How to Level Without a Level

A level without a level is like a ship without a rudder. You may be able to move forward, but you’ll never really know where you’re going. The same is true of life. Without a sense of direction, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle.

Many people ask me how I was able to progress so quickly in my career without any formal education or training. The answer is simple: I applied the principles of “leveling without a level.” Don’t have a level handy? No problem! With a few simple tricks, you can level just about anything without one. Read on to learn how.

Level Without a Level

Is It Possible to Level Things Accurately Without a Level?

There’s no denying that levels are one of the most essential tools for any DIYer or professional contractor. But what happens when you don’t have a level handy? Can you still level things accurately without one?

The short answer is, yes! Although it might take a little bit more time and effort, it is possible to level things without a level. Here are a few tips on how to do it:

  • Use a long, straight object like a ruler or a yardstick to determine whether something is level. Place the object on top of whatever you’re trying to level and see if it’s balanced evenly.
  • If you don’t have anything long and straight, you can also use a string or a cord. Simply stretch it out along the surface you’re trying to level and see if it’s sagging in the middle. If so, then the surface isn’t level.
  • Another option is to use water. Pour some water onto the surface you’re trying to level and see if it pools evenly. If not, then the surface isn’t level.

While these methods aren’t as foolproof as using a level, they can still help you get pretty close! So next time you find yourself without a level, don’t panic – just try one of these tips instead.

6 Best Ways to Level Without a Level

When you find yourself in a situation where a level is unavailable, you can still accomplish the task at hand by using the following methods:

1. Using a Round Object

One simple way to achieve a level surface is by utilizing a round object. Take a ball, for example, and place it on the surface you want to level. Adjust the surface until the ball is centered. This method works effectively for smaller surfaces and provides a visual cue to ensure proper leveling.

2. Using a Tape Measure

Another method involves using a tape measure. Measure the distance from the ground to the top of the surface at different points. Adjust the surface until the measurements are the same. While this technique may require some additional effort, it is a reliable way to achieve a level surface without a level.

3. Using a Smartphone App

In today’s digital age, smartphones have become powerful tools that can assist in various tasks, including leveling. There are numerous smartphone apps available that utilize the built-in sensors to determine levelness accurately. Simply download a reliable leveling app, follow the instructions, and adjust the surface accordingly.

4. Using a Water Level

For those seeking a more traditional approach, a water level can be an excellent alternative. Fill a clear tube with water and place it on the surface you want to level. Adjust the surface until the water level inside the tube is even. This method is particularly useful for longer surfaces or areas where visual cues might be challenging to interpret.

5. Using a Piece of String

A piece of string can also come in handy when you lack a level. Tie a weight to a piece of string and hold it against the surface you want to level. Adjust the surface until the weight is centered. While this method may require a bit of trial and error, it can be an effective way to achieve a level surface.

6. Using a Speed Square or Cardboard

Lastly, if you have a speed square or a piece of cardboard, you can utilize them to level a surface. Place the speed square or cardboard on the surface you want to level and adjust the surface until it aligns with the square or cardboard. This method is particularly suitable for larger surfaces and provides a reliable reference for achieving levelness.

These six methods offer practical alternatives for leveling surfaces without the need for a level. Whether you’re working on shelves, tables, or even floors, you now have a range of options to choose from. Remember to select the method that best suits your needs and the surface you’re working with.


In conclusion, leveling without a level is not as challenging as it may seem. With the right techniques, you can achieve a level surface using everyday objects and tools that are readily available. Whether you opt for the round object method, tape measure, smartphone app, water level, piece of string, or speed square/cardboard, each approach offers its own advantages and can be effective in different scenarios. So, the next time you find yourself without a level, don’t panic. Just choose one of these alternative methods and get the job done.


  1. Can I use these methods for leveling outdoor surfaces? Absolutely! These methods can be used for both indoor and outdoor surfaces. Just ensure you adjust the techniques based on the specific requirements of the surface you’re working on.
  2. Are there any smartphone apps you recommend for leveling? There are several reliable leveling apps available for both Android and iOS devices. Some popular options include “Level” for Android and “iHandy Level” for iOS.
  3. Which method is the most accurate for achieving a level surface? The accuracy of each method depends on various factors, such as the precision of the tools used and the skill in implementing the technique. Generally, a digital leveling app or a water level tends to provide more accurate results.
  4. Can I use these methods to level uneven floors? While these methods can help to achieve a more level surface, they might not be suitable for addressing significant unevenness in floors. In such cases, it’s advisable to consult a professional for proper floor leveling solutions.
  5. Do these methods work for both horizontal and vertical surfaces? Yes, these methods can be applied to both horizontal and vertical surfaces. Just make sure to adapt the technique according to the orientation of the surface you’re working on.

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The Howtowise team has helped thousands of homemakers fix their household problems with step-by-step tutorials. Howtowise has been featured in The New York Times, Scientific American, Good Housekeeping, Vox, Apartment Therapy, Lifehacker, and more.