What is a Laser Level
Nowadays, you can find a lot of tools for buildings construction and home improvements that greatly facilitate the job of construction workers. One of them is a laser level - its main purpose is to show a levelled angle or direction projection during installation works inside and outside the buildings.
The operating principle is that a laser level creates a visible projection on almost any surface with a visible laser dot, line or even a grid for aligning things in accordance with a necessary angle. It can be implemented in various tasks, e.g. levelling or plastering out a wall or a floor surface, laying the service lines, installing a window unit or book shelves, smoothing plaster or simply aligning a picture frame on a wall.
What’s more, some laser levels can create a projection in three dimensions. This is really helpful because you won’t have to move it around, realigning each time for every direction. On the whole, the laser level will ease the tasks of many construction activities, increasing efficiency and improving overall results.
And if you are searching for the tools to measure distances in premises, check out laser distance meters. They will totally replace a tape measure in your inventory, and some of them can even calculate the area and volume of a room. You might also be interested in our reviews of the best hammer drills for making large holes in concrete and bricks.
What Features to Compare
For starters, let’s take a look at what Types of laser levels are available on the market nowadays:
- Point laser levels create a single laser beam that projects a dot on the surface if It’s pointed directly at it. Additionally, when the level’s body is flat near the laser source, it may project a short, but highly visible line if placed along the surface. This is helpful for making a straight line on the wall for hanging a wallpaper, aligning picture frames or shelf tops on the same level. It also allows you to check if the surface is uneven along the line. However, it might not be suitable for more complex tasks.
- Line and cross line laser levels can project one or more long straight lines. With two or more lines you can simultaneously project them at direct angles to each other. This is helpful for installing power lines, an array of lamps, shelves, acoustic ceiling profiles, etc.
- Rotary laser level project laser line in 360° from its head. Those are required for highly specific works, such as pouring cement floors, driving piles in, aligning pictures on all the walls at once in art galleries and so on.
After you chose the type, don’t forget to take a look at Operating Parameters. The main one is a working distance. Most of the laser levels have a working range within 2-20 m range, which is usually enough for most of the tasks. Please note, that laser lines might be less visible in daylight due to the light dissipation. But if you are planning to use it professionally at construction sites, you might need the one, that works within 10-30 m range or can be used with a laser detector.
Another parameter is a Number of Laser Lines that the unit can produce. Two crossed lines are enough for plastering a wall or making the marks on it for tiling. Several beams are also required on big construction sites, as more people can work with one device simultaneously. For example, one person drills the holes in the walls, while the other one drills them in the ceiling. Also, check if the beams can be turned on separately for saving battery charge. Of course, don’t forget to take a look at the accuracy margin. To put it in simple words, the smaller this parameter is, the more exact your lines will be.
Features. Those are the things that make your work even easier. In our opinion, the best one is self-levelling. When a level’s position is leant or tilted to a side, the pendulum inside makes the laser lines stay still and levelled. When the pendulum can't compensate an incline any further, the laser may start blinking, change the colour or make a beeping sound to inform you about it. Less sophisticated models come with a built-in classic spirit level instead of a pendulum so that you could adjust it manually.
And of course, mind the Size of the device and what comes in the Kit Box. Small compact levels are perfect for tradesmen's use who are always on the move. Construction workers are usually less affected by the weight and size of their equipment, as it’s shipped onsite with all the other materials. Nevertheless, there are pocket-sized professional levels on the market already. As for additional things, the kit may contain a tripod and a case for transportation.
Despite having a similar operating principle, laser levels may boast many other unique features. So, we are going to straight out some of them right below. Let's take a closer look at the following products.
DW088K model can project 2 crossed lines in front of it simultaneously. This comes in handy when you have to build a staircase, install suspended ceilings or anything else with perpendicular lines.
This device shows the best results inside a building and has an impressive working range. The tests showed that at 1 m distance. the line projection is perfectly visible in the daylight and is approximately 2.5 mm thick. The further the surface from the device is, the more dissipated and harder to see the projection becomes. The line is still visible at around 25 m in the dull lighting and even further in the darkness. Moreover, you can drastically increase the operational distance by using a laser level in a combination with a detector. A laser detector is a device that can spot a laser beam from the distance even if it's already too diffused to be seen by a human eye. Thus, you can upgrade the working range up to 50m and assign the DeWalt DW088K for a job on larger sites both indoors and outdoors.
In our opinion, though, the best feature of this model is a self-levelling. The horizontal and vertical lines will stay still even when the device is tilted by the wind or vibration from the straight position at up to 4°. If the angle is more than this, the laser lines start blinking. Therefore, you can rest assured that you won't end up with a new Frank Gehry's masterpiece.
The special magnetic pivot bracket is worth mentioning, too. You can attach the device to a metal surface and turn it to the left or to the right. There is an included wall mount with a clip to set the level on a wall angle - yet another feature for installing acoustic ceilings.
DW088K is powered by 3 AA batteries and has two switches to turn on and off each of the lasers separately or simultaneously. There's also a LED indicator for low batteries level. That way, you will always know that you have to change them soon.
In conclusion, we want to note that this DEWALT laser level is worth every penny. All of the abovementioned functions work flawlessly and with high accuracy. Its multifunctional design has already been approved by many users. We join them by recommending this tool to you as well.
Bosch PCL 10 Cross Line Laser Level
Little Bright Helper
It's worth noting, that the overall body design seems pretty durable and features rubberized inserts for optimal grip for accurate adjustment even with gloves on. However, the battery flap may become a bit loose over time. There's also a threaded hole on the bottom for mounting the level on a tripod with 1/4" threaded bolt. The box kit also includes 2 AA batteries and a small thick pouch for safe storage and transportation.
Get to the Next Level
Additionally, the level comes in the set with a universal bracket that can be attached, for example, to the extrusions or thin wooden beams to achieve the perfectly visible straight lines even from another room. Speaking of distance, the operational range of the INT 177340 laser is up to 8 meters. Even if the beams go a little farther, we recommend placing it closer to the target to reduce the accuracy margin that may increase, depending on the angle and the distance from the projected surface.
Ready for Action
As for performance, the maximum throwing distance here is around 7 meters. This is usually more than enough to accurately mark all 4 walls for the tiles in any standard-size room or bathroom. Also, the lines are somewhat visible outdoors too if the sun is not too bright. Therefore, you can use it both inside and outside your house. Still, the major feature is a self-levelling system that can compensate a small incline or vibration from the wind, delivering a levelled line all the time.
Beauty in Simple Things
The unit is powered by 2 AA batteries that come in the set, along with a pouch for storing. The visible line is not too long - only around 3 meters, give or take a few decimeters, depending on the ambient lighting. Anyhow, this Black + Decker Laser Level is a handy device that may fit in a pocket and be used not only just as a laser level but also as an analogue spirit level, even if the batteries suddenly go flat.
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