Should you invest in a laser level?

By: Contributors

Laser levels emit a focused beam of light that can be projected indoors or outdoors, when you need a visible straight and level line on any surface, such as when hanging anything that must be exactly parallel to the ground. Laser levels are battery powered, and they come in different sizes and designs, for different applications. The cheapest laser levels start at $20, so they are affordable for any do-it-yourself buff that needs both hands free to work instead of struggling with a manual level in one hand and trying to figure out what extra arms are available to hammer in the nails.

Laser levelers have a base that can project the line at any height: from the floor, mounted to the wall, or attached to a tripod. The less expensive home laser levels use a manual system for leveling, with the bubble being lined up by the user. Self-leveling models use the bubble vial for initial leveling by the user, then the self- leveling device uses a magnet and gravity to balance the laser pendulum before the beam of light is projected. These are more accurate and time-saving, and they're good for indoor jobs at home.


The cost of laser levels varies, depending on the application. The simplest models are the point-generator and dot lasers, which can cost from $20 to $500. The line laser can beam multiple vertical and horizontal lines and can cost up $600. The most expensive kind of laser level is the rotary laser level. This is the most accurate laser level, and it's good for outdoor work and heavy-duty jobs, such as foundation work. Prices are in the $250-$2,000 range.