Rotary laser Levels

The Best Rotary Laser Levels

Whether you are working on the construction of a new skyscraper or re-tiling your bathroom at home, you need to make sure the work you are doing is level. When things are out of level, it’s obvious. And it looks terrible. Traditionally people would use a simple bubble level or a plumb bob to keep their work straight but as technology improves, we are relying more and more on lasers.

At first, there was the standard laser level that projected both a vertical and horizontal line onto your work area. These are great and I still use these, however, they do have a couple of drawbacks – 1) They need to be repositioned each time you change the height of your line of work and 2) They are unidirectional.

The problem with unidirectional laser levels is that you can only work on one wall or work area at a time – unless you buy more lasers. Take tilling a bathroom as an example. With a standard laser level, it would only be possible to tile one wall at a time, slowing the process down considerably.

Rotary laser levels solve these problems by projecting a 360 degree laser line around your job site. So whether you are landscaping, tiling, installing a ceiling, installing power outlets (the list just goes on!), a rotary laser level is going to make your job so much easier. The best thing about these levels is that once they’re set up in the correct position, you won’t have to worry about re-leveling or finding your line of work again.

Like most tools, the differences between high and low-quality laser levels are stark. Top-quality rotary laser levels have a longer projection range, are durable and reliable, and have self-leveling capabilities. Some are designed to be used outdoors, while others are more suited to indoor use. Some are great for both.

Buying a new rotary laser level can seem a little confusing at first. One of the most important things to think about before even starting to look at different models is to consider the type of work you’ll be doing with your laser. Once that’s established, it’s time to compare different manufacturers and models to find the one most suited to you and your workload.

And that’s where I come in to help. I’ve compiled this list of the best rotary laser levels available on the current market, to help to narrow your choices down and make the right purchase.

Below you will find our comprehensive list of the current top laser levels, with reviews of each. If however, you find yourself a bit short on time, here is a quick list of my top 3 picks:

Top Pick

Topcon RL-H5A Self Leveling Rotary Laser

Designed for use on construction sites and built tough to withstand the knocks and bumps that come with that line of work. This is a reliable, well-designed laser level that won’t let you down. This is the level recommended by many professionals and also has a wealth of positive user reviews to back those claims.

Top Value Pick

DeWalt DW074KDT Rotary Laser Kit with Laser Detector

While still at the more expensive end of the scale, the DeWalt DW074KDT is our top value pick because of it’s strong and reliable build. When you buy DeWalt you are buying quality and this level is no exception. Designed for heavy use on construction sites and comes with a heap of positive user reviews.

Top Budget Pick

Johnson 99-006K Self Leveling Rotary Laser

A great entry-level laser for those on a smaller budget. Due to its weaker laser beam, the Johnson 99-006K is more suited to domestic use. A very popular laser among DIY enthusiasts and home renovators. Included in the price are the soft shell carry case, alkaline battery, tripod, mounting bracket, 13ft grade rod, magnetic target, and protective glasses.

Best Rotary Laser Levels with Reviews

1. Topcon RL-H5A Self Leveling Rotary Laser Level

Features –

  • Self-leveling within 5 degrees
  • 100 hour battery life
  • Range: 2,600 ft
  • Accurate to 1/16 inch or 1/8 inch at 100 feet
  • Rotation speed: 600 RPM
  • RL-H5A laser, LS-80L or LS-100D sensor, sensor holder, batteries, charger and carry case included
  • 5 year warranty

The Pros

  • Incredibly accurate
  • Long-life battery
  • Simple operation
  • Top-quality design and build
  • Recommended by professionals

The Cons

  • Expensive
  • Some users reported problems with the tripod
  • Only one speed setting

Overview

The Topcon RL-H5 rotary laser kit is one of the most accurate and well-built rotary laser levels on the market. It provides a great deal of accuracy and was designed for commercial and professional use. But nonetheless, it works great on a domestic worksite or on a home renovation job.

Its powerful laser is capable of reaching up to 2,600 feet, making it an obvious choice for outdoor work – perfect for landscape jobs, bricklaying, wall building and so forth.

It comes with a handy slope matching feature that will greatly improve your accuracy when working on sloped ground. It comes calibrated to a 1/32 inch accuracy at 65 feet, making to great for use at close distances as well.

The laser is protected from the elements by weather and corrosion-resistant casing and its overall sturdy and tough build is designed to withstand heavy use. This is backed up by Topcon’s massive 5 year warranty.

One minor drawback of the level is the laser’s single rotation speed. Many rotary levels feature an adjustable speed setting and I’d really like to see that implemented into the RL-H5’s design in the future.

