Best Laser Levels of 2019 - Reviews of Self-Leveling Lasers for Home
We’ve been evaluating the best laser line levels since 2013. Our team of expert reviewers spent more than 80 hours researching, evaluating and testing the models on the market today. At the end of our analysis, the DeWalt DW08802CG was the top overall pick. This laser line level has outstanding leveling capabilities, excellent projection features and multiple mounting options. It’s a self-leveling tool that projects a level line up to 50 feet away and provides continually accurate results.
This device has the most features of all the laser line levels we reviewed. It’s self-leveling, it mounts on walls with ease, and it projects lines up to 50 feet. It runs on three AA batteries that will last about 20 hours.
Ryobi AirGrip ELL1002
Sometimes all you need is a simple tool for simple jobs. This laser line level fits that description perfectly. It lacks features, but it’s small, inexpensive and gets the job done.
This laser level can project a line up to 100 feet away – double the range of our top pick. However, you must place it within four degrees of level; otherwise, the accuracy suffers dramatically.
|Product||Price||Overall Rating||Leveling Features||Projection Range||Design||Help & Support||Self-Leveling||Out-of-Level Indicator||Vertical||Manual Lock||Distance (feet)||Beams||Cross Beam||Individual Beams||Battery Life (hours)||Tripod Mountable||Built-in Mount||Magnetic Mount||Clamp Mount||Suction Cup Mount||Adhesive Mount||Limited Warranty (years)||Online Manual||Online Help Resources|
|DeWALT DW08802CG||View Deal||4.5/5||10||7.7||10||10||✓||✓||✓||✓||40||2||✓||✓||20||✓||✓||✓||✓||-||-||3||✓||✓|
|Craftsman 48250||View Deal||4/5||7.5||10||8.3||5||✓||✓||✓||-||100||2||✓||✓||20||✓||-||✓||-||-||✓||1||-||✓|
|Tacklife SC-L01||View Deal||4/5||10||7.9||5||9.2||✓||✓||✓||✓||50||2||✓||✓||12||✓||-||✓||-||-||-||2||✓||✓|
|HAMMERHEAD HLCL01||View Deal||4/5||10||7||5.8||10||✓||✓||✓||✓||30||2||✓||✓||15||✓||-||-||✓||-||-||3||✓||✓|
|Bosch GLL 30||View Deal||4/5||10||7||5.8||8.3||✓||✓||✓||✓||30||2||✓||✓||15||✓||-||-||✓||-||-||1||✓||✓|
|Stanley Cross90||View Deal||4/5||10||6.3||5.8||9.2||✓||✓||✓||✓||50||3||✓||-||15||✓||-||-||✓||-||-||2||✓||✓|
|Skil 8201-CL||View Deal||3.5/5||7.5||7||4.2||8.3||✓||✓||✓||-||30||2||✓||✓||15||✓||-||-||-||-||-||1||✓||✓|
|Johnson 40-0912||View Deal||3.5/5||7.5||7.9||1.7||10||✓||✓||✓||-||100||2||✓||✓||12||-||-||-||-||-||-||3||✓||✓|
|Bosch GLL 1P||View Deal||2/5||2.5||2.3||10||9.2||-||-||✓||-||16||2||-||-||20||✓||✓||✓||-||-||✓||2||✓||✓|
|RYOBI AirGrip Compact ELL1002||View Deal||2/5||5||2.3||4.2||9.2||-||-||✓||✓||30||1||-||-||2.5||None||✓||-||-||✓||-||2||✓||✓|
|Black & Decker BullsEye BDL190S||View Deal||1.5/5||2.5||2.4||3.3||6.8||✓||20||2||-||-||20||None||-||-||-||-||-||2||-||✓|
Of all the laser line levels we tested, the DeWalt DW08802CG was the best by leaps and bounds. It has almost everything we look for in this category, and every feature is superior to all the other models we evaluated.
