You are ready to trade-in your trusty traditional tape measure, pencil and graph paper for a modern laser tape measure. A laser tape measure can be much more efficient and accurate than a traditional tape measure. Laser tape measures are quicker to use than traditional tapes. There is no need to walk back and forth trailing your tape behind you. You just point and shoot. These efficient tools are faster to read than counting the lines on a traditional tape, and they eliminate inaccuracies caused by sagging or crooked tapes. They can also give you measurements in multiple units so you will not need to convert from feet and inches to metric or from fractional to decimal inches.
We start with a comparison of very trusted and reliable models and then give you a lot more information on what to expect from your new tool.
Laser Tape Measure Review
Check out these ten best laser tape measures to find the right model for you. Whether you are looking for something to calculate distance, area and volume estimates or you need something to calculate complex geometry for bigger jobs, this chart will help you choose the most appropriate laser tape measure for your needs.
1. Stanley TLM99
Practical and convenient. The Stanley TLM99 is a mid-range laser distance measure that can calculated distances up to 100 feet (30 meters) with an accuracy of within plus or minus 3/32 of an inch (2 millimeters). The tool is ideal for all tradesman, interior and exhibit designers, construction inspectors and contractors. It measures distance, area and volume and has a continuous measurement tracking, so you do not have to stop and reposition it, and you do not need a second person to help you. It also includes addition and subtraction and displays measurements in standard, fractional, decimal or metric units.This model comes with two AAA batteries.
2. Bosch DLR 130K
Fast, simple and accurate. The Bosch DLR130K is ideal for light indoor carpentry, painting or tiling jobs. It can measure length, area and volume and displays measurements in metric, inches, feet, and inches, or decimal feet. It has a continuouslength mode so it will automatically adjust your measurement as you move forward to save you from stopping to record measurements and reposition the tool. It takes measurements in less than four seconds and is accurate within plus or minus 1/16th of an inch (1.5 millimeters). The kit includes a DLR130K Laser Measure, four AAA batteries, and a belt pouch.
3. Bosch GLM 50
Smart and easy. The Bosch GLM 50 is a good choice for those who are looking for a smart tool but donot need to do a lot of complex measurements. It measures lengths up to 165 feet (50 meters), as well as area and volume. It has a continuous length mode so you will not need to stop to reposition the tool or take notes. It also has an indirect length measurement, so you use it to measure height or width indirectly from a distance. The unit comes with a Belt Pouch and Carry Loop and 2 AAA Batteries.
4. Dewalt DW03050
Durable and simple. The DEWALT DW03050 is a durable laser tape measure that offers durability and simplicity. It can calculate distance, area and volume. It measures up to 165ft within plus or minus 1/16th of an inch (1.5 millimeters). It also has an indirect height measurement to measure from a distance. This laser measure can store up to five measurements so you can keep going without stopping and taking notes. It has a durable design that is water and debris resistance. The operating range is up to 165 feet (50 meters) within 1/16 of an inch (1.5mm).
5. Bosch GLR225
User-friendly and versatile. The Bosch GLR225 is ideal for professional or do-it-yourself electricians, contractors, plumbers or carpenters. It can calculate distance, area, volume, or angles quickly within plus or minus 1/16th of an inch (1.5mm). It also has continuous and indirect length measurements so you can measure from a distance or without stopping and repositioning the tool. It also calculates multiple surface areas making calculating the square footage of walls that need to be painted or floors that need to be tiled easy. It comes with a 30 Day Money Back Guarantee and a one-year warranty.
6. CST/Berger TLM100
Simple and quick. Use the CST/Berger TLM100 to quickly and accurately measure distance, area and volume. It can measure up to 100 feet (30 meters) within plus or minus 1/4 of an inch (6.35 millimeters). It also performs addition and subtraction. This model has a plastic case with rubberized grip. It is an ideal choice for simple indoor estimate jobs such as calculating areas for carpentry, tile, painting or floor refinishing but it lacks the accuracy and functionality of other mid-range models. This model comes with a 9v battery and compact belt case and has a one-year limited warranty.
