Laser Levels: A Short Introduction
Lasers are a wonder of our modern technology. Without them, we would be unable to manufacture the number of goods we use on a daily basis. Lasers are not only used for factory use but are also useful for the average contractor or even DIYer using a laser level.
The self-leveling laser level was invented for construction use in the 1980s, and what a relief it was! With this tool, you can project a level line from some distance away (depends on your model), totally hands-free. The device is made with a pendulum inside, so if it gets accidentally bumped, the machine self-corrects and brings the laser line back into alignment.
Today, most laser levels maintain this self-leveling design, with added features like 360-degree lines, manual mode, and different colored beams. It’s not totally necessary for completing any DIY or contracting job, but it definitely makes certain jobs faster and far easier.
Maybe you don’t have an interest in building at all, but you’d rather buy the perfect laser level for your picture hanging, painting, or other crafting projects. They can prove very effective for these tasks as well.
Laser Level Product Features
A laser level is useless to you if it is not accurate. All laser levels come with an accuracy rating. Read the accuracy rating like this: if the rating is .1 inches, that means that it’s leveling accuracy is allowed to be .1 inches off. So, a lower rating usually means a better working level.
What kinds of projects will you be needing a laser level for? This will determine what kind of lines you need. Most laser levels come with a vertical and horizontal crossbeam. Some have just a horizontal line, while others add an additional 3rd line. Decide which features are necessary and which are over-the-top for your situation.
Visibility range and Color
Will you need the laser level for work in a large room, or outdoors? Then you need to consider the visibility range, along with the color of the laser. A greater visibility range means you can count on seeing the laser line on a flat surface for the maximum distance it indicates.
The laser color also matters for visibility. Green lasers tend to be much brighter than red ones, therefore they are best for outside work. Keep in mind, it may be impossible to use laser levels outside on a sunny day.
Your laser level needs to be hands-free while you work along the laser lines. Laser-level designers choose to make this possible a few different ways. Most self-leveling laser levels have a mounting point for a tripod (any normal camera tripod will work) and some will come with a magnetic mount to adhere to a metal stud. Others still stick to a wall with a screw.
If you know you will be using a tripod, make sure the connecting screw will match the hole in the laser level. Unless specified, most laser levels do not come with a tripod.
Best Laser Level Reviews 2021
1. Tavool Line Laser Level Tool
Accuracy: within 4 degrees
Weight: 1 pound
2 laser lines
Magnetic mount and tripod compatible
This Tavool green laser level takes the number one spot on this list for several reasons. It’s got rave reviews of accuracy for the big and small projects, great customer service, and it’s still an affordable option.
Because it’s got a green laser level, its brightness can handle some outdoor brightness. Not only that, it’s the only level on this list to have an adjustable brightness feature, giving it more versatility of use. Start at 100% power, and with a touch of a button, you can tone it down to 80%, 65%, and 60%. This is an excellent feature for power saving when you don’t need the full brightness.
Tavool claims the laser can run for 8 hours of continuous time. It’s waterproof and shockproof as well (though, it’s probably not a great idea to throw it around). This laser comes with a case, batteries, and a magnetic mount.
Accuracy is what purchasers of this level love about it, which might be the best feature to look at while deciding on a laser level. Quality control issues have arisen here and there when it comes to accuracy; a few customers received faulty products, but the customer service team was almost always ready to help out. Some have had some trouble with the on/off button and unclear English instructions.
2. INSPIRITECH Self-Leveling Red Beam Laser Level
Accuracy: 1/25 (.04) inch (at 15 feet)
Flexible power options
Weight: 2 pounds
5 laser lines
INSPIRITECH may not be a well-known name, but it carries name brand quality at a low-cost price. Though it’s certainly not the cheapest laser level on this list, it’s a runner up for versatility. We will explain how.
First of all, this laser level with red lasers sits on a rotary base, which allows you to project lines 360 degrees all around a room. Next, this laser level has many different power options. No accessible power outlet near the workspace? You can charge up and install a rechargeable battery (2000mAh) or AA batteries for power. Still out of juice? Power up to your power pack with the micro USB. You can also directly power the level through a 110 or 220 v outlet.
If you need to switch to manual mode, this can be done on this laser level and is helpful for when self-leveling needs to be deactivated. “Tilt mode” lets you tip the level side to side to work along a diagonal laser line. Other useful things it comes with are glasses to see the lines better and a padded case.
