Leveling Rods, Grade Rods, Direction Elevation Rods, Leveling Rods, Lenker Rods Page 3 - EngineerSupply

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Grade Rods

We carry all types of Rods such as Grade Rods, Level Rods, Direct Elevation Rods, Sight Rods, Lenker Rods, and Specialty Smart Rods. Grade Rods, also known as Level Rods, are a necessary tool for most building contractors, paving companies, excavation companies, concrete professionals, and plumbers residential or commercial. As an added feature on some rod models, they have measuring ruler capabilities, where you can extend the rod up to the underside of a bridge or ceiling and then read the height at eye-level. Also be aware that some rods have their measuring faces made for when using laser levels as opposed to an optical level. Keep in mind that a fiberglass grade rod will last much longer than an aluminum grade rod, given that both types are cared for (nothing can last if you run over it with a truck or heavy equipment).

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Remember, grade rods are also known as "leveling rods" or "builders rods" , and are not only used by land surveyors. Most of the time, grade rods are used by contractors that build many different things but mostly including concrete work, paving asphalt, installing concrete floors, driveways and foundations, trenching and piping gravity utilities like sanitary sewer and storm drains, as well as other work including setting finished floor elevations and finish grades for hardscapes such as sidewalks and parking lots. Some contractors use level rods for setting structures like dewatering devices and retention ponds, and setting septic tanks. Keep in mind that fiberglass grade rods typically last longer than ones made of aluminum. Also, the markings on fiberglass grade rods tend to last longer and not get rubbed or scratched off like they typically do an aluminum level rod. Many of our builders rods are sold with a soft case which helps protect the rod from the elements.

Grade Rod Features

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Direct Elevation Rod Usage

The SECO Direct Elevation Rod can allow you to get direct measurements of elevation grade without using any math. This type of survey rod can be used to measure elevations at certain points, which can be subtracted to measure elevation differences. It comes in two models — one that’s meant to be used with an optical instrument, and another that can be used with a laser reader. Both rods have two clamps that lock both the tape face and the telescopic extension, so you can increase the rod height when needed. Once the rod has been aligned with the optical reader or laser receiver, you can use the tape face to measure elevation by reading the numbers on the tape face. This method was developed by Lenker in the 1950’s, and it’s still being used today.

Using a Lenker Style Rod

The Lenker-Style Grade Rod uses a system that eliminates the need for math and the risk of miscalculations on the job site. It uses a laser receiver, which can be used to read the grade of the ground. And it has a tape face that be set to either the benchmark elevation or one that is desired. The elevation is determined by reading the last three numbers of the elevation, which is measured to the nearest hundredth. And by moving the laser receiver until you hear a solid tone, you can get accurate measurements quickly without the need for math or complex calculations. The Lenker Rod is a method that has been around for a long time, and it’s still a great way to measure elevation grade on a job site.

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Read our Helpful Articles: Best grade rods


You may have a certain set of needs, which is why we have a variety of models that can be suited for any number of applications. You may need a grade or leveling rod so you can measure the elevation grade of a specific area that you need to survey, but you can also find a direct reading rod for more accurate measurements. This type of grade rod is used with an optical scope, which allows you to make quick and precise measurements of a specific area. An engineer’s rod can measure in feet and tenths or even hundredths of a foot, which are marked in high contrast so they can be easily read. A builder’s rod is similar to an engineer’s rod, except that it’s divided into fractions instead of decimals. For more efficient measurements, a direct elevation rod will work best.


While a basic survey rod has many of the necessary features for measuring grade elevation, there are accessories that can give you some extra features. This can include special laser attachments for more accurate measuring, prism threads for mounting targets or prisms, and even cases for easy carrying. Many of these accessories can be attached with a clamp that squeezes into the rod and is often used to attach a laser level detector. Be sure to look at our selection, so you can find a rod accessory that fits your needs.

A grade rod is often used by a land surveyor, construction worker, or any other person who needs to make accurate measurements of grade elevation, especially as it relates to the differences between two points. Plumbers, concrete professionals, and farmers can also use this tool to measure elevation differences of almost any surface. This survey rod can come in a variety of models — each with their own specific applications. The tape mechanism can be moved up or down, so the elevation of a specific point can be measured. A laser can also be attached for more accurate readings.
We carry all types of measuring rods, including the following:

  • Grade rods
  • Level rods
  • Direct elevation rods
  • Sight rods
  • Lenker rods
  • Specialty smart rods

Like a leveling rod, this tool is essential for any building contractor, paving company, excavation company, concrete professional, or plumber. You can buy an aluminum grade rod, but a fiberglass model will last longer if you take care of it properly.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a grade rod?

A grade rod has graduations that can be used to measure differences in elevation, and it can be used with surveyor, optical, and laser levels. This kind of survey rod can be made of several different materials, but here are some of the most common:
  • Wood
  • Plastic
  • Fiberglass
It can either have adjustable segments or can be made of a single piece. The length of aluminum rods might be adjusted through a set of telescoping sections, while wooden rods can have sections that are attached to each other with slip joints.

How do I use a grade rod?

For this kind of survey rod to work, it will have to be extended to its full length. And it will need to be used with an auto or transit level. You will also have to determine the measurement points you need. The person holding the leveling rod (who is called the “rodman”) will hold it in a vertical position, but it needs to be plumb if you want to get an accurate measurement. Then, you can focus the instrument on the grade rod, so the rodman can record the measurement.

Why are grade rods in tenths?

Some grade rods have measurements in feet, as well as tenths and hundredths of a foot. This kind of survey rod is called an “engineer’s rod.” The full foot numbers are marked in red, the tenths are marked in black numbers, and hundredths are marked as tick marks. This “decimal system” makes it easier for engineers to perform certain calculations, and they can add up neatly in columns. They can also be easily converted at the end of each calculation.

How do I read a survey rod?

For this kind of grade rod to give you the most accurate measurement, it will have to be used with a leveling instrument. And the rodman will have to hold the rod in a vertical position. From there, you can focus the instrument on the grade rod so the rodman can record the measurement.

Where can I find a quality grade rod?

Whether you’re looking for a survey rod or some other tool you can use to measure grade, you can find what you need at Engineer Supply. We have a variety of measuring tools that are perfect for the working professional. Feel free to look at what we have in our inventory, so you can find a product that will meet your specific needs.

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