The most noticeable feature of this laser line level is its clamp mount. This allows you to easily attach it to the end of walls, tables or other surfaces. If the clamp mount doesn’t suit your needs, you can also attach it to the wall with a nail or screw. It also has a standard quarter-inch tripod mount and a built-in magnetic swivel. This attaches the level to a metallic surface. No matter the job at hand, this laser line level can help you accomplish it.
This tool uses three included AA batteries. You can expect to get 20 hours of use, which is the longest-lasting battery life of all the laser line levels in our comparison.
The DeWalt DW08802CG has a warranty period of three years. This is head and shoulders above other levels we reviewed, which are covered for only a one- or two-year period.
Ryobi AirGrip ELL1002
You can pick up this laser line level for around $30, which is about 1/10 of the cost of our top pick. But as you might guess, you won’t get nearly as many features and benefits.
For example, instead of having multiple mounting options, all you get is a vacuum-reinforced suction cup to attach it to a wall. It’s fine for simple jobs like hanging a picture or a mirror, but won’t be suitable for bigger jobs or professional situations. The vacuum used by the suction cup mount is also loud, which isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker, but it can become annoying the longer you use the level.
The projection distance of this laser line level is quite short – only 20 feet. And you only get about 2.5 hours of life from the batteries before you need to change them. Both are the shortest of all the laser line levels we evaluated.
The main selling point is portability. It will fit comfortably in your front pocket and easily stores in a tool box or in your small drawer. It’s handy to have around for jobs like mounting a television and building shelves.
Our best overall for this category can project a laser line up to 50 feet, which is more than enough for most jobs. If you happen to be in a situation where you need a longer range, consider the Craftsman 48250.
This device can project a level line up to 100 feet away. Its dual-beam design increases both visibility and accuracy.
Our testing concluded that it’s very precise until about 30 feet; the farther away it gets from the source, the less accurate and blurrier the laser line becomes. But, given the long distances this level can project, its scores are respectable.
The base mount is a unique feature that allows you to quickly adjust the level to fit your needs. Additionally, the base mount includes magnets that let you attach the level to metal surfaces. You also get two specially designed pushpins and double-sided adhesive that can mount it to nearly any surface.
The Tacklife SC-L01 is one of the best laser line levels we tested. It is easy to mount, can auto-level up to 4 degrees off-level and is accurate within 1/9th of an inch at 30 feet.
. The unit’s beam will blink if the level is beyond that 4 degree range and will continue to blink until it is level. When the red cross becomes solid, you’ll know that you are level and accurate.
This level ranges up to 50 feet, but we found it was most useful within 30 feet. After that, the level starts to become blurry. You can buy this laser line level for under $50, which is a great buy considering it outperformed others that cost $90 or more.
Best for Multiple Walls
The HAMMERHEAD HLCL01 has a working range of 30 feet and boasts an accuracy rating of a quarter inch.
Some others were slightly more accurate and could project longer laser lines, but where this laser line level sets itself apart is the horizontal line capabilities. We were able to move the line within a range of 110 degrees. This can project across multiple walls and can be especially helpful if you have a line of pictures to hang across multiple walls.
You can expect about 15 hours of continuous use with this laser line level. It comes with adjustable clamp and tripod threading. Also, at just under $50, it is less expensive than other models it outperformed.
We compared the products in this category using hands-on tests designed to simulate real-life usage. During our testing phase, we compared each tool’s design, accuracy, projection, power supply and support options. Each tool was subjected to the same battery of tests, and individual results were weighed by the experiences of our testers.
During our evaluation, we reached out to professionals who use laser line levels and asked what they value in this kind of tool. Paul Lovelady, a residential carpenter, uses a laser line level on a daily basis to level walls and check foundations. In his experience, the most important thing to look for in a laser line level is its battery life. Mounting options are not a great concern for him because he never uses them, opting to set his level on a flat surface.
We also spoke with Peter Thomas, who works general maintenance at a hospital. He uses laser line levels to hang pictures, shelves, corkboards, dry-erase boards, signs and more. He owns two levels. His priority in a laser line level is how well it retains its accuracy. Sometimes these tools get knocked around during the course of regular use and the lens or laser can become misaligned or come off completely. “It needs to be able to take punishment and remain accurate,” he said.
