A torpedo level is a type of spirit level that ranges from 6 to 12 inches long. It’s designed to be used in small spaces that you can’t get a normal spirit level to fit.

There are different types of torpedo level that suit different types of construction workers and DIY enthusiasts. They are great for levelling bookshelves, hanging picture frames or even a mirror.

The main types of torpedo level are:

Magnetic torpedo level

The magnetic torpedo level is used more with plumbers so they can get their copper pipes and radiators plumb without holding the level, as it will stay in place with the magnetic strip.

Structo-cast torpedo level

The structo-cast torpedo level is ideal for electricians because it has a non-conductive material frame around the level.

Professional torpedo levels feature shock absorbing end plates to protect the level from damage. Torpedo levels have three built in vials to help the user gauge horizontal, vertical and 45-degree reading. Some will even come with a 180-degree rotating vial to gauge multiple angles. Some are earth magnetized and some will glow in the dark.

Most torpedo levels will have a hole on either end to hang the level from, this is used if you are hanging a picture or levelling walls. Torpedo levels are made from heavy plastic, aluminium or steel.

Using a torpedo level 

The torpedo level is very much like most spirit levels. It is used for checking plumb, level and checking 45-degree angles.


To check for plumb (vertical) on walls means that the wall is running up at 90-degree angle from the floor level. This is important for builders who will fit windows, doors, door casings and roofs. If this is not plumb then the whole build could be out of line.

You will want to make sure that the edge of the level is pressed tight against the wall and that there are no debris or dips in the way. You want to check that the bubble in the vertical tube is between the two lines marked on the vertical tube. If it is not in the centre then the wall is not plumb. If you look at the level bubble and it is closer to the right side then the wall is at an acute angle and if the bubble is more to the left side it is at an obtuse angle.


If you want to check for level (horizontal) then the process is the same as above but you are using the level in the horizontal position. If the air bubble is to the left of the spirit level then the horizontal slope is to the right and if the air bubble is to the right then the horizontal slope is to the left.

45-degree angle

To check for the 45-degree angle the method is the same as the other two ways.

You are going to be using the spirit bubble on the 45-degree angle.

Put the level parallel with the item you want to check, make sure that the level is in contact with the item all the way down the surface. Check that the air bubble is between the two marked lines, which are marked at either side of the glass tube. If the bubble is closer to the top of the tube then this is at a greater angle than 45-degrees, if the bubble is at the bottom of the tube then this at a less angle to 45-degrees. 

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