10 Best Line Lasers | May 2017
- locking pendulum protects components
- rotatable crosshairs
- beam is a bit dim at a distance
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
- accuracy is spot-on
- green led power indicator
- included tripod is small and flimsy
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
- great low budget pick
- choice of three projection modes
- not self-leveling
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
- manual mode for angled use
- two aa batteries included
- hard to use in bright sunlight
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
- comes with a soft carrying pouch
- includes magnetic mounting options
- considerably pricey
|Model||Lino L2P5 Pro Package|
|Rating||3.8 / 5.0|
- mounts to standard tripods
- flashes when out of alignment
- does not include batteries
|Rating||4.3 / 5.0|
- projections are clear and crisp
- 360-degree graduated base
- includes a sturdy hard case
|Brand||Johnson Level & Tool|
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
- exceptionally bright green points
- 10-hour battery life
- includes two mounting brackets
|Brand||Pacific Laser Systems|
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
- simple single-button operation
- micro-adjustment knob
- durable metal roll cage
|Rating||4.7 / 5.0|
- suitable for use in full sunlight
- lines can be locked for angled use
- ample 65-foot range
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
Choosing A Fine Line Laser
Line lasers convert the energy from a battery into concentrated, optically amplified light using a laser diode. The powerful beam this diode creates is passed through a cylindrical lens, which focuses the laser into a long, straight line. All of that might seem complex and might lead one to assume line lasers are expensive devices. And indeed you can spend nearly four hundred dollars on superlative quality line laser. However you can also find decent line lasers for less than fifty dollars.
Any line laser worth consideration protects both horizontal and vertical lines. These two axis options can be used independently, helping you keep rows of flooring straight or frames level in the horizontal application, and helping you to align beams or sheets of drywall vertically, for example. Using both a line laser's horizontal and vertical beams at the same time is perhaps the best use of the tool, however, the beams working in concert allow for perfect right angle measurements and can reveal even minute imperfections in framing, wall construction, and more.
Make sure the line laser you consider has a self-leveling capability. After all, if your line laser isn't leveled, there's no way the work you do using its beams as a guideline will be level either. This self leveling mechanism is usually controlled by an internal pendulum and a series of magnets and it precludes the need for a person to trust their own eyes (and hands) using a bubble level.
Many line lasers come with adapters that allow them to be attached to pipes, beams, or other surfaces; others are designed to be placed on tripods. The type of work for which you will use your level (plumbing, framing, or tile installation, for example) will help to dictate which type of line laser attachment method will work best for you.
Calculate your tolerance for slight inaccuracies and weigh that against the cost of a line laser. For example, a less expensive option might be accurate to within 5/16" at forty feet, while a pricier and more refined model will boast accuracy of closer to 2/16" at that same distance.
Using Your New Line Laser
The setup and use of a line laser is pleasantly simple. Attach the unit to the chosen surface, be it a pipe, a wall, or a work bench, or else place the line laser on the ground and then turn it on. Now give your line laser several seconds to self correct until it is projecting a level line. Once the beam is stable, you can commence your work.
One of the best ways to ensure your work stays level and ordered is to mark surfaces using a pen, pencil, or chalk. Once you are confident you have the lines and angles you need to follow properly established by using your line laser, drawing the lines out on the wall or floor ensures that even if your laser is bumped or jostled, you will still have the benefit of its measurements. This can also allow you to turn the laser off, saving its battery and reducing the chance for an unpleasant accidental shining into your eye.
A line laser is an invaluable tool for laying a patio or preparing a walkway or driveway; its beam can help you determine when your materials are on the right plane and at a proper pitch relative to the design and function of the space. However, using your line laser outside or in brightly lit interiors may necessitate one extra step: the donning of specialized laser enhancement glasses or goggles.
The lenses of this specialized eyewear are tinted a specific shade of red that helps to make a laser's beam more visible even in bright conditions. Without such glasses, even powerful line lasers can be almost useless outside on a sunny day. Some line lasers come with a pair of laser viewing eyewear, but if your kit did not include these glasses, they can be had for well under ten dollars.
Creative Uses For A Line Laser
A line laser's primary function is to help you line up building materials to ensure you complete a proper looking and safe construction project. But they are also great tools for interior decorating. In this capacity, one ideal use of a line laser is well known and time tested: when you project a perfectly parallel line across a wall, you can use the line to figure out where you should insert nails or hooks for hanging picture frames.
A line laser can also help you with painting projects such as adding stripes of paint to a wall. Use the line laser to help you ensure the painter's tape you put up is perfectly straight and you avoid the chance for uneven stripes that you might not otherwise perceive until the actual paint is on the wall.
Line lasers can also help you check if pieces of lumber or moulding are warped, pointing out even slight bends that the human eye may miss. You can use one to inspect materials before they are installed or to see that an installation was done properly.
And finally, a line laser can be used to add a unique temporary decoration to a room or an outdoor space at night. Use your line laser to underline words or phrases on a banner or a sign, or to demarcate the dance floor at a party, for example. A line laser can help to indicate the direction to an exit or a restroom in low lighting conditions, or its beam can serve as a boundary line not to be crossed during an art gallery show.