Laser levels come in an array of designs, and some are application-specific. Lasers emit a beam of light from a device called a laser diode. You can use a laser level to measure straight lines. The market is saturated with this mainstream tool from line laser levels to rotary lasers and dot ones. The most basic component of all laser levels is the leveling base, which rests on a surface or a tripod. The base projects the beam at the desired height.
The second important component is the leveling system – it’s either automatic or a spirit level (also referred to as a bubble level.) Basic units use the spirit level to orientate their setup. They feature bubble vials, which are used to give you the reading. The user will have to manually adjust the unit to align with the marking on the spirit level. Manual leveling is done by adjusting the laser line level in relation to the base or repositioning the unit.
Useful Key Points
The size and specifications of laser levels can vary greatly from one device to another. Interestingly enough, there seems to be a laser level for about every building application you can think of. Laser levels take all guesswork out of accurate alignment, saving you time and money.
And a good quality laser level doesn’t need to be costly – a lot of cheaper laser levels have a fair amount of special features for a reasonable price range. But if you’re looking to keep the cost down, opt for a manual laser level. Keep in mind that they’re less likely to be accurate than a self-leveling laser level.
When shopping for a laser level, always check out the specified range. The level’s range needs to be enough for your project and any future projects you may carry out. Check out other features, too. For example, some may have a locking mechanism, and others may have more battery power.
Why a Laser Level
You can use laser levels for various jobs, ranging from DIY home renovation projects to larger construction site jobs. Any surface which needs to be even will benefit from a laser level. Align kitchen cabinets and more.
There are many different kinds of laser levels on the market, and each has its own unique specifications. With so many great laser levels to choose from, you’ll benefit from first taking a look at the project or task at hand.
Best Type of Laser Level
Some important things to take note of when shopping for a good laser level include the size of the task, as well as the dimensions you’ll be using. For example, will you need a rotary laser level or a cross beam with a plumb line? You might want to consider the following features. The amount of light you’re working with will greatly influence the visibility of the laser. It’s important to factor in whether you’re doing interior work or outdoor work.
For example, do you need a red or green beam? If you tend to mostly work outside and plan to use your laser level outdoors, you may want to consider a green laser level. Green lasers will work better than a red laser in direct sunlight. Some lasers feature Greenbrite technology, which ensures your green line laser is 400% brighter than red beams. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to use a red beam outdoors – you’ll just want to avoid bright sunlight.
However, it’s not just outdoors that red lasers struggle with – it may be hard to tackle indoor applications under incredibly bright lights. You just won’t be able to see your level line or level point. Rotary laser levels can create a complete 360 degree horizontal or vertical plane. You can use a rotary laser can for a great many interior or exterior projects. If you’re working outside, make sure you have a laser detector (also known as a laser receiver).
Laser detectors are handy little devices that will detect the laser level beam during those daylight hours and help you get an accurate level reading. They’ll let you know whether you need to place the laser higher or lower. So whether you’ve gone red or green, make sure you pick up a laser detector if you’re working on outdoor applications.
If you do use a laser detector, ensure you have an aluminum-grade rod – you’ll need to fix your detector to the leveling rod with a clamp. Also, keep in mind that line lasers need to feature a “pulse mode” for the receiver to detect them.
Are you wondering about the best laser for plumbing tasks? If you’re plumbing walls, you’ll need a laser that can handle horizontal and vertical applications. So make sure to get one with both a horizontal and vertical beam rather than a laser that just goes in one direction.
How to Set Up a Laser Level Properly
Using a good quality laser level is the best way of getting accurate results. If you’re unsure how to use a laser level, follow these easy steps to get your laser level up and running:
- To start using the unit, make sure you’ve installed the batteries correctly and charged the unit, depending on the type of power source.
- Set up the unit’s base on the surface you intend to project from. You may need to use a tripod. Avoid setting the unit at eye level, so you don’t accidentally expose your naked eye to the beams – a laser beam is very harmful to the human eye.
- The surface should be more or less level. Adjustments can fall out of the practical range of the base if the surface is uneven. Manual units use the spirit level to get the base set up. Self-leveling lasers will automatically compensate if the surface it’s resting on is not level. Switch on the unit to cast the beam onto the work surface you’re measuring.
- Rotate or adjust the unit horizontally or vertically as needed to aim the beam at the desired location. Ensure that the base remains stable. Mark the beam’s projection on the work surface.
- The markings will be level to the surface you set up the unit on.
- Self-leveling units have a range of vertical motion and can compensate within a range of capabilities of the internal mechanism. For example, if you need more height, the height of the base will have to be adjusted accordingly.
Other Important Specs
Self-leveling laser units are more accurate and less time-consuming than other lasers. The unit adjusts itself to find true alignment. As a result, these units are more suited for situations where you need to move your laser a lot. The device makes use of the internal magnet and pendulum system, which makes it able to self-level.
As mentioned above, a rotary laser can measure a horizontal or vertical plane. Some laser levels combine lines to create a cross-line laser. Cross-line levels will produce horizontal and vertical lines simultaneously.
Laser level units can project a single dot or horizontal or vertical lines. More complex rotary units project a beam over a large distance; a special detector interprets the beams.
Make a note of the battery life. If you work on short projects or simple DIY tasks, your laser won’t need as much battery power as someone who works long hours. An electronic self-leveling feature may drain the battery faster than if you ensure something is manually level.
Make sure to research your building design and layout before you purchase a laser level. Having this information ready will ensure you know what you’re looking for regarding features and specifications. You can’t show up to a construction site with a mini dot laser and expect to build a house with it!