The Milwaukee Tool TikTok Warns To Avoid Buying At All Costs

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When you're working on a DIY job you can complete in a weekend, or something bigger, by yourself, it's helpful when your tools can do some of the work, almost like giving you an extra pair of hands. If you are truing up a frame or working on a fence, such projects need to be perfectly square, or you're going to have significant problems in the future. A bubble level, also called a spirit level or a hand level, is the perfect tool for this job, as it indicates when an item is straight, both horizontally and vertically. It's shaped like a long, rectangular ruler with small liquid-filled tubes with air bubbles inside. When the air bubbles in the tubes are between the lines printed on the tube, you know that the tool is perfectly straight.

This is incredibly handy to have on hand for all kinds of projects. Trying to hold the level in place with one hand while working is extremely difficult, though. That's where having a magnetic strip or built-in magnets for the tool can be a significant benefit, as they can keep it in place when working around metal.

However, don't assume just any level has the magnetic power you need. TikTok user Ignacio Perez created a video that appears to show the Milwaukee Magnetic I-Beam Level failing to maintain a magnetic grip on a metal frame, falling to the ground and making it less useful than others with stronger magnets.

Is the Milwaukee Magnetic I-Beam Level worth buying?

Is the TikTok user's experience with this common, or is it an exaggeration of the performance of the Milwaukee tool? Some of the comments on the TikTok video agree with the user, while others say that the type of metal shown in the video appears to be difficult to use successfully with any magnetic bubble level.

Many actual customer reviews from retailers that carry the Milwaukee Magnetic I-Beam 24-Inch Level agree with the TikTok user's experience, though. Some Home Depot purchasers are happy with the product, but others wish the unit had a stronger magnet. One user says the bubble level does not stick to conduit, which is a significant issue for this type of tool. Multiple reviews on the official Milwaukee website also lament the poor quality of the magnet with the bubble level, including one customer who says many refrigerator magnets are stronger.

To be fair, although a bubble level is among the tools every homeowner should have, not every person needs a strong magnet in this tool. If you aren't worried about the magnet, you could spend the $31 for this at Home Depot and have no regrets. For an even cheaper and more basic option, some people download a bubble level app that they can use on their smartphones.

How do I know if I need a magnetic bubble level, and how do I find one with a strong magnet?

If you are only doing basic DIY projects like hanging shelves, or if you never work with metal frames or pipes, a strong magnetic bubble level is probably not necessary. However, someone who does a lot of plumbing and electrical wiring work may need a solution for holding the bubble level in place while freeing up the worker's hands for other tasks. If you work around metal framing, I-beams, pipes, or conduit, having a strong magnet in this tool is important. One of the highest-rated bubble levels with a strong magnet that also has a similar price to the Milwaukee model is the Stanley Fatmax 24-Inch Magnetic Level (available for $33 at Home Depot).

Pros who work around conduit and plumbing may even consider a torpedo level, which is smaller than the traditional bubble level, allowing it to fit in tight spaces. Having a magnet in the tool in such a tight space is especially beneficial, as it often is necessary to have both hands free to work in a tight space. If this describes you, you can consider the Ideal 6-Inch Magnetic Level, which has a price tag (about $31 on Amazon) similar to the Milwaukee tool. It includes its magnets inside a groove, which allows it to sit flat while adhering tightly.