Is there a neater way for getting the length of an int as this?
int length = String.valueOf(1000).length();
Your String-based solution is perfectly OK, there is nothing "un-neat" about it. You have to realize that mathematically, numbers don't have a length, nor do they have digits. Length and digits are both properties of a physical representation of a number in a specific base, i.e. a String.
A logarithm-based solution does (some of) the same things the String-based one does internally, and probably does so (insignificantly) faster because it only produces the length and ignores the digits. But I wouldn't actually consider it clearer in intent - and that's the most important factor.