With all the construction technologies available today, nobody’s dragging tape measures across large areas for a measurement that’s ‘close enough’. Rulers, squares, tape, sticks and strings all had their time as tried and true measurement techniques.
Unfortunately, they all leave some room for human error; not so enticing if you’re planing to erect a massive building. Laser distance metres have not only made the arduous task of measuring easier and faster by giving instant readings, they’re also extremely accurate withing a few millimetres.
Laser Distance Metres: How They Work and Why You Need One
A typical laser distance meter is designed to send out a laser light pulse to a certain target and measure the distance by calculating the time it takes for the light to bounce back. But thanks to onboard electronic processing, these devices can subtract, add, and even calculate volumes and areas to triangulate with an accuracy of 3 mm. This means that users can measure distances even from a distance.
The formula is simple really, Distance equals ½ Speed x Time. Since the speed of light is 300,000 Km/s, laser distance metres need to measure in intervals of a billionth of a second. But not to worry, this technology is already well established and quite reliable. Compared to old-school measurement methods like tape, laser distance metres beat the rest on all counts. They’re faster, safer, more convenient, versatile and as functional as you need them to be.
Benefits of a Laser Distance Meter
There’s no question about it; a laser distance meter is the most accurate way of getting measurements. These devices are not only accurate to within just a few millimetres, but the line of measurement is always dead straight. There are no bends, no sagging, and absolutely no risk of misreading.
2. Faster, Comprehensive Measurements
Laser distance metres are point and click – it doesn’t get any easier than that. By the time someone has managed to get the tape measure out of the toolbox, your laser distance metre will have already grabbed accurate readings and moved on to the next area.
3. Safer and Convenient
Likewise, construction experts won’t need to walk to and fro or get someone on the other end to hold the tape. With just one hand, you can get all the required measurements in seconds. You won’t have to worry about pipes, cables, or other obstacles on the ground. As long as you have a clear line of sight to a target that is within the laser’s range, you’re all set. The device even measures upwards to the ceiling or atop a building without having to climb all the way.
All these safety and versatility benefits will come in very handy, especially in a typical construction site which is wrought with hazards.
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Key Considerations When Buying a Laser Distance Meter
The range of your laser distance metre describes how far the laser can reach while still giving the most accurate measurements. Selecting the best laser tool will depend entirely on your specific needs as well as what purpose you intend to use the metre for. For example, an engineer who works inside homes and smaller buildings will not need the same equipment as a contractor working outside in bright light measuring distances of over 100 feet.
As a quick guide, you should get a basic laser measuring meter (65 feet range) if you’re working homes and smaller projects. For professionals with a project of a couple thousands sq feet, a mid range laser tool of 100 feet range ought to do just fine. However, professionals and engineers working the field or huge commercial projects might want to go for a high end laser meter with a range of up to 800 feet.
b) Accuracy and Precision
The second most important factor to consider is precision. No matter the size or scale of the task at hand, you want your measurements to be as accurate as possible. It’s for this reason that all professionals are willing to spend a little extra for a tool with more precise readings.
As always, the accuracy of your laser tool represents how close the measurement is to the actual distance. In most cases, an accuracy of anywhere between 1/32 to 1/16 inches is recommended. These are the precision ratings for most carpentry, landscaping, construction, road grading, foundation, and pipe laying. But for general area calculations, then a less costly model with an accuracy of up to ¼ of an inch.
c) Measurement Modes
Unlike tape measures and standard tools, laser distance metres come with the advantage of versatility. They can be used is a lot of different modes that make it easier to measure in a lot more ways than just a straight line. The number of modes you need on your LDM will depend on the work you intend to do.
For the typical straight line measurements, a basic meter will do with perhaps two more modes as a bonus. But for professionals, getting all the measurement modes is more of a necessity. These modes include area, circumference, volume, distance, as well as any other type of spatial reasoning you will need to measure.
d) Protection Rating
Laser distance metres are used in some of the most hostile, hazardous working environments. Being electronic devices, they’re prone to damage from all angles. This includes drops, dust, water damage, among others. Make sure your device has a high rating for dust and water resistance.
