What is a laser distance measurer?
A laser distance measurer is the modern-day equivalent of the tape measurer we all grew up with. As the name suggests it’s used to measure the distance between two points.
Between where you are standing with the measurer and the point you want to measure to.
The device is a small handheld unit consisting of a digital screen which displays the measured distance.
But not only can they measure the distance between point A and point B, but they can also now be used to calculate area and volume of a space such as a room, and to add or subtract given measurements.
A brilliant addition to the toolbox of an architect, builder, surveyor, engineer, carpenter, and of course the DIY-er at home.
The physics of how these gadgets work is probably not important in this context – suffice it to say that it is all done using lasers which measure the distance travelled by light in a given time as the lasers bounce off target objects. (See how it works)
So much easier than a tape measure, especially when you’re alone. And you can measure much longer distances with a laser measurer – up to between 100 and 800 feet depending on which one you buy.
How accurate are laser measuring devices?
Laser measuring devices are accurate up to 1/16th of an inch which is amazing. They are so accurate because they are using rays of light and light does not deviate from its path.
It will always travel in a straight line between points. So when you activate the device in your hand to emit a light ray (or laser) pointed at a given target it will travel directly to that target, hit it and bounce straight back to the device in your hand.
That, of course, assumes that there are no other objects for it to bounce off between you and the point you want to measure to. The time it takes for the light ray to get back to you, recorded by the device, is then used by the measurer to calculate the distance to the object or target point.
Unlike the old-fashioned tape measure, any uneven surfaces or bends don’t affect the laser’s travel to the target object. That’s why these tools can be so accurate, even over very long distances.
Best Laser Distance Measurers
1. Bosch Digital Laser
Also known as a range finder, the Bosch digital laser distance measurer is a must-have for any DIYer or professional who needs to measure lengths, heights, distances, volumes, and angles with almost pinpoint accuracy. You can also use it to add or subtract measured values.
The amazingly light (13gms) tool has an accuracy of 0.2mm per metre, and a measurement range of 0.05 to 50 metres.
Not only does it replace your old tape measure, but it also does away with your spirit level because it has a built-in tilt sensor which can be set to a precision of 0.2 degrees. It can hold up to 10 measured values in its internal memory.
To assist with the physical process of measuring the PLR 50C has a positioning plate at its base end which can be folded out to 90 or 180 degrees and placed against edges or corners for easier measurement.
The screen shows you a list of the calculated measurements. And by using the Bluetooth ability you can create a picture of the space you’re measuring (eg the room itself in 3D) and the various calculated measurements you’ve accumulated in a diagrammatic format on your iPhone, smartphone or tablet.
Amazing! Bosch calls this function the Measure & Go App. You can convert the resulting drawing into a PDF file for sending to an architect, painter or builder, for example.
It features a 2.4-inch colour touch screen with Bluetooth and Help functions. The help section of the screen explains all the functions of the Bosch PLR 50C.
Being battery powered (3 x AAA batteries) it is totally portable.
There’s a lot more to explore with this laser measurer. It’s a very small tool which certainly has a lot to offer. And the Bluetooth function with the Measure & Go App is a feature you’re unlikely to find on many other laser distance measurers and truly does set this one apart from the rest.
2. Aussie Home Improvements
The laser distance measurer from Aussie Home Improvements is a compact and lightweight multi-use measuring tool for anyone who regularly calculates distances, floor areas, volumes, triangles, and mathematical equations/algorithms.
It has a range up to 60 metres with an accuracy of 1.5mm. Accuracy is ensured by the two ‘bubble’ levels which are used to position the unit correctly when in use.
The backlit screen allows you to use the device both indoors and out, day or night.
It has an internal memory function which stores up to 20 measurements. There is a battery life indicator and an auto shut off to preserve battery life.
The unit is ergonomically designed with a comfortable rubber casing. It’s durable, dustproof, shockproof and water-resistant.
The unit is battery powered (2 x AAA batteries – included with purchase) and comes with a carry bag and belt strap for ultimate portability. An Instruction Manual is also included.
Ideal for tradies, property agents, plumbers, construction workers, engineers, landscapers, DIYers, and anyone else who needs to measure things! And it has a 30-day no questions asked money-back guarantee and a 12-month manufacturer’s warranty.
And it comes in at an extremely affordable price point.
3. DBPOWER Digital Laser
DBPOWER have an affordable digital laser distance measurer on the market which would suit many tradies and others out there who need to measure distances, areas, volumes and perform other calculations on a regular basis.
At 204gms it’s a small lightweight tool which replaces the old fashioned inaccurate and tedious tape measure.
The DBPOWER laser measurer is accurate up to 197 feet with instant results and accuracy to 1/13th of an inch (2mm). It can measure distance, length, area, and volume.
It also features continuous measurement function, indirect measurement, as well as addition and subtraction. The unit provides two separate reference points (front and back) for accurate measurement.
It provides measurements in metres, millimetres, feet and inches. The internal memory can hold up to 20 measurements.
The screen is backlit for increased visibility.
Being battery powered (3 x AAA batteries supplied with purchase) it is highly portable. The battery will allow up to 5,000 measurements.
A handy carry/storage bag and easy to understand User Manual are also supplied.
The DBPOWER digital laser measurer is highly praised by users for quick, easy, pinpoint accuracy of measurement when tackling DIY jobs at home.
