Laser levels use a focused beam of light to produce a completely straight and even line. They are therefore a more advanced version of the traditional water level. Are they always the right choice, though? Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of using a laser level.
The biggest advantage to laser levels is that they are extremely accurate. Water levels depend on the human eye gauging how the liquid is behaving, whereas the laser will give an exact result based on a high-intensity beam of light. They are therefore essential for precision carpentry jobs and professional construction work.
Laser levels are also more versatile than water levels. They can be made to point a beam vertically as well as horizontally and can also project points of light as well as beams.
Finally, laser levels are very easy to use. Water levels can be very difficult to set up, whereas a laser level just needs to be set in place — preferably on a level surface — and is ready to use.
There are, however, some disadvantages of laser levels which you will need to bear in mind. For one thing, they can be expensive. There are cheaper models available, but by and large you should bear in mind that you get what you pay for, and a reliable and accurate laser level may not be as cheap as a water level.
Secondly, a laser level is best used when projecting the beam across short distances. The laser will not be able to measure through obstacles or around corners, whereas a water level can be made in a tube that can cope with obstacles such as these.
Some laser levels will also need to be levelled out first to ensure that they are already on a flat surface before they are used. Most models will include a self-levelling function which ensures that they are already level before producing the beam, but this may need to be done manually, especially with cheaper devices.
Despite these disadvantages, it is clear that the extra accuracy provided by a laser level makes them the superior option. A water level is fine for many household jobs but where precision is needed, a laser level is essential. If you are still not sure, just ask your supplier, who will be happy to help you find the right level for your needs.