LASER stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.
The best laser level is vital in various jobs where project layout is performed and exact level preference is required. Here we’ll walk you through your best options for the money.
Lasers are generally used in the early phases of the construction process. The measurements required may vary depending on the purpose.
The Technology Behind Them
Albert Einstein was a famous scientist. He developed the notion of stimulated emission (SE) as a laser component in 1917. But it wasn’t until 1960 that we got the first functional laser. In 1962, Dr. Robert Hail created the semiconductor laser. It is still in use today. He was an American engineer.
When it comes to lasers, we’re dealing with quantum realm theory. The theory explains how these devices operate. Synthetic Ruby surrounds a flash tube. Photons are pushed into the Ruby, forcing them to interact with electrons. The electrons then absorb the photon energy, known as stimulated absorption. It will raise electrons to a higher energy state.
In this state, the electron can be concealed again with another photon. It causes it to emit an energy photon with the same wavelength, phase, and polarization as the existing incoming photon. This process is known as stimulated emission (SE).
The amplification comes next. Reflective materials are utilized to boost photons, resulting in increased stimulated emission and producing coherent light. Light waves are in phase and move in the same direction as they exit the laser in a narrow light beam.
A semiconductor laser is made up of three components. The P-type conductor is positive. The N-type is negative. The PN junction lies in the center. Electrons and holes begin to mix in the middle when current passes through the diode. The electron then emits energy in the form of photons through SE. A chain reaction created more photons while being reflected off the mirrored surfaces. The coherent light is then directed to shine through in a focused beam.
A very thin monochromatic line is emitted because the coherent light is mainly at the same frequency. It is usually red or green. The wavelength of a red laser is 650 nanometers, while the wavelength of a green one is just 532 nanometers.
Are They Useful?
This instrument has been on the market for many years. Still, it has only recently become a standard tool in the construction industry. It has proven to be vital in every workplace. From surveying and building plans to basic designing and even DIYing all the way through hanging pictures in a level fashion. They’re used everywhere.
These instruments align vertical and horizontal angles and outlines, which is their main use. They can help you with slopes and heights. Contractors use them for various projects, including physical layouts and drywall installations. Masonry allows for the construction of accurate symmetrical higher plumbing walls without breaking a sweat.
For Indoor Applications
- They help get floors right.
- Wall alignment
- Suspended ceiling installation
- Monitor door and window heights
- Positioning indoor furniture and fixtures
- For tiling application
For Outdoor Applications
- Masonry alignment
- Posts and beams alignment
- Land elevations
- Site layout
- Slopes for drainage, sewerage, and pipes
Types and Varieties to Choose From
Depending on the job or application, each type emits its lasers differently and has proved to be an excellent tool.
It is termed rotary because it produces a line in a rotating manner across the entire space. It is usually placed in the center of the work area. After calibrating, the spinning head allows the single diode to provide a 360-degree level line. The diode generates a 360-degree rotating light beam for a horizontal or vertical plane.
This type is often bigger, so it is typically installed on solid surveying tripods. When used on a vertical plane, something can be put over its side with an optional trivet for better safety. Use its standing leg to move over to where you want your grade to be once you’ve found a level surface.
- Manually leveling – with a mounted bubble that gives you an understanding of how far off you are.
- Electronic – it uses a pendulum system.
- Automatic leveling (AM) – comes with electronics, and that makes it easier for you to get the right results.
The purpose of transit laser levels is to assess the elevation difference between two sites separated by a given distance. These responsive and precise field instruments are easy to set up. They can be utilized in any outdoor weather condition that you can bear.
Other versions establish a level line when attached to a tripod. Transit levels establish a plumb level through the scope or sight in addition to a line. A full 360-degree circle mark on the base also allows you to move the view around the tripod, which is excellent for surveying.
Set it up on a tripod shows a level line as you look through them. It would be best to position the tool in the center of your worksite so that you don’t run out of range. It has a limited range, so you will come up short if you go too far. Install it a little higher to avoid running into the dirt on lower grounds.
When it spins, it either sends out a beam to level both accesses or sends out a perfectly level beam. The receiver beeps when it reaches the correct angle. In general, the tool will assist you in determining your elevation needs.