The company claims that the laser lines are visible up to 66 feet, which can be perfect for any small indoor household use, but is not promising much. Be warned: the tripod compatibility is limited to ⅝ inch thread instead of the standard ¼ inch thread. Reviewers have said the quality of some units has been defective upon delivery, but the customer service is responsive and will offer replacements or refunds.
Due to these cons, this INSPIRITECH laser level is not the best overall, but it makes a great alternative and is very useful for household DIY projects.
3. Dr. Meter Self Leveling Laser Level
Accuracy: ⅛ (.125) inch
Weight: 1.03 pounds
Self-leveling and manual
2 cross laser lines
Magnetic/wall mount and tripod compatible
No frills laser leveling is the name of Dr. Meter’s game.
The Dr. Meter 50 feet laser level is simple and compact. Two laser lines cross at an X and Y axis to fulfill most of your leveling needs. It tilts and can be secured on a tripod, on a wall, or on a magnetic bracket. This laser level can run for up to 12 hours continuously and only requires 2 AA batteries.
It comes with a pouch for protection from harsh work conditions. It works as described and at the appropriate distances. The best feature is perhaps its price point. For what it is, it’s truly the best value buy for laser levels.
Concerning product reviews, the customers are pleased with its functions. It tends to work best on a tripod rather than the wall/magnetic mount. Some have said that the level lock and out-of-level alert buttons are confusing to differentiate.
When it comes to cross-line, self-leveling laser levels, this is your best value for the money.
Best for Outdoor Use
4. DEWALT 12V MAX Line Laser, 3 X 360, Green (DW089LG)
Accuracy: .125 inches
3 – 360 degree lasers
Green laser lines
DeWalt is a power tool brand with a great reputation for quality power tools, especially cordless ones. As this laser level is an addition to their family of cordless tools, any DeWalt 12v Max battery should be compatible with this laser level, making it a great choice for someone with the other DeWalt tools already.
A truly professional-grade tool, this DeWalt laser level comes with 3 axis points with visibility up to 165 feet indoors. It includes a protective case, extended ceiling bracket, battery, charger, and a 3-year warranty. The tool itself is sturdy and looks as if it can stand some tough conditions. It’s waterproof and debris-resistant.
Users of this laser level are impressed with the laser crispness of this level. Even with distance increases of 25 feet, the lines remain clear and small. With powerful green laser lines and such a high visibility range, this is probably the best laser level for you if you have a lot of outdoor projects.
Problems with this laser level include its awkward, bulky size. Because of this, the magnetic mount at times fails to perform as it should, and some buyers wish it were stronger.
You pay what you get for this level; it’s not cheap. But, for the professional framer or landscaper, it just might be worth it.
5. Huepar BOX-1G Laser Level
Accuracy: 1/13 inch (.077 Inch)
Weight: 1.32 pounds
2 laser lines (X and Y axis)
Magnetic mount, tripod compatible
Huepar is a brand that specializes in laser levels but also dabbles in power tools and other measuring tools. They know which qualities matter most in laser levels and offer a variety of levels at competitive prices.
This BOX-1G model is comparable to the green Tavool laser level. Its user interface is similar and easy enough for most people to understand. At 150 feet visibility indoors, there’s not a room that’s too big for this laser level.
The leg-up that Huepar has over Tavool here is its “pulse mode.” This mode can be turned on to be used with their Huepar laser line receiver, making it even easier to see the laser lines from long distances and in brighter conditions.
For the price point, the Huepar laser level delivers accuracy and reliability. Though it’s advertised for use outdoors, reviewers complain that it is not possible to use it in direct sunlight over 4 feet. When all lasers are turned on, this laser level will run for 4 hours.
It’s another reliable and affordable option for routine household DIY projects.
6. Tavool Self Leveling Laser Level- 50ft Cross Line Laser level
Accuracy: within 4 degrees
Weight: 11 ounces
2 laser lines
Magnetic mount and tripod compatible
Here is another Tavool laser level for this list of best laser levels. Tavool is not a popular name, but their pricing is fair and backs up what they offer. This laser level is a slightly cheaper version of the Tavool green level, making it a more affordable option.
As far as features go, this Tavool red laser level has a great user interface. The controls for turning on, leveling, and locking the device are straightforward. This model comes with 2 laser lines, with a horizontal mode, vertical mode, and cross line mode. Though this model does not have the same distance of visibility, it will be fine for common household renovations and uses.
Reviewers love that this laser level does exactly what it says it does. The price is right for the basic functions of the laser level, and the quality is just as good as any name brand. The level itself is very light and portable. It comes with a 2 year warranty, for replacement or refund, and there’s consistently good and responsive customer service with this company.
