The RYOBI AirGrip Compact is our best value pick for laser line levels. It costs less than $30 and is sufficient for most jobs that aren’t on a professional level. Other products we reviewed can cost more than $100 but come with more options and features you may never employ if you don’t use line levels on a regular basis.
This laser level is small enough to fit in your front pocket, making it easy to keep with you as you move around the house working on projects. The AirGrip offers the basic functionality of a line laser, allowing you to find a horizontal or plumb line without much hassle. However, this laser line level is not designed for large construction or remodeling projects, so it won't serve you in this sense as well as other units we reviewed. Ultimately, this laser line level is great for hanging pictures, mirrors and similar objects.
The AirGrip Compact line laser level, as the name suggests, allows you to attach the level to nearly any surface with the use of a small vacuum and suction cup. The vacuum is strong enough to seal against raw finished wood, but not brick or rough lumber. If you’re having trouble attaching it to non-smooth surface, it comes with soft foam collar to adhere to rougher surfaces.
Once you place the level against the needed surface and push the one button on the tool, the vacuum creates a strong hold against the wall and projects a line. The vacuum is quite loud, which isn't necessarily an issue, but it can be annoying to deal with if you're talking to someone while you work. As soon as you turn the level off, it starts to fall within about five seconds, so make sure you remove it from the surface.
The vacuum and suction cup is an effective combo for most surfaces, but if you need to run a line across a bumpy surface, you may run into problems. It’s foam rough-surface adapter can be pinned to the wall with nails, screws or even pushpins, providing a secure mounting spot for the level. Although this solution works, it isn't as strong of a bond, and you'll want to keep an eye on it in case the level starts to fall.
This laser level only projects one line, so you won't have cross-line precision accuracy. Instead, it shoots one laser with a range of around 20 feet. This is adequate for small home projects, such as hanging pictures and mirrors, or creating a tape line when painting a surface.
This laser line level uses two AAA batteries that give you about 2.5 hours of continuous use. This is the least amount of battery time out of all the laser line levels we reviewed. The vacuum base, although useful, drains the batteries quickly, so you'll want to have spare batteries with you just in case.
The RYOBI AirGrip Compact takes an innovative and specified approach to line laser levels. It’s our best value pick because it offers the most essential features at the lowest price. Opting for the simple, portable approach, the AirGrip is a good tool for small home projects, but it lacks the features the best laser line levels use, making it inadequate for larger projects.