The technology of 360-degree lenses became popular in the market a few years ago. Its purpose is to create 360-degree continuous lines. Manufacturers now see the best results by adding self-leveling lasers with 360-degree technology. The horizontal line would be 360 degrees, with the vertical relying on a visor.
It is a multi-line device with one horizontal and one vertical line meeting to frame a divider cross. Some produce more than one cross based on the number of vertical lines and the same flat. It is suitable for ceiling and flooring applications. The more lines there are, the more expensive the unit.
Indoor levels are generally utilized as visible horizontal and vertical lines to install various fixtures such as bathroom and kitchen fittings. It’s also convenient for electrical fit-outs and tiling. A few versions can utilize an electronic receiver or detector with pulse properties, which is beneficial for outdoor use.
A level capable of shooting many horizontal and vertical lines from one end to another across a distance of 65 to 100 feet utilizing LEDs. It features plumb up and plumbs down features, making it ideal for interior application. Few versions include pulsating light innovation with a light detector. They’re perfect for outdoors and indoors with a dazzling brightness.
It is usually a tiny hand-held device that produces a single line in one direction onto a single wall or workpiece. It can be on virtually any surface that allows it.
Since the development of the machine-mount laser, getting the work done at the construction site has never been easier.
The most annoying part of being a digger driver is getting off the machine to check the level with the rod and then returning for a little more digging. Fortunately, mountable machine detectors or excavator lasers save you from jumping out and in of the cab o check if you’re off or not.
A machine-mount detector and receiver are mounted to the excavator’s arm. It uses laser signals to find jots and red beams. It also saves money since it removes the need for a second person to hold the pole in the trench. It employs a heavy-duty rare earth magnet and mounting clamps to ensure safe attachment. It also has a 360-degree rotation to ensure that the signal is received regardless of orientation. The detector comes with ultra-bright LEDs to display the grade reading for unfettered visibility.
Self-leveling or pendulum ones provide higher precision and rapid outcome. It automatically locates and keeps a level within a specific range. Some feature bubble vials. The laser will take over and accomplish the precise leveling when you conduct initial leveling. It will do the work itself if you are relatively close to the right angle.
Take notice. SL and automatic leveling are two separate things. If you are a beginner, the term is quite conflicting with one another. SL features an inbuilt pendulum that does the work, while electronic servos handle all the work for automatic devices.
3 or 5-point Tool
This type is handy when transferring points from the floor to the ceiling. It’s also known as a point-type. It can be swiveled when put on a tripod to mark the endpoints of a level line.
What to Look For?
Are you confused about which one is good or which one is best? Well, it all comes down to the following factors.
Precision & Accuracy
The most vital factor to consider is its accuracy. It can’t provide a precise line otherwise. A good unit is accurate at 1/16” per 100 feet, ten times more accurate than spirit level. A diode generates a focused beam across the area to be leveled, resulting in a high degree of precision.
You have the option of selecting horizontal or vertical. You can also get cross-line or 360-degree ones. High-end units have 2-3 options but are likely to be costly. Models with lower prices feature either vertical or horizontal beams, so carefully consider what’s important for you.
Color is the next factor to consider. Beams can be either red or green. Green beam lasers are usually brighter and more visible.
Manual, Auto, or Self-Level
When you turn on an auto laser, it will automatically provide you with a correct level line. It will also completely stop if it is interrupted.
Manual ones require an appropriate setup, or the quality of the line generated may drop. They’re best suited for smaller projects.
A pendulum in SL systems quickly adjusts for uneven surfaces. It’s a more exact and accurate method for all types of applications.
Best for Builders
Our top selections for the best laser level are based on tool performance and features. We’ve also considered the reputation of the maker and user reviews, and then we reviewed the various products.
These devices have high precision and a wide measurement range and distance measurers. Hence, they are indispensable tools for every construction trade.
