Getting a dumpy level is not hard. But getting the right one needs exceptional consideration before paying your hard-earned money. To help others not making the same mistakes that we have done, this article will give you the 101s in choosing a dumpy level for you.
A search for “dumpy level for sale” online could lead to thousands of websites selling all sorts of dumpy levels, ranging in different accessory combos, diverse features and, most important of all, varying prices.
Also known as automatic levels, dumpy levels are used to set horizontal levels for construction projects. The ‘auto’ name is from the ability to self-level of the instrument itself. Most high-quality dumpy levels are able to perform amateur-to-medium measuring and levelling tasks in construction sites.
Accuracy is the key factor for qualifying any dumpy levels. The accuracy rating of different models can vary slightly. Choosing the one with the best rating does not meant the best for you as it depends on the type of site that the dumpy level is used at. It does not mean buying a new level for every site but choose your level according to the most frequent use case.
One quality of the dumpy levels that affects accuracy is their magnification. Dumpy levels on the market have a range from 20X to 32X or more magnification. The higher the level of magnification, the better you can read the staff at a distance. But too high of a magnification would limit your field of view. We recommend 28X – 32X for most use cases. But your mileage may vary.
The compensator within the dumpy level is another influential factor to the accuracy of your measurement. Almost all dumpy levels on sale currently has compensators built in, either air or magnet by the pendulum within the level. Magnetic compensators are beneficial for higher accuracy and faster setup. More advanced dumpy levels may have both air and magnet compensators for the best of both worlds.
The effective range of the level is the second utmost important factor when choosing for a dumpy level. Larger construction area would require a more distant effective range, but it comes at a monetary price. Distances over the effective range would require a second measurement or, otherwise, risking a miscalculation. Therefore, balancing between the effective range and the price is an art to master.
Other factors influencing the accuracy and ease of the surveying process include the aperture, the sensitivity of bubble level and the quality of the optics and prism. The aperture for a dumpy level is similar to the one in a camera. The larger the aperture, the more light will be allowed to enter the telescope for a brighter view, and vice versa. The sensitivity of the bubble level on the dumpy level is impactful to the set-up of the dumpy level for all measurement afterwards.
The quality of optics and prism should not be overlooked as a blurred image would affect the accuracy of your measurement. The prism also offered additional accuracy as to view the bubble level when making the measurement for ensure accuracy. Yet, not everyone has the time to physically visit a store, therefore looking for customer reviews online could be a great alternative.
To round up all the criteria, dumpy levels should be robust for using outdoor, especially at outdoor construction sites. Most dumpy levels are built to resist water and dust. Some are also made from metal for less flexibility and thus better accuracy, but also prone to corrosion or paint shading.
One last thing is to consider the accessories included or in combo as all dumpy levels require a tripod and staff for making any measurement. Bear in mind that dumpy level cannot perform advanced levelling and precision levelling functions, but neither apparatus designed for the two functions are suitable for daily levelling. And your use case may vary to other users. So, take extra consideration before making the decision to buy your own dumpy level.