Finding The Best Type Of Laser Level | Engineer Supply - EngineerSupply

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Types of Laser Levels

infographic types of laser levels

Because there’s such a large selection of available construction lasers, it can hard to find the right one. Searching through the various models is more than what people want to deal with or have time for. Construction workers use a variety of laser construction tools, especially when they’re doing some type of layout work or performing a task that requires an accurate level reference. Some of these can include but may not be limited to:
  • Installing ceiling tiles.
  • Installing chair railings in a dining room.
  • Installing power receptacles in a home that’s under construction.
  • Installing a sewer pipe.
  • Handling a site grading plan for a new building.
A laser level can also be used for small tasks (such as hanging pictures in a level fashion across a living room wall).

infographic types of laser levels

Common Applications for a Laser Level

Laser levels can be used in a number of indoor applications, which can include but may not be limited to:
  • Aligning and plumbing walls.
  • Leveling floors.
  • Installing drop ceilings.
  • Checking door or window heights.
  • Installing chair rails and wainscoting.
  • Aligning shelves, cabinets, and trim.

A laser level can also be used for a variety of outdoor applications, which can include but may not be limited to:
  • Any type of basic surveying.
  • Installing posts and beams for decks, fences, and porches.
  • Masonry alignment.
  • Site layout.
  • Checking land elevations.
  • Setting grade for proper drainage and irrigation.
  • Establishing grades
  • Contour framing or drainage.

While looking for the best laser level, you should know that this tool is more than just application-specific. Each type of laser level has its own unique features that make it better suited for certain situations, so it’s important know about the different types of laser levels and how they can be used in real-life situations.

Basic Types of Laser Levels

Finding the best laser level for your needs can be hard, especially with such a wide variety of models. But there are some basic categories of which you should be aware. The basic types of laser levels include:

  • Line Laser— This is the most common type of laser level. It projects a straight horizontal or vertical line onto the surface at which the laser is pointed. You can use a line laser for installing cabinetry, tiles, drop ceilings, or for basic leveling. You can also use it for framing and deck installations. You can find a line laser level that emits a red or green beam. A green beam will be easier to see, because the green wavelength on the human eye is larger than the red. Green is also more visible in bright sunlight, so it’s easier to see outdoors. But when it comes to its actual visibility range, it will depend on the surrounding lighting conditions.
  • Spot Laser— A spot laser is different from a line laser, because it emits a small circle of light onto the surface on which the laser is focused. The main purpose of this tool is to transfer points from one surface to another. It’s also good for making sure a joist or wall is plumb (vertically aligned) or to make sure pipes moving from one floor to another are properly aligned. A spot laser is commonly used for plumbing installations, electrical work, as well as for HVAC and framing applications.
  • Combination Laser— A combination laser level projects both lines and spots, which can be done independently or simultaneously. This tool is great for professionals who need to work on a broad range of projects because it allows them to switch between different modes (depending on the job they need to perform). Electricians and plumbers will find a combination laser to be extremely useful in many applications (such as installing lighting and outlets, as well as for running wires and pipes).
  • Rotary Laser— This type of laser level can be used to start any type of construction project. A rotary laser level can be used for everything from grade work to layout and masonry. Both dual-slope and single-slope rotary lasers are used to make sure the desired pitch is kept across a large area. And with a dual-slope rotary laser level, you can use it along both the X and Y axes. The X mode is often used to “walk the line” in vertical mode for aligning metal tracking, while the Y mode can be used to “angle the line” in horizontal mode for setting slope or pitch on a driveway.

Be sure to look at what we have at Engineer Supply, so you can find a laser level that will meet your specific needs.

How to Use Laser Detectors and Grade Rods

The construction industry uses two types of laser detectors: line and rotary. Because line and rotary lasers work on different wavelengths, they each need to have their own detector. And all of them are color-specific. So, a red-line laser will require a red-line detector. You don’t have to use this tool in every application, but it can be helpful if you’re not able to see the beam. Many line laser levels have a visibility range between 50 and 100 feet. But with a detector, it can be extended to 165 feet. Rotary laser detectors can find a laser up to 2,200 feet, depending on the model.

Grade rods are often used with rotary lasers for excavation purposes. You need to move the detector up or down on the grade rod while the rotary laser is spinning until it can find the beam. And when it has been found, you have established “grade” or level. If you want to dig a hole that’s three inches deep, you would move the detector up three inches on the grade rod. After you have dug three inches down and place the grade rod in the hole, you should hear a beep when the laser hits the detector. This will give you verification that you have dug three inches deep.

Whether you’re looking for a rotary laser level or some other laser leveling tool, be sure to look at what we have at Engineer Supply.

Frequently Asked Questions about Laser Levels

What is the self-leveling range of a laser level?

The effectiveness of a self-leveling laser level will depend on the mechanism it uses to perform this operation. But in most cases, a self-leveling model will be more accurate than a spirit level or a manual laser leveling tool.

Can I use a laser level in bright light?

Laser levels can make alignment tasks go more quickly, but a lot of people have trouble using them outdoors or in bright light. A laser is a concentrated beam of light, so its visibility can be affected by the surrounding light. This effect can vary, depending on different factors. But regardless of its power, there’s no way around it.

Can a laser level hurt my eyes?

While the beam coming out of a laser level only has a small amount of power, it’s concentrated enough to cause eye damage. If you’re using this tool, you should take the following precautions:
  • Never stare directly into a laser beam.
  • Tinted glasses that increase the beam’s intensity will not protect your eyes from direct exposure to the laser beam.
  • Do not attempt to repair or disassemble the laser level, because it can result in serious injury.
  • Never point a laser where it can come into contact with a vehicle, people, or pets.
  • Don’t let children play with lasers.
  • Always turn the laser leveloff when it’s not in use or is left unattended for any period of time.
  • Remove the batteries if you’re storing the tool for an extended period of time (more than three months).
  • Only use the original parts and accessories that you purchase from the manufacturer or an authorized dealer.
Feel free to reach out to Engineer Supply for more information about using your laser level safely.

How accurate is a laser level?

Laser leveling tools are some the most accurate instruments used in the construction industry, and they can be used in a variety of applications. There is, however, a common assumption from most construction workers and DIY hobbyists that new or even used laser levels never need to be calibrated. But even the best models are prone to occasional calibration errors or a drop in accuracy. That’s why performing regular maintenance on a laser level is essential.

Are laser levels waterproof?

While a laser level may be resistant to water penetration, there are some things you should do to prevent water damage. Few lasers can be completely submerged without getting damaged, so you should never try to place or drop it into standing water. Many laser levels can be left out in the rain without being affected, but it should be dried off before you put it back into its carry case. Being wet inside an air-tight environment will cause humidity to increase inside the area. This moisture will get into the casing, which will affect the laser level in the same way as if it were completely submerged.

If you’re looking for the best laser level for your specific needs, be sure to look at the broad selection we have at Engineer Supply.
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