- Progress of laser marking
- The first important change
- The second big change
- Types of laser levels
- Self-leveling plane builders
- Rotary laser levels
- Manually installed
- Automatic horizontal
- Fully automatic
- What kind of laser level to choose
- For home
- For professional repairs of apartments and premises
- Cone prisms
- Cylindrical prisms
- For big building
In this article, we will consider the question “how to choose a laser level”. Let’s talk about the main selection criteria, but first a little background for a better understanding of the issue.
At all times, people built different buildings and constructions using various special measuring devices. In particular, one of the main devices was a bubble level to determine the verticality and horizontality of the construction.
Strict verticality and horizontality of constructions is perhaps one of the most important characteristics of stability and safety of the building.
The same postulates apply to the interior decoration of premises. Where the exact markup is also in the first place.
Recently, there has been a boom in modern decoration of apartments, country houses, office space, shopping centers and other premises.
And since marking is one of the most important stages of interior decoration, professional builders strive to make it faster and more accurate.
But how do they do it?
Progress of laser marking
Progress does not stand still, and in this area is no exception. Therefore, the usual well – known bubble level was replaced by – the laser level.
Like many other devices, the laser level went through its stages of formation and development.
It first appeared about 20 years ago. It was an ordinary construction bubble level with a built-in laser emitter. Which, in turn, projected the laser point over a certain distance, as if it were a continuation of the bubble level.
But this construction has not found mass application among professionals. Since it was not much more productive. And it was quite expensive.
The developers decided not to stop and go further. And after a while, there were rotary laser levels with manual adjustment.
Unlike the first laser levels, the rotary level also projected a point, but it automatically rotated in a circle creating a laser line around the entire perimeter of the room.
The disadvantage of such a laser rotary level was the small operating range (no more than 10m). And also the fact that the level had to be set manually using adjusting screws and bubble levels
Thus, there was again a “human factor” – hence the very low accuracy.
The first important change
The next generation of laser levels were self-leveling point builders. Which were already automatically set to the level, using a pendulum compensator, in a certain range of inclination.
That is, a pendulum was installed in the housing of the device, on which laser emitters were fixed. And magnets are installed below the pendulum to quickly dampen oscillations of the pendulum.
The user only needed to place the laser dot on a sufficiently flat surface. And even if the housing would have a slight slope, the alignment system compensate for this tilt, and the pendulum is installed strictly vertically. Agree this is a great and simple solution!
This principle formed the basis for all future laser levels with a pendulum compensator on magnetic dampers.
The advantage of such laser point builders was the high accuracy of 0.3 mm per 1 meter and a good range of up to 40 meters. Compared to the usual bubble levels, this was a breakthrough.
But the disadvantages also remained. Namely, bad visibility. Marking also took a long time, and the cost was high. Also, they were not always suitable for working outdoors over long distances in sunlight.
The second big change
After a short period of time, there was another breakthrough in this direction, thanks to the usual glass prisms.
In front of the emitter, which shone with concentrated laser light, they put a prism in the form of a regular cylinder, and lo and behold! The laser dot turned into a laser line!
From that moment on, self-leveling laser levels, which built laser planes, burst into the construction sphere with great speed.
Visible laser lines ran along the walls, along which one could quickly make markings, or immediately fix something.
For building a house or repairing an apartment, this was the perfect solution.
A little more and we will come to the main question – ” how and what kind of laser level to choose for purchase?»
Types of laser levels
Self-leveling plane builders
This group, in turn, is divided into two subspecies, which differ in the type of compensator:
- Laser levels with a mechanical compensator with magnets from below under the base of the pendulum. Today, the vast majority of models from various manufacturers have such a compensator.
- Laser levels with a more modern and precise electronic compensator.
Its principle is as follows: built-in electronic tilt sensors determine the deviation from the horizontal plane.
Next, with the help of servos (stepper motors), the compensator is set to zero with an error of 0.1 mm/m (1 mm per 10 meters)! This is five times more accurate than a ordinary bubble level. That’s really cool, isn’t it?
And in modern rotary laser levels with the same compensator, the accuracy can reach 0.05 mm/m. We will consider them below.
Rotary laser levels
These are special laser levels that are mainly used for working on the street at long distances up to 1500 meters!
All work is carried out with the help of a special laser receiver without it, no laser level will work at such distances. As a rule with such devices the receiver is included.
Rotary levels, in turn, are also divided into several types:
We discussed them at the very beginning of the article on how to choose a laser level. Such devices are less and less in demand and almost disappear altogether. Therefore, we will not focus on them.
For this group, the horizontal plane is set automatically, and the vertical plane is set manually. Also, this type is a thing of the past.
These are self-leveling rotary laser levels with only a horizontal plane without a vertical one. They are used for narrow horizontal marking tasks. As a rule, they have a very high accuracy and range of operation.
