Laser levels can make outdoor work far easier if they work. There’s always a risk involved in buying a new product, and we’d all hate to be the person that buys a fancy, new piece of technology, only to discover that it doesn’t work as well as the manufacturer promises.
It can be hard to shop for expensive tools online, and there’s a lot riding on those purchases. We want to take the pressure off of you, and make sure that you understand everything about a product before you buy.
Our reviews show you the good and the bad about using each model outside so that you can find the model that has the features you need and the flaws you want to avoid. We’ve also included a buyer’s guide, so you can learn what you need to consider about these great tools before you buy, even if you’ve never owned one before.
|Bosch GRL400HCK||27 lbs||4.7/5|
|Johnson Level & Tool 99-006K|
(Best for the Money)
|DEWALT DW089LG 12V MAX||8 lbs||4.3/5|
|Bosch GLL3-330CG 360-Degree||9 lbs||4.0/5|
The CST/berger RL25HVCK laser level is so good that you’ll get great value out of it whether you’re a contractor or someone looking to do a project at home. This great laser level is self-leveling, so as long as you’re able to get it close to level, it will be able to provide perfectly level guides without minutes of fussing on your part. It also comes with a remote, so you can turn it on and off to save the batteries, even if you’re up on a ladder or dozens of feet away. Plus, this model comes with a very durable case, so you’ll be able to safely carry this model from site to site without worrying about it.
The best features on this model, however, are its variable speed and scan angles. The lower speeds provide a more visible line, while higher speeds can cover a whole room in an unbroken line. Plus, the adjustable scan angles allow you to limit the area marked and further increase the brightness. This model’s included tripod could be better and overtightening it opens the battery compartment, but overall, this model is one which will leave most people very happy with their purchase.
The Bosch GRL400HCK is another good choice for people looking for an excellent laser level for outdoor use. This model is less expensive than our top model, but it also boasts a longer range, which means it will provide great value for some people. This model can level out to 1,300 feet, which makes this model great for more than just around-the-house use. It’s also self-leveling so that you spend less time setting this model up, and more time getting to work. The remote also works well and allows you to turn the model on and off, even when you’re hundreds of feet away.
This model is also easy to calibrate. Many models of this caliber require you to send them to the manufacturer for calibration which can cost hundreds of dollars each time. You can calibrate this model at home without paying a professional to do it, which can save you a lot of money. What keeps this model out of first place is its case, which is not as well-made as our top model’s. Still, if you’re looking for a laser level with a very long range, you’ll be happy with this model’s performance and price.
The Johnson Level & Tool 99-006K is the tool to look for if you’re looking for great performance at a price that won’t break the bank. This model comes with a 13-foot grade rod, which is something you’d have to buy separately with most other models on our list. It also has the ability to work both vertically and horizontally, so you can do a lot with just this tool. Plus, it’s self-leveling, so you won’t have to spend time getting it perfectly leveled before you begin. That makes it a great tool for use in areas where the ground isn’t perfectly flat, or where the tripod might not be level.
Given all this value, this would be a good model to get at almost any price. However, you can get this model for at least 30 percent less than you’d pay for the models above it on our list. As you may have guessed, that makes this model the best overall value for the money on our list. This mode’s only downside is that the laser isn’t always bright enough. If it were more powerful, we’d rank this model higher, though it still provides great value for the money.
The DEWALT DW089LG 12V MAX is another contender worth considering for those looking for an outdoor laser level. This model comes with a high-visibility green laser which makes it easier to spot where the line is in certain situations. However, the best part of this model may be that it runs on DEWALT’s great 12V battery line. That mean’s it’s likely compatible with battery-powered tools you own from the same brand, allowing you to greatly extend its run time without spending a fortune on batteries. Plus, this model comes with a large case, which will do a great job of protecting assets in transit.
However, this isn’t a perfect kit. Unlike most kits on our list, this model doesn’t come with a great target that will help you see the level outdoors, or with glasses that do the same thing. That means that while this model has good power, it’s not going to be as visible outdoors as some others. While you can make it work, it’s harder to do a great job than it is with other models. Overall, this model is great indoors but leaves something to be desired when used outside.
The Bosch GLL3-330CG 360-Degree is a decent overall laser level, but it’s priced in such a way that will make it poor value for most people. The best thing about this model is its bright and very visible laser. While it doesn’t have the range of some other models on our list, it features a pulse mode that can extend out to 200 feet, and can go as far as 330 feet with the use of a target, though one isn’t included. That makes it a decent mid-grade laser level for indoor or outdoor use, though you should keep in mind that you’re going to need a target to maximize what you get from this model.
However, the rechargeable battery doesn’t pack as much power as found on the DEWALT, or that you would get from a model that uses disposable batteries. It also comes in a bulky, oversized case, that isn’t more secure than other cases, but is inconvenient to move and makes this model a poor choice for moving from site to site. Overall, this model is expensive relative to the value it provides, which is what drops it to last place on our list.
Hopefully, our reviews have already led you to the model you believe is right for you. If you’re still not sure or want to make sure that you’re making a great decision, then make sure you check out this buyer’s guide. We’ve packed it full of great general information about using laser levels outdoor. After reading this guide, you’ll be able to sort through these models like an expert would so that you can find one that you’ll love. We’ve also included some tips on getting great value for your money, so if you’re looking to get a great deal, make sure you check out this guide.
The most important thing to consider when getting a laser level for outdoor use is how visible the laser will be when you get outside. The sun is a dangerous enemy to lasers, so if you’re looking to get good value out of your laser level, then you’ll need to get a model with better-than-average performance.
One of the first signs that a model will perform well outdoors is its use of a green laser. Green lasers are up to four times as bright as red lasers of a similar size. That makes them a great choice for projects that need to have hundreds of feet of range, or for situations where you’re trying to beat a bright and unforgiving sun.
Rotary lasers also have the potential to project a laser that is visible hundreds and sometimes thousands of feet away. Paired with a laser detector and a grade rod, they can be effective even when the sun is shining bright. With high-end rotary laser levels, you have the option of slowing the spin or limiting the range at which the laser turns on, to extend the range, or produce a brighter overall beam.
While you can sometimes make do with a red laser level when working outdoors, you’ll have a tough time having a good experience if you don’t use a laser detector, and in some instances, the margin of error will increase above your tolerance beyond 100 feet.
Battery life is another important consideration to make when you’re selecting a laser level for outdoor use. In many cases, you’re not going to have easy access to an electric outlet when working outside, which is why most laser levels are designed to be used with batteries.
Some models make use of disposable batteries. The upside to this strategy is that they often have a higher energy density than rechargeable batteries, so they can last longer and be lighter than rechargeable batteries. It’s also inexpensive to keep backups on hand, so if they go dead, you can quickly get back to work. The downside is that disposable batteries aren’t environmentally friendly, and over time, they can become an expensive investment.
Rechargeable laser levels can be a good investment. While they’re more expensive upfront, and often a bit heavier, they’re far better for the environment, and most last long enough to get you through a day of work before needing a recharge. Of course, if you forget to recharge them, or want to use them continuously for more than a standard workday, you may find that they’re not living up to your expectations.
If a model is part of a larger battery line, like the DEWALT 12V battery line, it’s possible that you already own batteries that could be used to extend your laser level’s life, and that’s a factor that’s a huge plus when it comes to getting good value for your money.
Durability in laser levels is an often-underrated feature. Tools taken on a worksite need to have good durability because they’re going to be exposed to tougher conditions than your average tool. The same is true for laser levels.
While you never want to drop a tool of this price, it’s bound to happen eventually. Using a tripod can greatly reduce this risk, so buying a model that comes with a tripod included is a good first step here. If you do decide to buy a model without a tripod, it’s a good idea to go ahead and invest in a compatible tripod, which will improve the device’s safety, and expand what you can do with it.
Finally, it’s important that you invest in a model which comes with a high-quality case, especially if you’re going to be taking this tool from job site to job site. A good case will allow you to pack this tool in the back of your truck, and not worry about it getting out of alignment or damaged.
One of the big upsides to getting a laser level at these price points is that they often come with a remote. If you’re going to be part of a team using the laser level, the value of a remote goes down, but if you’re going to be working on your own, the remote can provide a huge boost to your productivity.
Most models with a remote come with the ability to turn them on and off manually. That allows you to extend the battery’s life while you work and don’t immediately need the laser, as you can turn it off without walking back to the base or climbing down from your ladder.
Some models also come with the option to adjust the rotation speed and scan angles remotely. If you get the level properly positioned, and then walk out to where the beam lands, only to find that it’s not bright enough, you can adjust these factors remotely to increase the laser’s visibility, without having to walk back to the base.
There are a lot of laser levels out there, and many people end up with a model that they don’t like using. Regardless of price, getting a model, you can’t stand means you got poor value for your buy. So, it’s important to focus on getting something you like first, and then focus on getting the best price for it.
In laser levels, that means making sure you get a model that meets your needs. When working outdoors, that typically means that you need to focus on the range and brightness of a model, as well as the accessories, such as a remote or grade rod that would come in handy with your job. Once you made a list of the features you need for a good experience, list the remaining models by price.
Then, choose the cheapest model from that list. It provides all the features you need for a great experience, but also comes at the lowest price, making it the best overall value for you.
Our other Top Picks & Buyer’s Guides:
Our favorite outdoor laser level is the CST/berger RL25HVCK laser level which comes with a remote, variable speed and scan angles, and self-levels for ultimate convenience. In second is the Bosch GRL400HCK which has a long range, a remote, and is very easy to calibrate at home. The Johnson Level & Tool 99-006K is our choice for best overall value, due to its horizontal and vertical performance, its self-leveling, and its included 13-foot grade rod, in addition to its low price. The DEWALT DW089LG 12V MAX comes with a bright green laser and uses the great DEWALT 12V battery line, but suffers from average performance outside, which drops it to fourth place. In last is the Bosch GLL3-330CG 360-Degree, which does have some nice features, but ultimately doesn’t have the value to justify its high price.
We hope that our reviews and buyer’s guide have helped you better understand laser levels and how they could improve your effectiveness outdoors and have helped you find the model which is right for you.