If you can afford the initial cost layout, this rotary laser level is a solid investment. It’s used every day by contractors all over the globe and is backed by a heap of shining reviews. With a Topcon level, you can be sure you’ve made the right decision.

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2. DEWALT DW074KDT Outdoor Rotary Laser

Features –

  • Self-leveling
  • Weatherproof design
  • Protected rotary head
  • Accurate to 1/4 inch at 100 ft
  • Detector range: 1,500 ft
  • Detector & clamp, target card, wall mount, tripod, 8-foot grade rod, batteries and carry bag included
  • 3 year warranty & 1 year free service

The Pros

  • Excellent Value
  • Simple to use
  • Self-leveling
  • Sturdy
  • Very Accurate
  • Recommended by professionals

The Cons

  • Laser becomes faint at larger distances

Overview

The DeWalt DW074KDT Rotary laser is one of the top-selling self-leveling laser kits. And the best part is, you can pick one up for a very reasonable price. It is extremely accurate over a short distance, making it ideal for indoor use and use in a confined outdoor area (I’ve seen many bricklayers using this type of DeWalt laser). The downside, is that the laser becomes faint and hard to see at greater distances meaning that over a long distance, only the detector is of any use.

The laser comes in a compact carry case, making it perfect for those moving from job to job. It’s easy to use and can be set up in a flash, with the tripod able to be easily adjusted for use at varying heights. It is also weatherproof to keep it protected from the elements.

The rotating laser can be set at speeds from 0 to 600 RPM, giving users more flexibility and therefore greater accuracy.

For the amount you pay, a level like this is an essential bit of kit for any contractor or person serious about their home renovations. Utilizing a self-leveling rotary level like this makes your job that much easier and leave you questioning why you didn’t pick one up sooner. At these prices, it’s an absolute bargain and one of the most affordable high-quality rotary laser levels on the market. It’s no wonder it’s my top pick in terms of value for money.

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3. Johnson 99-006K Rotary Laser System

Features –

  • Horizontal self-leveling
  • Manual vertical leveling
  • Maximum range: 800 ft
  • Visual and audible alarms
  • Accurate to 1/8 inch at 50 ft
  • 3 year warranty

The Pros

  • Budget-friendly
  • Strong and sturdy design
  • Accurate and reliable
  • Suitable for smaller projects and home renovations
  • Soft shell carry case, alkaline battery, tripod, mounting bracket, 13ft grade rod, magnetic target and protective glasses included

The Cons

  • Short battery life: only 20 hours
  • Feels cheap compared to other lasers
  • Not recommended for professional use

Overview

The Johnson level tool 99-006K is a self-leveling rotary laser that has been designed for short range and indoor use. This, combined with its compact size makes it an ideal choice for home renovations and DIY work.

It comes with a sturdy tripod that can be adjusted vertically and the horizontal laser is self-leveling, taking the hassle out of set up. It’s great for use on walls and ceilings alike.

One major downfall of this level is its short battery life – only 20 hours. This is something that needs improvement to make it a more attractive purchase and to bring it up to the standard of the higher-end products.

With a slower rotation speed of 200 RPM, it’s perfect for use around the home and garden and great for small scale landscaping work. It features audio and visual alarms that will let you know if you are exceeding the leveling range and a locking mechanism that makes it easy and secure to transport.

On while on the topic of transporting, one small drawback of this level is the carry case, which for some reason doesn’t seem big enough to fit all the pieces that come with the laser. Another issue with this level is its short battery life – just 20 hours max.

This is a level that is great for home handymen and DIY enthusiasts but in my opinion not designed for commercial use. It would be fine for a site foreman perhaps who only needs to perform a few checks every now and then but its shorter range and low battery life wouldn’t really stand up to heavy use, especially on large, outdoor sites. However, its budget-friendly price makes it a great option for occasional use and to for making home renovations and repairs much easier and neater.

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4. Bosch GRL400HCK Rotating Laser Level

Features –

  • Horizontal electronic self-leveling
  • Patented dual-laser system
  • Sturdy design
  • IP56 certified
  • 3 rotation speeds
  • Accurate up to 3/32 at 100 ft
  • Maximum range of 1,300 ft with sensor
  • 2 year warranty
  • Laser receiver, tripod, bracket, 8 Ft grade rod, carry case, and batteries included.

