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Laser Levels on construction sites

Electronic distance measurement in surveying

What is the Camera-Like Device Used on a Construction Site?

We’ve all seen it at one time or another: a tall, skinny instrument that towers above a construction site, seemingly a king looking out over its domain. Contrary to what it might look like, this device isn’t being used to keep an eye on potential trespassers or shoot scenes for Hollywood’s next blockbuster film. It’s actually a device called a laser level, and it’s used by surveyors and architects to take digital measurements that aid the construction process. Let’s take a look at what laser levels do and how they make life easier for all of us!

What is a Laser Level?


A laser level is an electronic device that emits a laser beam and can be placed atop a tripod to take measurements of a plot of land. The data from a laser level’s reading is used to determine the height and depth of large or small stretches of terrain. This information is an essential piece of the construction process, assisting in irrigation, the growing of crops, and filling trenches with sand.

What Do I Need to Know About Laser Level Technology?

Laser levels have been around since the early 1970s, and the first one was patented in the late 1980s. But it goes without saying that the surveying equipment on the market has improved by leaps and bounds since then! Rotary laser levels are a more advanced form of the technology, illuminating a 360-degree vertical or horizontal plane instead of just a single line. Engineer Supply offers a wide variety of automatic levels at the forefront of the industry’s technological capabilities.

How Do I Know Which Laser Level is Right for Me?

Engineer Supply offers a wide variety of laser levels from leading brands such as Leica, Bosch, and GeoMax. While these levels are alike in their high-quality manufacturing and ability to take accurate terrain readings conveniently, each user will find that they have their own preferences for the ideal piece of equipment. The experts at Engineer Supply are happy to work with you in finding the laser level that’s perfect for your project!

Using Laser Levels on Construction Sites

Construction crews use many tools during their project, but one of the most important is the tall, camera-like device that can often overlook the construction site. Levels have been used for hundreds of years to ensure accuracy during a building project, but laser levels have brought new capabilities to the worksite. These instruments allow contractors to establish horizontal and vertical planes, square reference points and define plum lines.

Models of Laser Levels Used

There are several types of levels used on a job site, and each one has features or abilities that make it ideal for certain projects. Lasers are categorized according to Class 1 or 2, although there are some allowances for Class 3R levels, and this relates to the safety of operating or observing the laser beam.


Dot Lasers

These are lasers that will project two, three or five beams of light. These are good for projects where a point is needed from the floor to the ceiling, a 90-degree reference or a level reference point.

Line Levels

This level uses a single beam of light to project 180-degree either vertically or horizontally. When a vertical plan is needed, these levels are ideal for a construction site.

Rotary Levels

These levels expand the options to 360-degree rotations with a single beam of light. These are useful for both vertical and horizontal plane measurements, and since they are technology-advanced, they are self-leveling.

Projects for Levels

Construction sites have a variety of projects, some that require measurements across a large area while interior measurements may not need to span a huge distance. A builders level helps take digital measurements to keep track of the accuracy of a project and aid in construction. These are highly efficient and can survey large areas of property or plots of land. It can be difficult to see a beam at a certain distance or during bright light conditions, so there are models of rotary levels that don’t bend the beam but rather rotate a diode above the center point for clarity at long distances. Potential uses on a construction site include:
  • Site layouts
  • Basic land survey
  • Establish grade or check elevations
  • Align masonry
  • Create drainage plans
To achieve accuracy, it’s important to remember that lasers are application specific. Opting for a higher quality laser increases accuracy and ease of use, making it easier to cater the laser to your project.

Types of Laser Levels

While all levels will measure endpoints or lines, there are different features that make your construction project easier. These are broken down into types:
  • Manuel-leveling laser
  • Automatic or self-leveling laser
  • Horizontal beam
  • Split-beam laser
  • Fixed or variable rotation speed
  • Laser receiver/detector
These features can determine how much effort the operator needs to put into aligning the level or detecting the beam. Horizontal and vertical reference points are only produced at the same time with a dual-beam laser.

For an industry-leading selection of levels, check out the selection at Engineer Supply. Whether you need a survey level or require something smaller, we have models from highly rated manufacturers. Order yours today.


Frequently Asked Questions

Are Laser Levels Effective During the Day?

Complete visibility outdoors, especially in direct sunlight, is not always possible with laser levels unless measuring a short distance. Rotary lasers with receivers make it easier to detect the beam at a distance.

What Does a Self-Leveling Range Mean?

Self-leveling lasers keep the operator from having to manually adjust the level to ensure accuracy. However, with a self-leveling model, the machine calibrates this adjustment on its own. The range is the value of deviation from the level of the laser housing to the distance. It’s the accuracy produced when self-leveling is used.