7. Bosch Self-Leveling Cross-Line Red-Beam High Power Laser Level GLL 30
Accuracy: 5/16 (.3125) inches
Weight: 8 ounces
2 laser lines
Clamping mount, tripod compatible
If you must purchase a budget laser level from a brand you trust, consider this Bosch GLL30. Bosch is a trusted name in the power tool industry, as well as other industries, with years of manufacturing quality tools for DIYers and professionals alike.
For a name like Bosch, this is an affordable option. You can sacrifice the name brand for a cheaper price with other laser levels (but not sacrifice quality). However, this laser level comes with a feature that no other laser level on this list does. It’s a cool clamping mount that can clamp on to any surface ½ inch to 2 ¼ inch thick. This means, if you don’t already have a tripod handy, you will not have to budget for that additional purchase.
Other notable features include its incredibly light 8-ounce weight and a 30-minute idle shutoff feature.
The model claims to have a manual mode, but reviews have pointed out that it actually does not. It also does not come with a case. Unfortunately, this laser level comes with the lowest accuracy rating on the list, however, there are other Bosch models with higher accuracy that have a more expensive price tag.
For its price versus its reliable accuracy, it might be best to go with a different model or brand.
8. BLACK DECKER Laser Level (BDL220S)
Weight: 7 ounces
One laser line
Push pin wall mount
Now we will review products that are not self-leveling laser levels, but they can serve similar purposes.
If you only need one line for your projects, the Black Decker laser level is an inexpensive alternative to a cross line laser level. Two bubble vials are backlit on the top of the laser level (like a spirit level) to show you what points are level. When you turn it on, one laser shoots out of the side of it. It’s best for hanging common household items like pictures, mirrors, and curtain rods.
The laser level generally performs as it should, but it has one downside that many customers have had issues with. You have to attach the level to the wall with the provided push pin, which might not be stable enough for the level to stay put. Not to mention, it adds damage to your wall. It also might be difficult to create lines other than vertical and horizontal, since the spirit levels only tell you when it’s level horizontally or vertically.
For very basic hanging projects, this laser level will get the job done. Surprisingly, it’s also commonly used for handwriting projects.
9. Qooltek Multipurpose Laser Level
Accuracy: .08 inch
Weight: 6.5 ounces
2 laser lines
Qooltek is a small company that sells a handful of items like specialty magnifying glasses and a few variations of LED lights. This is their only laser level and the only tool-related thing they sell.
It seems like a cool idea to smoosh a bunch of tools into one. Qooltek made this idea a reality with their 3 in 1 multipurpose laser level. This is a spirit level, measuring tape and ruler all in one. It also happens to project a laser line. This tool could be really handy for quick measurements on the job. It runs on 3 included button cell batteries.
Overall it’s a good product for the money, but not for someone who needs high precision, like pros. Reviewers of this product love their good customer service that’s quick to offer refunds. One of the downsides to this product is there’s no bubble level right to left, so if you want to use the horizontal laser line, there’s no way to check if it’s level. Also, this model does not have a tripod mounting capability, but they sell a model that does.
10. ENGiNDOT Digital Distance Leaser Measure
Accuracy: 1/16 inch
Weight: 5.7 ounces
1 laser line
This item from ENGiNDOT is a laser measuring tool, not a laser level. However, it’s still useful for projects because it can measure long distances quickly. Not only that, it also measures the area, height, and volume of a space. Pretty cool for a little gadget!
For someone like an architect, this type of tool is essential. Now you can have one too for an unbeatable price. It’s useful for measuring spaces for design and to predict what amount of building materials you will need for a renovation. It’s backlit for low-light situations, comes with a carrying pouch and batteries. You can even slip your hand into the loop in the back for easy holding. It is also waterproof, which is a brilliant feature increasing its durability.
Customers who purchased this product are pleased with its measuring ability. It’s spot on all of the time. Some might have a hard time reading the manual, as it’s not in perfect English. Keep in mind that this product should not be used when precision is needed, like in cutting specific boards for construction projects.
This tool is a great, low-cost measuring tool that’s accurate and quick.
Laser Level Buyer’s Guide
You know you need a laser level. Now, which kind should you buy? Let’s take a look at the functions and features of a laser level in-depth to try and figure out what one is right for you.
Figuring out what kind of work you will mostly need the laser level for is important. The main factor will be whether your jobs are mainly indoors or outdoors. With outdoor work, you will have to be picky with laser power and color. A green laser is more visible and usually more powerful than a red one.
