These batteries-powered devices emit precise beams that keep the light level over long distances. They are perfect for installing cabinets, doors and trim. These are our top picks for four types of self-leveling Lasers. We also have tips on how to use them.
- 0.1 1. 3-Plane Laser Level: Bosch GLL3-80
- 0.2 2. Dot Laser Level: Johnson 40-6670
- 0.3 3. Cross Laser Level: Craftsman 48250
- 0.4 4. DeWalt DW074KD Rotary Laser Level
- 0.5 5. Modern Spirit Levels
- 1 Level Techniques
1. 3-Plane Laser Level: Bosch GLL3-80
The only laser level that projects three 360-degree perpendicular beams simultaneously on the ceiling, floor, and walls. You can also shoot single horizontal and vertical lines. It doesn’t have moving parts so batteries last longer.
Specifications: 1.7 lbs, 65-foot visibility, 1/4-inch accuracy at 100 ft. Mount with rack-and pinion height adjustment.
2. Dot Laser Level: Johnson 40-6670
The device can shoot two plumb beams, one up and one down. This is enough to mark ceiling-fixture locations or install doors. The housing’s bright dots and its protective rubber-like, easy-to-grip covering were a big hit with us.
Specifications: 1.27 lbs, 100-foot visibility, accuracy to 1/4 inch at 100 ft. Target plate included to improve beam visibility.
3. Cross Laser Level: Craftsman 48250
It can project 120-degrees of level and plumb beams together or separately. It is useful for tiling walls and floors. It beeps when it is out of level. However, this laser’s beam can also be locked to, for instance, help with laying out staircase wainscoting.
Specifications: 1.5 lbs, 100-foot visibility, accuracy to 3/4 inch at 100 ft. Includes adjustable base.
4. DeWalt DW074KD Rotary Laser Level
The spinning beam creates 360-degree lines. It can be used for projects on multiple walls such as chair rails and kitchen cabinets. A receiver can detect the invisible beam from outdoor up to 600 feet away.
Specifications: 4.5 lbs, 100-foot visibility, accuracy to 1/4 inch at 100 ft. Includes target plate, wall mount and receiver.
5. Modern Spirit Levels
Level TLL049M Savage Lighted Torpedo
This 9-inch-long level is made from aircraft-grade aluminum. It is strong enough to cling on to steel drain pipes and steel screws. Illuminated vials are useful in dark areas.
For plumbing, steel framing and tight spots, it costs about $30 Home depot.
Empire True Blue E80.24 I beam
This sturdy 24-inch level is versatile and lightweight. It can be used for plumbing, leveling cabinets and fence posts. The vial has a graduated feature that measures pitch in 1/8-inch increments. This is useful for checking the slopes of walkways or gutters.
For carpentry, landscaping, and plumbing, it costs about $25 empirelevel.com
Stabila 41048 R-Beam
The R-shaped cross section can be grabbed easily and is 120 percent stronger than the top-of-the line box beam levels. This 48-inch model can be used to hang doors. It also works well as a straightedge, with three unbroken edges that allow for striking lines. It is easy to clean.
For carpentry and landscaping, it costs about $180 stabila.com
How to choose and use a level
1. Tile a ceiling with Tin
Ceiling panels look best when one row is centered above the main doorway. The ceiling should be marked 12 inches from the center of the doorway. This is where the panel edges will land. The mark should be transferred to the opposite wall of the room. Use a three-plane laser to align the beam with the crossbeam and both the marks. This will allow you to place the central panel’s perpendicular edge. The laser lines will be used to nail the first row of panels.
2. Plumb a Jamb
The dot laser should be placed several inches away from the jamb. Keep the dot center between the edges and the head jamb. Place a measuring tape horizontally on each hinge location. Then, check the beam’s position on the tape. Move between the jambs at these locations and check that the measurements are correct.
3. You can tile a wall
Mark the center point to tile the area. The cross laser should be placed far enough away from the wall that it can span the entire area and intersect at the designated center point. Spread the adhesive in one quadrant and then begin setting tiles along the vertical beam. Tile the horizontal beam. Before moving on to the next quadrant, finish one quadrant.
4. Install a Wainscot
Mark the spot where the beadboard’s top edge should land on a wall. Place the rotary laser on a tripod in the middle and adjust the speed to create a solid line around the room. Adjust the tripod height so that the laser line intersects the mark on the wall.