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The best laser levels for DIY and construction in 2021

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best laser levels
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The best laser levels are an essential tool, whether you're doing some home DIY or working as a professional builder. They are used on every construction site, but they're just as vital when you're hanging up a photo or a shelf on a wall. In fact, even when you're taking that photo, they can be useful for composition. 

Laser levels are basically a more modern and precise version of the old-fashioned spirit level. Patiently eying a bubble in a glass tube never felt especially accurate – and often called for drawing on surfaces – whereas a laser level can be set up and projected onto a surface, giving you an perfectly level line as long as you work and covering many meters from the point it originates. 

Laser levels come in two broad categories. With “manual”, you direct the line at any angle to suit your needs. While with “auto-leveling“, a mechanism inside ensures that the projected lines are perfectly horizontal or vertical, if you get the device within a few degrees. This also eliminates the need for finding somewhere to hang a gravity-dependent plumb line.

The best laser levels have the potential to vastly accelerate tasks, and the more ambitious you are, the more features you should look for. A brighter laser will be visible further; laser glasses and sensors can also assist. A turret design offers beams 360˚ coverage so you can work round a whole room.

The best laser levels in 2021

Best laser levels: Black & Decker BDL220S

(Image credit: Black & Decker)

1. Black & Decker BDL220S

The best laser level for DIY

Specifications
Axis: 1
Range: 140˚
Laser type: Red
Visibility: 10 m / 30 ft
Accuracy: 8mm @ 10m
Base: Clamp
Self-levelling limit: -
Manual mode: Only
Protection: -
Dimensions: 130 x 90 x 63 mm
Weight: 204g
Power: 2xAA
Mount: -
Reasons to buy
+Cheap & simple+Compact
Reasons to avoid
-Single laser

For most DIY tasks, like hanging pictures, mirrors, curtain rails and other décor, you need just a single laser beam, which is what this handy little tool offers. It does it in a pleasingly familiar form, too, looking a little like an overweight traditional tape measure, though it sits upon a rotating attachment so you can let go of it and direct it to your chosen angle (at the expense of a tac-hole).

Compared to others the range is relatively low. But this device is better suited to DIYers, hobbyists and those conducting tasks not too far beyond arm's reach, so will be quite powerful enough. Indeed it may do well for unusual tasks like organizing elements of a montage without pencil lines and rulers – perhaps you already need two laser levels?

(Image credit: Black+Decker)

2. Black+Decker Line Laser BDL190S

The best laser level with a stud finder

Specifications
Axis: 1
Range: 140˚
Laser type: Red
Visibility: 6 m / 20 ft
Accuracy: 3mm @ 3m
Base: -
Self-levelling limit: ±4.5°
Manual mode: Only
Protection: -
Dimensions: 254 x 203 x 48mm
Weight: 449g
Power: 2xAA (included)
Mount: Pin
Reasons to buy
+Auto levelling laser +Includes stud finder
Reasons to avoid
-Just one laser line-You may already have a stud finder

If your prime reason for owning a laser level is to hang pictures on walls, but you're not sure what's in those walls, the Black+Decker BullsEye BDL190S is a great choice. It won't just ensure that everything lines up straight: it also includes a stud finder. That means you can be sure of avoiding wood or metal studs, not to mention live A/C wiring, when you hammer in that nail.

Otherwise, it's a very simple device; like the Black & Decker BDL220S above, it provides just a single, self-levelling line. But it does have an LCD screen, attaches to the wall via a small pin, and does what it needs to, reliably and efficiently.

(Image credit: Bosch)

3. Bosch GLL25 Quigo

The best laser level for home carpentry

Specifications
Axis: 2
Range: 160˚ x 2
Laser type: Red
Visibility: 10 m / 30 ft
Accuracy: 8mm @ 10m
Base: Clamp
Self-levelling limit: 4
Manual mode: -
Protection: IP54
Dimensions: 65 x 65 x 65 mm
Weight: 250g
Power: 2xAAA
Mount: 1/4-inch
Reasons to buy
+Protective switch+Sold with clamps+Accessibly priced for a big brand

The quirky cube-like design of this cross-line laser level from Bosch, and the handy adjustable clamp it is usually sold with, make it an excellent tool for DIYers not wanting anything excessively complicated, but who might still have a use for the dual axis beams.

