It can be quite hard to find the best tool for the job as there are so many construction lasers available. It can take a long time to do your research and narrow down your options, which is something most people cannot afford. This article is designed to help you find the right laser level for you and tell you how they work.
Laser Levels and How They Work
What Are Construction Lasers For?
You may have been told that you need a construction laser, but that doesn’t mean you will know why. There are a variety of different jobs that can benefit from a construction laser. If you need an accurate level reference, then chances are you will need a construction laser. This can be anything from installing ceiling tiles to installing power outlets when your home is under construction. These kinds of tools can be used both indoors and outdoors, depending on the model you choose.
Whether you have a small chore, such as fitting photo frames onto the wall in a level fashion, or a big project to complete, like installing a sewage pipe, then level lasers can make things easier.
What Can Laser Levels Be Used For Indoors?
As we have already mentioned, there are a lot of different tasks that could benefit from a construction laser.
In order to give you a better understanding of how useful laser levels can be, here is a list of some of the chores from inside the home that could benefit from one:
- Leveling and fitting floors
- Aligning walls
- Plumbing walls
- Drop ceiling installation
- Check door or window heights
- Chair railing installation
- Aligning shelves, trims or cabinets
There are lots of different indoor chores that could benefit from a laser level, especially if you need to be precise.
What Can Laser Levels Be Used For Outdoors?
As well as being used for various chores around the interior of your home, construction lasers can also be used outdoors.
Here is another list of chores that could benefit from a laser level:
- Any basic survey
- Level posts and beams on fences, decks and other areas
- For an accurate site layout
- Masonry alignment
- To check land elevations
- Accurate draining and irrigation
- To establish grades
- Contour draining or farming
There are lots of different reasons why you may need a laser level and now you understand what they can be used for it is even more vital for you to find the best one.
Kinds Of Construction Lasers
As you can see, there are lots of different ways that construction lasers can be used. There are some versions of these tools that are designed for specific tasks, such as outdoor work or smaller models for hanging photo frames. Unless you have a particular task in mind, then it will be unlikely that you will choose a standard model like this. This means you need to consider the other options you have.
There are essentially three different kinds of laser levels that you can use to make it easier and quicker for you to complete your chores. These are:
- Plumb – also known as dot lasers
- Line level – also known as line generators
It is likely that one of these kinds of lasers will be better suited to your chore. If you are working in distances of 1-150 inches, then we would recommend either plumb or line generator tools. For tasks that have distances of 200-inches or more, rotary tools will be the best option. It is important to know that these are just a basic rule of thumb and should be taken as a guideline.
About Construction Laser Types
To help you narrow down your options further and figure out which kind of construction laser you actually need, let’s take a closer look at what they actually do. The reason there are three different kinds of laser levels is due to the way they emit the laser beam. This is what we will be addressing in this section.
Plumb Or Dot Lasers
These kinds of lasers emit a single or multiple dot reference onto the work surface you are using. These kinds of lasers act as a reference point for you so you can have level and accurate surfaces.
Line Level Lasers
These kinds of lasers emit a level line on the wall in either a single line or in a cross-hair kind of manner. These kinds of lasers are often used for one surface as they emit a laser in one direction. Most line-level lasers are made to be used indoors and will typically come as small hand-held devices. They can be positioned on a ladder, sawhorse, or desk. They may also be used when mounted onto a light-weight jamb pole or laser platform.
Rotary Level Lasers
These kinds of lasers emit a beam in a rotary fashion, hence their name. These kinds of tools will typically emit a level line around the entire room, covering 360-degrees. These kinds of tools may be slightly larger in size and will typically be used when they are mounted on stable surveying tripods. Some of these models can be used laid on their side where they will use an optional trivet so they can project in a vertical manner even in this position.
These laser work because the single rotating laser appears to human eyes like a line across the entire room. They can be used both indoors and outside, but you do need a laser detector or laser receiver in order to use them in large outdoor areas. This is because we cannot see lasers when they are being used in direct sunlight, so you will not be able to use this tool without a laser receiver.
