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Published Sep. 21, 2021

While there is nothing wrong with the tried and true spirit level, it certainly has its drawbacks. Spirit levels (also known as bubble levels) must be manually held in place, which makes using them for certain applications difficult unless you have an extra set of hands. They also have a very limited range that matches the length of the level, which is typically four feet. 

Laser levels are easier to use with far greater applications. They feature mounting devices that allow them to attach to a wall or a tripod, freeing up the user’s hands to mark measurements. They are also able to project a level line up to 100 feet or more, well beyond the range of a spirit level. Some laser levels also go beyond the ability to measure horizontally or vertically with features that allow them to project a line around all four walls of a room. We examined a broad range of laser levels to find the most suitable for a range of common uses. We looked at range, accuracy, durability, and other important factors you should consider when upgrading to create a list of laser levels that can serve your needs. 

How We Picked These Products

Methodology

As an avid DIYer who always has at least a project or two going on in the house, there is nary a time when I don’t need a level. In using a laser level, I’ve found that there are a few features that are crucial to making them worth the cost of upgrading from the old reliable level with the spirit bubble. I used these criteria to evaluate dozens of laser levels to create my list of the top five.

  • Usability: One of the major advantages of a laser level is that it makes it easier to level items compared to using the standard tool. If it’s too difficult to use or set up, then there isn’t much point to investing in an upgrade. With that in mind, I only chose laser levels that mounted easily to the wall and had the ability to mount to a tripod.
  • Functionality: I considered the number of beam orientation options as well as the level’s range. A laser level must have enough functions to meet the needs of the user, be that a contractor or casual DIYer. While a contractor may demand a laser level with 3D capability and 150 feet of range, a weekend warrior may only need a simple laser level with horizontal beam orientation and a 50-foot range.
  • Durability: A laser level is bound to hit the deck from time to time or face wet conditions. I only chose models with durable housings that resisted splashes and could withstand a drop.
  • Brand: When it comes to tools, the brand is a pretty good indicator of quality. I only chose trusted brands with solid reputations.
  • Value: While quality trumps price in my evaluations, I understand that spending hundreds on a laser level doesn’t make sense for a lot of us. With that in mind, I only included laser levels that I felt were reasonably priced.

The Best Laser Levels: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: Dewalt Line Laser

Self-Leveling 100-Foot Range

Durably constructed with excellent accuracy and an ample range, this line laser level is an excellent addition to any workshop. DEWALT

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Why It Made The Cut: This laser level offers long-range and dual horizontal and vertical leveling functions at a reasonable price. 

Specs:

  • Range: 100 feet 
  • Beam Orientation: Vertical, Horizontal
  • Accuracy: 1/8-inch at 30 feet

Pros:

  • Durable design is water-resistant and shock-resistant
  • 100-foot range
  • Horizontal and vertical leveling
  • Self-leveling

Cons

  • More expensive than some laser levels

Dewalt is renowned for constructing well-designed durable tools and this laser level is no exception. Like many other laser levels, it offers both horizontal and vertical leveling. What sets this model apart is the durable construction that ensures you won’t be buying another one should it happen to take a tumble or spend time out in the rain. That’s because Dewalt protects this level with an over-molded housing that can endure drops from heights of up to a meter. It also has an IP54 rating, which means it will withstand being splashed with water. 

In addition to being ruggedly built, this laser level is also easy to use, thanks to its self-leveling capability and a versatile mounting system that’s compatible with a tripod. Its 100-foot range is ample distance for most indoor and outdoor applications. If that’s not enough, the Dewalt line laser is compatible with a detector that can increase its range to 165 feet. 

Best Value: Black+Decker Line Laser

Affordable and Simple

This laser level is well-suited for hanging and leveling shelving, hooks, pictures, and other items thanks to its built-in stud finder.
Black & Decker

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Why It Made The Cut: By adding a stud finding function, this already affordably priced laser level is a great choice for DIYers who may only use a laser level for hanging items. 

Specs:

  • Range: 20 feet
  • Beam Orientation: Horizontal
  • Accuracy: 1/8-inch at 20 feet

Pros:

  • Dual function as laser level and stud finder
  • Affordably priced
  • User-friendly digital display

Cons

  • Offers horizontal leveling only
  • Short working range of just 20 feet

Unless you’re using a laser level regularly, it may not make a whole lot of sense to spend hundreds of dollars or even a hundred dollars on a laser level. That’s what makes this laser level from Black + Decker, a company known for its affordably priced tools, such a great option. In addition to being more affordable than other options, it also comes with an integrated stud finder. This makes it an excellent choice for leveling pictures, shelves, and other projects that often involve locating a wall stud.

This laser level includes features that make it easier to operate, making it a great choice for those not accustomed to using laser levels and stud finders. Simple LED lights help you see when the unit is level or locates a stud. While this laser level only fires a horizontal beam up to 20 feet—making it unsuitable for more complex leveling jobs such as squaring house framing—its dual function is ideal for more basic projects, such as leveling framed artwork, aligning wall-mounted shelving, or lining up holes to drill mounts for a towel bar. 

Best Commercial Use: Bosch Three-Plane Self-Leveling Laser Level

Professional Capabilities

The Bosch laser boasts a 360-degree leveling capability and a long-range of 200 feet. BOSCH

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Why It Made The Cut: With its ability to project horizontal, vertical, and 360-degree lines coupled with its long throw range of 200 feet in diameter (or 330 feet in pulse mode), this laser level is an ideal choice for pros who use a laser level regularly. 