This is the most interesting and noteworthy group of rotary laser levels. As a rule, they all have high-precision electronic compensators with stepper motors.
These devices have automatic alignment of both the horizontal plane and the vertical. Depending on the model, they can have a huge operating range and very high accuracy.
As you understand, the price of such a device will depend on the accuracy and range. It can reach several thousand dollars.
That’s basically the whole classification of these devices. Then the question arises – “which laser level to choose for the house, and which for building“.
What kind of laser level to choose
Really, today in this market there is a huge variety of manufacturers and models. So let’s put everything on the shelves and find out how to choose the right laser level for apartment renovation.
I must immediately say that the price here does not always play a decisive role. The main thing is that you should clearly understand what tasks you are going to purchase this device for.
Buy frankly cheap and those that need to be installed manually – I do not advise. This is wasted money and the acquisition of a headache.
The choice should be made from self-leveling laser levels. This is really a very convenient device that saves time and nerves, which even a child can cope with.
So, how do you choose a building laser level? Buy household or professional?
If you are a home craftsman and all your work is reduced to periodic small jobs that require accurate marking. Then it does not make sense to take an expensive device. Laser levels of this type as Huepar BOX-1G are perfect for you. With a green or red beam, it doesn’t really matter.
For the home, you can safely take up to $ 70 in this price category, and with such functionality as the above model. The choice of such linear laser levels is not small, so you will definitely choose the right option for yourself.
Also, if you are planning to give such a device, you will also not lose. Since such automatic laser levels are able to solve a large number of marking tasks with great accuracy and speed.
For professional repairs of apartments and premises
If you are professionally engaged in the repair of apartments, and also suffer from the question of what laser level to choose for work on every day. Then I recommend considering more expensive options and with maximum functionality. Such a laser level will quickly pay off and increase productivity several times.
Yes, of course, I have no doubt that you will be just as successful with any markup task and with a cheaper level. But still with a professional it will be even faster and more accurate. And as we all know “time is money”.
Therefore, it is better to consider the options 3D (12 lines) or 4D (16 lines, for example Fukuda MW-94D-4GX) with a full-fledged laser plumb line. Which, like it or not, will be a very appropriate addition to the markup.
Now 3D and 4D levels with cone prisms are very popular. They are really very convenient. Since planes can be projected very close to a wall, ceiling or floor.
Yes, well-known brands are expensive, for example, the well-known Bosch GLL3-330 costs from $ 480. But there are cheaper models and excellent quality, for example Huepar 603CG or Firecore F94T-XG and others.
The mode of operation with the receiver will not be superfluous. In case you have to work on a highly lit object or on the street up to 120 meters.
I also give 99% that over time the TILT function will be useful for marking lines at any arbitrary angle.
These functions are not found in all models. Therefore, I recommend paying attention to this when choosing. And to make it easier for you, I recommend that you watch detailed reviews of laser levels before buying.
When choosing, you should pay attention to laser levels with a rotating limb, for example, as Firecore FIR411G. Since such devices have a laser plumb line is the central axis of the housing.
This can be much more convenient in some situations than the offset axis of 3D levels with cone prisms due to the construction features of the housing.
The scale with degrees on the rotary limb allows you to set the required angle value horizontally. Therefore, for whom it is important, then look in the direction of laser levels of the “barrel” type.
You should pay attention to the declared accuracy. All laser levels with a projection accuracy of ± 3 mm per 10 meters are professional. But it is worth looking at the choice in the sum of all sides and the quality of the assembly and materials, too.
Maximum accuracy can only be obtained from laser levels with an electronic compensator. For an example in the form of a “barrel”, this is the Firecore FIR-GL8-EA level, with 360-degree cone prisms – Huepar DT03CG.
If we talk about the laser level with the maximum functionality, it is most likely Huepar S04CG. I have not met any analogues. There is no electronic compensator in it, but there is everything else and even more. In addition to all the functions, it has 2 horizons and 2 verticals of 360°, Bluetooth and a display on which the angle of inclination is written.
There are a large number of professional laser levels, a choice for any wallet. There are many different intermediate models with different functionality. But the main criteria that you should pay attention to when choosing a laser level are described above.
For big building
If you are a professional builder and your field of work is associated with frequent outdoor marking. Namely: the building of large foundations, decoration of facades, building of roads, bridges and more. Then it is better to choose from automatic rotary levels.
As a rule, all the difference between these devices from each other is reduced to the range of operation and accuracy. Hence, respectively, the different price. Which can vary from $ 350 to $ 3000. And of course from the logo on the device.
An inexpensive option can be selected depending on the manufacturer, for example, you can consider an excellent fully automatic, professional rotary level Firecore FRE207R, but the choice is also great.