If you will be working indoors mostly, you don’t have to worry about brightness as much, and you can be a little more flexible with your purchase. Keep your options open by purchasing a laser level with green lasers; save a little money by going with red.
Probably the most important feature of a laser level is its accuracy rating. Of course, you will want to look for the lowest level rating, definitely below ¼ of an inch within level range at 100 feet away. The accuracy range simply means that it is guaranteed to be level within the range given. That generally means that lower accuracy ratings equal a higher-quality product.
You have your line set up just how you want, then, whoops! You bumped it. Time to manually readjust, right? Not if you have a self-leveling laser level! In models that self-level, there is a built-in pendulum that adjusts to keep the laser line level. At the press of a button, the line readjusts to become level again.
The self-leveling feature is nice for someone who doesn’t need to make diagonal lines often. If you plan on needing diagonal lines a lot, you will want to find a laser level that can disable this feature without it blinking or beeping incessantly at you.
Think about what kinds of jobs you will need this laser level for. Will you be tiling a bathroom? A version with crossing lines is best. Do you need to have a level line for the entire room, maybe for framing walls and windows? Then look for a 360-degree laser line. If you only need a laser line to make hanging pictures hassle-free, then consider a less expensive laser level that just projects one line.
This is an important feature to consider when deciding how you will mount the laser level. When it’s high up, a heavier tool has a higher chance of falling down and maybe even hurting you. Also, most of the levels on this list can fit on your tool belt or even in your pocket. Do you need this amount of convenience? Go with a lighter level. If you must have extra-precise lines and a durable one, maybe a heavier weight is a good tradeoff.
To use a laser level the way you want to, you most likely need to prop it up on something. Most models come with some sort of mount that is magnetic and will stick suspended to a metal object. Some of these mounts have a hole in them that will keep your level attached to a wall by way of a screw.
Most people who don’t have metal brackets around or don’t want to put holes in their walls use laser levels with a tripod, which you will usually have to buy separately. Pay attention to the size of the tripod thread in your tool and on the tripod, to be sure they match up. The most common thread size is ¼ inch.
We have mentioned that the tripod is usually not included, but the wall/magnetic mount usually is. You also need to decide if it’s important to you that the level has a case. Without a case, will you treat it as carefully as you would if you did have one? Laser levels tend to get their accuracy thrown off if the user is rough on them, i.e., if they drop them often or they get jostled in a toolbox. In this case, a soft case at a minimum might be a good idea.
Check out what types of batteries the level requires. A lithium-ion rechargeable battery could mean fewer trips to the store to buy batteries when you run out and a longer run time. Button cell batteries might be more inconvenient to replace than AA or AAA.
Speaking of power, how long do you need your laser level to be up and running at a time? If you need it for hours on end, it might be best to go with a rechargeable option or one that plugs directly into the wall.
Laser Level FAQ’s
How do you know if a laser level is accurate?
Sometimes you will get the feeling that your laser level may be off, and it might be. There are a few ways you can check the accuracy. One way is by shining the laser onto some tile that you know has been laid correctly. The tile lines will line up with your laser lines exactly if it is level.
Another way to check is by marking the laser lines on the wall with the edge of some painter’s tape in two different spots, one at the cross mark, and one to the right or left. Now, move your level to another part of the room, raise up the level on your tripod a little, and line up the laser line with your tape again. The lines should still be measuring level. If not, it’s time to calibrate.
Can you calibrate a laser level?
Yes, you can either take it to a professional to calibrate or do it yourself at home. The process is not as difficult as you would think, and we have outlined how to do it here.
Is a laser level worth it?
Although a laser level is not an essential tool, it’s mighty useful and makes your life easier. Sure, you can probably get by with regular old-school levels to install the occasional cabinet or make a picture hang perfectly on a wall. But when your job is hanging cabinets, building walls, or installing shelving, and you’re doing these things every day, a level becomes essential because of how much time it saves you.
Are green or blue lasers illegal? Why?
This is a slightly unrelated question to the topic of laser levels, but it’s interesting nonetheless.
No, owning any laser of any power is legal in the US. Manufacturing of certain color lasers of certain powers is illegal, however. This is because any laser over 5mW power can cause skin or eye damage to humans. Any laser pointing into the sky can impair an airplane pilot’s vision, causing distraction or damage to their eyes. Blue lasers are especially dangerous because they appear dimmer but can actually be just as powerful.
Most laser levels are red or green because they’re the cheapest kind to manufacture.
If you find that you are in possession of a non-compliant laser, no need to worry. You will not have trouble, it’s the manufacturers that will have to answer to the law if they are non-compliant with their laser production.