1. Bosch GLL 3-330CG
It’s a great AL model with a primary plane laser. It has a horizontal and vertical 360-degree plane laser. The green color is visible at distances of up to 330 feet. The device checks its battery life and adjusts the beam for maximum visibility and service life.
|High visibility lines – 4x brighter with green beams||LI-Ion batteries or AA batteries|
|Three planes for squaring applications||Advanced control features & remote app|
|360-degree full room coverage||All-in-one job layout|
|SL technology and easy to use|
2. Huepar 621CG
It is a fantastic tool with an ip54 rating for water and dust resistance, making it suitable for decking and land grading. It’s great for any outdoor job. The green 360-degree color is visible, especially outside. It has a range of 180 feet, which is impressive for its price point.
|Horizontal/vertical lines||Super-bright green beam|
|Up and down plumb points||5 projecting modes|
3. Black & Decker
It may not be the kind of laser you would use to begin a large project or remodeling undertaking. Still, it will create lines for hanging pictures or shelves. It has useful functions such as a stud finder and an electrical wire detector. Once installed, it is a wall-mounted unit with a holder with tack-like pins and SL.
4. Klein 93LCLS
The Klein 93LCLS can swivel on the mount while maintaining levels that are useful to offset shortcomings. It’s a very versatile tool as it allows various mounting options.
Kelin Tools is a well-known brand for high-quality tools, so you can be confident that your instrument will serve several projects.
|SL pendulum system||Easy-to-read ladder lines|
|It has multiple alignment options. They are separate vertical and horizontal lines. You can also get cross-lines.||Plumb spot lasers to pinpoint overhead locations|
|A flash indicator alerts if the system is too far out of the lane.||The 360-degree mounting bracket includes ¼” & ⅝” tripod threads and a magnetic mount. It also comes with a nail/screw keyhole and ceiling grid mounting clamp.|
Best for Grading & Landscaping
1. CST Berger RL25
The RL 25 outdoor laser is for external operations such as footings and foundations. It’s great for site work and grading. It has a 1/32” resolution up to 100 feet, making it very versatile. Its 2000-foot diameter range allows it to handle more extensive job site applications. It is built to withstand the harshest job site environments.
The rotating head is encased in high-precision glass. The sealing material provides an ip56 standard for protection against construction dust and adverse weather. It also has an anti-drift safety function that shuts it off if it unintentionally knocks into another item or gradually drifts away from the initial reference.
The equipment is quick and straightforward to set up and operate. It eliminates the need to repeatedly change the grade rod in slope grade on the construction site, which you will love. The CST Berger RL 25 is designed to work in the most demanding job site environments.
|Great casing||Variable speed and scan angles|
2. Johnson 99-006k
Form 99-006k Johnson is a rotary system with a high degree of versatility. It has an interior visibility range of 200 feet with its red beam. It may be increased to 800 with the addition of a detector. The horizontal SL is automatic, but the vertical must be adjusted manually. It has a visible and audible alarm and a battery life of 20 hours.
For exterior work, the Topcon tool is one of the highest-rated and most recommended manufacturers on the market today. It’s an SL device that can be activated with a single button push and re-level on its own if disturbed. It ranges 800 meters or 2600 feet in diameter and has a battery life of 100 hours on a full charge.
Best for Outdoor Use
1. Dewalt DW088CG
An SL cross-line green laser is appropriate and visible both day and night. It comes in a blow-molded casing and can read up to 165 feet with more or less 1/8” of accuracy over 30 feet. It also includes a full-time pulse mode and an IP54 rating for extra protection against environmental elements.
|Battery low indicator||Level and plumb on/off buttons|
|¼” threaded mount||Integrated magnetic bracket|
|AAA batteries power it.||It includes a ceiling bracket for mounting.|
|Magnetic for micro-adjustments|
Trimble Spectra is another well-regarded SL tool. It has an impressive range of 500 meters (1650 feet). It is intended to withstand rain and snow with robust construction and weather-proof characteristics.
3. Milwaukee M12
The M12 technology is a cross-point laser and 360-degree system that provides accurate self-leveling. The red lithium cp battery offers up to 15 hours of continuous runtime for optimal output. This high-intensity option provides exceptional visibility up to 125 feet for long-range applications. There’s no doubt Milwaukee M12 has the most extended runtime and the best visibility in its class.
Manufacturers with Top-rated Products
- Ryobi prides itself on developing new and innovative products for all tasks.
