A laser level is one of those tools that once you use it you wonder how you ever got by without it. They can be broken up into three different types: plumb or dot lasers, line level lasers, and rotary lasers.
Plumb or dot lasers project a dot onto a surface as a reference point, sort of like a laser plumb bob. These are the simpliest and cheapest models, but help the least.
Line level lasers (aka laser line generators) emit a beam in the form of a level line onto a wall or workspace. They are designed to fan out to the widest angle possible which tends to be about 160 degrees for a vertical line and about 130 degrees for a horizontal line, although there are units that exceed 180 degrees. There are also dual-beam or split-beam lasers that emit horizontal and vertical lines to establish both plumb and level. These models are best used indoors and in shorter distances. You can use them outside, but it will be extremely difficult to detect the laser in daylight.
Rotary lasers emit a laser beam in a horizontal level line around an entire room or 360 degrees. Some can be laid on their side to project a vertical line. They are larger and cost more money, but usually work better at longer distances. They are primarily used outside, but you will probably need a laser detector to help you because it is difficult to see the laser in daylight.
Laser Line Levels
The only slight negative is the price. There are some cheaper options available including the $165 DeWalt DW088LR which is essentially the same laser level but with a red laser instead of green.
Overall we highly recommend the DeWalt DW088LG for any type of construction work indoors and even some outdoor work thanks to its bright, crisp green laser lines.
The GLL 55 emits two self-leveling red beams that are not as bright as green lasers, but still give you a working range of up to 50 feet with an accuracy of up to 1/8″ at 33 feet. It comes with a magnetic L bracket in addition to 1/4″ and 5/8″ tripod mounts. It is powered by 3 AA batteries.
Powered by a 12V li-ion battery, the DW089LG has a visible working range of 100 feet and a 165 feet range with laser detector all while being accurate to 1/8″ at 30 feet. In addition to the battery it comes with a charger, magnetic bracket with 1/4″ and 5/8″ thread, and green enhancement glasses all in a hard case.
Buyers can avoid the DeWalt DW089LG if they do not need full 360 degree coverage or if you want a cheaper option you could consider the red laser version for $300 (comes with holder for 4 AA batteries instead of 12V).
Powered by 4 AA batteries the Bosch GLL 2-20 has a visible working range of 65 feet with accuracy of 3/16″ at 30 feet. It comes with the BM3 mounting device, 1/4-20 inch thread for tripod, laser target, and carrying case.
You can save some money by looking at other models if you do not need 360 degree coverage, but for those of you who want a horizontal line that covers 3 or 4 walls then the Bosch GLL 2-20 is a great choice.
You can also buy the PLS-60596 green laser version for about $479.
Overall the Bosch GLL 30 is not quite as bright or accurate as some more expensive models, but it is a perfect choice for a home owner who only has an occasional need for a laser line level. If you are a professional you should avoid the GLL 30 and step up to a better, more expensive model.
Best Laser Line Levels Comparison Chart
|DeWalt DW088LG||9.5||$280.04||2||Green||Yes||100||±1/8 inch at 30 feet||12V Li-Ion|
|Bosch GLL 55||9.4||$129||2||Red||Yes||50||±1/8 inch at 33 feet||(3) AA|
|DeWalt DW089LG||9.3||$455.14||3||Green||Yes||100||±1/8 inch at 30 feet||12V Li-Ion|
|Bosch GLL 2-20||9.2||$229||2||Red||Yes||65||±3/16 inch at 30 feet||(4) AA|
|PLS-60521||9.1||$282||2||Red||Yes||100||±1/8 inch at 30 feet||(3) AA|
|Bosch GLL 30||8.9||$69.97||2||Red||Yes||30||±5/16 inch at 30 feet||(2) AA|
It also comes with the Topcon LS-80L laser detector, detector bracket, aluminum tripod, 8-foot grade rod, and a 5 year warranty.
The DW079KDT comes with an 18-volt XRP battery, one-hour charger, digital laser detector, wall mount, tripod, laser target card, wireless remote control, laser enhancement safety glasses and heavy-duty kit box.
The kit includes RD5 detector with bracket, aluminum tripod, 8-feet leveling rod, batteries, and a carrying case.
The Johnson 40-6516 is a good choice for anyone who needs a rotary laser for indoor and outdoor use, but is on a tight budget.
Best Rotary Laser Levels Comparison Chart
|Topcon RL-H4C||9.4||$874.99||1||Red||Yes||2600||±1/16 inch accuracy at 100 feet||(4) D|
|DEWALT DW079KDT||9.3||$1069||1||Red||Yes||2000||±1/8 inch accuracy at 100 feet||(1) NiCd|
|CST/Berger RL25HCK||9.2||$589.99||1||Red||Yes||2000||±3/32 inch accuracy at 100 feet||(3) D|
|Bosch GRL400HCK||9.1||$588.76||1||Red||Yes||1200||±1/8 inch accuracy at 100 feet||(2) D|
|Johnson Level and Tool 40-6516||8.8||$399||1||Red||Yes||800||±1/8 inch at 50 feet||(4) AA|