7. Bosch GLM 80
Compact and convenient. The Bosch GLM 80 is ideal for simple and moderately complex tasks. It can calculate accurate distance up to 265 feet (80 meters), area, volume and angles quickly and with and accuracy within plus or minus 1/16th of an inch (1.5mm). It has an indirect length measurement mode so you can measure from a distance if needed. It also includes a minimum/maximum measurement mode and multi-surface area calculations making it ideal for most construction professionals and do-it-yourselfers. It comes with a lithium-ion battery, charger, belt pouch, and a one-year warranty.
8. Leica DISTO D2
Small, quick and easy. The Leica DISTO D2 is a simple, compact, and lightweight measure. It calculates length, area, and volume, has a stake out mode and can calculate indirect height and width. It is small (4.4 x 1.7 x 0.9 inches) and weighs only 3.2 ounces. It will fit easily into your pocket. It is an ideal basic model for light indoor use. It can measure distances up to 197 feet (60 meters) within plus or minus 0.06-inch (1.5 millimeters). It comes with a holster, a hand loop, two AAA batteries and a three-year replacement warranty.
9. Leica Geosystems Disto E7400x
Durable and functional. The Leica DISTO E7400x combines rugged durability with all the function you need. It can measure distances up to 265 feet (80 meters),within 0.04 inches (1mm) and, using a reflective target plate, it can measure up to 325 feet (100 meters). It also has all the measurement modes you need for complex jobs including straight line, continuous, minimum/maximum, area, volume, Pythagoras, stake out, triangular area, smart horizontal mode, and height tracking. It is water resistant, dust resistant and six-foot drop tested. This laser tape measure isan ideal tool for complex outdoor jobs.
10. Bosch GLR825
Robust and Versatile. The Bosch GLR825 has all the functionality you need for large, complex projects. It does much more than calculate distance, area, and volume. This measure also has multi-surface area, minimum/maximum, continuous, indirect length, double indirect, combined indirect, stake out, trapezoid and timer measurements. This laser tape measure includes memory storage and magnification for long distance measurements. It is the longest distance model on the market. It can measure distances up to 825 feet (251 meters) within plus or minus 0.04-inch (1.0 millimeter). It comes with four AAA batteries, a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee and a one-year warranty.
The Best Laser Tape Measure
Laser measures are as easy to use as your traditional tape measure. You just place the device at one end of what you are measuring, point it toward the other end, and then press the button. The tape measure calculates the distance between it and your target and displays it on a screen. The process is much faster than stretching out a tape and reading it, and you can measure spaces without crossing them and interfering with others. You also will not need someone to hold the other end for you if you are measuring across a gap or high on a wall.
There is a wide array of laser tape measures to choose from that include simple length, area and volume measurements or complex geometry calculation functions. Choosing the best laser tape measure is not as simple as using one though. Whether you are just looking for something basic to measure board lengths or something more robust that will calculate complex geometries, several factors must be considered. Here are some of these important factors to consider when choosing the best laser tape measure for your needs.
Like their traditional counterparts, laser tape measures have limits to the distance you can measure but many can measure farther distances than a traditional tape. Ranges vary widely by model. Basic models generally have a range of least 65 feet (20 meters) while higher end models can have a range of up to 800 feet (244 meters). Most mid-range models can measure distances between 100 feet (30 meters) and 300 feet (91 meters).
A basic model that will measure up to 65 feet will suit you well if you just plan on using your laser tape for small tasks around an apartment, a small or average sized American house or a small business.
You will want a mid-range model for projects around larger houses (2,400 square feet or more), houses with angled or high ceilings, large warehouses, large lots or agricultural properties.
Construction contractors, field workers, and road workers will appreciate the range of the high-middle and high-range models that can measure lengths greater than an American football field.
Accuracy and Precision
Laser tape measures are generally quite accurate. The devices work by utilizing precision optics and lasers to calculate distance either by comparing the physics of the projected beam to the beam’s reflection or by calculating the time it takes for the laser to travel to its target and reflect back to the unit. Overall accuracy depends on how well you position or hold the laser. If you are taking multiple measurements, it is important that you hold the unit steady and pivot it carefully.
Most models produce measurements that are within plus or minus 1/16th of an inch (1.5 millimeters). Some models are more precise than others and produce measurements within plus or minus 1/32nd of an inch (1 millimeter). On the other hand, cheaper varieties are much less precise and produce measurements that are within 1/4th of an inch (6.35 millimeters).
