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Best Ways to Measure Distance with a Laser

Blog How can we measure distance with laser Lasers can be used to measure distance or displacements without making physical contact with the object. They will also allow you to make the most sensitive and precise measurement of length at a much higher range than standard tape measures. Depending on the scope of the project, the techniques for using laser measuring tools will vary. And they can be used in a variety of applications (such as architecture, home and building inspections, crime scene investigations, and a number of military applications).

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Techniques for Using Laser Measuring Tools

Some of the most important techniques for using a laser tape measure or any similar product include:
  • Triangulation method— This is a geometric method that’s good for measuring a broad range of distances — from less than a millimeter to many kilometers.
  • Time-of-flight method — Also called “pulse measurement,” this method is based on measuring the time it takes for the laser to travel from the digital tape measure to the target and back again. This technique is good for measuring shorter distances and is commonly used on laser rangefinders.
  • Phase shift method — This method involves an intensity-modulated laser beam and is used on some laser rangefinders. It measures the phase shift in the modulation, which is related to time-of-flight. And while it’s not as accurate, you can use these laser measuring tools on larger distances.
  • Frequency modulation method — This method involves the use of a frequency-modulated laser beam, with the distance being measured by interpreting the frequency offset. This can be measured by the beat note of both the sent and received beams.
The accuracy of a digital tape measure will depend on how the original pulse is sent back to the device from which it was sent. While laser beams are very narrow and have a great deal of energy, they’re prone to the same types of atmospheric distortions that can affect normal, white light. These distortions can make it harder to get an accurate reading, especially if it’s near greenery or over distances that are greater than a kilometer. Some materials are known to reflect light at varying degrees, and some have a tendency to absorb light. Both of these phenomena can hinder the beam’s ability to reflect back to the laser tape measure. If the target object has either of these diffusion properties, you should do it with a digital tape measure that uses the “phase shift method.”

Reliable Laser Measuring Tools from Engineering Supply!

If you’re looking for the most reliable selection of laser measuring tools from some of the most trusted brands in the industry, you can find everything you need at Engineering Supply. We can provide you with all the tools you need because we’re committed to offering quality products that are meant for the working professional. You want your tools to withstand years of rugged use, which is why you should look at what we have in our store. We’re sure you’ll be able to find the right tool for your specific needs.
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Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Know Laser Measuring Tools Are Accurate?

blog how can we measure distance with laser

While a manufacturer won’t guarantee 100% accuracy, you will find that a high-quality level is accurate within 1/16 of an inch per 100 feet. Maintaining your equipment preserves functionality and accuracy, but some lasers will need to be calibrated periodically to ensure accuracy.

Are Certain Laser Colors More Reliable Than Others?

The color of the laser itself has nothing to do with reliability, although it does affect visibility and the ability to read the level. Green is the most visible color in both bright and low light conditions, making it the most versatile for indoor and outdoor projects.

Can Wind Affect Using a Laser Tape Measure?

Although the wind won’t actually blow the laser emitted from the tool, the vibrations from the wind could impact the reliability of the measurement. There could be a swaying problem with a self-leveling laser, which means the height will move up or down and complicate the process.

Are Laser Levels Dangerous?

Just as you should never directly stare into light or the sun, don’t stare into the laser beam. This is true even if you are wearing tinted glasses, as they may not provide enough protection from exposure to a laser beam. Don’t try to disassemble or repair the tool yourself, either.

Is a Digital Tape Measure Weatherproof?

The durability of your tool depends on the manufacturer, though many are made to withstand normal wear and tear from both indoor and outdoor environments. Most will have a sealed structure to protect the inside from moisture, but you can also look for a waterproof rating.

Best Measuring Devices

#1: Rolatape 32-400 Professional 400 Series Measuring Wheel


This measuring wheel is great for heavy construction, large commercial operations, utility companies, land surveying, and many other applications where accurate measuring is critical. It has several features that make it one of the best distance measuring devices, which includes the following:

  • All steel construction with a spoked wheel provides strength and durability.
  • A folding handle with a locking knob for compact storage and transport.
  • A large, five-digit counter that’s easy to read.
  • A convenient reset knob.
  • A large-circumference wheel that makes it easier to measure accurately on rough terrain.
  • A wheel brake that allows you move it to a second site without losing your current measurement.
  • A stand that keeps the wheel upright when it’s not being used.
It also has a 15-inch wheel diameter with a range of up to 100,000 feet.

#2: ProTape 200' Steel Blade Measuring Tape


This tape measure has units in feet, tenths, and hundredths marked on a 200-foot steel blade housed in an ABS plastic case. It also has a contoured handle, hand wind, as well as an extra-large stake that allows you to make secure measurements. It’s even backed up by a one-year limited manufacturer’s warranty.