The time-savings that using a laser distance measurer make are truly amazing and well worth the relatively small outlay.
4. Bosch GLM 20 Compact Laser
The Bosch GLM 20 laser distance measurer is this company’s lower-end measurer for those who don’t need all the features of most laser distance measurers that are currently on the market.
This is still a very nice little laser measurer though and ideal for everyday use by those who need a straightforward precision distance measurer.
The GLM 20 is essentially a long-range measurer - up to 65 feet with 1/8th-inch accuracy. It provides measurements in metres, feet and inches, or inches only.
The measurements are provided in real-time, so you can see the measurements change as you move towards or away from the target.
This measurer does not do any complicated calculations. It doesn’t give you area, volume, addition, subtraction etc. Nor does it have any internal memory.
It’s very simple to use the unit: one-button operation only. Press the button once and it will give you the measurement and hold it.
Press the button again and it will give new real-time measurements while still displaying the previous measurement.
The measurements are taken from the rear edge of the unit so you can hold the tool against a wall and measure the distance from that wall to the target point. For battery life preservation the unit has an auto-shutoff function. Its accuracy is undisputed.
The screen is backlit for increased visibility.
The device is lightweight (140gms approx.) and small enough to easily fit into your pocket. Being battery operated (2 X AAA batteries supplied) it’s super portable.
The GLM 20 may be a simple no-frills laser distance measurer but it does the job well and is very popular with its users.
5. INLIFE Digital Laser
The INLIFE digital laser distance measurer is designed particularly for outdoor use with its reinforced shell which is dustproof and IP54 waterproof.
It can calculate lengths, heights, volumes, levels, areas, etc. It supports continuous measurement, Pythagorean functions, as well as addition and subtraction. The unit measures up to 60 metres (197ft) with an accuracy of 2mm.
The INLIFE measurer is highly appropriate for use in many industries including engineering, decorating, construction, real estate, landscaping, planning, and household projects.
The measurer can convert into metres, feet and inches, and has an internal memory for storage of historical measurements.
The versatility of this digital laser measurer is demonstrated by its ability to measure from either the front of it or the rear so you can measure from either end depending on which suits your purposes. The unit is intuitive to use according to its reviews, always a good sign.
And once you set the unit to the unit of measurement you prefer to use (ie metres, feet or inches it defaults to that unit until you change it. Again, a nice feature.
Weighing only 3.67oz and a very compact 11 x 5 x 2.5cms it is highly portable. It uses 2 x AAA batteries (not supplied with purchase).
The screen is backlit for heightened visibility. There is a low battery indicator and an auto shut off for battery saving.
The measurer comes with a durable carrying pouch and User Manual.
A well-reviewed product at a good price.
How to choose best digital laser measure?
You'll want to consider these eight most important factors:
This is how far your laser tool can reach and give an accurate measurement. The minimum most models offer is about 100 feet, but the top end is usually around 200 feet. If you're a homeowner, 100 feet is more than sufficient.
Obviously, no matter how big or small your job is, you'll want the accuracy to be spot on and you'll find various levels of accuracy from 1/8th of an inch up to 1/16th of an inch. If possible get a more accurate one, although this usually comes with a cost.
You'll want to ensure your digital laser measure comes with various modes such as:
- Area Measurement
- Second Rate Measurement
- Pythagorean Theorem
- Volume Measurement.
There is many different modes available to you, for example you don't just have to measure in straight lines, there is ways to measure distance, volume, circumference, area and others.
Ease of Use
The easier a device is to use the better. Some models such as Bosch have a one button option which makes it easy for anyone to use.
Others have all sorts of modes that will require you to read the manual before you start using them, to figure out how to use it.
You'll want a good high quality and clear screen. Some cheap models have tiny screens that are impossible to read. Most common is a 2.4" colour screen, which I'd definitely recommend choosing if it's an option.
Being able to tell what mode you're in at all times is important, likewise when reading the measurements, you wouldn't want to make a mistake.
If you're doing a job you'll be pleased to know that most measures come with an internal memory that will record and store previous readings. Some models can only store 10 readings, while others can store up to 20 or 30.
If you're a homeowner you can definitely get away with 10, but tradies and contractors probably want something with larger memory, but this will cost you a bit more money.
Measures usually come with a safety rating on a scale of 1 to 7 which describes how much the device is sealed against dust. This is the first of two digits.
Home owners probably won't need to factor this in, but tradies might.
The second digit is between 1 and 9 and indicates how water resistant the device is. Some devices will simply say waterproof, which is effectively a 9, meaning it's most watertight.
Again depending on your use case, these may or may not be a factor to consider.
Some models come with built-in bluetooth or a USB cable which allows you to connect to a computer or other device and download the measurements. You may need to pay a bit more for this feature but it can be handy if you're working with those digital measurements.
When choosing a digital laser measure it can be confusing, as there are many brands and models selling the same thing, each claiming to be the best.
You as the consumer should consider buyer reviews as these are the best way to ensure you're not buying an inferior product. Brands like Bosch for example are well known but come at a cost, whereas cheaper brands may not be as well known.
After our initial research, we believe that the best digital laser measure is the Bosch Digital Laser, which is battery powered, comes with a carry case and has been used by thousands of people in Australia.