Whether you're just hanging up a few photo frames or carving out a doorway, you will need a tool to keep everything level. The go-to leveling tool for many is a standard spirit level. Sure, they are great for smaller stuff that does not need to be accurate down to millimeters. But, their usability falls apart as soon as you have to level larger objectives. Luckily, the laser levels of 2022 are a much better alternative to ancient spirit levels and many manual leveling techniques.
These modern laser levels are easy to set up, intuitive to use, and don't require constant readjustment and realignment like many other leveling methods. This, combined with their unmatched accuracy and declining prices, makes them the perfect leveling tool for every DIY enthusiast.
That being said, not all laser levels are built the same. A few will have significantly better performance and accuracy than the others, while many have worse accuracy than spirit levels. Lucky for you, we did the hard work and checked out a whole bunch of laser levels. After a thorough review process, these are the five that stood out to us as the best. Take a look.
Laser levels have been around for quite some time now. They were initially invented in the 1980s, while some concepts go as far back as the early 1970s. Despite their decades-long history, however, they've only started to become affordable for DIY enthusiasts in the past ten years.
This price drop is the result of increasing popularity among both professionals and DIY enthusiasts. But the question arises, do you really need a laser level? Or will the classic spirit level serve you just fine?
Reasons to buy a laser level
These are the biggest reasons why you should invest your hard-earned money in a quality laser level.
Laser levels are amazingly accurate. Even the not-so-good ones have better accuracy than other primitive leveling methods. Some high-end laser levels are accurate within a tiny fraction of an inch from distances as large as 30 feet. Additionally, as long as you take care of your laser level, this incredible accuracy will remain consistent for years to come.
Laser levels are much faster to work with than traditional leveling methods. Sure, setting up a tripod, mounting the laser level, turning it on, waiting for it to self-level does take some time. But, this setup time is negligible in front of the time you'll save in the long run. The only instance where something like a spirit level would be more efficient is if you're working on something very small, like hanging a single frame on the wall.
Accuracy with scale
Laser beams are perfectly straight, no matter if they are a few feet long or a few dozen. A quality laser level will project the laser at the same height from one end of a room to the other. On the other hand, trying to level anything larger than a photo frame with a foot-long spirit level will most likely result in many inaccuracies. These inaccuracies get even worse when you have to pick up and place the spirit level in multiple locations. The slight mismeasurements from each attempt add up quickly and make the end result crooked.
What to look for when buying a laser level
So, you decided to invest in a laser level for your DIY projects. Here's what to look for if you want to find the best option.
The first attribute of laser levels to take into account is their accuracy. Most quality levels come with a number that describes the accuracy like ⅛" of inaccuracy from a distance of 30 feet. If a cheap laser level does not have this measurement on its product page, it is best to just avoid it. Because if the accuracy was actually good, teh manufacturer would proudly mention that.
Construction quality is not something you have to worry about when buying a mid to high-end laser level. Almost all of them are made from tough plastics and perfectly calibrated lasers and pendulums. However, if you're shopping for an entry-level laser level, make sure to read the customer reviews before you make a purchase. If you notice a lot of negative reviews about the laser randomly stopping to work, then you should avoid that particular option.
Before you go looking for a laser level, make a list of the features you want. You will have to consider stuff like the dimensions of the laser (single vs. cross line vs. three-plain), tripod mount, rechargeable battery, included magnetic or clamp mounts, carrying cases, etc. Now compare each option with your list and exclude every laser level that does not have all of them. You will sort through the hundreds of options and find the right one fairly quickly.
Modern-day laser levels are available at a wide range of prices. However, not all of them are worth your money.
If you're looking for a basic, cheap laser level for hanging picture frames and installing curtain rods, then you can get a decent one as low as $20.
If you need something that is both high-quality and economical, then get prepared to spend between $60 and $100.
If your primary need is a quality laser level that is built to last, then you will have to spend between $140 and $200. There are laser levels that cost way more than $200, but they are meant for industry professionals that will use these levels for multiple hours every day.
