In the end it's up to the individual what suits you best, but food for thought:
Even if you get past it that the manufacturer of the accu-bob (H.D Chasen Co) uses what can, at best, be described as "confusing" labeling by using the "Bazooka" name to push their product, the fact is the Accu-bob isn't a very accurate tool. It relies on you, the user, to make it accurate. How much are you willing to spend to get it accurate and keep it that way? There are too many red flags just in the way the Accu-bob is marketed to recommend it.
Having now heard from more than a few erectors that they received an accu-bob when they were told by a dealer they were buying a Bazooka Bob, you might want to contact the manufacturer of the Bazooka Bob(contact info above) directly, if you're unsure of what you are buying. It seems even some dealers who are honestly trying to sell a Bazooka Bob to their customer, have wound up supplying an accu-bob instead
There isn't much info to give here as it seems this level is now seems to be off the market.
The Tru Bob according to some sources, is a 1 piece plastic level, 8ft long, using a pendulum to read for plumb .
If further info becomes available, it will be posted here.
Before getting to other information, there are some problems here which leave a lot of questions.
1) The manufacturer uses "bazooka plumb bob" in their URL as their page to reach the accu bob. The link is here. Erectors we spoke with said they were confused by this. They thought they were clicking on a link to buy a Bazooka Bob.
2) Their web page lists the item as
'Bazooka / Accu-bob'. This would seem to be more than a little deceptive. There's only one real reason to use a marketing tactic like this and has to make you wonder about the quality of the instrument they're trying to sell.
Consider an assistant or purchasing rep who doesn't know the difference between a Bazooka Bob and an Accu-bob and it's easy to see where confusion begins. Or a foreman ordering using a cell phone. Daylight, small screen, in a hurry... sees "Bazooka" and orders. Only to get something different than he thought. This happens from what men in the field have said.
"I thought I ordered a Bazooka Bob and wasn't happy when a piece of plastic junk arrived instead"
If you know the difference between the two items and mean to buy an accu bob, this isn't a problem. If you don't know the difference, it's easy to see where a problem can occur.
About the Accu Bob
Retail price $439.50
The accu bob has a foldable design and opens to 10ft. Four small magnets(30lbs pull) are used to secure the unit to the column. It has a plastic body with steel hinges and clasps to lock it in the open position.
The accu bob is advertised as a precision tool... but- in order to calibrate it(per the manufacturer's instructions) and before you can use it, you must "first find a surface you know is plumb, then calibrate to zero". This means that if you're on your first column and need to calibrate the accu-bob, you must first get another instrument (or hire a testing agency) to plumb the first column, then calibrate the accu-bob. Even then, it's only as accurate as you were able to get the first column. Even then, there is no exact "zero" on the Accu bob(more on that next)
You could use a Bazooka Bob to do help calibrate the accu-bob, but then why would you need the accu-bob? There is also no real "zero". The center hole is more of an...."about there" hole. It won't give you an exact reading for plumb. Which, by definition, makes it NOT a precision instrument. This seems suited more to home use than on the job.
Many erectors have pointed to a problem with broken strings. This stems from the string being exposed when the Accu bob is folded in half.
After hearing from erectors who had purchased the accu bob, here are a some of their comments:
- When plastic meets metal(the hinges) the end result is never good. The hinges ripped out in a few weeks.
- Cheap, under-powered magnets. Better for holding calendars on the fridge. And you need to clean each one before using or it may throw the readings off.
- My guys won't use it anymore. The strings are always breaking and the pinch point does just that, pinches.
- They make good paper-weights
- Poor build quality. Like it was made in someone's garage.
- I bought Accu Bob because I thought it was a Bazooka Bob from the wording on the site I purchased it from... I got plastic and wasn't happy about it.
Not every erector was so harsh about the Accu-bob, but none of them raved about it either. The best thing anybody said about it was- "It's ok"
The Accu-Bob sell for $439.50 on the manufacturer's site
EZ-BOB Vertical Level for Columns
For steel, concrete, walls & more
Ez-Bob vertical level for columns is similar to a Bazooka Bob. It is used for measuring steel and other vertical surfaces for plumb.
The EZ-Bob is no longer available.
There are a number of other options for vertical leveling. Listed here will be other magnetic vertical levels. Below is some information to help you decide and some information on important things to be aware of.
Pictures will be posted shortly but can be found on the respective manufacturer sites.
The Bazooka Plumb Bob
Retail Price- $378
Around for 45 years or so, the Bazooka Bob is adjustable from 6ft to 12ft. Solid build with aluminum and steel construction.
Better accuracy than most lasers with a single powerful magnet(181lbs of pull) which enables you to attach & release the Bazooka Bob easily from the column.
Features & Specs:
Accurate to .001"
Adjustable from 6-12ft
Easy to use- intuitive design
Lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects
There appear to be two attachments for precast, walls forms & more. The form attachment is the only one visible on the manufacturer's site at this time.
The Bazooka Bob retails $378. There are discounts available for multiple units at the time of this writing.
You can get info/order here: bazookabob.com
To contact the manufacturer:
BPB Mfg Co- (856) 673-1997. or firstname.lastname@example.org