We're not about to kid ourselves and say that the WatrLevel should be used instead of transits or laser levels, especially for big projects (although it could be), but without a doubt the WatrLevel serves a very useful purpose and is an exceptional tool.  As a matter-of-fact we have sold WatrLevels to laser level users so they can calibrate their lasers!

If you come across any others please feel free to email us the link ....


The WatrLevel is the clear choice ...

We're so confident that the WatrLevel is the best valued leveling tool on the market we even list the competitors.  Water levels utilize an incredibly simple concept but it can be difficult to grasp at first, reading about them on other web sites might help to understand better.  Also, we believe that after viewing these products you'll see what an exceptional tool (and value) the WatrLevel is. x

johnson level

Johnson Level & Tool 2120 14" WaterLevel

Two clear pieces of tubing that attached to the ends of a regular hose. Price is great, try it and see why they are so cheap.

Price: about $8

mayes level

Mayes 10309 Water Level

Same basic design as the Johnson Level.

Price: about $14

kaypro level

Kaypro Water Level

Looks like 60' of tubing, funnel, and some plugs.  Have fun.

Price: about $18

aqua level

Aqua Water Level

A step up from the previous water levels, nice reservoir design.  Remember that the line on the reservoir is your reference point so reservoir placement is crucial, not with the WatrLevel.  This is a common problem with all water levels that do not have our scale, they simply give you two equal level points, often you still have measure and calculate the differences (not with the WatrLevel).  Mounting can be difficult in some situations.

Price: about $25

boss level

Boss Water Level

Improved version of the Johnson and Mayes products
with the same problems and short-comings.

Price: about $24

Zircon Electronic Water Levels

Popular electronic water levels sold in many stores.  Zircon has done a nice job improving these recently.  You attach the unit at the desired level, when you raise the tubing at the other end the unit beeps when the water reaches the height of the unit.  Problem is, it still only provides two level points, calculations are often still required

Price: about $45

zircon level

hydro level


Interesting invention, seems a bit over-engineered.  The WatrLevel does everything it can do and for about $2,040 less.

Price: about $2,100.

pro level

Pro-Level Manometer

The Pro-Level uses exactly the same principal as the WatrLevel and is well designed.  The big difference is the WatrLevel uses a moving scale, this means that you get instant readings instead of having to do addition/subtraction.  The other big difference is the price.  The tripod mounted reservoir is a nice touch but it adds quite a bit to the price without a significant advantage over the WatrLevel reservoir.

Price: about $450


Digital Leveling Systems - Electronic Water Level

Very well designed and easy to use digital water level.  The major shortcomings are the price and the reference point is the reservoir itself, where-as with the WarLevel the reference point is the point where you place the measuring staff and set-zero.  The Digital level could do the same thing if you could place the digital read-out at your desired reference point and then set-zero (where-ever you placed the digital readout next would then be compared to this point, not the reservoir).  The other potential problem is that this level uses electronics which means batteries will die and electronic components will fail.  The WatrLevel has no electronics and there is very little that can fail/break.

Price: about $249 (wholesale)

zip level

Stanley CompuLevel (Zip Level)

A lot like the Digital Leveling systems level but this one does have set-zero making it easier to use.  It's not a true water level - it uses a proprietary hydrostatic liquid and pressurizing gas.  This unit needs to be re-pressurized about every three years.  Looks pretty cool though.  They have a nifty (but expensive) geographical unit.  This is the same unit as the Stanley CompuLevel, but we don't think Stanley carries it anymore.  Major drawbacks: price, electronics, need to be re-pressurized.

Price: about $800



Transits have been the standard in construction for many years and work exceptional well.  The major drawbacks are: price, requires 2 people to operate, won't work around corners.  Proper set-up is essential since they are degree-dependent.  Other considerations are that they are somewhat delicate, disturb easily after set-up, and require some training to use them well.

laser level

High-end Laser Levels

Laser Levels are quickly replacing the transit as the industry standard in the construction industry.  The major drawbacks are: price, won't work around corners, the beam can be difficult to see in daylight, range is limited, and they only provide a level-line - not measurements.  All the high-end laser levels are self-leveling which is extremely important (since they are also degree-dependent) and also partially accounts for their added expense.  These lasers are usually rotational and project a beam 360 degrees. Some have receiving units that make them more usefully, especially in daylight.

laser levels

Low-end Laser Levels

These low end laser levels are also becoming quite popular, especially as the prices fall.  There is a huge variety in styles and quality.  They're especially good for shorter distances and indoor use.  If you're interested in one some considerations are: how are they leveled, if they use a bubble level their usefully range will be limited (remember, they are degree-dependent: a 1/2 degree error in set-up results in a error of 10.5" at 100'), how strong is the laser beam, and is the beam a simple point of light or is it "spread".  Also, they will only provide a level-line, no measurements.