What is an auto level versus a theodolite? - EngineerSupply

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

Auto Level & Theodolite

Surveying equipment: it comes in all shapes and sizes, and there’s lots you’ll need to have on hand to be fully prepared for your next construction project. When you shop for leveling and measuring equipment, you’ll have to browse through various pieces of equipment with similar names and appearances but very different functions. The difference between automatic levels and theodolites is a common source of confusion for new engineers and surveyors. Let’s take a look at their similarities and differences so you can shop with confidence instead of confusion.

A theodolite is used to measure both horizontal and vertical angles. It is an important tool for individuals specializing in triangulation networks and geolocation work. Beyond the fields of surveying and engineering, theodolites are useful in creating floor layouts and working with concrete slabs. You may also need a theodolite for work on golf courses, swimming pools, landscaping, or road design. Theodolites can be used to measure elevations, but auto levels will do this more accurately over long distances.

An auto level is a professional-grade leveling tool used by builders and surveyors who depend on accurate leveling at every turn. They are fast, easy to use, and help to conserve financial resources during a variety of projects. Some auto levels sold at Engineer Supply come in kits that include a grade rod and tripod for convenience and ease of use. Auto levels need to be leveled by hand at first, but they have a built-in system that allows you some margin for error and takes over the process to create an automated, accurate measurement. An auto level cannot measure vertical angles and has limited accuracy in measuring horizontal angles. If your project requires those measurements, make sure you have both an auto level and a theodolite on hand.

Auto levels and theodolites are both great tools to increase accuracy and ease in almost any surveying or construction project. It’s important to understand the benefits and limitations of both instruments and plan accordingly to make the most of your time, effort, and budget. The experts at Engineer Supply are here to help you with any questions you may have about surveying equipment and getting the job done right!

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Best Construction Level

#1: David White LT8-300P 26x Transit Level with Optical Plummet

Best construction level david white LT8-300P-46-D8871

This 26x transit level has an accuracy of 3/16 of an inch at distances of up to 150 feet, but it has a total range of 400 feet. The optics have a horizontal circle with a lock and tangent as well as a vertical arc with a lock and tangent. It also has a 5/8" x 11" thread size and a 1:100 stadia with a glass reticle. When you purchase this construction level, you will also get the following:

  • Optical plummet
  • Rain hood
  • Objective lens cap
  • Hard carrying case
If you’re ready to purchase this level, be sure to pick yours up at Engineer Supply.

#2: Topcon 32x Automatic Level AT-B2

Best construction level topcon-32x-2110220B0

This automatic level will allow surveyors and construction professionals to get accurate level, angle, height and distance measurements. The optics have a 32x magnification, a 1/32-inch accuracy, and a built-in compensator that will stabilize the line of sight (even in the presence of fine vibrations that can be caused by heavy equipment on the job site). The telescope has a focus range of 7.9 inches and can be used in confined spaces. It also has an internal magnetic dampened compensator, which will allow you to level the line of sight within a range of 15 arc minutes at an accuracy of 0.3 arc seconds. You can even get it with the following accessories:

  • Diagonal eyepiece.
  • Optical micrometer.
  • Light pack (which can be helpful low-light conditions).
  • 40x eyepiece (which will improve accuracy and magnification).
Be sure to pick yours up at Engineer Supply today!

#3: Sokkia B20 32X Automatic Level

Best construction level sokkia-B20-32X-2110120B0

This construction level has been proven to provide both precision and durability. It also features enhanced reliability in all types of environmental conditions. Its tough and compact body has an IPx6 Rating. So, it will be resistant to damage caused by water, humidity, and dust. It also has a number of useful features, which can include but may not be limited to:

  • Precise and reliable automatic compensator — It has four high-tensile suspension wires and a magnetic dampening system, which will ensure accuracy and stability (even when it’s exposed to temperature changes, vibrations, or shock).
  • Superior telescope — It can provide an exceptionally bright and sharp view that will minimize eye strain. It also has an ultra-short focus of 7.9 inches (20 cm) from the end of the telescope, which makes it easier to use in confined spaces.
  • Quick collimation — The two knobs of endless horizontal motion drives can be operated with either hand, which allows for faster and easier aiming.
  • Horizontal angle measurement — Horizontal angles can be read in one-degree or one-gradian units, and the freely rotatable circle will allow you to perform any angle reading from zero.
The stadia lines on the reticle will allow you to perform any distance measurement, and it’s easy to adjust with one screw. The circular level vials are adjusted with two screws, but both of them are quick and easy with the provided tools.

#4: Topcon RL-200 2S Dual Slope Rotary Laser Level Pro Package

Best construction level topcon-RL-200-314920782

This self-leveling, dual-slope rotary construction laser level is great for exterior applications and it includes the following:

  • Rechargeable battery kit.
  • LS-100D laser detector with the Holder 6 rod clamp.
  • RC-400 remote control.
  • Hard carrying case.
The red laser beam has an operating range of 3,600 feet in diameter with a laser detector, and it has an accuracy of 3/64 of an inch at distances of up to 100 feet.

#5: Topcon RL-H5A DB Alkaline Horizontal Laser Level with LS-80L Receiver

Best construction level topcon-RL-H5A-DB-1021200-07

This construction laser level has an operation range of up to 800 meters, and it comes with a smart long-range receiver. The laser has a rotation speed of 600 rpm with a self-leveling range of five degrees. The battery can last up to 100 hours, and the body has an IP66 Rating (which allows it to withstand dust, a sudden shower, or even heavy rainfall). When you purchase this laser level for construction, it will come with a 5-year manufacturer’s warranty as well as the following accessories:

  • Topcon LS-80L Laser Detector.
  • Sensor holder.
  • Carry case.
Be sure to pick yours up at Engineer Supply today!
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