After days of putting it off and putting it off, you’re finally ready to put those shelves up. No more procrastinating for you! You head down to the basement, pick up your tool box and go to work. A few drilled holes and tightened screws later you have a shelf upon which your books would be proud to stand. So, you pick a few choice tomes and adorn your new bookshelf with them. It looks… Okay. Wait, does that one on the right look like it’s about to fall ove-. Flop. Ah. Yup, it’s fallen over. Wait just a cotton-picking second here, does that shelf look a little off-kilter to you? It looked absolutely straight as an arrow when you were drilling those holes, but now you can’t shake the feeling that… yup, it’s definitely crooked.
If only you’d used a laser level. Perspective can play tricks on our vision and make it difficult to cut, drill or hang in straight lines when we’re just eyeballing it. A laser level makes it perfectly easy to see how straight your lines are by using laser diodes attached to a traditional spirit level to send a highly visible beam in either direction. This means that you need never worry about cutting an uneven line with your buzz saw or hanging crooked shelves on your wall.
Yet, while any laser level is a useful tool, not all are created equal. Here we’ll look at 5 great laser levels on the market today and the features that set them apart. Whatever your needs or budget, you’re sure to find the laser level for you here…
Why start on anything but a strong note? The Dewalt DW088K is one of the most reliable and accessible laser levels on the market. Its sturdy bulk and black and yellow, overmolded housing (with an IP rating of 54) give the user a feeling of dependability from the outset. Dewalt are known for making tools that are robust enough for the trade but accessible enough for home DIYers and in this regard the Dewalt DW088K does not disappoint.
Fortunately, appearances are not deceiving when it comes to this laser level and its capabilities are every bit as sturdy and robust as its design. It’s easy and intuitive to use. Its built-in magnetic pivoting base and 1/4-inch thread make it easy for flush mounting on metal track and steel surfaces. The laser is similarly easy to operate, including individual buttons on the side control panel which operate all three of its beams.
The beams themselves are visible at 50 feet and with a range detector (sold separately) range can be extended to 165 feet. Even without the additional range detector this should be more than sufficient for most household jobs.
The DW088K is a highly versatile tool and is accurate to within ⅛ of an inch. It projects bright crossing horizontal and vertical lines for a wide variety of leveling and layout applications.
This laser level is powered by 3x AA batteries.
- Projects bright crossing horizontal and vertical Lines. Laser Beam Color: Red
- Full Time Pulse Mode Allows Use with Detector and +/ 1/4 inch accuracy at 100 Feet
- Over molded housing and IP54 Water/debris resistance
- Integrated Magnetic Pivoting Base with 1/4" Thread; Maintains Full brightness for visibility and extends range
- Class 2 laser with an output Power of less than or equal to 1.3 MW @ 630 680nm
Klein tools have been making professional-grade hand tools available to the general public for over 160 years. As you might expect, their laser level offers robust design and reliable performance.
The IP54-rated housing lets you know right away that this tool means business, with rugged overmolded black and orange design. The 93LCLS is built to withstand the rigors of professional use and should be more than sturdy enough for most household applications. The housing is water and dust resistant and impact resistant enough to withstand a drop of 3.3 feet unscathed.
Of course, there’s more to this laser level than its sturdy housing. The lasers themselves are eminently clear, bright and visible with precision accuracy thanks to the pendulum self-leveling system and 90-degree vertical plumb spot feature. Horizontal and vertical lines can be projected either independently or together for a wide range of alignment needs.
It is attached via an integrated magnetic mount which uses powerful rare earth magnets, so that you’ll never have to worry about the mount becoming dislodged while you’re working. The 360-degree mounting bracket comes ¼ inch and ⅝ inch tripod mounting. There’s also an additional versatile ceiling clip mount for installations such as ceiling fans and light fittings.
The Klein 93LCLS is powered by 3x AA batteries.
- Laser Level with self-leveling, easy-to-read horizontal and vertical laser lines with plumb spot lasers to pinpoint overhead locations
- Level projects horizontal and vertical lines independently or together for various alignments
- Water and dust resistant (IP54), hard plastic carrying case included
- Integrated magnetic 360-degree mounting bracket with 1/4-Inch and 5/8-Inch tripod mounting threads
- Additional mounting clamp attachment for use on ceiling grid applications
Light yet durable, powerful yet affordable, the SKIL LL932201 is a superb laser pointer for those who are looking for their first ever laser level and don’t want to sacrifice performance and functionality for price. Weighing just 15.5 ounces, this is one of the lightest on our list put it packs in a variety of useful features.
This self-leveling laser level is all about combining strong functionality with such ease of use, even DIY novices will be able to use it with ease.
The cheerful black and red rectangular design makes the SKIL LL932201 look like a friendly robot which is pretty apt considering how helpful and user-friendly the laser level is. Its 360 degree projector sends a bright red continuous horizontal line all the way around the room, with a clear visible distance of up to 65 feet in diameter. This lends it readily to a wide range of applications including wall papering, installing drapery rods, installing chair rail molding and much, much more.