The Pros

  • Good price making it a good alternative to the more expensive models
  • Very rugged & durable designed
  • Great for outdoor use
  • Very accurate

The Cons

  • Lower maximum range than other models
  • Doesn’t have sloping feature

Overview

The Bosch GRL400HCK Exterior Self-Leveling Rotary laser kit is ideal for home use and DIY work. It features 3 rotation speeds – 350, 600, and 1200 RPM – making it great for a range of tasks and very well suited for indoor use. The patented dual-laser system makes horizontal and vertical leveling a breeze and the beams are designed so that they work simultaneously. Plus, everything can be controlled via remote, which works up to a distance of around 500 feet.

It also features a laser lock that will hold the laser in place when not in use, helping to improve the durability of the level and make sure it stays accurate and reliable.

You’ll be able to get a few days work out of this laser without having to recharge, thanks to its 40 hour battery life, saving you valuable time and making you and those around you more productive.

This laser is definitely suited for indoor use and because of its shorter range, I wouldn’t recommend it for outdoor or professional use. At greater distances, the accuracy of the level tends to become a bit unreliable. But for indoor use on smaller sites, this laser works fantastic. Another reason I believe this is entirely an indoor laser is the fact that it doesn’t have a sloping feature, which is vital for landscaping work.

Although not designed for construction or professional use, the price tag is very reasonable and it’s a great investment for someone performing indoor work such as framing, sheeting, and tiling. Perfect for that new room that you’ve been planning on adding to the back of the house for the last few years.

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5. Spectra Precision Laser LL500 Self-Leveling Laser Level

Features –

  • HR500 Receiver with rod clamp included
  • Accurate to 1/16″ @ 100′
  • Operating range: 1,600′
  • 4 D-cell alkaline batteries included
  • Battery life: 80 hours
  • 2 Year warranty
  • Class 2 Laser and <3mW (less than 3 Milliwatts)

The Pros

  • Very accurate over a large area
  • One-person operation.
  • Recommended for professionals and heavy use which requires a high degree of accuracy.

The Cons

  • It’s expensive so it’s not recommended for the casual DIY worker.
  • No tripod included.

Overview

The Spectra Precision Laser LL500 Self-Leveling Laser Level is a powerful laser that is great for professional use. With easy one-button operation, the Spectra LL500 self-leveling laser is perfect for checking foundations or elevations, taking grade shots or setting forms, or digging to depth. It also features an out-of-level alert that will automatically shut off the beam if it is knocked or taken out of level.

It also features temperature compensation that enables the laser to adjust and work despite temperature changes. The build is very strong and the housing is tough enough for daily use on construction sites. It also has a large battery life, working up to 100 hours with the rechargeable batteries and up to 175 hours with the alkaline batteries.

It features a great receiver that has a digital readout which can be changed between millimeter, centimeter, foot, inch, or fractional inch of the elevation and the anti-strobe sensor ensures that the receiver only identifies the beam coming from the rotary laser without interference from other devices.

Its a great option for the job site but because of the cost, probably not suited for DIY or home use.

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6. CST Berger RL25HCK Laser Level

Features –

– Self-Leveling

– Strong design with IP56 rating

– Impact resistant to 3 feet

– Battery life: 85 hours

– Max range: 2000 ft with sensor

– 2 year warranty

– RD5 detector with bracket, batteries, tripod, 8ft leveling rod, and carry case included

The Pros

– Great battery life

– Highly durable and strong

– Great value for money

The Cons

– Rod too short as and lacks quality

– Not recommended for heavy or commercial use

Overview

The CST Berger RL25HCK Horizontal Exterior Self-leveling rotary laser kit is designed for outdoor use. It features a massive maximum range of 2000 feet and its accuracy and precision make it well worth the price tag. Featuring an accuracy of 3/32 of an inch accuracy at 100 feet, it retains much of its accuracy as you move further and further out.

The durable glass housing doesn’t just protect the laser beam from the weather and the environment, it will also provide impact protection from drops and falls up to 3 feet. That might not sound like a lot but this laser isn’t designed to be used high up off the ground, so this protection serves it well

This model does have a fairly limited adjustment range and the adjustment process overall isn’t that smooth. Another issue is the lack of a sloping feature, as this will make landscaping more difficult to do accurately over longer distances. But, it does feature an alert that will notify you once the tool is out of leveling range.

With three speed adjustments, this is a pretty advanced laser level and will help to improve the overall accuracy of your work. The reasonable price tag also makes it an accessible option for DIY users. It comes with a 2 year warranty.

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7. Spectra Precision Rotary Laser Level LL300

Features –

– IP54 Water and Dust Resistant

– 635-670 nm Laser Source, Class 2

– Laser Accurate to 3/32″ @ 100 ft. 1000 ft (diameter) range.

– Automatic electronic self-leveling

The Pros

– Comes calibrated out of the box

– Fast self-leveling

– Industrial quality

– Recommended by many professionals

The Cons

– Expensive.