#3: Calculated Industries Scale Master ProXE Advanced Digital Plan Measure

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Because of its ergonomic design, this measuring tool will give you simplicity, versatility, and accuracy. It has a comfortable grip, an improved weight balance, dedicated function keys, and two LCD displays so it can be used with either the right or left hand — all while giving you the same ease-of-use, quality, and reliability that you want from a Scale Master. You can program up to ten custom scales, so you can use it on out-of-scale plans and plan books. It has built-in memories for easy area and volume storing. You can even add and subtract values that you have stored in memory.

#4: Bosch GLM165-10 - Blaze One Digital Laser Distance Measuring Tool with 165 Foot Range


This laser measuring tool has Auto Square, which will automatically calculate square footage totals with the push of a button. It also has a back-lit color display with an outstanding amount of visibility and durability. It has a variety of features that makes it one of the best measuring devices, which include the following:

  • Immediately gives you accurate measurement that will automatically adjust as you move it closer to or farther from the target.
  • Will give you measurements with a 1/16-inch accuracy for distances of up to 165 feet.
  • Fits in any pocket for easy access.
  • Has an IP54 Rating to withstand rainy or dusty jobsite conditions.
It also comes with the following items:
  • Hand strap
  • Target cards
  • AAA batteries
  • Pouch
If you’re looking for one of the best distance measuring tools that you can use on your next project, be sure to pick yours up at Engineer Supply.

#5: Seco 90181 - CMR Series Measuring Ruler


This is a great tool if you want to get fast and accurate measurements without needing a second person. It can be used for measuring heights, clearances, and horizontal distances. It also has two measuring scales — the front scale in Imperial measurements with 1/4-inch increments and the rear scale in metric units with 1/2-centimeter increments. It’s a measuring rod that can be used for direct reading, and it has no tapes that can break or wear.

#6: LazerTape Bi-Directional Distance Measurer

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This is a powerful, dual-direction laser measuring tape that can make it easier to measure buildings and rooms. The two lasers allow you to stand in the middle of the room, so you can find the distance between walls or even between the floor and ceiling. It can measure 300-foot distances or more, which makes it one of the best measuring devices for any of the following:

  • Garages
  • Warehouses
  • Tall ceilings
  • Door casings
You can even measure awkward spaces without having to climb, crawl, or balance.

#7: Keson SNR Series 100' Steel Blade Measuring Tape with Hook End - Feet, Inches, 8ths


This measuring tape has a stainless-steel housing, which makes it the strongest on the market. And the double nylon-coated steel blade is guaranteed to last a long time under the abuses of being on the field. It also has the following features, which makes it one of the best distance measuring devices in the industry:

  • A rubber-grip shovel handle for comfortable and rapid reeling.
  • A metal crank handle for durability.
  • A housing that’s reinforced with rivets for superior strength.
It also comes with a limited lifetime manufacturer’s warranty.

#8: DuraWheel DW-PRO 12.5" Diameter Distance Measuring Wheel - Feet & Tenths with Case

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This heavy-duty measuring wheel is designed and built for the working professional. It has a variety of features, which includes the following:

  • Counter-clear control located on the pistol grip.
  • Counter-clear control located near the wheel.
  • Trigger-operated brake.
  • Can measure up to 100,000 feet.
  • Balanced, in-line design.
  • Heavy-duty chassis.
  • Debris scraper.
  • High-traction tire.
  • Wide-stance folding stand.
  • Belt-driven counter for long life and smooth operation.
  • Sealed roller bearings.
The graduations on this measuring wheel are in feet and tenths, and comes with a padded codura carrying case.

#9: Hultafors BS78-2-12 Brickspacing Wooden Folding Ruler


This 78-inch folding ruler is made from downy birch with joints that are made of Swedish steel, which allows for thinner sections and a greater level of flexibility. It has a traditional 1/16-inch scale with black and red markings, and the material is coated with a water-based protective lacquer that gives it more resistance to dirt and moisture. Every one of these measuring devices goes through a thorough inspection to ensure accuracy. The joints are also heat-treated, coated, and oiled to ensure maximum performance.

#10: Alumicolor - 12 inches - Stainless Steel Ruler with Non-Slip Cork Back


The non-slip cork backing adds value and functionality to this ruler. The imprint can be in oxidized laser engraving for 1-color black logos, or it can be done with epoxy ink screenprinting for colors other than black. If you want one of the best measuring tools that can give you the results you need for your next project, be sure to pick yours up at Engineer Supply.

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