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If you’ve seen any old WWII movies that feature planes at all, one of the first instruments they zoom in on is the artificial horizon indicator. It’s the big ball in the middle of the cockpit that shows how the aircraft is positioned relative to the ground. The CH Hanson 50024 Precision Ball Level has the same kind of thing, and it’s sweet.

Someone should have thought of this years ago. The aviation-style ball, which replaces a bubble vial, is both accurate and simple to read. Because the level is ball-style it can measure in two directions at once, just like the one in a plane. Plus, it measures angles in degrees or pitches.

We love the idea and how large the ball-style readout is. If it can make it through a few drops around the job site without the ball shattering, it looks like an extremely handy rig to have. We wonder how long it will take for other manufacturers to try to follow suit. Pricing starts at around $40 for a 24″ model.

Note* Thanks to reader Kyle for the heads up.

50024 Precision Ball Level [CH Hanson]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]


17 Responses to CH Hanson 24″ Precision Ball Level

  1. ttabob says:

    I saw this at lowes the other day………the thing is monster-ish. Its about the size of an oversized 2×4 and the ball is about the size of a tennis ball. I dont understand why all these tools are coming out in “extreme” dressing. real tradesmen and us quasi-professionals would rather have more compact tools that are well made, I dont need to carry any more bulk or weight to the jobsite,

    I like the concept here, but it looks gimmicky because they oversized it un-necessarily.

  2. Chris says:

    Hahaha, you said “ball level”.


  3. 1200tec says:

    They have these at lowe’s for 34.95 😀 , also almost all air craft have artificial horizon indicator’s of this type…

  4. Chaim says:

    I have to agree with ttabob. Lowes has this for $35, but it is ENORMOUS. I mean like you’re never going to carry it to your site huge. I was a *huge* fan of the design till I saw it in person. It’s a no-go.

    On the other hand, I saw the Tri-Vise at Lowes that Toolmonger reported on (http://toolmonger.com/2009/06/04/either-grow-a-few-more-arms-or-buy-a-tri-vise/) and it’s awesome. Simple, strong, good size, and does exactly what it is supposed to.

  5. Dave B. says:

    I have to agree with the above comments. I was grazing at Lowes a couple of weeks ago and saw this level. I thought it was a really cool concept, but the execution is cartoonish. I would consider purchasing one if they scale it down to a size that I wouldn’t get me laughed off a job site.

  6. NotHappy says:

    Wait 6 months and Harbor Tools will have it for $14.99 made in communist China. We will be all over it like stink on …

  7. fred says:

    This will not replace our Stabilas – as others said – too bulky and 24 inch is not an optimum size. Some of the othernew CH Hanson products are getting used on our jobsites – the Pivot Square for one. My tile gu also like their big folding triangle.

  8. Chris says:

    1200tec: This thing has internal gyroscopes that keep it stable in three axes?

    It’s absolutely nothing like an artificial horizon in an aircraft, trust me. It may superficially resemble one in appearance, but that’s about it.


  9. apotheosis says:

    Agree with above, saw these at Lowe’s a couple of weeks ago. They’re too large, but that is a COOL idea.

    Just needs some refining, is all.

  10. 1200tec says:

    At no point did I say it was… I was merely agreeing with what was in the right up… see below..

    “If you’ve seen any old WWII movies that feature planes at all, one of the first instruments they zoom in on is the artificial horizon indicator. It’s the big ball in the middle of the cockpit that shows how the aircraft is positioned relative to the ground. The CH Hanson 50024 Precision Ball Level has the same kind of thing, and it’s sweet.”.

  11. diluded000 says:

    I need to build the ball into the dash on the jeep. Great for wheeling.

  12. Anthony says:

    This is the most innovative level created by man so far. The Ball is easy to see and you can always count on it to be accurate.

  13. Jan says:

    My Lowe’s didn’t have one, so I ordered it. It was huge, as noted, but the packaging is a disaster. The sphere is completely exposed, and it was scratched, marred, and abraded from shipping. One deep gouge, part of the cross-hairs worn off, and more… In use, it would be destroyed.

    They need to make it smaller and protect the sphere from being touched.

  14. Joe DIY says:

    This thing was a good idea, but there is another level coming out that is much better. This level is only a trail run for the next “Big Thing” in basic leveling.

  15. Craig- tile & marble says:

    Look, a little knowledge can go a long way, or it can be dangerous, or at least deceiving. These types of levels, whether the more usable Stabila, or this Hanson, are actually “spirit levels”. None are perfectly levels, which FACT is more and more noticeable the further out the two opposing points on your straight line are projected out. The truest levels are water levels i.e. a clear plastic hose ( about a 1/4 inch in diameter, or so, is sufficient) filled with…water! Allow for the air bubbles to settle (or rise) out of the hose, once filled with the appropriate amount of water and VIOLA! You can even die the water with food coloring for contrast so it can be easily read. With a little experience, & knowledge, these water levels can be read/used by only one person easily. These spirit levels are used when absolute level is unnecessary, and/or time won’t allow. In my trade we prefer a 4 foot, or six foot level, but 2 footers are used a lot as well. To make a level easier to see/read is admirable and also desired, yet with a Stabila, for example, this can be achieved by quickly cleaning them after each use, and giving them a good cleaning at the end of each work day. When it becomes hard to read a tools indicators it might be a good idea to look into getting new glasses. If you decide to buy this Hanson level you still can’t escape the cleaning process. This brings up a question of mine- how does it stand up to water and/or acid, etc.? Also, in the case of my Stabila, if a vial is broken, or comes out of level (???), I go down, buy a new vial, and with some putty, replace the vial, not the whole level. Yes, these are precision tools, but their usability from day to day, etc. is important. Also, in order to find a pitch, or angle, if you can’t pull a framing, or tri-square out of your bucket, or bag, and read it at a glance, you’re gonna get fired, or sent back to the union hall for more training. All in one tools look great on the shelf, but they’re gonna leave SOMETHING lacking on the job sight, like- if one system goes down, usually all systems go down. I don’t advocate overly expensive tools, but on the other hand, you get what you pay for. Maybe I’d give this level to an architect on his birthday, re-gifted of course.

  16. Craig- tile & marble says:

    Oh, by the way, there are problems with laser levels as well. Check into the building errors of the Luxor Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. At the top of the giant pyramid the 4 points converging at the top were off in a twisting like manner, and when this error was found out, the iron work had progressed to near the top. The angles of ascent had to be changed from that point up or the 4 point would not meet. There are other problems we’d encountered on other job sites when shooting a laser from shade through sunlight, and back into shade. Apparently, light can have an effect on other light. This problem was eventually solved by simply useing an expanded 6x8x10 squaring method, and a straight masons line; you know, like they built the Parthenon in ancient Greece. The best elctrical device I’ve ran into for leveling is a laser shooting gyro on a tripod in a lowly lit room. Then, after the marks are made, you create permanent line by turning up the light,pulling some tight chaulk lines, and snapping them properly.

  17. Craig- tile & marble says:

    Or I guess you could buy this 2 foot level by Hanson, hope the stickers were put on right, then close your eyes and toss a dart at the wall,

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