Updated: June 8, 2015

Laser Level Reviews:

Levels are a fundamental tool that are very useful whether you are building a house, installing a fence, or just hanging a picture frame in your house. A level determines if a plane is perfectly horizontal or vertical. Owning a basic level is fine if you only need it a few times a year, but what if your job was installing decks or flooring on a daily basis where measuring and using a level was essential to the jobs success. Fortunately, technology has made the laser level a "must have" tool amongst tradesman and enthusiastic home DIY's. A laser level uses a beam of light to let you know when something is exactly vertical or horizontal. The old vial levels had the glass vial filled with small air bubbles that floated left, right, up, or down as you adjusted the level to get things straight. The new sensor levels, or laser levels, use light indicators or sound to let you know when a surface is level. Some more expensive laser levels are capable of projecting lines at particular angles relative to the level plane which makes them the ideal tool for short-distance surveying. There are both self leveling and rotating laser levels.
laser level

Buying Guide - The basic laser levels project a narrow horizontal beam and some are able to do vertical beams. Hanging pins let you stick the level to the wall for hands-free convenience and self leveling models are the easiest to use (work best when mounted to a tripod). Rotating laser levels are great for lining up electrical outlets throughout a room or installing dropped ceilings. A rotary laser level is able to rotate 360 degrees and can mark level on all surrounding walls. Laser levels with a magnetic base are great when you need to attach the level to metal surfaces. An Out-of-Level Sensor feature will guarantee that the lines stay level while you are working. The cheaper laser levels are $35 to $50 while the ones with additional features range from $100 to $300. The more expensive models definitely have brighter and much sharper beams of light while the low end models had complaints for practically "invisible" beams in rooms that receive lots of light. Also, the lower priced laser levels showed problems when they came across small bumps on walls. For the most accurate laser levels, experts say go with the self-leveling types. Consumer Reports magazine says that most people should stick with the basic levels unless you are constantly doing in home projects like "hanging new wallpaper, installing cabinets, or putting up paneling". Most laser levels are accurate up to 1/4 of an inch at 100 feet. We found several online articles on laser levels in which the testers rated the levels on beam visibility (both inside and outside), vibration dampening, accuracy, adjustments, and controls. The Toolsofthetrade.com laser level test was a bit outdated although it was very thoroughly done with 9 different makes and models. Popular Mechanics ran an article on Black & Decker laser levels but it didn't compare them to the competition. An article on Ebuild.com gave reviews on the Trimble Spectra, the Stanley FatMax 5-Beam, Johnson Level & Tool, and on the Pro Shot L5. The forums on Gardenweb and Landscapingcomplete.com offered expert insight into laser levels by actual contractors and professionals. We also read recent reviews posted on Amazon.com and Epinions. Our list below outlines the best laser levels in various categories. You can browse the up-to-date list of best-selling line lasers and rotary lasers here.

Best Home Laser Level:

The Black & Decker BDL310S Projected Crossfire Auto Level Laser ($80) was rated a "best buy" from Consumer Reports. As reported by almost all the website we visited (including CR), most homeowners don't need a sophisticated laser level for the majority of projects they take on. If you are an avid DIY (do-it-yourselfer), then the BDL310S Crossfire is an excellent choice. The Black & Decker laser level will automatically find and set a level line without the user having to manually adjust anything. The Crossfire projects plumb (vertical) and horizontal lines which makes leveling simple. No more chalk lines, carpenter levels, or straight edges needed. Owners say the level works great on home projects and B&D recommends using it when installing chair railing, wire shelving, or when hanging multiple pictures that need to be in a straight line. This is part of the Bullseye Auto Leveling Laser Level product line. You can check out more details online at Blackanddecker.com.

Rotary Laser Level:

The Robotoolz RT-3620-2K Rotational Laser ($400) is a top rated, versatile rotary laser level. Plumb, level, and square beams with the Robotoolz laser level. It features dot pointing, two adjustable line lengths and 3 speed spin modes so you can change the beam length and brightness. Up to 1/4" accuracy at 100 feet for plumb and level applications. It includes the Laser Detector which enables detection of the laser beam up to 600' (diameter). The RT-3620-2K is dust, dirt and water-resistant so it's durable and reliable in any work environment. The laser is recommended for laying tile and flooring, plumbing applications like laying pipe, sewer lines, or drainage lines, setting forms and footings with concrete, and it works great leveling and setting countertops or cabinets, installing trim, plumbing decks, or leveling electrical outlets.

Self-Leveling Laser Level:

Builders and contractors say the self-leveling laser levels are easy to set-up, very accurate, and efficient one-person lasers. The Spectra Precision Laser LL300 Automatic Self-leveling Level is an industry favorite with a laser accuracy of + or - 3/32" @ 100 ft. 1000 ft (diameter) range. It's weather and dust proof, comes with a HR350 receiver, and withstands 3 foot drops and 5 foot tripod tip-overs. Great for professionals in the landscaping industry, elevation control applications, pool contractors, or DIY homeowners. You get improved productivity and the dual LCD indicators make it simple to get readouts.