Specs:

  • Range: 200 feet
  • Beam orientation: vertical, horizontal, 360-degree
  • Accuracy: 3/32-inch at 30 feet

Pros:

  • Horizontal, vertical, and 3D capability
  • Long range of 200 feet
  • VisiMax technology improves laser visibility
  • Self-leveling capability

Cons

  • Significantly more expensive than other models

Though this is one of the more expensive laser levels on the market, the functionality this Bosch laser level offers makes it a worthy investment for pros. It functions as three laser levels in one–a horizontal, vertical, and 360-degree model–making it suitable for just about every leveling task one can throw at it, including lining up studs or hanging a room’s worth of pictures. Its beam orientations are also versatile, allowing you to project a single horizontal or vertical laser line, two vertical laser lines, or all three at once up to 200 feet.

In addition to its many beam orientation options, you’ll also change the batteries less often with this laser level, thanks to Bosch’s VisiMax technology, which creates more intense light while conserving battery power. That battery-saving technology makes selecting a more powerful green light (this model comes in both red and green) a more attractive option.

Best Multi-Function: Klein Tools Laser Level

Level and Plumb

Line up light fixtures and plumb studs with this laser level’s integrated plumb spot feature. Klein Tools

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Why It Made The Cut: This laser level’s convenient plumb spot feature adds a degree of functionality that sets this laser level apart from the pack. 

Specs:

  • Range: 100 feet 
  • Beam Orientation: Vertical, Horizontal
  • Accuracy: 1/8-inch at 30 feet

Pros:

  • Integrated laser plumb spot feature
  • Ruggedly built
  • Projects horizontal and vertical lines
  • Self-leveling

Cons:

  • Shorter 65-foot range

An integrated plumb spot feature is what makes this point and line laser level from Klein such a good pick. In addition to firing a laser line horizontally and vertically, it also drops a point directly above and below the unit, making it ideal for squaring and leveling studs or lining up light fixtures for installation. 

Adding to its versatility is a magnetic mounting bracket that’s capable of turning 360 degrees and a ceiling clip mount. This unit also comes equipped with both 5/8-inch and 1/4-inch 36-degree mounting brackets, making it compatible with a tripod. While its 65-foot range may not be quite on par with the 100-foot range of other similarly-priced models, this laser level is ruggedly built with an IP54 water and dust resistant rating and the ability to withstand a 3.3-foot drop. 

Best Point Line: Bosch Combination Point and Line Laser Level

Precise Points

This laser level allows the user to find precise points for accurate nail and screw installation. BOSCH

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Why It Made The Cut: Few point and line laser levels at this price have the versatile mounting options and accuracy this one offers. 

Specs:

  • Range: 65 feet 
  • Beam orientation: horizontal
  • Accuracy: 3/16-inch at 33 feet

Pros:

  • Pinpoint accuracy for finding specific points
  • Versatile mounting system
  • Affordably priced
  • Pinpoint range of 65 feet

Cons:

  • Does not self-level

While a standard vertical or horizontal level may be adequate for many applications, for installing you need to be able to transfer a point from one surface to another such as when lining up joists or plumbing. For that job, you need a point laser level, and this model from Bosch is one of the best options. 

For this type of laser level use, the level must easily mount to a variety of surfaces. Bosch facilitates this by using an adhesive mounting strip that makes it easy to stick the level to a wall, column, or other surfaces. It’s also compatible with a 1/4-inch tripod. 

We also like the accuracy this level offers, hitting a spot up to 3/16 of an inch at 33 feet away. And while it isn’t self-leveling, vertical and horizontal bubble gauges on the side make it relatively easy to manually level it. 

Things to Consider Before Buying a Laser Level

Beam Orientation

Beam orientation options in a laser level include horizontal, vertical, and 360-degree. Lower-end laser levels run a single line either horizontally or vertically on a single wall, while higher-end 360-degree laser levels run a line around all four walls of a room. Some laser levels can even run three 360-degree lines around the entire room both vertically and horizontally at the same time. While these features are nice, keep in mind that the more beam orientations the laser level offers, the more expensive it is. 

Accuracy

In order to make something level, the level itself must be accurate. A good laser level should not have more than a 1/4-inch of deviation at 100 feet. For laser levels with a shorter range, that deviation should be even less.

Self-Leveling

Many laser levels will self-level automatically, eliminating the need to eyeball a bubble to level it manually. Self-leveling laser levels are more accurate than your eyes, making them ideal for projects that demand precision.

Color

Laser levels come with either green or red beams. Red light is more affordable and puts less strain on the tool’s battery but is more difficult to see outdoors. Green lights are more expensive, use more battery power, and are potentially dangerous for your eyes, but are easier to see outdoors and have a longer range.

FAQs

Q: What is 360 laser level?

A 360-degree laser level projects a horizontal line that runs around all four walls of a room. This is useful for lining up wallpaper or shelves or hanging pictures at a uniform height on different walls in a room.

Q: What are laser levels good for?

Some of the most common indoor applications for a laser level include leveling floors, aligning shelves and cabinets, installing chair rails, and hanging pictures. Outdoor uses include aligning masonry, leveling decks, plumbing fence posts, and checking land elevations.

Q: What color laser level is best?

In terms of overall performance, a green laser, which is 50 times brighter than a red light, is the best. It’s more visible in daylight and has a much longer range. That said, green lasers do drain batteries faster and can damage eyes if the user isn’t careful.

Final Thoughts

A laser level is an upgrade over the standard spirit bubble level, allowing you to level everything from pictures to shelves to house framing more easily and accurately. While cutting-edge 3D laser levels that create three planes of leveling are certainly nice gadgets to have, unless you’re a professional contractor, it probably doesn’t make sense to splurge on one. For most DIYers, an affordable laser level that offers horizontal beam orientation like the Black+Decker Line Laser will suffice.

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