The Stabila Type 196E Tech (top) is being replaced by the IP65 Tech (bottom). New features include a backlight for much easier viewing in dim light, better seals, and bouncier removable end caps.
The Stabila Type 196E Tech (top) is being replaced by the IP65 Tech (bottom). New features include a backlight for much easier viewing in dim light, better seals, and bouncier removable end caps.

Vial accuracy: ± .029° Digital accuracy: ± .05° at 0° and 90°; ± .2° between 0° and 90° Lengths, nonmagnetic edge: 14, 24, and 48 inches Lengths, magnetic edge: 24 and 48 inches Price range (for level, two AA batteries, and soft case): $200 to $280 Stabila 800/869-7460 stabila.com

I've never rushed out to buy the latest spirit level. My 78-inch Empire aluminum I-beam, for instance, is about 30 years old, predating the arrival of aluminum box-beam frames with solid-block acrylic vials. Despite its age, the frame is still true, and one plumb and one level barrel vial still work, provided I obey my alignment arrows.

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