In the past, every good handyman had a spirit level. But that was before! Now, technology offers the laser level. It has become essential for all work requiring the establishment of precise horizontal marks, and is particularly easy to use. Yes, anyone can use a laser level! There are even different types, each adapted to a type of construction site. How does it work, how to use it…? We tell you everything.
Why use a laser level?
When you use a level, it’s because you need precise measurements. Whether it is to install a frame or a shelf on a wall, or to mount a partition, redo a tiling, you must be able to count on a reliable tool. There is nothing straighter than a laser beam. Red or green, the laser beam is champion of the precision ! Especially since, unlike our good old spirit level, it is able to draw both horizontal and vertical lines.
Since it first appeared in the field professional (where it revolutionized the world of construction!), the laser level has become accessible to individuals. Smaller and more manageable, less expensive, it has adapted to your needs. Today, everyone can take advantage of professional technology to carry out their own projects.
The laser level is a DIYer’s best friend, and here’s why:
- It is super precise;
- It defines horizontal and vertical levels;
- It draws a constant, reliable line even over a long distance (from 15 m to 100 m);
- It is very easy to use;
- It acts in a few seconds… and saves you a lot of time!
- It has become very accessible (the first prices are around 30 euros).
Each site has its own laser level: 5 models
Laser technology has adapted to the different needs of construction or development work. Several types of laser levels have been developed, each serving specific purposes. The accuracy of a laser level depends on its wavelength. It is measured in nanometers per meter, from 0.20 to 0.50 nm/m. The lower the wavelength, the greater the ray visibility distance, and the more accurate the measurement.
The point laser level: the simplest and cheapest
Once attached to a flat surface, this laser level projects a beam that allows you to make your markings. The beam takes the form of a series of luminous points. From a distance, it materializes a specific point on a vertical surface with a luminous cross. Very practical, it offers an accuracy of 0.5 to 0.8 nm/m, for a range of 5 to 20 m. For indoor use, for aligning frames or pictures on a wall, for example, or for mounting partition rails.
The line laser level: more readable
Do-it-yourselfers generally appreciate this laser level which projects a continuous line, which is more visible than dots. As simple to use as the dot level, it allows you to materialize a continuous line over several meters. Its interest is that it is able to compensate for up to 10% of elevation. Despite the irregularity of the ground, more or less straight, the line is always perfectly horizontal. It features the same level of accuracy and range as the point model. To be used indoors for layout work, carpentry, installation of mouldings, partitions, baseboards, etc.
The cross line laser level: measure in 2 dimensions
A little more advanced, this laser level is the favorite of DIY enthusiasts. The reason for its success is simple: it simultaneously projects a vertical line and a horizontal line. The crossed lines reproduce a 90° angle which allows you to make the square. Its wavelength between 0.5 and 0.8 nm/m makes it a very precise laser level. Its distance ranges from 5 to 20 meters. Ideal for securing furniture or laying tiles.
The rotary laser level: the 360° line!
Widely used by building professionals, this laser level allows measurements to be taken outdoors or in large spaces. Able to project a line up to 50 meters away, we quickly understand its interest in construction. His trick is to combine a laser beam and mirrors, which allows him to project a laser line in a 360° angle. The projection unit, rotating at high speed, projects the beam to all sides. Result: a uniform line is drawn on all the walls. Let us add that it is a high precision laser, whose wavelength is between 0.20 and 0.50 nm/m.
Perfect for structural work, for example to successfully level doors and windows. The ideal is to choose a self-leveling rotary laser, which is less tedious than manual adjustment. Two accessories complete it: a tripod and a laser level detector.
The tile laser level
As its name does not suggest, this laser level is reserved for laying floor tiles. Installed on a flat surface, the floor laser (its other name) can project a laser beam in front of the base of the laser, which optimizes centering and facilitates the alignment of the tiles. It thus projects lines ranging from zero to ninety degrees. To be used indoors, possibly outdoors on a terrace.
How to use a laser level? Manual
Nothing very complicated. To use a laser level properly, you just need to follow these steps:
Install your laser level on its tripod
You can hardly do without a tripod, even if you can install your laser level on the ground. Mounted on a tripod, or on a cane, the laser level will be easier to use and you will have better results. The main thing is to put the tripod (and the level) on a stable and horizontal surface. Since the laser level is equipped with a spirit level, you can easily check the horizontality of the installation. If it has automatic leveling, the laser level will compensate itself for any irregularities in the ground.
Point the beam at the wall
The laser level must be positioned perpendicular to the surface to be measured, for example a wall. Turn on the laser level and begin by pointing the beam in the direction of the surface to be measured. If you want the best possible accuracy, position it level closer of the area to be measured.
NB : A tile laser level is positioned either in a corner or in the center of the room to be tiled. As for the rotary level, place it as close as possible to the center of the room.
Adjust the height of the light line
Based on the point indicated by the level on the wall, adjust the height to the desired level.
Trace your measurements in pencil
Mark the measurement indicated by the laser on the wall. If by misfortune the level were to move during the work, you will have kept the correct markers. Then it’s up to you to work!
Complete your laser level with the right accessories
We have already seen that the tripod (or the cane) was essential, although not obligatory, to fix and adjust the laser level. Other items may be useful, especially if you need this instrument frequently.
- The beam detector. When taking measurements over a long distance, especially outdoors, the laser beam ends up becoming invisible to the naked eye towards its end. To remedy this problem, you can use a beam detector. It triggers an alarm when it comes into contact with the light beam, which allows you to pinpoint its exact location and mark the measurement point.
- Laser vision goggles. These special glasses are useful for using a laser outdoors. By filtering part of the light spectrum, they allow the beam to be viewed even in direct sunlight or over a long distance.
- The deviation prism. This small instrument is very practical; it allows you to deflect a laser beam, either by deflecting it 90° or by rotating it 360°.
- The optical eyeliner. If you have paint jobs to do, this is the trick that makes your life easier. It directly projects a line on the wall. No pencil or ruler needed, just follow the line.
For your safety, take a few precautions:
- For your safety, do not look the front laser beam too long. Your retina wouldn’t like it. On the other hand, do not worry if the laser stays in contact with your skin for a long time; there is no danger to your health.
- For the same reason, do not let near neither children nor pets when using a laser level. Not only will they be attracted to the small red light, but their eyes may also be at laser level. Danger.
- When not in use, be sure to put away carefully your laser level in its transport box. Like any precision instrument, it is sensitive to shocks and could become out of adjustment. In this case, it is always possible to recalibrate it (refer to the instructions for the procedure).