The mount can grip a post from 1-5cm thick, meaning you don’t need to worry about whether it’s a ferrous metal (very useful if you want to use your step-ladder as a support). The slide-down cover for the optics also locks the pendulum, meaning this tool is well protected against a clumsy owner too. 

One extra feature which might appeal to some – albeit one you need to choose at purchase by choosing the Bosch Quigo Plus – is the option of interval marking on the lasers to help space things out evenly.

(Image credit: Huepar)

4. Huepar Box-1G

Best 2-axis laser level for value

Specifications
Axis: 2
Range: 130˚ H, 150˚ V
Laser type: Green
Range: 45m / 150ft
Accuracy: 2mm @ 10m
Self-levelling limit:
Manual mode: Y
Protection: IP54
Dimensions: 95 x 58 x 85 mm
Weight: 598g
Power: 4 x AA
Mount: ¼-inch
Reasons to buy
+Cheap & simple+Compact
Reasons to avoid
-Pulse mode requires Heupar receiver

The Box-1G is ready to tackle all the same scenarios that other cross-beam lasers are, with the added advantaged that come with 510nm “Green” laser. As well as the self-leveling pendulum, which like most woks within 4˚, there is a lock for manual mode so you can take on stair laying or other tasks involving angles. 

You can expect the four batteries to keep the laser lit for four hours, better than some competitors and at least you can cycle through the beams with the power button to extend that time, or swap the batteries with no charging if needed.

Despite the low asking price, a magnetic bracket – which screws into the standard tripod mount – is also included, meaning that, for many tasks, it’s hard to suggest spending more (though you will need to budget for batteries as they last under 5 hours).

(Image credit: Cigman)

5. Cigman CM-701

Best budget 3-axis laser level tool

Specifications
Axis: 3
Range: 360˚ x 3
Laser type: Green
Detector Range: 30m / 100ft
Accuracy: 3mm @ 10m
Base: Yes
Self-levelling limit:
Manual mode: Y
Protection: IP54
Dimensions: 85 x 78 x 52 mm
Weight: 340g
Power: 3.7V 4000mAh Li-ion
Mount: ¼-inch
Reasons to buy
+All pro features+Pulse mode for receivers
Reasons to avoid
-Adaptors have mix of tripod mounts

Though it’s quite small for a 3-plane laser, the CM-701 is a powerful device with built in battery which is one of the cheapest available in the rugged professional category but goes out of its way to be useful on site. The turret design means there are 360˚ lasers in all three axis, but to reduce drain on the battery each can be individually switched off via their own button on the case – no multiple presses to cycle through the lasers (though the 4 brightness levels are all accessed via the power button).

The included remote control can also be used to switch off the lasers so they’re only drawing power as you work, and without the risk of moving the device if it’s staying in place using the magnet bracket. Also included is a precision adjustment tripod and a reflector, so you really get everything the pros get plus a future-proof USB-C charging socket.

(Image credit: DeWalt)

6. DeWalt DW089K

The best laser level for durability

Specifications
Axis: 3
Range: 3 x 180˚
Laser type: Red
Detector range: 50m / 165ft
Visible: 15m / 50ft
Accuracy: 3mm @ 10m
Magnetic Base: Yes
Self-levelling limit:
Manual mode: -
Protection: IP20
Dimensions: 112 x 103 x 49 mm
Weight: 2.16kg
Power: 4xAA
Mount: ¼-inch
Reasons to buy
+Robust indoors+Bright laser+Adjustment knob

While it might not have the snappiest of names, the DW089K is certainly built to last with almost over-moulded design that can certainly stand a drop or two without risking the laser. It is effectively one big roll-cage. Use is also straightforward on site, with one-button-per-laser operation and an easily gripped big knob of precise adjustment of the intersecting lines (or easy re-direction to the next wall).

