For centuries people have been building their own homes, hanging pictures, putting up shelves and laying tiles all with little more than lengths of string and a keen eye. More recently DIY experts and professionals have turned to static “bubble” levels which have made the job easier. However more and more it seems that having a laser level is expected of a builder and even for the DIYer.
However these laser levels are not cheap to buy and may not do a better job than the more traditional methods already mentioned. If you are considering buying a laser level there a plenty to choose from. You can start at just £20 and go up to as much as £1000 or more. But what are you getting for your money and are the super duper models really worth it?
There are five main types of laser level:
- Point type: These simply focus a dot on the opposite wall. Good for getting pictures at the same level around the room or for getting sockets level.
- 90 degree point: This will show dots on the walls around 90 degrees. These are ideal for tiling walls and floors.
- Lines: Projects a laser beam along the floor or wall. Good for marking out partition walls.
- Plumb-lines: Transfers a point from the floor to the ceiling. Good for marking out things such as wallpaper.
- Rotation: This will rotate a beam of light around the room 360 degrees. This is ideal if you are installing a new floor or building stairs.
Some of these laser levels will also measure distances, find studs and electrical wires inside walls and can be used indoors and out.
Clearly, laser levels have a fantastically wide range of things that they can be used for and the accuracy is a real plus. But, they really come into their own with setting out projects. For example, when setting out tiles, being able to quickly and accurately establish a base line for all the work is far quicker with a laser level. If you’ve ever set out tiling using a spirit level to mark the base line, you’ll know how easy it is to end up with a slight discrepancy where the lines meet.
They can also be used for outdoor projects. Good examples of these are setting out decking or patios as well as fence heights.
The more expensive laser levels will come complete with tripods, wall mounts, chargers, carry cases and even remote controls so they can be operated from anywhere in the room.
It is clear to see that some of these devices are better for the professional builder and therefore they will get their return on the product. For the DIYer, a basic point laser or line laser should be ample. This will allow lines to be drawn around rooms which helps with getting tiles straight and a point laser will help with hanging pictures and shelving.
The example image shown is a laser level kit from Screwfix priced at around £25 (correct at time of writing) More can be seen here - www.screwfix.com