– Many different models that come with different equipment which can be confusing.

– Not recommended for casual or infrequent use

Overview

The LL300 is an ideal laser level for mid-sized contractors. This automatic self-leveling rotary laser is designed for professional use and is great for outdoor work like dirt moving, concrete, excavation and other outdoor jobs that require maximum accuracy. Levels like this are typically used for concrete forms and pads, excavations, footing and foundations on small and medium sized commercial construction projects. The laser has a 1300 foot working diameter and an accuracy of 3/32 inch at 100 feet. Like the previous Spectra laser on this list, it’s built to withstand a drop of up to 3 feet onto concrete or up to 5 feet when pushed over on a tripod. It’s a versatile tool that’s also water resistant and easy to use.

This is a level that’s designed for heavy use and is a fantastic tool for professional tradesmen and heavy commercial use. It might be a little over-kill for household and DIY work but if you are interested in quality, there’s no reason you couldn’t use this level around the home.

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Rotary laser level buying guide

Seeing that, at the end of the day, all lasers levels pretty much do the same thing, it can be a little confusing deciding on the right level that suits your needs.

Like all tools, laser levels have their risks and you should always learn how to use them correctly to minimize the dangers involved. Always remember that you are dealing with a powerful laser and you should avoid direct eye contact with the beam at all times.

The key thing to remember, is that when it comes to laser levels, even though they might perform the same task, many of their features vary from one another and this has an impact on the type of work each laser is best suited for.

Laser levels are miles beyond the old spirit levels of the past and allow users to work on a much larger area thanks to their long range and accurate measurements.

These are the factors you should consider when purchasing a laser level:

Laser Beam

It’s easy to think that all laser beams are the same but there are some major differences between them. Here are the main differences to consider when purchasing a laser:

  • Beam color: The color has a major influence on the visibility of the beam and this is especially important when working outdoors. There are multiple colors to choose from, but red is the most popular, as it is bright and contrasts great against nature, allowing you to keep the line in sight.
  • Beam distance: Having a laser that will work over longer distances is very important for contractors, especially landscapers, so having a beam that can be clearly seen and has an extended reach will provide you with great value and improved accuracy
  • Beam angle: Rotary laser levels provide a 360 degree line around your site and this is absolutely important when working indoors. This 360 degrees line ensure that the work is accurate and precise.

Battery life

Battery life is more important to some users than others. I always recommended looking for the longest possible battery life if you tend to work in more remote areas. You should also always look for a laser that uses rechargeable batteries.

Rotation speed

You’ve probably noticed rotation speed mentioned in this article and might have been asking yourself what the big deal is.

The rotation speed is directly related to the amount of light that is available and the size of the area that you will be working in. When working in larger outdoor areas with good lighting it’s best to use a laser that has a higher rotation speed – something like 600 RPM and in smaller areas, like the home or indoors, you’re best to use a slower RPM laser – something around the 200 RPM mark, for better accuracy.

Protection

Laser levels tend to cop a bit of wear and tear when being transported so it’s important they have good protection to keep them safe. When looking at lasers, there are two types of protection that are offered – external casing, in which the laser system is packed, and the method at which the laser itself is protected. Different brands offer different types of protection but let’s take a look at these two important ones.

  • Exterior case protection: Most companies provide an exterior case to make it more portable and easier to carry as a kit. This is your first line of protection and will mostly be very durable and made from quality materials like aluminum. Having additional rubber enhances the protection and gives you an impact resistant case as well
  • Laser cover protection: The cover protection varies from brand to brand, but it’s the general rule of thumb that more expensive lasers come with a molded glass cover and that the laser will lock-down when the level has been turned off. Additional protection increases the durability of your laser, as these tools are very sensitive and easily damaged.

Conclusion

Whether you need a laser level for the job site or for DIY work around home, knowing which type of level you need can save you a lot of time and frustration. It’s an essential tool for those who want to work fast with maximum efficiency.

After all, the old saying is correct and time really does equal money. Working with a rotary laser level gives you more time to focus on your work and get the job done right. Laser levels are commonplace around construction sites these days it’s had to imagine construction work without them. They are a vital piece of equipment for any professional contractor and I also heavily recommend them for DIY enthusiasts and those who have a passion for building and landscaping around the house.

For those who are looking for a laser for home use, I recommend that you take a look at the DEWALT DW074KDT Outdoor Rotary Laser. It’s a great laser for a great price and is just so useful for DIY work that you’ll be kicking yourself for not getting one sooner.

I hope you found this article interesting and would be happy to hear your thoughts and comments below.

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