A low battery indicator on the side is a useful addition, not that you’ll see it for 25 hours, and the diagrammatic buttons are very clear – confusion seems very unlikely. DeWalt are also to be praised for their typically rugged kit box and the notably brighter laser than predecessors in the same line, though the IP20 build implies the DW089K is not waterproofed. 

(Image credit: Leica)

7. Leica Lino ML180

Best laser level for surveyors, decorators, and HVAC installers

Specifications
Axis: 4 + dot
Range: 180 x 4 + beam
Laser type: Red
Detector Range: 100m / 330 ft
Visible: 20m
Accuracy: 0.7mm @ 10m
Self-levelling limit:
Manual mode: Y
Protection: IP54
Dimensions: 250 x 159 x 230 mm
Weight: 2.2kg
Power: NiMH rechargeable (or 2xD)
Mount: 5/8-inch
Reasons to buy
+Cross Line & Dot Laser+Electronic self-leveling
Reasons to avoid
-Ni-Mh rather than lithium

In keeping with Leica’s tradition of high-quality optics, the ML180 (even though it’s a somewhat unfashionable red laser) has the longest range and the best precision. Any kind of job is within scope, even in a large outdoor space, is achievable thanks to the ‘Smart Targeting’ function.

As well as traditional layouts with lines at 90˚ to each other, the XCR Catch device can be placed on a distant wall and, with the help of the ML180, will be guided to the point exactly opposite, to help one operator work from existing structures like inward-corners. It also projects a dot directly downward to help positioning.

With such a reliable electronic helper, you’ll also be glad to know that if the 12h battery expires, Leica have your back; you can charge and keep using, or swap for type D batteries. The pack is pricey, but it includes a good range of accessories (including that remote). You’ll need a 5/8” compatible tripod. 

(Image credit: Milwaukee)

8. Milwaukee 3PL-401C

Best laser level for site work

Specifications
Axis: 3
Range: 3 x 360˚
Laser type: Green
Detector range: 75m / 250ft
Visible: 40m
Accuracy: 3mm @ 10m
Magnetic base: Yes
Stabilization:
Manual mode: Y
Dimensions: 165 x 198 x 104 mm
Weight: 1.5kg
Power: 12V 4Ah
Mount: ¼-inch & 5/8-inch
Reasons to buy
+Professional quality+All day operation
Reasons to avoid
-Heavy, with battery

If you can lay your hands on the understandably sought-after Milwaukee laser level, you’ll definitely impress the other folk on a jobsite (and it’s robust enough that even if they drop it in a fit of jealousy it’ll likely survive).

Of course it is a green laser – the accepted brighter shade – but it’s bolstered by the power of Milwaukee’s 12V rechargeable batteries which means it can keep projecting those lines the whole working day (and not just union hours, up to 15 according to Milwaukee). If you use any of the firm’s 100 battery-powered tools, this will no doubt have further appeal; If not, one of these REDLITHIUM batteries & charger are supplied.

Other site-worthy aspects are the included rare earth magnets which more than comfortably support the device on steel studwork, despite its not inconsiderable heft. The device also manages a very impressive 38m visibility on site with the human eye – not a theoretical claim with a measuring device. 

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Adam Juniper

With over 20 years of expertise as a tech journalist, Adam brings a wealth of knowledge across a vast number of product categories, including timelapse cameras, home security cameras, NVR cameras, photography books, webcams, 3D printers and 3D scanners, borescopes, radar detectors… and, above all, drones. 


Adam is our resident expert on all aspects of camera drones and drone photography, from buying guides on the best choices for aerial photographers of all ability levels to the latest rules and regulations on piloting drones. 


He is the author of a number of books including The Complete Guide to Drones, The Smart Smart Home Handbook, 101 Tips for DSLR Video and The Drone Pilot's Handbook