It can also project plumb cross lines to accurately guide a range of projects such as multiple floating shelves. Thanks to its locking mode, users can also project lines which are neither straight nor plumb, for jobs that require different angled lines (e.g. when installing a diagonally tiled backsplash).
Line accuracy is within 3/16 of an inch and the laser level even comes with its own tripod. The tripod is height adjustable to a maximum of 3 and a half feet. The SKIL LL932201 is powered by a lithium polymer battery which makes for quick and easy charging without the need to worry about replacement AA batteries.
A superb all rounder and perfect for entry level DIYers.
- Projects up to 65 feet – The laser level tool projects a bright red continuous horizontal line, all the way around a room, up to 65 feet in laser distance, making it ideal for installing chair rail molding, wall paper, windows, drapery rods, and more. In addition to the 360⁰ level line, It can project plumb cross lines to accurately guide a range of DIY projects.
- Self-leveling – Our laser level automatically levels to cuts out any guesswork.
- Convenient charging – The integrated rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery has a convenient micro-USB charging port and indicators that show how much battery life is left.
- Tripod included – The adjustable tripod can be raised up to a max height of 3½ feet And lets you securely position the tool on the floor or a table.
- Project lines at any angle – For projects where your lines are not level or plumb, like a diagonally tiled back-splash, the tool has a locking mode that lets you position the projected lines at any angle you choose.
4. Bosch GLL 30
Bosch’s cross-line projecting laser leveller is light (at 8 ounces) and pocket sized (just 2.8 x 2.2 x 2 inches) yet powerful in its functionality. This makes it perfect for those on the go, from professional handy-men to landlords who look after multiple properties. It’s also really easy to use, making it perfect for those who are new to DIY.
The Bosch GLL 30 uses cross line laser lines. The level projects 2 bright crossing level lines to ensure perfect alignment and straightness both in horizontal and vertical lines. It also boasts a Smart Pendulum System that self-levels to take the guesswork out of alignment. You’ll never have to worry about hanging a crooked picture or shelf because it indicates out-of-level conditions.
The pendulum system locks when switched off to minimize the risk of damage to the tool while in transit. The Bosch GLL 30 cross-line laser level operates with a visible distance of up to ro feet and impressive accuracy of 5/16 of an inch.
It also comes complete with an MM 2 flexible mounting device which provides micro-fine height adjustment. The mount can be attached to virtually any surface or object for when you need both hands free to mark your walls or hang your frames.
The Bosch GLL 30 is powered by 2x AA batteries.
- FUNTIONALITY: This laser features a cross-line mode, projecting 2 very bright laser lines, making a Cross Line projection for an array of level and align uses; for install or bathroom remodel
- ACCESSIBLE: Ideal for homeowners and small remodeling jobs such as hanging pictures or installing shelves as an entry-level, easy-to-use tool, wherever leveling or alignment is needed
- DEPENDABLE: This convenient laser’s smart pendulum system allows it to self level while also indicating out of level condition to help ensure correctness; it locks when in transit so it’s secure
- ACCURATE: The Bosch GLL 30 laser's thin lines are highly visible up to 30-ft and offer accuracy of 5/16 inch @ 30-ft, so it offers reliable confidence
- COMPACT: Features small dimensions, light weight, and an ergonomic, handy, pocket size design so the GLL 30 can fit in any pocket and is easily transportable
Our last laser level on the list is also the cheapest, but don’t fall into the trap of mistaking monetary cost for value. This portable, pocket-sized and powerful tool is another great entry-point for those looking to buy their first laser level and prioritize value for money over a broad range of functions.
Not that the Black & Decker BDL 170 is any slouch when it comes to functionality. It can project lines horizontally and vertically with a class 2 laser. Please note that this laser level cannot project simultaneously and horizontally at the same time.
The laser level comes complete with a wall mount which attaches to virtually any surface with a ⅝ inch spike at the back for secure fitting that will leave a barely visible mark on the surface. The level includes bullseye auto-levelling and automatic reference for angled lines. It even includes a backlight for clear visibility and easy angle reference.
This is an extremely reliable tool backed by a 2 year warranty. While it may lack some functions which other entries on this list boast (such as 360 degree projection and cross lines) its accessible price point and reliability make it a safe bet for those with relatively modest needs. If you’re simply looking for a laser level to ensure straight hanging pictures or shelves this should be perfect for you.
The Black & Decker BDL 170 is powered by 2xAAA batteries.
- Projects horizontal and vertical lines
- Automatically levels; automatic reference for angled lines
- Rubber overmolds for additional protection; includes a back light for better visibility of the angle reference points
- 2-year limited warranty
- Included with leveler: two AAA batteries and wall mount
A laser level is absolutely essential for DIY enthusiasts, landlords and anyone who wants to ensure perfectly straight lines when mounting or hanging anything on the wall or ceiling. And no matter what your needs, you should find something to suit you above.
How To Use A Laser Level
Here is a good video showing how to use laser levels: