What you should know when you shop for the best laser level
To put in a drop ceiling, to align cabinets, to check for level on floor and foundations, a laser level can be a big help. With multiple spirit levels, math and a chalkboard, you can still finish these projects. But, the laser levels can speed up things tremendously. The ease of use and accuracy of the laser level is almost unbeatable when compared with more traditional bubble levels. As a homeowner or professional, you may have wondered what could be the best laser level. At getlaserlevel.com, we reviewed several very popular laser levels to help you find your ideal one.
Top 3 Laser Level Quick Comparison
Nowadays, most of laser levels have self-leveling capability. Why? It is just convenient. You turn on the device. It levels itself (usually within a few degrees) and projects level and plumb lines. Please do yourself a favor to buy the laser level with self-leveling. It saves you time. So, all the laser levels we reviewed here have self-leveling capability.
Accuracy is of greatest importance obviously. Usually, the more accuracy the laser level offers, the more expensive it gets. But, in general, most of the laser levels offer 1/8 inch accuracy at 30 feet (this should be plenty of distance for indoor application) and 1/4 inch at 100 feet.
Red beam or Green beam
Most of the laser levels in the market are red beam laser based. Some believe that the green beam laser is more visible in brighter light conditions. But, they are usually more expensive too. If you deal with lot of projects in bright light conditions and there is no budget issue, you may consider that. To get around the problem, some laser levels support the pulse mode (used with laser detectors) which extends the working range of the laser level. Also, you can wear laser enhancement glasses to increase visibility of red-beam lasers.
Laser beam pattern
This is the major factor that affects the laser level price. Usually, laser levels can give cross-line pattern while some top of the line models can project 3 cross planes. As you would have guessed, the more complex the laser beam shape that a laser level can project (potentially save more time for your projects), the pricier that device will be.
Top-Rated laser level reviews
Bosch GLL2-50 Self-Leveling Crossline Laser with Pulse
Bosch has become synonymous with engineering excellence. Bosch laser levels are developed by Bosch tool, the power tools division of the Bosch group. The Bosch GLL2-50 self-leveling crossline laser level is one of its star laser level offering. It gives cross line pattern accurate to one quarter of inch at the 100 feet, quite impressive.
You can choose to project vertical, horizontal or both lines by toggling through different modes. The unit has a robust over-molded housing for durability. Its self-leveling can also be turned off for specific applications. You can also use it with the optional LR2 laser reciever to extend its working range. It comes with the WM1 positioning device that could be used to micro-adjust the height of the laser beam to match the existing level marks (hint: potentially one of the biggest headache you may run into when use laser levels). The WM1 positioning device is magnetic and also has a keyhole slot on its back to hang onto the wall. Click to check its review in details.
Pacific laser systems(PLS) was founded about 20 years ago and has become one of the major manufactures of the reference line layout tools worldwide. The PLS180 laser level is one of its most popular models. It can project cross line laser shape(level and plumb beams). Of course, you can turn on the level/plumb beams individually or at the same time. It is accurate to 1/8 of inch at 30 feet. It can self level within a few degrees. As mentioned, the self-leveling feature will save a lot of time. There is also a mode that the device can project the cross beams without self leveling on. This could be very useful for projects such as laying out your stair rails. The PLS180 is suitable for indoor application. But, it can also be used for outdoor with the help of a special SLD detector. This level receives almost 5 star reviews on Amazon though some users caution that we should handle it with care especially in a busy job site.
DeWalt DW087K and DW088K Crossline Laser Level
DeWalt is one of the major hardware tool companies in the world. You can easily find their product lines over the store shelf in one of those hardware store. The DEWALT DW087K self leveling cross-line laser level is also accurate to 1/8 inch at 30 feet. Self leveling within 5°. It has a over-molded housing for durability consideration. It has a built-in magnetic pivot bracket so that the unit can turn from left to right 180 degrees to cover more surface. It can be fit in the regular camera tripod to facilitate your work.
The DeWalt DW088K is very similar to the DW087K. The major difference is that that the DW088K model supports a full time pulse mode. With a optional laser detector, its working range could be extended to up to 165 feet. This is enough for lot of different applications.
Top 3 Three Beam Laser Level Quick Comparison
The Bosch GLL3-80 is Bosch’s top-of-the-line laser level. The unit provides three precise 360 degree plane coverage in both horizontal and vertical applications. The unit is self leveling and ideal for ones who need quick 360° plumb and vertical lines.
The device has the regular camera tripod or 5/8-inch 11 tripod mounting. It also comes with the WM1 positioning device with micro height adjustment capability. When the unit is turned off, its pendulum is in lockdown to protect and preserve its accuracy as it gets tossed around. The unit also has the pulse laser receive mode which extends its range in bright light. Bosch GLL3-80 is protected against dust and water in its molded rubber housing. The Bosch GLL3-80 laser level is a great tool to have. But, it is relatively more expensive than the cross line laser level. But, it is a great time saver.
Spectra Precision was the inventor of the first rotating laser. The device offers 360 degree planes including two vertical planes 90 degrees apart. On average, it has a 25 hour run time with its Lithium-Ion battery. It is accurate to 1/4 inch at 100 feet which is excellent.
It includes a universal mount for ceiling grid,metal studs, and other vertical application. There were lots of discussion about whether the Bosch GLL3-80 or the Spectra Precision LT56 is the best 3 plan laser level. Here is a very interesting review to compare these two devices in a very detailed way. You can click this link to check it out.
Three plane laser level are usually quite expensive compared with cross-line laser level. If you prefer something in between, the DeWalt DW089K laser level is the perfect choice. It features 3 half plane laser beams. It is accurate to 1/8 inch at 30 feet for level applications. It also has a micro adjust knob for easy alignment. So, you do not have to nudge the laser to hit a specific mark. Also, the unit can be mounted onto the regular camera tripod.
The laser level supports a full-time pulse mode to use with the DW0892 line laser detector to extend the working range. It receives almost 5 star reviews from Amazon. If you want to 3 beam line laser but are under a tight budget, this could your ideal choice.
1. What if the laser beam is a bit too dim in bright conditions? You can buy the models that support laser detectors and use it with the optional laser detectors. Or. you can buy laser enhancement glasses. See the product on the right. Or, buy laser levels with green laser beams. PLS180 has a version with green laser beam.
2: Most of laser levels we introduced so far in this post generate Class II laser (1mW). This is considered as relatively safe for users but never never looking into laser beam directly for safety reason. And always refer to laser level manual and professionals for safety use.
So what is the best laser level?
In our opinion, for cross-line laser levels, if you care about the durability, the Bosch GLL2-50 is the best laser level for your next project. If you want a cross-line level with biggest fan angle, the PLS180 laser level is apparently your choice. For three beam(plane) laser levels, the Bosch GLL3-80 laser level is our favorite in the market.