How to Up Your Handyman Skills with a Laser Level

If you’re trying to follow straight lines over a large area, nothing beats a laser level.

Laser levels hung on a garage wall.
Laser levels have the ability to cast an accurate reference point long distances.Dewalt

“Square, level, and plumb” is the carpenter’s creed, the golden rule for amateurs and professional alike. No matter whether one is remodeling a kitchen, building a workbench, or standing up walls on a house, all three of these trade tenets are equally important. But thanks to modern technology, none is easier to achieve than striking a perfect reference line with a laser level. When a traditional bubble level is not adequate, or you need to project a level line onto multiple surfaces at once, a laser level is the way to go. Here are a few features to look for as you consider adding this sophisticated tool to your kit.

Compact Size

DEWALT Line Laser, Self-Leveling
Laser levels that can cast a beam of light in multiple directions are more useful than units casting a single beam in one direction.Dewalt

For the home handyman, a small laser level will do everything from setting a level line on a tile backsplash to mapping the precise height for wainscoting around an entire room. Look for a unit that has vertical as well as horizontal beams for setting both plumb and level lines.

Jobsite Tough

Topcon RL-H5A Self Leveling Horizontal Rotary Laser with Bonus EDEN Field Book
Select a laser level with an extremely low margin of error.Topcon

Large outdoor construction jobs, like pouring a sidewalk or laying out a foundation, call for a level capable of reaching every point on the project from a distance. So, pay attention to the range limits of the laser beam as well as the margin of error (e.g. +/- 1/8” at 50’). If excavating is part of the task, a built-in slope function allows you to achieve exactly the right gradient from drain fields to driveways.

Self-Leveling

Huepar Self-Leveling Green Laser Level 360 Cross Line
Self-leveling laser tools will save your time and frustration.Huepar

A laser tool that can level itself rather than requiring you to fiddle with adjustment screws or bubble vials saves time. And on a job site, time is money. But if the tool also has a manual leveling mode, that’s good insurance for cross referencing accuracy as well as back-up functionality.