Laser tape measures are loved for their range of functions, reliability and accuracy.
Traditional tape measures have many limitations, whilst laser distance meters can provide fast and accurate measurements. Their ‘one handed’ simplicity makes them highly practical; laser measuring makes it possible to take precise measurements that otherwise wouldn’t be feasible without a second pair of hands.
When looking to buy the best laser measure, you’ll see that there’s a surprisingly diverse range to choose from.
If you’re not sure what to look out for, the following tips should help you make an informed decision:
Laser Distance Measures vs Traditional Tape Measures
Laser distance measurers open a whole world of straightforward, accurate measurement taking.
While standard tape measures are reliable and simple, they can become impractical when it comes to measuring long distances. You’ll need an extra person to hold one end and the accuracy of the reading is often questionable.
The best laser measures take away a lot of guesswork. Plus, they allow you to measure distances without calling in reinforcements! As soon as you’re trying to do anything other than measure a simple 2 m wall, a laser measure will be a valuable tool.
A laser distance measurer will take much more accurate measurements and high end laser measures can record a range of data including distance, volume and area extremely quickly. Comparatively, with a normal tape measure, you’d have to use a calculator, or a pen and pencil to work out these figures.
Often coming with multiple measurement modes, a laser measure can add and subtract if you find yourself stuck with some complicated arithmetic.
If you’re trying to measure a distance that doesn’t end with a wall or ends with a transparent material (such as glass), you’ll need to purchase a ‘target plate’. These target plates give you something to aim the laser dot at, as the laser needs to bounce off an opaque surface to take a measurement.
Of course, as with all machines, even the best laser distance measurer will lack some of the simplicity of a traditional tape measure – they will require charging, or batteries, and you might need to spend some time working out their buttons and functions. But, overall, I’d say a laser measuring device is a lot more efficient than a conventional tape measure.
Suitability for Indoor or Outdoor Use
Laser measures are designed for either indoor or outdoor use.
Those built for outdoor use generally have a more robust construction, with good dust and water resistance.
The level of water protection will vary between models. The toughest laser tape measures can be used in dusty environments such as construction sites.
IP ratings are used to indicate how waterproof and dust proof products are. In an IP rating, there are generally two numbers present, for example ‘IP67’. In this case, the first digit, ‘6’ signifies the product’s protection against ‘foreign bodies’, such as dust. The second digit, ‘7’, indicates its protection against moisture.
Some of the most common IP ratings are as follows:
IP65 – “dust tight” and protected against a light spray of water
IP66 – “dust tight” and protected against heavy saltwater spray or powerful jets of water
IP67 – “dust tight” and protected against immersion – can be submerged for up to 30 minutes to depths between 150mm and 1000mm
IP68 – “dust tight” and protected against being submerged in water for a prolonged period
The best laser measure for use on a dusty construction site will be IP65 and above.
Maximum Measuring Distance
Laser measures have a maximum measuring distance, so if you’re after something to measure across big distances, make sure to check the product specs before purchase.
A measurement range of 60m tends to be enough for most tasks, but many lasers can measure distances up to 200m in length. As a result, you’ll probably find that a measure with a maximum distance of 200m will do any job just fine.
You should also look at the accuracy of the laser tape measure. Most should be accurate to within 1mm, but cheaper models may have slightly lower accuracies.
The best thing about laser tape measures is they usually come with several additional features and functions. For example, devices with Bluetooth are capable of transferring measurements and data to your phone or tablet.
A large display will make your tape measure easier to use and read, while most will also be able to complete various calculations. Lots of units will allow you to measure around obstacles and much more.
Some laser measures come with zoom, a digital point finder, and even a built-in camera. These allow you to use it in very bright or dark conditions. While these laser tape measures will be more expensive, their functionality might be worth it to you.
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