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How To Use a Laser Level

Blog How To Use Laser Levels



Ever since their debut on the market, critics have been claiming laser levels are a gimmicky fad. If that was so, they wouldn’t be this popular this long after their initial release, and they probably also wouldn’t have the kind of innovations the market has seen in recent years. Today, you can choose between digital and non-digital models, as well as self-leveling devices.

A Self Leveling Laser Level?

It’s not uncommon, but it does surprise some newcomers to carpentry to learn that self-leveling is an option. Models that can do this start at about $80, and they can typically change back and forth between self-correcting to project a level cross line and giving you the plumb line for the device’s current resting position. This lets you see how far from level the surface it rests on is as well.

blog how to use laser levels



Calibrating Your Own Laser Level

Learning how to use a laser level that does not self-correct is a little more complicated than just switching on the self-correction and then double-checking the projection is true. It involves some manual adjustments that can take a little time to fine-tune, but with practice it isn’t difficult, and it doesn’t take long. These instructions assume you are using a basic torpedo level, and you will need to adjust the technique for 3 or 5-point levels and rotating devices.

  • Put the laser level on the surface and manually adjust its position using the traditional bubble-level on the device
  • Turn on the projection to get a true line where you need it
  • Mark the surface as needed, you might need a second person on large projects
  • Reposition and relevel the device to double-check marks before working
For self-leveling devices, you basically just need to mark and then double-check the measurement, it’s just that simple.


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Digital vs. Non-Digital

blog how to use laser levels

You might be wondering about the cost difference between digital and non-digital models. While you will pay a little more for a digital device just like you would a self-correcting device, the more accurate readout ensures you a better, more accurate measurement. This translates into having an easier time making sure your final product lives up to your skills, without worrying about whether you will get to the end and notice something just a little off from square. For options as you shop laser levels, check out the selection at EngineerSupply.

More Videos on Laser Levels





A laser level is a tool that can help you determine if you’re working on a flat surface, which can be useful in anything from hanging pictures on a wall to more involved construction work. Determining grade is important if you’re working on any type of construction or renovation project. Not only will it make sure that the final surface is flat, but it will also make sure that the structure is solid when the project has been completed. Proper grading can impede water flow, which will keep the foundation safe. And by using a laser level, you can make this determination without too much difficulty. If you follow the proper guidelines and procedures, you can use this tool to set the grade for any type of construction project.

Using a Laser Level to Measure Grade

Before you can use a laser level, you need to connect a compatible battery to the device according to the instructions that came with it. Then, you need to determine where you want to place the laser level tripod, and make sure the ground is dry so it doesn’t move away from the desired position. Lay out the tripod’s legs, and make sure they're equal distance from each other. Press the pins on each leg into the ground, which will keep it firmly in place so you can get accurate results.

Before you install the device, you want to make sure the laser level tripod is stable. And once you have finished mounting the device, turn it on. If you’re using a self-leveling laser, give it a couple of seconds to set itself up. But if you want to set the level yourself, you can check the tripod bubble and the one on the device to see if they look the same. If you plan to work outside, it’s best to use a self-leveling laser. Otherwise, any type of laser level will do. Once you enter the desired grade percentage, you’ll have to set the slope of the laser beam side by side.

Use a grade or level rod to set the grade height. Some of them have a ruler that will measure the height for you. But if your rod doesn’t have one, you can use a measuring tape. Getting this measurement accurate is important, so you want to do it carefully. You'll need to adjust the leveling rod with the grade height, so you can get measurements that are consistently accurate. Set the laser detector at a place where it can find the beam. You may need someone else to do it for you, while you make sure the detector connects with the beam.

You can place the grade rod at different points, so you can figure out if the ground is above or below the desired level point. You may need to move the rod up or down to get an accurate reading. The bottom part of the rod measures grade, so you should mark the desired spot in some way. You should also have the grade measurement in your mind before you set up the laser level because it will help you get the job done faster, and you’ll need a powerful laser with a strong signal (especially if you’re working on an outdoor project).

If you’re looking for a place where you can find a quality laser level or laser level tripod, you can find what you need at Engineer Supply.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Far Does a Laser Level Work?

There are many different types of levels used in construction, surveying and landscaping, so the exact distance can vary. A quality rotary laser level can typically reach between 1,000 and 1,200 feet, although some can reach as far as 2,000 feet. Check your particular level for more accurate information.

How Do Self Leveling Laser Levels Work?

A self leveling laser uses a pendulum system and an internal magnet. The two systems work together to ensure a level reading regardless of the surrounding land or floor. Depending on the type of laser being used, it may project vertical and horizontal lines or a single dot against a wall or feature.

What Is a Grade Laser?

These specialized lasers are used specifically for creating an exact grade, or slope. Set the level to tile to the precise percentage of grade you wish, such as 4% or 2% grade. A continuous laser line makes it easy to spot the areas that are affecting your smooth, even surface.

What Is a Laser Level Used For?

A standard level with a laser is useful for a wide range of professional and amateur projects. Use this tool to create an even grade, ensure a plumb line or check a carpentry project for a level point. Whether you’re laying a foundation or hanging a picture frame, an accurate level is a great investment.

How Do You Read a Laser Level Staff?

Using a level outdoors can be particularly difficult. Lining up a level and seeing the line across a great distance can be nearly impossible. Instead, a staff is used in surveying and foundation projects. Hold a staff with a laser reader to determine whether you need to adjust the grade up or down to create the ideal grade.

How Can I Tell the Accuracy of a Laser Level?

The best way to determine accuracy is to test the laser level on a surface you already have readings of. When you use the level on this surface, you will know whether or not the level is providing you with an accurate reading of how even the surface is.

How Are Laser Levels Calibrated? 

After investing in a rotary laser level, the first thing you need to do is calibrate it. Depending on the exact model you purchase, the process of calibration will differ. Be sure to follow the instructions included with your level to deliver the most accurate readings from your device. 

Do I Need To Calibrate My Level More Than Once? 

While the first calibration is key for your self leveling laser, you should also take time to calibrate the device every now and again. Most professionals advise calibrating a level roughly every 6 to 12 months. Some factors can throw off your calibration, so be sure to calibrate whenever readings seem off.

How Are Floors Measured With Laser Levels? 

Using a laser level to measure a floor surface is quite easy. Instead of placing it directly on the ground, you want to elevate the laser on a piece of wood or similar stable object. Then, use the device the way you would normally by pointing it at the walls.

Can Laser Levels Be Used for Slope? 

You can definitely use a level for slop! To get the most accurate reading, it is important to secure the level to a tripod and tilt it along with the grade of the slope. Exercise caution, however, as slopes can prove tricky at first while using a level.
Learning how to use your laser level is a great way to make the most of your investment. Explore the selection at Engineer Supply to discover the best device for your needs.
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