When it comes to a wide variety of renovation and construction tasks, one of the tools that you will most definitely need, probably sooner rather than later, is a laser level. These tools are, of course, used to keep things level, so you can be sure that everything you build is perfectly straight, flat, and even.
With that being said, there are a few different types of laser levels out there, and which one you use depends on the task at hand. Let’s get to it and figure out what the four main types are, as well as their main uses, their advantages, and more.
4 Types of Laser Levels
There are four main types of laser levels to talk about. These include line, dot, rotary, and combination laser levels. Let’s look at what each of these is, what their uses are, and what their main pros and cons are.
1. Line Laser Level
This first type of laser level is one that has the ability to project both vertical and horizontal laser lines onto surfaces within a 180-degree pivot. There are more advanced line laser levels that can go all 360 degrees. However, most people will be fine with 180 degrees. This type of laser level is best used on a flat surface, preferably while standing on a tripod.
Keep in mind that the more basic models are manually operated, but there are also ones that feature internal pendulums for automatic leveling. If you’re working in a 360-degree environment, then laser line levels are ideal for ensuring accurate leveling. If you are installing anything that runs the length of a room, whether from wall to wall or from floor to ceiling, then this is a good option to consider.
Line laser levels are often used in the installation of cabinets, carpeting, handrails, and any other project that wraps around a room. This is because line laser levels can provide a constant level of measurement throughout space from one side to another. When it comes to projects requiring measurements concerning horizontal and vertical surfaces, you will benefit from a line laser level.
The bottom line here is that laser line levels are ideal for working in 360-degree spaces where you need multiple planar surfaces matching each other. That being said, if you are only doing basic leveling then this would probably qualify as overkill.
- More accurate than bubble levels
- Faster to use than a spirit level
- Line laser levels allow you to map out a project on two planes, while also providing you with the ability to maintain relationships between various surfaces
- Very user-friendly and easy to use
- Very space-efficient
- Ideal for large horizontal and vertical spaces
- If you just need to do basic leveling, the line laser level may be too intricate and expensive for you
- The internal pendulum systems of this type of laser level can be very fragile and delicate
2. Dot Laser Level
The next type of laser level that you need to be familiar with is the dot laser level. These may also be known as plumb laser levels. Now, when you are setting up walls, you need to make sure that they are level in terms of the orientation with the rest of the room. But, it is also very important that your walls are plumb, which means that they are perfectly straight going up and down.
If your walls are not plumbed, the rest of your construction job will not be even, so this first step is very essential to your success. Traditionally, plumbing walls can be very hard and time-consuming, but this is not the case if you have a plumb or dot laser level. All you have to do is to hang the plum or dot laser level from the ceiling, turn it on and the rest is history.
Because plumb or dot laser levels are in a fixed location and do not move, it means that you are free to make markings, measurements, and various adjustments as required. There is also the fact that over 100 feet of measurement, dot laser levels are accurate to within 1/4 of an inch.
This type of laser level is often used by electricians to install outlets and light switches. Contractors may use this type of laser level to do foundations and line up walls as well As for the setting up of heating and ventilation systems for leveling concrete and more. Masonry workers and fence builders may also use this type of laser level.
- One of the most accurate types of laser levels out there
- Allows you to level and plumb multiple surfaces at the same time
- Extremely easy to use and has applications in many fields
- Features very sensitive internal mechanisms that are easy to break
- Tends to be quite expensive
- Usually requires somewhere to hang from (although not always)
3. Rotary Laser Level
The rotary laser level is one of the most advanced types of laser levels out there. This type of laser level projects a laser beam in all directions, which allows you to see the plane that you are working on. This type of laser level is often used by contractors who are just starting new construction projects.
It is often used in construction, particularly for the establishment of foundations, as well as for plumbing. There are dual and single slope lasers that can help you establish gradients for masonry and walls. This type of laser level is also ideal for laying foundations that you expect to frame. It can also be used for establishing slopes on driveways, docs, and other such things.
What’s nice about this type of laser level is that it is typically accurate to 1/16th of an inch up to 50 feet, or about 1/8 of an inch up to 100 feet. When it comes to planning large construction jobs, this is the type of laser level that you want. What is interesting to note is that although these look like line lasers, they’re called rotary lasers because the light is being projected in a rotary fashion at very high speeds.
If this is the type you need, check my rotary laser level recommendations.
When it comes to high-grade equipment for leveling, this is the most professional type of laser level. This kind of laser level is ideal for mostly any kind of part construction project, especially when it comes to establishing foundations and the locations of walls.
They are also ideal for establishing gradients, both indoors and outdoors, for the leveling of floors, and for establishing interior reference points. Major landscaping jobs and other outdoor tasks can also benefit from rotary laser levels.
- The highest degree of accuracy over long ranges
- The laser line is constantly visible.
- Works in real-time to provide you with accurate measurements
- Ideal for beginning large construction projects, both indoors and outdoors
- Some of the most complex and difficult to use laser levels out there
- Some of the most expensive laser levels out there.; for most people, this kind of laser level is going to qualify as complete overkill
- Can also be extremely fragile
4. Combination Laser level
Although not quite as common, the fourth type of laser level worth mentioning is the combination laser level. The combination laser level is like a mix between a spot or plumb laser level and a line laser level. These can project both lines and spots either independently or simultaneously.
We aren’t going to go too deep into this one because the fact of the matter is that you really get the best of both worlds, the best of both line and dot lasers, although there is of course a much higher cost involved here. That said, when it comes to versatility in terms of applications, this is probably the number one type of laser level out there.
What Is the Best Type of Laser Level for Construction, Tiling, and Other Uses?
As you can tell from our descriptions of the various types of laser levels, there is no best laser level out there, so to speak. What’s the best laser level is depends on the job at hand.
For instance, if you are just starting a new construction project, then a rotary laser level is probably best. However, if you are plumbing walls, then it’s a dot laser level that you want to use. If you have money to spend and you plan on doing a lot of different construction projects, then a combination laser level is what you want to go for.
The bottom line here is that all types of laser levels have their specific uses and benefits. Which one you choose depends on what kind of job or construction project you are aiming to complete.