As DIY backyard job, a basic laser metre will do just fine. Most laser tools come with a memory of 5 different measurements at a time. However, this will be plenty for a small scale handyman job. Professionals and general contractors will want to spend more for a tool with a larger memory function. This allows for catching all the measurements in one go which saves lots of time in the field.
Bosch – This is a world leading multinational engineering and electronics company with its headquarters in Germany. Whether at home, in your car, or at work, Bosch is dedicated to giving users products that spark enthusiasm, help conserve resources and improve our quality of life. Their products range from massive power tools to small measurement devices.
DeWalt – When it comes to durable products, DeWalt stands head and shoulder above the competition. This American worldwide brand remains a leader in hand tools and power tools for the manufacturing, construction, and woodwork industry.
The Best Laser Distance Meter Reviews
1. Leica Disto D2 Laser Distance Meter
The Disto D2 Laser Distance Meter from Leica is one of the smallest in the brand’s range built for indoor use. The tool offers far more improved functionality compared to its predecessor with an impressive array of functions such as bluetooth connectivity.
The D2 comes with user friendly keys for addition, subtraction, volume and area calculations, as well as two and three point Pythagoras. The memory function also allows for the last 10 results to be retained for faster access. One unique feature found in the Leica Disto D2 Laser Distance Meter is the flip out end piece. This allows for measuring around edges and corners. The metre is protected to IP54 against splashes of water and dust.
2. Bosch Professional Laser Measure GLM 50 C
The highly intuitive design of the Bosch Professional Laser Measure GLM 50 C offers all the accuracy of a high end laser tool with the added benefit of bluetooth technology. This allows professionals to transfer their measurements to a wide range of apps.
This mid range tool can measure accurately at distances up to 165 feet with an accuracy of 1/16 of an inch. The memory capabilities of the GLM50 are also quite impressive since it can store up to 30 measurements for quick reference. In addition to IP54 protection against water and dust, there’s also a tilt sensor that goes 360 degrees for levelling and angle measurement applications.
3. DeWalt DW03050-XJ 50m Laser Distance Measurer
If you’re looking for a tough, sturdy and robust measuring tool, the DW03050-XJ laser distance measurer from DeWalt is as durable as they come. With one of the highest IP rankings in the market, this device is almost impervious to both water and dust – making it ideal for outdoor use.
The DW03050-XJ has a measurement range of 165 feet and an accuracy rating of 1/16 of an inch. But what makes it great for experts is the wide range of measurement modes including volume, length, area, distance, addition, subtraction and indirect measuring. The display is a bit smaller than other models, but the controls are pretty straightforward and easy to use.
4. Leica Disto D1 Laser Distance Meter
For anyone working on small DIY home jobs or minor construction projects, it doesn’t always make sense to buy expensive tools. The Leica Disto D1 Laser Distance Meter is a simple, basic and affordable measuring tool that suits both budding professionals and DIY users alike.
The tool may have a lower range of only 40 metres but the accuracy is spot on up to 2mm. Likewise, the laser meter can be used to take both linear measurements and continuous measurements. With only two measure modes, contractors may find it tough to carry out certain area measurements. The device also pairs with any smartphone or tablet to create a digital architectural plan with the Disto Sketch App.
5. Bosch Zamo Digital Laser Measure
Simply put, the Bosch Zamo Digital Laser Measure is a budget friendly tool suitable only for amateur decorators, landscapers, and DIY enthusiasts. The simplistic design makes operation a breeze thanks to the single button control panel.
The Zamo can grab precise measurements for distances up to 20 metres or 65 feet with an accuracy of 3mm. And at only 80 grams, this sleek, compact laser tool is the smallest and lightest models on the list. It’s also the most affordable looking at the low price range. The sleek, black finishing touches and one button control panel make the Zamo unmistakably stylish and functional.