Models with less precise measurements—plus or minus 1/4th of an inch—would be fine if you plan on using your laser tape measure for general area calculations. Such calculations would include those needed for painting or tilting estimates or measuring distances that do not need to be precise such as fence lines and siding estimates.
The precision of most low and mid-range models—plus or minus 1/16th of an inch (1.5 millimeters)—rivals that of traditional measuring tapes.This precision certainly is sufficient for most DIY, carpentry, construction or landscaping work.
Those who need to make measurements for high precision tasks such as pipe laying, foundation laying, or road grading will want a higher end model that can produce measurements within 1/32nd of an inch (1.0 millimeter).
Functionality of a Laser Tape Measure
Laser tape measures have a wide range of functionality. Most models can display measurements in either inches, feet and inches, decimal feet, and metric. Nearly all models can calculate simple distance, area, and volume but some models can calculate more advanced geometries.
The average hobbyist, contractor or carpenter will typically only need to calculate distance, area and volume. Check out the following summary of typical functions if you are looking to use your laser tape measure for more complex projects.
- Length – used for measuring simple distance between two points, such as the length of a wall or a baseboard, or the width of your windows and doors
- Area – used for calculating total surface area from length and width, such as the surface area of a wall you need to paint, a floor that you are going to tile or a yard you are going to landscape
- Volume – used for calculating the volume of a space from length, width and height, such as the amount of fill you will need for a garden bed, the volume of water in a square swimming pool, or the volume of concrete you will need to pour for your driveway.
- Continuous Measuring – used to walk off measurements along a path from a wall, door or other surface, such as a property line or the edge of a lawn
- Min/Max Measurement Mode – usedfor accurate measurement from a fixed reference point to the shortest or longest distance from that point
- Multi-surface – used for calculating the total area of several surfaces with a common length or height such as walls or garden plots
- Single Indirect/Pythagoras – used for measuring the height or width indirectly from a distance. Remember the Pythagoras theorem from high school geometry? You only need two measurements to indirectly calculate the horizontal or vertical distances along a triangle.
- Double Indirect/Pythagoras – used for measuring portions of a total height from a distance. You only need three measurements to determine horizontal and vertical distances along a triangle. Great for determining partial heights such as balcony or window heights.
- Combined Indirect/Pythagoras – used for measuring the total height from a distance
- Trapezoid – for calculating angled surfaces such as sloped ceilings, roof slopes or frontage areas that are trapezoidal (4-sided flat shapes with straight sides that have a pair of parallel sides) shapes
- Stake Out – for measuring the same length repeatedly to install a series of junctures or stakes such as fence posts or lamp posts
- Angle Measuring – for measuring the angle between two surfaces such as roof pitch, slanted ceiling angles or corners that have angles narrower or wider than 90 degrees
Batteries and Battery Life
Laser tapes have either replaceable or rechargeable batteries. Battery life depends greatly on the amount and type of use. Most units will need new batteries or need to be recharged frequently (every 2 to 4 hours). So, it is a good idea always to keep spare batteries with you and to power off the unit when you arenot using it. Some units have an auto shut-off mode to help increase battery life.
Many models can store multiple measurements, so you will not need to stop and write down measurements as you go along. Most models store at least a few measurements. Look for one that stores multiple measurements if you are planning on using it for big or complex jobs. Memory is not important for small jobs though.
Many laser tape measures also come with convenient accessories. Most models include batteries, and some come with a carrying pouch or a holster and belt loop. Most laser tape measures come with a basic manufacturer’s warranty, and the manufacturer will replace the unit if it is defective or breaks within the warranty period. Rechargeable units generally include a rechargeable battery and include a battery and charger.
Some laser tapes are made for heavy outdoor use and have durable cases, scratch proof screens or back-lit screens. Others are made for lighter indoor use. Look for something durable and shock, scratch and water resistant if you are using it outdoors. Scratch resistance is a nice feature for indoor use, but you will not need one that is water resistant if you are just using it inside.
A laser tape measure is a convenient tool to have in your kit whether you just need a simple and convenient way to estimate distance, area and volume or you need a tool that can perform complex calculations over long distances. The low and mid-range models are well suited for most construction and trade uses. Choose a mid-range or higher end unit if you need to measure long distances or perform complex geometric calculations.