Sola Magnetic Torpedo Level - Canadian Woodworking Magazine

A very durable frame, easy-to-read vials, super strong magnet, and a lifetime warranty make this an appealing level

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Sola Magnetic Torpedo Level



Sola is an Austrian company, founded in 1949, which began marketing its products in North America around 2008. I reviewed their pencils in April 2012, and was impressed with the quality and pricing.
 
Recently we had the opportunity of trying their Magnetic Torpedo Level (MM5-25). The Sola MM5-25 doesn't have the traditional streamlined torpedo design that typifies this line of levels. Rather, the bottom of the level is flat along its full length, making it looks somewhat more like a small mason's level.


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Horizontal, vertical and 45° vials 

At 13 ounces in weight, and almost 1" thick, the Sola MM5-25 has a commanding presence in the hand. The body is cast from aluminum, and has a a smooth epoxy coating that both protects the level and makes it easier to clean. The top of the arms are beveled, making the level easier to slide into a tool pouch or apron pocket.
 
There are three large vials - horizontal, vertical, and 45°. The round vials are 1-1/8" diameter, while the center horizontal vial is 1-3/8" wide. I really like larger vials, particularly as my eyes grow older. These vials are encased in solid unbreakable acrylic glass and equipped with a magnifying lens, which increases the bubble size by about 30%, making them easier to see - so you'll make fewer errors.
 
According to Sola, the MM5-25 is guaranteed to function perfectly in a temperature range from -20°C to +60°C (-4°F to +140°F). As well, the vials won't become electrostatically charged, due to the unique properties of the liquid used in the vials.


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Magnified horizontal vial glows in the dark        

You'll notice that there aren't any indicator rings - the outer edges of the vials have been coated with ink on the inside of the vials, which is intended to increase readability. I didn't mind these inked in indicators at all, finding them just as easy to use as the more conventional rings. Either way, reading a level is somewhat subjective, and takes a bit of experience before you become adept at it.
 
The horizontal vial has a fluorescent illuminated lining that makes it easier on the eyes when using the level in less than ideal lighting conditions. I really liked this feature. What I didn't particularly like is the absence of a bridge across the top of the vial, leaving it exposed to scratching or damage (tossing it into a too box, for example).


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Mighty magnet and V-channel       

The neodymium rare earth magnet on the bottom edge of this level is extremely strong, providing a secure grip - you won't have to worry about the level inadvertently falling. However, it's not so strong that you'll have to struggle to release the grip.
 
The V-channel is convenient when leveling metal or plastic piping - it keeps the level from slipping around too much.


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Illuminated dial is easier to read  
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Hands free operation
While the Sola MM5-25 might be priced somewhat higher than other torpedo levels, it has some appealing features - solid presence in the hand, practically unbreakable body, easy-to-read vials, illuminated and magnified horizontal vial, super strong magnet, and a lifetime warranty.


KEY FEATURES:

  • 7/8" x 1-7/8" x 9-7/8"
  • 13 ounce weight
  • Cast aluminum housing with epoxy coating
  • Milled measuring surface with V-groove
  • Horizontal, Vertical, and 45° vials
  • Magnified acrylic vials
  • .029° accuracy guarantee
  • Fluorescent backing on horizontal vial
  • Neodymium rare earth magnet
  • Lifetime warranty

Manufacturer:Sola
Available From:Grainger
Retail Price:$49.99
Model #:MM5-25
Made In:Hungary
Carl Duguay, May 2012

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