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What is the difference between an auto level and a dumpy level?

Auto Level & Theodolite

Auto levels and dumpy levels can both be valuable pieces of a surveyor’s toolkit. The differences between them commonly cause confusion, but it’s important to understand all of their capabilities and limitations before you make a purchase for your next project. Let’s dive into the details so you can discover which of these tools is right for you.

Dumpy Levels

What makes a dumpy level appealing to many surveyors is its simple, straightforward design and relative lack of moving parts. Compared to an automatic level, a dumpy level is easier to manipulate but requires more precision from the surveyor. Surveyors will not need to make as many adjustments to a dumpy level as they would to an automatic level, as dumpy levels can retain adjustments for a longer period of time.

Like automatic levels, dumpy levels require support from a tripod that is raised to eye level. Dumpy levels feature high optical power that allows for accurate, reliable long-range readings.

Automatic Levels

Because automatic levels are higher-tech in their design, there can be a learning curve to using them effectively. However, surveyors who take the time to understand all the features and the full capacity of their auto level will find it easier to use. Auto levels are known for their high standard of accuracy, and while dumpy levels can also measure angles quite accurately, they require more input from the operator to achieve this standard of precision.

Auto levels contain an internal compensator mechanism that intuitively adjusts the line of sight to ensure accuracy. You can also adjust the position of the level’s sight bubble using the screws on any side of the device.

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The Decision

Your decision on which level to go with will ultimately come down to your budget, the particulars of your project, and your comfort level with the equipment. Engineer Supply has a wide selection of high-quality levels and general surveying equipment to take the stress out of construction. Don’t hesitate to contact the experts on our customer support team for more advice before making your next purchase!

Auto Level & Dumpy
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