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A while back we mentioned the Gecko Grip level from Black and Decker. Though it’s a bit gimmicky I recently ran across one that had been gifted to a friend, and I got to see him put it through its paces.  I found, to my surprise, that it does work as advertised.

The usual argument against the Gecko goes something like, “Who uses a level to hang a picture?” After seeing the Gecko in action I understand that it’s not the level that makes this a useful real-world setup — it’s the adjustable targets on a straightedge that happens to have a level on it.

I watched a 12-year-old align the level’s targets with the wall mount on the back of a picture, then take the Gecko over to the wall, hold it up and check that the bubble level was reasonably straight, and mark the surface with a pen. After mounting the hardware, they hung the picture, shifted it a bit here and there to correct for the room’s “alignment” — and they were done.

The whole thing took about a minute, and no one touched a tape measure or fussed over crookedness. The father also explained that it doubled as a household level and worked pretty well for it, too. He followed up with the remark that it was one of the better Christmas tools he’d ever received.

The lesson here: Not everything gimmicky has to be junk. In this case, the Gecko performs actual household tasks — and it not only performs its original purpose, but also substitutes for other more-expensive, no-gimmick tools that are taken more seriously.

What do you think?  Once a gimmick, always trash?  Or can some of these Christmas grabbers make life better, even in some small way, around the homestead? Let us know in comments.

Street pricing starts at $15.

Gecko Grip Level [Black & Decker]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?] [What’s This?]


11 Responses to Hot or Not? Gimmick Gift Levels

  1. der5er says:

    HOT!! Maybe I’m a bit of a gadget geek when it comes to my tools, but I use levels to hang pictures (try hanging 3 in a row straight and level without one) and mirrors (http://www.der5er.com/2008/08/18/for-the-love-of-tools-gecko-grip-level/). The Gecko Grip saved me a ton of time this past weekend.

  2. anon says:

    Now if they built a stud finder into that, they’d really have something.

  3. Joe says:

    Come on. Who doesn’t use a level to hang pictures? I use a tape measure, pencil and level. Are your wall plumb and level? This thing is cool. What’s the $$$$

  4. chet says:

    Gimmicky or not this thing does work as advertised. I received as a gift as well and use it all the time. I have used the marking targets often and they work well. And if i don’t need the targets it still functions as a standard level all the time. HOT!

  5. nos says:

    i love the ability to measure and mark holes in one tool. i borrowed my dad’s over the weekend when i was mounting the tv to the wall and now i’m looking for my own. i guess it helps that i didn’t have a level or straight edge already

  6. Barri says:

    Ermmmmm Well thats not doing anything that i aint been able to do with my level for the last 12 years. Epic fail

  7. Bob The Drywall Guy says:

    I could see how it would be useful… though how would you know you’re in a proper ratio to the wall without a measuring tape? I couldn’t just pick a spot, that’s crazy talk! There has to be precise measurements involved in hanging stuff! Unless I’m just nuts like that…

    Gimmicky tools usually aren’t so bad. They can be great to have around. Unless the gimmick is a laser or three… I was initially reluctant to pick up my makita Li-on 18v cordless drill, because I thought the light on it was gimmicky… As it goes that light has proven it’s worth many times over… even leading me to use the drill as a flashlight on a couple occasions.

    I’ve got a few neat, gimmicky tools, from a drywall ‘strip-cutter’ (scores both sides of a sheet to make straight cuts less then 6″), to a really wild little semi-circle utility knife.

  8. Tobywon says:

    Judging from past performance of B&D leveling products, I doubt it is accurate.

  9. dave says:

    I’ve got a level that I marked with a permanent marker at least 10 years ago that does the same thing. Here’s what you do, mark the center and then mark at 1 inch intervals out from the center to both ends. You can even get fancy and label the marks like this “5”, “4”, “3”, “2”, “1”, “0”, “1”, “2”, “3”, “4”, “5”. Decide how far apart you want to install your picture hangers, divide that by two, and then use the level and your new and improved level to place your picture hangers. Here’s a hint, if you’re only going to use one hanger for the picture, don’t to the divide by 2, just use the “0” mark on your level.

  10. Shopmonger says:


    Gimicky is cool as long as the tool saves your ass…..

    And “BOB” precise measurements, 5 lengths of wire, 4 specific screws, 3 hours of prep work, 2 beers, 1 great level and I gurantee………………………………

    Your wife makes you move it!

  11. Michael Pendleton says:

    I have to admit: I’m a sucker for stuff like this! I don’t have a use for that particular gadget, but it wouldn’t look out of place in my tool collection…

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