We subjected laser line levels to a battery of tests. We tested laser brightness by taking each device to their specified maximum distance from a wall, then moved it closer or farther away depending on how visible it was. We also tested each product’s accuracy with a bubble level and a square to see at what distances they begin to fail or degrade.
To test self-leveling accuracy, we projected a line on a wall and checked the accuracy of the line with a bubble level tool. We tested the fan angle by projecting a line where we could clearly see the entire expanse. We then checked Whether the line quality differed and used a bubble level to determine whether the angle stayed consistent and regular.
We tested each device’s mounting capabilities by attaching them to a wall and leaving them there to see if they moved over time. We also tested their battery life by inserting new batteries and running the beam continuously. We recorded the time when the levels stopped projecting or started losing laser quality.
How Much Does a Laser Line Level Cost?
Let’s be real – a laser line level is not the most dynamic tool in the world. They have one simple job to do. Generally, they range anywhere from $40 to $100, and we found some great performers around the $40 range.
Accuracy & Projection
The first and most important element to consider with these tools is accuracy. Whether you are drawing a paint line or completely renovating a room, accuracy is vital to your project. We tested each laser level to make sure it was capable of finding the true level, by manual positioning or self-leveling. We gave special attention to self-leveling models that use an internal pendulum to find true level – these levels were incredibly accurate.
Something worth checking with self-leveling laser lines is their ability to find true level even while being somewhat out of level themselves. Each self-leveling model uses an internal pendulum to find true level, but they all must be situated within a certain degree range to be accurate. Look for units that can accommodate at least four degrees out of level.
More on Tools
When looking for the best laser level, you'll want to consider each tool's ability to cast a line effectively against your surface. Many of the levels we considered can project a clear, visible line up to 30 feet away, which gives you plenty of room to work with. Another element to consider is the laser's fan angle, which is how wide the level can cast a line against a surface. The wider the angle, the longer the line appears on your wall or surface, meaning you only need to set the line level once to get a consistent, level line across an entire wall or multiple walls.
Another important feature to consider is the number of beams the levels can produce simultaneously. Some levels only project one horizontal beam, but more advanced laser levels can produce crossbeams with two lasers. This cross-line feature is useful in a number of situations, such as when you need to tile a bathroom or hang a picture frame with furniture below it.
Design, Durability & Support Options
Make sure the laser level you buy has a durable design that can withstand rough conditions. In case the level is bumped off its tripod or wall-mounting bracket, you want to know that it will survive a little tumble. This consideration is particularly important for self-leveling laser lines, as the internal pendulum is a sensitive component. Tools that allow you to lock the pendulum in place minimize this risk.
Additionally, make sure you understand how long the batteries last, as you don't want to be in the middle of a project when the batteries die, leaving you at square one. Look for laser line levels that will operate for hours with continuous use, as this ensures a long battery life between replacements.
Whenever you buy a tool, it's a good idea to know what the warranty is so you can return it if needed. Look for a company that offers a warranty of at least a year so you don't have to worry about running into a defect days after the warranty expires.
How Do You Use a Laser Level Outdoors?
It can be a bit difficult to use your laser line level outdoors since it may be hard to see. Many models come with tinted goggles that make it easier to see the line outside, though you can also buy a pair separately. Once you have your goggles on, here are the steps experts recommend:
- Use a tripod – Place the level on the tripod and switch it on.
- Take Aim – Aim the laser level where you want and then lock it into position.
- Position the Receiver – Take the laser receiver (often sold separately) and place it on a flat surface close to the same height as the level. A second tripod is helpful for this, but you can use the included magnet to attach the receiver to a flat surface. Move the receiver around slowly until it catches the laser beam from the level.
- Steady the Receiver – Once you find the beam, lock the receiver into position, or at least steady it.
- Adjust Both – Use the receiver and the laser line level to get the level you need.