Tape measure, spirit level and plumb bob are increasingly being replaced by a laser. In construction, the use of cross line lasers in particular is standard, and more and more do-it-yourselfers also have at least a simple laser range finder in their toolbox.
How does a construction laser work?
There are construction lasers with various functions, but the working principle is the same in all cases. They emit a beam of light that is then reflected off a specific surface. This provides extremely accurate information about distances and angles.
Which laser to buy?
When you decide to purchase a laser, you can choose from a large number of options. To make the right choice, you should start asking yourself a few questions.
How much range do I need?
The type of projects for which you will use the laser determines the range. For indoor jobs, a laser with a range of 10 meters will be sufficient in most cases. For larger building projects or outdoor work, you will soon come to a required range of over 15 meters, and a rotating laser will be the best choice. This type has a larger range than other lasers, but also a considerably higher purchase price.
How many laser lines do I need?
If you are only going to take height and width measurements, a laser that projects 1 or 2 lines is sufficient. If the correct depth is also important for your odd jobs – for example, for placing a dividing wall or for tiling – you need a laser that projects 3 lines, so that you get a point of intersection on every surrounding surface.
What color should the laser lines have?
With many construction lasers, you can choose between a green or a red beam of light. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. The color green is more visible to the human eye than red, which is especially important for outdoor use. If you want to use the laser mainly indoors, a model with a red beam is definitely suitable. The advantage is in the purchase price because the KTP crystals that are needed to color the light beam green make the laser more expensive.
The different lasers
Depending on your wishes, you can enrich your toolbox with one of these lasers:
Laser range finder
A laser range finder projects a light beam onto the next object and accurately indicates how far the distance is. Useful for measuring the distance between two walls or for measuring the required number of tiles or rolls of wallpaper.
A point laser is a simple device that projects a point on the wall. You can use this point as a target point for a variety of jobs, from leveling a suspended ceiling to perpendicular drilling or hanging a lamp exactly in the middle of the dining table.
Crossline lasers project at least two lines, one horizontally and one vertically. You can take a large number of measurements with a 2-line laser, but the disadvantage is that the intersection of the horizontal and vertical lines is always projected onto the wall. If you need a right angle to the floor or ceiling – for example, for measuring partition walls – you will have to use a 3-line laser.
The top laser, both in functionality and in price, is the rotating laser or 360 lasers. This advanced version of the cross line laser projects lines around 360 degrees. You can set it up in one place in the room and it will provide you with the desired reference points everywhere.
Laser receivers extend the range of the laser without the light beam having to be clearly visible. They are especially useful for outdoor use. A receiver detects a signal sent by the laser and indicates on an LCD screen exactly when the laser is pointing at the receiver. Because the signal extends far beyond the light beam, the range of the laser is increased considerably.