How Laser Levels Work

laser level
A laser level will make hanging pictures a cinch. See how a home is built by viewing these home construction pictures.
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Here's the situation: You're standing on your couch with a hammer and nail in one hand and a level in the other. You're trying to hang a series of framed pictures, but you want them hung in a straight line -- after all, this isn't a Leaning Tower of Pisa sort of above-the-couch gallery. Problem is, it's physically impossible for you to hold the level against the wall while you also hammer in a bunch of nails. You'd need an extra arm to accomplish such a task, and you don't have one. If only the level could hold itself against the wall, and you could hammer away at the nails with both of your two free hands.

Guess what? If you had a laser level in your toolbox, this wish would be reality. A laser level projects a visible and perfectly straight line across a surface like a wall or floor. Since many laser levels mount to a tripod or even to the wall, that leaves your hands free to hammer in nails or line up tiles. A laser level simplifies do-it-yourself projects like hanging wallpaper, putting up tile for a kitchen backsplash, installing a long shelf or cabinet or building a deck.


You might think that, because the tool has the word "laser" in it, it would be an expensive addition to your collection. But laser levels are actually pretty cheap. You can buy a simple model for as little as $20.

Laser levels are found throughout the construction, cabinetry and civil engineering industries, and they're commonly used for concrete and asphalt work. Grading, landscaping and surveying companies also rely on laser leveling systems. Framers use laser levels to check for square alignment of openings like windows, doors, dormers and skylights.

So if the experts are using these tools, why shouldn't you give a laser level a try?