How To Use a Laser Level - Self Leveling Laser Level Guide | EngineerSupply - EngineerSupply

800.591.8907 M-F 8-5PM EST

21 Years Serving Customers Like You. Buy With Confidence.

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.


Browse our selection of laser levels

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.



Best Laser Levels

#1: Topcon RL-200 2S Dual Slope Rotary Laser Level Pro Package

best laser levels PI 314920782 This laser level is perfect for doing exterior work, and it comes with the following accessories:

  • Rechargeable battery kit.
  • LS-100D laser detector with the Holder 6 rod clamp.
  • RC-400 remote control.
  • Hard carrying case.
The unit itself has the following specifications:
  • Red laser beam.
  • 2 AA batteries as a power supply.
  • Low battery indicator.
  • IP66 Rating.
If you’re looking for the best laser level for your specific needs, be sure to pick yours up at Engineer Supply today!

#2: Topcon RL-H5A DB Alkaline Horizontal Laser Level with LS-80L Receiver

best laser levels PI 1021200 07 This laser level and receiver has the following features:

  • Operating range of up 800 meters.
  • Smart long-range receiver.
  • Rotation speed of 600 RPM.
  • Simple and intuitive manual slope capability.
  • Horizontal accuracy of up to 10 arc seconds.
  • Self-leveling range of up to 5 degrees.
  • Up to 100 hours of battery life.
  • IP66 Rating for protection against dust, sudden showers, and torrential rainfall.
If you’re looking for the best laser level for establishing a horizontal line reference with an incredible degree of accuracy, be sure to pick yours up at Engineer Supply today!

#3: Topcon RL-SV2S Multi-Purpose Rotary Laser Level Pro Package

best laser levels PI 313990772 This Topcon laser level package is great for horizontal, multi-slope, and vertical applications. It also includes the following accessories:

  • Rechargeable battery kit.
  • LS-100D laser detector with the Holder 6 rod clamp.
  • RC-60 remote control.
  • Hard carrying case.
The tool itself has the following specifications:
  • Red laser beam.
  • Operating range of 800 meters in diameter with a laser detector.
  • Accuracy of 1/16 of an inch for every 100 feet.
  • 300/600 RPM rotation speed.
  • IP66 Rating for protection against dust and heavy jet spray.
If you’re looking for one of the best laser levels for a number of construction applications, be sure pick yours up at Engineer Supply today!

#4: Leica 810945 - Rugby 610 Series Rotary Laser Level

best laser levels PI Leica 810945 Like many other laser levels in this series, this tool is a professional solution with an excellent balance of quality and price. It will allow you to perform quick leveling and alignments for general construction and interior applications. Its housing is extremely durable, so it can perform according to the highest standard in even the harshest of job conditions. It will also work with all Leica Rod Eye Receivers, which will extend its working range up to 2,000 feet (600 meters).

#5: Leica 790363 - Rugby 640 Series Rotary Laser Level

best laser levels PI 790363 Like many other models within this series, this is the best laser level for someone who needs a professional solution with an excellent price-to-quality ratio. With this tool, you’ll be able to do any kind of construction job that requires quick leveling and aligning while eliminating costly errors, rework, and downtime. Because of its rugged housing that’s both dust and water proof, this laser level is built for the construction site. It will perform according to the highest standards in all kinds of job conditions, which is why this series of laser levels is perfect for any construction professional.

#6: Johnson Level Self-Leveling Rotary Laser Level with GreenBrite Technology

best laser levels PI 40 6543 This dual-slope rotary laser level with Greenbrite Technology is the perfect tool for indoor construction projects. It’s a great tool for contractors, finish carpenters, and builders because of the visibility and accuracy it provides. The electronic self-leveling will work on both the horizontal and vertical planes. And because of its green laser beam, it will be 400% more visible than a red-beam laser level (which will make leveling tasks faster and more accurate).

It’s the best laser level for a number of indoor applications, which can include but may not be limited to:

  • The layout of interior walls.
  • Checking door and window height.
  • Installing acoustical and drop ceilings.
  • Developing a layout for warehouse racking.
  • Room additions.
  • Drywall installations.
Be sure to pick yours up at Engineer Supply today!

#7: Johnson Level Self-Leveling Rotary Laser Level

best laser levels PI 40 6515 This self-leveling rotary laser level has a locking mechanism that protects the inner pendulum while it’s being transported from one place to another. It also has visual and audible alarms when it goes beyond its leveling range. The unit is powered by four AA batteries, and it comes with tinted glasses as well as a soft-sided carrying case. The laser level also has the following specifications:

  • Pendulum self-leveling method.
  • Red Class IIIa laser beam.
  • Accuracy of 1/8 of an inch for every 50 feet.
  • Interior range of up to 200 feet in diameter (depending on lighting conditions).
  • Exterior range of up to 800 feet in diameter with a detector.
  • Self-leveling range of up to 3 degrees.
  • Approximately 20 hours of battery life with a rechargeable battery pack.
  • Approximately 24 hours of battery life with alkaline batteries.
If you’re looking for one of the best laser levels on the market, be sure to pick yours up at Engineer Supply.

#8: Futtura LT-850 - Self-Leveling Single Slope Rotary Laser

best laser levels PI Futtura LT 850 This self-leveling single-slope laser is as rugged, reliable, and accurate as it is affordable. And it’s the best laser level for any kind of level or sloped applications. This tool comes with a number of features, which include:

  • Fully automatic self-leveling.
  • Height of Instrument (HI) alert.
  • Operating radius of 2,000 feet.
  • Machine Control Compatible.
  • Accuracy of 10 arc seconds.
It also comes with a standard CR3 Laser Detector, so be sure to pick yours up at Engineer Supply.

#9: Leica 790381 - Rugby 680 Series Rotary Laser Level

best laser levels PI 790381 Like all other laser levels in the Rugby Series, this tool is the perfect professional solution for someone who is looking for a good balance of quality and price. Not only will it allow you to perform quick level operations in general construction and interior applications, but it will also help you to eliminate costly errors. Because of its rugged housing, this tool is built for the construction site. It can perform at the highest level in even the worst job conditions. So if you’re looking for the best laser level for your next construction project, be sure to pick yours up at Engineer Supply.

#10: Johnson Level Electronic Self Leveling Horizontal & Vertical Rotary Laser Level Kit

best laser levels PI 40 6543 This laser level has a vertical mount and is great for both indoor and outdoor construction applications. Carpenters, plumbers, and electricians will love using this tool, because it’s as versatile as it is accurate. The self-leveling mechanism will work on both the horizontal and vertical planes. It can also be useful in the following applications:

  • Leveling.
  • Checking cut and fill.
  • Setting foundations and footings.
  • Septic tank and basement excavations.
  • Acoustical ceiling and drywall installations.
  • Aligning and plumbing walls.
  • Contour framing.
If you’re looking for the best laser level for your specific needs, be sure to pick yours up at Engineer Supply.
Please Wait... processing