Starting our list of recommendations is a basic, to-the-point laser level from the Black+Decker store. This particular laser level is one of the most popular ones on Amazon with the Amazon’s Choice tag. The main reason behind this success is its simplicity. Some might even call it a fancy laser pointer, which is true to some extent as it only emits a single laser in one direction. However, unlike a laser pointer, this laser level is self-leveling.
Say you’re installing curtain rods and want them to be perfectly parallel to the ground. All you have to do is stick this laser level to the height you want and turn it on. The self-leveling process will only take a few seconds, and you can then mark the spots you want to drill. At just over $20, this is a must-have for almost any home. But, if you’re looking for a laser level with features like a multi-dimensional laser, tripod mount, rechargeable battery, etc., then this is not the one for you.
Next up is a laser level from Tavool, and it is the ideal option for anyone who wants a laser level but doesn’t want to spend much on it. Its $46 price tag is immediately justified by its vertical and horizontal, self-leveling laser. It is still primitive compared to the high-end professional laser levels, but it can be used for larger projects like installing doors and windows as well. The accuracy is better than most other laser levels at this price range, and the self-leveling is quick. You can even lock the laser with the flick of a switch to use it at an angle.
The only dead giveaway that this is an entry-level option is its sub-par construction quality. The internal laser mechanism works as intended, but the other shell feels a bit cheap. That said, it should be fine if you take care of it properly. All-in-all, if you want to see how useful laser levels are to you before spending money on something more professional, this is the one to buy.
Our next recommendation is another cross-line laser level, this time from Bosch. The factor that makes this particular laser level one-of-a-kind is its value proposition. However, this value doesn’t just come from its price. In fact, both of our previous recommendations are cheaper than this. Instead, the value of this self-leveling laser level comes from its performance and durability. It provides accuracy comparable to much more expensive options at a fraction of their price. Even the laser emitted by this level is bright and easy to spot in a bright room.
Even if you don’t care much about the performance and just want something functional, this is still a very compelling option for you. Additional features like a self-locking pendulum when not in use, ¼” threading on the bottom, and the included versatile clamp further cement this level’s inclusion on our list of recommendations.
Our previous recommendations are great for people who need something functional and inexpensive. But, what if cost is not your primary concern and you just want the most reliable and accurate cross-line laser level? Well, in that case, this Dewalt laser level is exactly what you’re looking for. This is a fully-fledged professional tool with a feature set to match. It does cost a pretty penny at a price of just under $145. However, what you get for this price is a laser level that will work as intended for years to come.
Everything from the dust and water-resistant outer casing of this laser level to its incredible accuracy is top-notch. The accuracy is so good, in fact, that you will only see a difference of ⅛” from a distance of 30 feet. It even comes with a durable protective case that will let a professional travel with their laser level without worrying about breaking it.
Water and dust resistant outer shell with IP54 rating
Extremely accurate laser
Visible laser, even under bright lights
Vertical and horizontal laser can be individually controlled
Our last recommendation is a laser level from Huepar, and it is unlike anything we’ve talked about so far. The main difference between this and other options on this list is, of course, its three-plane design. Instead of projecting two laser lines that you can point towards any surface, this one has three full rings of laser that meet each other at 90-degree angles. So, putting this in the middle of a room will result in a laser line going scroll all four walls, as well as the ceiling and the floor.
The reason why a professional might consider buying this over a cheaper cross-line laser level is the additional versatility. For example, the crossing laser beams on the floor and the cleaning are perfectly in line. So, you can use their intersection to recreate the functionality of a plumb bob with much better accuracy and in much less time.
Innovative three-plain, 360-degree lasers
Very high-quality construction
Resistant to temperature changes
Perfect for room-scale projects
A bit more complicated than the regular cross line laser level
Requires a sturdy tripod or laser mount to work properly
Laser Level FAQs
Q: Does wind affect laser level?
A: Wind does not have any effect on the laser itself. But if the wind is hitting the level or the tripod underneath, it can cause vibrations.
Q: Are laser levels dangerous?
A: Yes and no. The answer to this depends heavily on the power and color of the laser. But, you should always wear eye protection just in case and keep your eyes away from direct laser beams.
Q: Which is the better red or green laser level?
A: If you're looking for the brighter of the two, then the green laser levels are the better option. But, green lasers also use more power and often cost more than similar red laser levels.
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