- Home Improvement
Best Laser Levelers and Laser Measuring Tools
For the tradesman or homeowner, laser levelers and laser measuring tools will ensure that you get consistently accurate results. Modern technology has reduced the bulk of lasers of yesteryear, bringing a new, inexpensive way to get that construction or renovation job done with a high degree of accuracy.
Laser levelers are becoming more and more common as a means of ensuring the final construction is level and straight. Other laser measuring tools enable you to make very accurate distance measurements…instead of having someone hold a very long tape measure at one end of the room, and trying to estimate the measurement at the other end…sometimes by bending the tape against the wall. Close, but not close enough, really.
Evolution of laser levelers or laser measuring tools
Lasers were first used as a scientific apparatus in the early 1960s, to focus a very narrow beam of light long distances without becoming dim or scattered. This would enable measuring the distance to an object by bouncing the laser beam off the object and calculating the time it takes for the beam to return to a receiving device. Thus making accurate long distance measurements possible to a degree unimagined previously. Other industrial uses of lasers have included such things as cutting and forming various materials to high degree of accuracy.
It would be a couple of decades before the commercial development of semi-conductor lasers, which is what makes these laser measuring tools small and inexpensive. Ingenious technology has reduced the size and cost of such laser measuring tools, as well as increased functionality, to a point where any tradesman or homeowner can take advantage of these marvellous tools.
Laser Levelers come with a few different features. Some of them project a thin line around the walls of a room, while some simply project a dot at several points. Some of them still use a bubble level to set your starting point, while others (more expensive) are self-leveling.
DeWalt DW087K LaserChalkLine Self-Leveling Line Laser
This laser leveler is self-leveling to within 5°, and is accurate to within 1/8” at 30 feet. In other words it’s perfect for indoor use. It can be used for both horizontal and vertical (plumb) alignment. Features a magnetic pivot bracket, so you can attach it to any steel surface.
PLS180 Tool from Pacific Laser Systems
This unit is also self-leveling, and projects very strong beams both vertically and horizontally at the same time. The strong beams make it ideal for use outdoors. It also features a vibration sensor, which compensates for any vibrations from equipment such as compressors, or foot traffic and other activity on slightly springy floors.
M-D Building Products 92296 47 1/4-Inch Digital Electronic Level
This is a different kind of level. While it doesn’t use a laser, it gives you a very accurate (to within 1/10th of a degree) digital readout of the actual angle at which you’re holding the level. You can also turn it upside down and it will compensate, and still give you the correct reading. Most other digital levels will only tell you when it’s at 0°. This is really handy for setting roof rafters at the correct angle every time, or stairs and railings.
Other laser measuring tools
Lasers have been put to work in many more useful tools as well. Measuring distances is a prime example. One of the problems with standard tape measures is, what to do for ‘inside’ measurements. You have to take the tape measure housing into account, which isn’t very accurate. This is where laser measuring comes in to save the day.
Leica DISTO D2 Laser Distance Measurer
This is one of the better laser measuring devices. While a bit pricier than others, it is very accurate down to 1/16”. It will measure any distance from 2” to nearly 200 feet. Calculates area and volume, and many other dimensions. It also features a flip-out end tab similar to a regular tape measure, to enable you to measure from an outside corner to an end wall. It’s small and light enough to fit into your pocket as well.
KINTREX IRT0421 Non-Contact Infrared Thermometer
Here’s a useful tool for measuring temperature at a safe distance. Excellent for very hot or hazardous heat sources. It’s a non-contact device which uses infrared to make the accurate measurement, and a laser as a pointer. Also good for measuring drafts around windows and doors.
Neiko Professional Digital Laser Photo Non-Contact Tachometer
The need to measure the rotational speed of motors, whether in a car, a furnace, lathe or similar devices, is a common one. Here’s an excellent tachometer that measures from 2.5 to 99,999 RPM, and is accurate to within +/- 0.05%. Simply apply the reflective tape to the rotating object and point and press the button.
...And finally, just for good measure...
Laser technology has made the job of making accurate measurements fast and easy. Plus the products are now reasonably priced, compared to only a few years ago, where $500 was the starting price point. Whether you’re a professional tradesman or a weekend warrior, any of these laser levelers, or laser measuring tools is sure to make your next project a (hopefully) headache-free one.
This article ©2011 by timorous+