A quality laser level is a worthwhile addition to your toolbox for many reasons, primarily because people prefer it when their cabinets are hung in a straight line, that their paintings aren’t crooked or that their cup of coffee doesn’t slide off the counter first thing in the morning!
The laser level has plenty of uses when it comes to do-it-yourself projects or when working on the jobsite. This helpful buying guide will show you what to look for when selecting the right laser level for your needs.
Bubble The traditional bubble level, also known as a “spirit level”, is perhaps the first level that most do-it-yourselfers and construction workers have the pleasure of working with. This type of level usually features multiple liquid-filled (usually ethanol) compartments containing a “bubble” which is used to determine horizontal (level) or vertical (plumb) orientation. While these types of levels are still commonly used today, and for some smaller projects, mandatory, the introduction of the laser level offers a tool that is more precise, more reliable and one which can handle much larger projects than most bubble levels can.
Dot Laser Dot laser levels, sometimes called “plumb bob” levels, feature either a single “dot” or multiple “dots” which are projected onto the desired surface. Dot levels are best used to provide reference points on the wall or work area.
Line Laser Line laser levels project a solid line onto the desired surface, usually only in one orientation. The most common usage of line laser levels is indoor in order to determine either horizontal or vertical level of a work area.
Rotary Rotary laser levels project a line around the room or jobsite in a full 360-degree pattern, these lasers are usually the largest physically out of the entire group and are best suited for indoor use. Rotary lasers cover a longer distance than both line and dot lasers and are almost exclusively used mounted on a tripod.
Horizontal As the name implies, a horizontal laser projects only in a horizontal line. Lower end and more basic laser levels feature only a single horizontal line and is rather common in the marketplace.
Dual & Cross Line Higher end laser levels will feature a dual (sometimes referred to as Cross Line) laser pattern. The dual pattern projects lines in both horizontal and vertical planes, establishing a much better reference point for leveling an object. Dual beam levels can also be used as a plumb to when pointed at either the floor or ceiling.
Manual Leveling Manual leveling lasers require the laser beam to be adjusted by hand via thumbscrews or integrated bubble levels. Manual leveling is not as common as it once was among laser levels and is usually only found on lower end models.
Self-Leveling Most higher end and mid-range laser levels feature either an automatic or self-leveling system. Self-leveling lasers will continuously adjust themselves until they are true and usually rapidly blink when out of alignment. While automatic and self-leveling sound like they may be the same feature they are slightly different with the main difference being the mechanism used to perform the leveling function. An automatic-leveling laser employs a set of electronic servos to perform the leveling process, while a self-leveling system uses a built-in pendulum to dial in the laser.
Feeling ready to buy? Check out some of our laser level reviews!
DEWALT DW089K ReviewSeptember 5, 2017
Bosch GLL 55 ReviewSeptember 5, 2017
Bosch GCL 25 ReviewSeptember 4, 2017
DEWALT DW088K ReviewJune 8, 2017
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