How Important Is the Accuracy of a Laser Level?

When on a construction site, accuracy is supremely important. Laser levels have a tolerance range, and for interior jobs with a short range, a greater tolerance rating could be acceptable. Specialized engineering settings require absolute precision, while exterior measurements could have a band of 1mm to 4mm without compromising the project.

Can the Lasers Damage My Eyesight?

Many wonder about the safety of looking at the laser beam. Visual impairment could occur if you stare directly into the beam. Lasers are also rated according to safety and come with warning labels.

Why Do Laser Levels Have an IP Rating?

The IP rating is the standard used to inform operators how effectively the laser housing is at keeping out dust, water, dirt or moisture. The two numbers in front of the IP rating range from zero to six, with zero indicating no protection and six being dust tight.

Best Construction Level

#1: David White LT8-300P 26x Transit Level with Optical Plummet

Best construction level david white LT8-300P-46-D8871

This 26x transit level has an accuracy of 3/16 of an inch at distances of up to 150 feet, but it has a total range of 400 feet. The optics have a horizontal circle with a lock and tangent as well as a vertical arc with a lock and tangent. It also has a 5/8" x 11" thread size and a 1:100 stadia with a glass reticle. When you purchase this construction level, you will also get the following:

  • Optical plummet
  • Rain hood
  • Objective lens cap
  • Hard carrying case
If you’re ready to purchase this level, be sure to pick yours up at Engineer Supply.

#2: Topcon 32x Automatic Level AT-B2

Best construction level topcon-32x-2110220B0

This automatic level will allow surveyors and construction professionals to get accurate level, angle, height and distance measurements. The optics have a 32x magnification, a 1/32-inch accuracy, and a built-in compensator that will stabilize the line of sight (even in the presence of fine vibrations that can be caused by heavy equipment on the job site). The telescope has a focus range of 7.9 inches and can be used in confined spaces. It also has an internal magnetic dampened compensator, which will allow you to level the line of sight within a range of 15 arc minutes at an accuracy of 0.3 arc seconds. You can even get it with the following accessories:

  • Diagonal eyepiece.
  • Optical micrometer.
  • Light pack (which can be helpful low-light conditions).
  • 40x eyepiece (which will improve accuracy and magnification).
Be sure to pick yours up at Engineer Supply today!

#3: Sokkia B20 32X Automatic Level

Best construction level sokkia-B20-32X-2110120B0

This construction level has been proven to provide both precision and durability. It also features enhanced reliability in all types of environmental conditions. Its tough and compact body has an IPx6 Rating. So, it will be resistant to damage caused by water, humidity, and dust. It also has a number of useful features, which can include but may not be limited to:

  • Precise and reliable automatic compensator — It has four high-tensile suspension wires and a magnetic dampening system, which will ensure accuracy and stability (even when it’s exposed to temperature changes, vibrations, or shock).
  • Superior telescope — It can provide an exceptionally bright and sharp view that will minimize eye strain. It also has an ultra-short focus of 7.9 inches (20 cm) from the end of the telescope, which makes it easier to use in confined spaces.
  • Quick collimation — The two knobs of endless horizontal motion drives can be operated with either hand, which allows for faster and easier aiming.
  • Horizontal angle measurement — Horizontal angles can be read in one-degree or one-gradian units, and the freely rotatable circle will allow you to perform any angle reading from zero.
The stadia lines on the reticle will allow you to perform any distance measurement, and it’s easy to adjust with one screw. The circular level vials are adjusted with two screws, but both of them are quick and easy with the provided tools.

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

Best construction level topcon-RL-200-314920782

This self-leveling, dual-slope rotary construction laser level is great for exterior applications and it includes the following:

  • Rechargeable battery kit.
  • LS-100D laser detector with the Holder 6 rod clamp.
  • RC-400 remote control.
  • Hard carrying case.
The red laser beam has an operating range of 3,600 feet in diameter with a laser detector, and it has an accuracy of 3/64 of an inch at distances of up to 100 feet.

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

Best construction level topcon-RL-H5A-DB-1021200-07

This construction laser level has an operation range of up to 800 meters, and it comes with a smart long-range receiver. The laser has a rotation speed of 600 rpm with a self-leveling range of five degrees. The battery can last up to 100 hours, and the body has an IP66 Rating (which allows it to withstand dust, a sudden shower, or even heavy rainfall). When you purchase this laser level for construction, it will come with a 5-year manufacturer’s warranty as well as the following accessories:

  • Topcon LS-80L Laser Detector.
  • Sensor holder.
  • Carry case.
Be sure to pick yours up at Engineer Supply today!
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