Different Types Of Laser Levels
Now that we have already addressed the various ways in which lasers are emitted, we can now take a close look at laser levels. There are various different kinds of laser levels that you can use for multiple tasks, both indoors and outside. To help you find the best one, here are some of the key features of each type.
As their name suggests, these kinds of lasers require the user to manually level the unit. This can be done by turning the unit’s screws and using bubble vials to make sure it is level.
Self Leveling or Automatic Leveling Lasers
These kinds of lasers will automatically find and maintain a level with a specific range based on your needs. Some of these kinds of lasers will come with a bubble vial that you can use to find the rough level. The device will then take over and finish the leveling, making sure it is as accurate as can be.
Most self-leveling lasers are very handy to keep around as they will remain level even if they have been knocked or moved. They also have the ability to shut themselves off if they become out of level, even if this is only by a small percentage.
This is a great way to make sure you will always have an accurate reference point, so your chores can be completed correctly. It is important to note when looking into these kinds of level lasers, a lot of different brands will use the phrase ‘automatic leveling’ even if it doesn’t necessarily apply. In other cases, the terms’ self-leveling’ and ‘automatic leveling’ may be used to describe different things.
Most self-leveling lasers will come with a pendulum and this is what controls the leveling. Some automatic leveling lasers will come with electric servo motors that control the laser. Always make sure to read the terms and conditions, as well as any reviews, before purchasing a self-leveling or automatic leveling laser to check which kind you have.
These kinds of lasers have a horizontal beam that will emit a single beam.
Dual Beam Lasers Or Split Beam Lasers
These kinds of lasers can emit either a horizontal or vertical beam that can be used to determine both level and plumb reference lines. These kinds of lasers can produce a regular plane beam as well as providing a reference point, like a plumb dot, onto another surface. It is important that you do not assume that these kinds of lasers will provide both a horizontal and vertical beam at the same time, but rather just an additional reference point.
Laser Detectors Or Receivers
We have already mentioned these kinds of tools, and they are a vital part of being able to use a rotary level laser. These kinds of tools will be typically mounted onto level rods and they are used to detect the laser beam when you are working outside. The human eye cannot detect lasers when they are being used in direct sunlight, so these are vital tools when working outdoors.
Most of these laser tools will emit a sound, like a beep, when you are close to being level. They will produce a longer sound to indicate when you are level. Some of them will also use lights to indicate when you are getting level. These can be used to shorten the time it will take to complete chores when working outdoors, as they will let you know when things are level and take all of the guesswork out of it.
Which Kind Of Rotary Level Laser Is Best?
There are two types of rotary level lasers that you can choose from – Fixed Rotation Speed or Variable Rotation Speed. Most models you choose will come with either one of these options. The measurement you need to pay attention to when looking into these kinds of lasers is the Rotations Per Minute (RPM). This will tell you how many times the laser beam rotates in the device in one minute.
Devices with a fast RPM will have a dimmer beam, but they will be able to travel further. This means you can have more range when using one of these devices. These are best to use outside due to the range they provide. Those with a slower RPM will not be able to travel as far, but the beam will be brighter and therefore, easier to see. These kinds of lasers are best to use indoors as they can provide a bright beam that is easy to see on surfaces.
When you are working outdoors, you will require a fixed rotation speed as you will only need a laser that travels fast. This is because you need a lot of range when working in open areas. It is important to note that the beam from a rotary laser is not visible to the naked eye, so you will also need a laser detector when working outdoors.
The beam must have an RPM of at least 600 for a laser detector to catch it. If you are working indoors, then a variable rotation speed will be preferred. With these kinds of lasers, you can control the speed and therefore, how visible the beam will be so you can get accurate measurements.
For a solid dot reference, set the RPM to 0.
There are lots of different features that you need to consider when looking for a good laser level. It is important that you consider what kind of chores you are doing and where they are. Some laser levels are better suited to outdoor work, whereas others can be used in small spaces.