A laser distance measurer (LDM) is the modern alternative to the classic tape measure. LDMs can be operated by a single person over great distances so you won’t need to rely on another person with a steady hand to make accurate measurements. This handheld gadget makes measurements by sending out laser pulses on a defined object and measuring how long it takes for the laser to return. With its numerous calculations running constantly, it’ll produce extremely precise readings down to fractions of an inch.
Laser Distance Measurer Buying Guide
If you’re looking to replace your rusty, old tape measure and move onto something more from this century, then there are various things to consider. The following segment is a brief buying guide that discusses the specs and features to pay attention to when purchasing an LDM.
Maximum Distance Measurement
One of the first things to keep pay attention to when purchasing an LDM is its maximum measurement range. Architects and construction workers may need something that can measure distances of more than 200 feet, whereas carpenters or home renovators will only need a tool to measure a maximum of 100 feet or less. In general, the farther an LDM can measure, the more expensive it is so if you’re doing indoor work exclusively then you won’t want to invest needlessly in unused capacity.
Like any laser-based tool, LDMs are reliable but only to a certain extent. The further you shoot an LDM’s laser at an object, the greater the risk of there being slight measurement issues. Even the most reliable LDM models have a margin of error of 1/16 of an inch. We recommend looking for an ISO-certified tool. They’re a bit costlier, but you won’t need to worry about extreme deviations from the precise measurement.
The lighting in a room can affect how accurate a laser is. Using an LDM outdoors during the daytime requires a more powerful laser than making measurements indoors. Nowadays, most LDM models can handle outdoor work just as well as they do indoors, but there are the few odd models out there made exclusively for indoor-use only.
Any architect and construction worker knows the hassles of calculating the area of a room, especially when decimals come into play. Furthermore, it can be a challenge fitting your tape measure in the corner of a room to get a precise reading of the distance between two opposite corners. With the right LDM, you can get the area and cross-distances calculated for you with a click of a button.
Say you’re working on a construction project with the help of programs such as Chief Architect or Autodesk. Having an LDM that can make measurements on the fly through digital images would be a major plus in getting work done efficiently. The modern LDMs come with Bluetooth connectivity that can make accurate measurements in real-time with an image taken by your Smartphone. Although only the most serious of architects would benefit greatly from this feature, it’s still nice to have and toy around with, even if you’re a hobbyist DIY-er.
Top 5 Laser Distance Measurers
Now that we know what to look for in an LDM, the only thing left to do is pick one up off the Internet. This can actually be a bit more confusing than it sounds, especially considering the numerous makes and models out there and their updated versions with more features and better specs. No need to worry about investing too much time in doing research; we’ve compiled a list containing five of the best LDMs currently available. Our picks include valuable tools for both hobbyist home renovators and professional architects.
5 Tacklife HD60 Laser Distance Measurer
The first LDM on our list is the relatively inexpensive HD60 from Tacklife. Don’t let its low price tag fool you; it has all the features to get some serious home renovation jobs done. It has a measuring range of up to an astounding 196 feet with a minuscule 1/16-inch margin of error.
Although the tool is designed to be resistant to dust, you get a handy carrying pouch that keeps the device from becoming damaged by both dust and rain. This tool can help you with tricky calculations such as the area of a room or distance between two opposite corners.
4 Bosch GLM 50 C Laser Distance Measurer
Bosch’s GLM 50 C is another noteworthy LDM with all the bells and whistles. First of all, it has a maximum range of up to 165 feet within 1/8 of an inch in precision. It has a live measuring feature which gives you accurate readings in real-time as you move closer to or farther away from an object.
You can even measure angles with the built-in inclinometer installed in the device. With the help of the GLM 50 C and the Bosch app, measuring floor plans can be done right on the screen of your tablet or Smartphone (iOS and Android compatibility).
3 DEWALT DW03050 Laser Distance Measurer
The DW03050 from DEWALT is the simplest LDM on our list in terms of appearance and features. It has a maximum range of up to 165 feet within 1/16 of an inch, but the margin of error grows significantly the farther away you are from the laser-receiving object.
It comes with a Pythagoras calculator to help measure the distance between corners. It also has an area and volume calculator to help with some of the trickier calculations of a room. The DW03050 may not look like much, but its casing is extremely durable and can withstand drops, dust, and water.
2 Bosch GLM 35 Laser Distance Measurer
The Bosch GLM 35 can be considered the little brother of the GLM 50 C mentioned earlier. It can read up to distances of 120 feet within 1/16 of an inch. The tool comes with a real-time measuring feature which can display the distance between the object and yourself as you move. The GLM 35 has an area and volume calculator.
What’s missing from this LDM is Bluetooth connectivity, a Pythagoras calculator, and memory to save the most important calculations. What really sets this model above the GLM 50 C is its extremely accurate measurements. Users have even commented on how even at distances of up to 80 feet the tool will read the exact distance down to 1/16 of an inch.
1 Leica DISTO D2 Laser Distance Measurer
The final item on our list is one that has received considerable attention for very good reasons: The DISTO D2 from Leica. Although this company is not exactly a household name, their line of reliable LDMs has really helped boost this company’s reputation, especially the D2. First, it can make measurements up to 330 feet with an accuracy of 1/16 of an inch.
It can make indirect measurements (e.g., area, volume) using the Pythagoras calculator. Not only does this tool take drops, dust, and water in stride, but it can also withstand extreme temperatures of down to 14°F and up to 122°F. Furthermore, it uses Bluetooth 4.0 to connect to your Smartphones or tablets to help measure distances from images on the fly.
It doesn’t matter what type of construction work you do (if any), it’s time to replace that rusty tape measure with a modern tool. The laser distance measurer (LDM) is the only way to accurately measure distances of over 100 feet without employing the help of a second pair of hands. These lightweight, compact devices can make measuring anything – the width of a cabinet and even the distance of a football field, end to end – doable in literally a matter of seconds.
Like any tool, manufacturers have produced various models with a wide range of different specs and features. Choosing the right LDM can be a bit tricky, but if you know what you’re looking for, searching online for the right model shouldn’t be a challenge.
The most important features and specs to pay attention to include maximum range, accuracy, whether you’re working indoors or out, the ability to make indirect measurements (area, volume), and whether it can connect to your gadgets via Bluetooth.
Your line of work may not require the ability to make indirect measurements or on-the-fly measurements through Smartphone apps, but serious workers looking to cut down on their work time should definitely consider these features.
We’ve provided you with our picks of the five best LDMs available on the market. Basically, DIY-ers and hobbyists would benefit from the Tacklife, Dewalt, and either of the Boschs.
However, if you’re a professional contractor or architect who needs a super-powerful tool for measuring distances greater than 300 feet, then there’s nowhere else to turn than the Leica DISTO D2. It measures up to 330 feet within 1/16 of an inch, has Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity to help you become more productive in making floor plans, and is built like a tank (sort of) to withstand water, debris, and drops.