What Is an Automatic Level?

Jetta Productions/Blend Images/Getty Images

An automatic level, builder’s auto level, leveling instrument or dumpy level is a professional leveling tool that is used by land surveyors, builders, contractors and engineers. The automatic level is known for providing users with consistent leveling accuracy every time while also being fast, low cost and easy to use.

The automatic level is most commonly used in measuring, surveying, and setting horizontal and vertical levels. The instrument is normally situated on a tripod and then calibrated to a leveled position using leveling screws. The operator of the automatic level then looks through the telescope attached to the instrument, while a second person holds a graduated staff or tape measure at the position under measurement.