- Hilti’s well-known product lines are engineered for simple, one-person handling on leveling and aligning jobs.
- Makita’s product lines incorporate versatility and compatibility into their products. They do great in terms of visibility and resilience.
- Leica Geosystems develops the finest technology to assist surveyors. It allows them to be faster and more inventive in their workflows while maintaining high quality to suit the demands of their clients.
- The company presents its high-end product. It combines stud sensors with tools in one, detecting wood and live electric lines.
- The Stabila brand has developed a list of products that are custom-tailored to your specific needs.
- The Strait-line manufacturer has acquired the title as one of the leading manufacturers over the past few years.
- Robotoolz is an established U.S.-based maker of measurement tools for the construction and land surveying sectors.
- Look for their professional trade tools, such as high-quality measuring tools that suit your budget.
Accessories (often sold separately)
These devices are versatile instruments, but you can get the most out of them by pairing them with other tools.
For optimum efficiency, a three-legged stand is necessary. When a laser level is attached to it, the device allows you to shoot beams from a height.
It is available in two types: adjustable and fixed. The adjustable leg provides flexibility to meet the user’s convenience, whereas the fixed leg is permanent.
Detector or Receiver
Detectors are handy when operating in locations where distance or lighting conditions are an issue. They make it simple to pick up the laser beam and provide accuracy. They are built to withstand severe outdoor conditions.
They are available in red or green with infrared beams and various display formats. They have various options for channels and sizes. Some have memory capacities for locating the most recently recorded signal.
Grade rods are also known as leveling rods, an important part of the level. They are graded rods used to assess elevation variations. It can be wood or plastic, depending on your needs and budget. They also come in fiberglass and alter the length with adjustable segments. The units of measurement are feet and inches. Use fractions or metrics if that is what you prefer.
Laser-enhancement & Safety Glass
They are explicitly designed to shield the eyes from the potentially damaging effects of these beams. The lens can decrease the transmission of most light emitted at various wavelengths. It also enables high visibility.
How to Use Different Types (Tips & Tricks)
TIP #1: Put on the special laser-enhancement glasses first. It’s the same way you would put on welding glasses when you’re welding or doing oxy-acetylene cutting. Lasers are harder to identify in bright light.
TIP #2: Start on the floor when laying up point types. Work your way up to the ceiling box or lighting fixture by transferring the points with the laser.
TIP #3: A laser level square is suitable for applications needing square layout lines. It projects a perpendicular line like crosshairs. Place it on the floor and take measurements from the lines to see how the arrangement will appear.
TIP #4: Use a tripod to adjust the entire setup to the optimal height easily and level it on uneven surfaces.
TIP #5: Locate the studs and mark their center with a unit that projects a plumb line. After that, line up the beam with a stud mark and screw it to the line.
TIP #6: Make a reference line. Measure up or down from the line and mark the wall to get the beam lined up precisely where you want the line to be.
Green versus Red Beamlines
The color difference is pretty noticeable. Aside from that, there are other significant differences between green and red lasers.
|Brighter to the human eye||They are not very effective outdoors.|
|They produce crisper points or lines.||In the distance, the thin red line turns dull.|
|The price is higher.||You can save money on the price.|
|They have an extended range.||They are hardly visible from far distances.|
If you’re thinking of purchasing a new laser, make the right choice with green. The green level is proven to be more visible to the human eye. It can even travel a longer distance than the red one. But keep in mind, this also makes them more expensive.
Laser levels not only differ in colors but also in terms of accuracy. If you look at the packaging, you’ll easily find the deviation and hence the accuracy of the laser. You also have the choice between a manual and a self-leveling laser. The latter is more appropriate for professional workplaces and construction sites, while the manual is better for a DIY project. You will also find differences in the technique. For instance, rotary laser levels are different from the dot type.
Self-leveling laser levels are certainly more accurate than the manual type. They are accurate to 1/16th of an inch in an area of 100 feet. This is only true when the company and manufacturing are good.
Dewalt is undoubtedly dominating the laser level market in 2022. Whether their DW089K model or the DW088LG, the self-leveling feature is spot-on! The visibility is high-quality, and both are extremely convenient products for the professional.