasked with constructing something that uses common angles. Navigate to the three pre-programmed angles of 22.5°, 30°, or 45° and get to work. There’s also a wonderful inches-per-foot measurement that helps me make critical slopes for ADA compliance. It’s also handy for general flooring and concrete pads. An option for millimeters-per-meter is also available but will get less use unless we receive building plans in metric terms.
The Sound and the Tolerance
The Milwaukee RedStick Digital Level offers high-tech assistance for level and plumb, too. Animations on the main display and (optional) audible cues guide you to very precise measurements.
Within 3° of the target angle, animations move around the display clockwise or counterclockwise depending on which direction the level must move to achieve it. This also works for the pre-programmed and custom angles.
Audible cues are especially helpful for hanging cabinets or shimming countertops when you don’t have a helper. If you can’t see the level’s display, you can listen as the level beeps at a slow pace within 10° of your target and a faster pace within 5°. But there’s a caveat with the sound as it relates to the tolerance you select: if the tolerance is too tight, you’ll likely get too annoyed with the sound to keep it on. You can navigate to the sound preference in the menu or simply double-tap the power button to turn it on and off—a nice touch! In any event, the millisecond that the target measurement is achieved, the level beeps. That’s important because Gene Lane found the (otherwise) excellent Johnson Digital Level to have the slightest delay that made it easy to go past the target.
I just wish there was a volume control—the sound can be hard to hear on a noisy job site! And I would love if the level featured a rule so I don’t have to bust out a tape measure.
View from the Top
The Milwaukee RedStick Digital Level’s top view window displays the measurement as well as a digital bubble. It’s great to have the ability to see the measurement from above. It would be even more helpful to have a third display on the backside of the level. After all, a traditional level lets you read it from both sides. There would be no contorting yourself in a tight spot if you couldn’t see the main display or top view. This could be also remedied if this level had traditional plumb and level vials (like the digital Johnson level mentioned above).
That might sound unreasonable, but I like this level so much I want it to be my one-to-rule-them-all level. To truly do that, I want to have every possible vantage point. Or what if I forget to charge it? When I mentioned the 6-7 second boot-up time, I also had traditional vials in mind. If I want to take a quick measurement, it’s not convenient to wait.
The level goes to sleep after three minutes of inactivity but can be awoken with movement or the press of any button. But after ten minutes, it shuts off and has to be re-booted. Additionally, if it’s tilted or not upright, it will shut off, requiring a reboot.
Digital levels are a relatively new tool category. Here’s a look at a sample of the 48-inch field:
- Empire e105.48: $129
- Johnson 5700-4800D: $232.81
- Milwaukee RedStick Digital Level with PinPoint MLDIG48: $259
- Stabila 36548: $290.00
The Bottom Line
The Milwaukee RedStick Digital Level with PinPoint helps you get jobs done more quickly, easily, and precisely – and it has a bad-to-the-bone look while doing it. The beautiful main display’s animation and audible cues guide you to your desired measurements in percentages, angles, inches-per-foot, or millimeters-per-meter. Use the top view window’s readout and digital bubble when the main display is obscured. Select among three pre-programmed angles or use Pin Mode to save up to two custom angles to register and transfer. But to truly be my all-in-one level, I’d love to see the addition of traditional level and plumb vials and a rule. Even so, there’s little doubt the precision and efficiency of your work will benefit from this Redstick!
Milwaukee RedStick Digital Level with PinPoint Specifications
- Item Number: MLDIG48
- Width: 1.4 inches
- Height: 2.75 inches
- 3-Year Accuracy Guarantee
- Price: $279