Photo: Tom Scalisi
Laser levels provide accuracy, consistency, and convenience. The best self-leveling laser level can make all the difference and be easy to use. Laser levels can do everything a spirit or bubble level can do and much more by projecting a laser beam of light across an entire room or job site to provide a point of reference for projects. They can even handle larger jobs like hanging ledger boards for deck projects.
With hands-on testing with several of the best laser levels on the market, the following picks provide tried-and-true results to help you while shopping for a tool.
- BEST OVERALL: DeWalt DW089K 3-Beam Line Laser Level
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Black+Decker BDL190S Line Laser With Stud Finder
- UPGRADE PICK: Bosch GLL3-330CG 360° Green-Beam Three-Plane Laser
- BEST FOR LIGHT-DUTY: Skil LL932201 360° Self-Leveling Red Cross Line Laser
- BEST FOR HEAVY-DUTY: Klein Tools 93LCLS Red Cross-Line Laser Level
- BEST FOR OUTDOOR USE: Huepar 621CG 3D Cross-Line Laser Level
- BEST COMPACT: Bosch GLL 30 Self-Leveling Cross-Line Laser Level
How We Tested the Best Laser Levels
At its basic purpose, a laser level projects a line onto a surface that the user can reference, and it would make sense that accuracy would be the baseline of this test. But it wasn’t. Testing modern laser tools for accuracy is almost laughable, as even the most affordable model is more accurate than the human eye can tell (particularly with a bubble level).
Instead, the more critical factors, such as how well the laser line showed, how easy the level tools were to set up, using the different features, and, ultimately, a durability test were the main focuses of this review. I set up each level to compare their accuracy (quickly), their beams, and their features. Then, the shocking part: I purposely dropped them on the ground.
Laser levels are somewhat precision instruments, but drops are entirely possible during a project. I dropped all the levels from the height of a sawhorse, all at once, three times. It broke my heart a bit to purposely abuse these tools, but I did it in the name of science.
Our Top Picks
I performed hands-on testing with all of the following models to make the shopping experience that much easier. All of the listed laser levels passed my tests, even when the road got particularly bumpy.
Note: All of the following laser levels proved to be very accurate, far beyond what I could test with a standard bubble level (though I did check each several times during the test). Also, each model except the Black+Decker model features tripod compatibility, and all of the pendulums locked in place except for the DeWalt model.
Whether it’s for DIY use or a professional job site, DeWalt’s Line Laser level has what it takes to get the job done. This laser features three self-leveling red beams (one horizontal line and two vertical dual-beam lasers) for leveling and lining up almost any project. It features accuracy to within ⅛-inch at 30 feet as well as having a micro-adjust knob on the top that allows the user to dial in the beam’s perfect alignment.
During testing, the DeWalt laser level proved to be one of the easiest to set up and use. It features a magnetic back as well as a beam clamp for attaching to angle iron, though most of my test involved setting it on a flat surface. The red laser was very bright and easy to see. The factor that pushed the DeWalt level to the top of the heap was its robust design. It’s not the largest laser level, but it is one of the heaviest and sturdiest, and the drop test left it largely unscathed. The only thing it really can’t do is project a 360-degree beam.
- Beam color: Red
- Planes: Horizontal and 2 vertical
- Accuracy: ⅛ inch at 30 feet
- Self-leveling laser feature aids in user-friendliness; suitable for quick, fast-paced measurements
- Robust build quality can withstand heavy-duty use; suitable for DIYers and professionals
- Easy setup and use; does not take long to set up and suitable for first-timers
- Micro-adjust knob allows owners to make quick adjustments while using
- Not capable of 360-degree beams like other comparable models
Get the DeWalt laser level at Amazon or Acme Tools.
For those who don’t need all the features available on top-of-the-line models, the Black+Decker BDL190S is a nice option at an affordable price. This isn’t the type of laser level that’s capable of a major project or renovation, but for striking level lines when hanging pictures or shelves, it will get the job done.
This best budget laser level has some nice features, including a stud finder and electrical wire detection. The BDL190S comes with a hanger that attaches to the wall with a tack-like pin, and once hung, the laser will self-level.
During testing, the Black+Decker served its purpose. It projected a perfectly self-leveled line to the left and right and steadied quickly. There was a section of the wall where the beam appeared to lighten and become a bit more challenging to see, but this is because there was a bow in the wall, and that’s typical of wall-mounted laser levels. Also, the beam finder was a nice touch and appeared to work well.
The downside of the Black+Decker is it requires the user to poke a small hole in the wall to mount it, which could be a deal-breaker for concrete or brick surfaces. Also, it only projects a horizontal line.
- Beam color: Red
- Planes:Horizontal line only
- Accuracy: ⅛ inch at 10 feet
- Multipurpose tool; built-in stud finder as well as laser level for all-in-one use
- Simple design is easy for any user; recommended for professionals or DIYers
- Steadies quickly to take accurate measurements; suitable for first-time users
- Requires poking a hole in the wall before use; may not be suitable for some users
- Only projects in 1 direction; may take some time to measure a whole room
Get the Black+Decker laser level at Amazon.
Shoppers who are looking for a level that can do it all and don’t mind spending quite a bit more on one of the best brands may want to consider the Bosch GLL3-330CG. This self-leveling model has a 360-degree horizontal plane laser and two 360-degree vertical plane lasers, providing a level line of reference for any job. The green laser is visible at ranges of up to a 330-foot diameter.
The GLL3-330CG’s premium features can actually go unnoticed. The level monitors its battery life and adjusts the beam for both optimal visibility and length of use. It also has internal sensors that detect bumps and drops and alerts to calibration issues.
The Bosch laser level proved to be a serious piece of machinery during testing. I don’t have a way to measure its accuracy over other laser levels, but I had no reason to doubt that it’s more accurate than the rest (3/32 of an inch at 30 feet as opposed to ⅛-inch). The three 360-degree planes were easy to see and use.
After I dropped the GLL3-330CG three times, it registered a calibration fault that required logging into the app to clear. This was more of a benefit than an issue as it was easy to clear and did warn of the shocks. Also, I like that this level offers flexible battery sources (rechargeable or replaceable). The only problem? While it’s the best 360-degree laser level on this list, the device is a bit expensive.
- Beam color: Green
- Planes: 1 horizontal and 2 vertical, all in a 360-degree direction
- Accuracy: 3/32 inch at 30 feet
- Multidirectional green lasers take very accurate measurements of a whole room easily
- Bluetooth connectivity for monitoring calibration allows for ample measurements to be taken and stored
- Flexible battery sources prevent the unit from dying quickly; batteries can be recharged or replaced
- It’s an expensive laser level compared to similar options; suitable for professionals
Get the Bosch three-plane laser level at Amazon, Lowe’s, Target, or Acme Tools.
Every DIYer has different needs, and a high-end, expensive, heavy-duty laser level isn’t always a priority. For those who’d prefer something a bit more light-duty and affordable, the Skil 360-degree self-leveling crossline laser level is worth a look. The Skil has all the features necessary, including horizontal and vertical lasers as well as 360-degree coverage, but with a little less fit-and-finish look. The result is a capable yet minimalist laser level at a lower price, and it even comes with a tripod for setting it at any height.
The Skil was the surprise of the hands-on testing. It truly is a capable light-duty model. For its price and intended use, it’s well built and durable while being very simple to set up and use. It also steadied very quickly. While the tripod wasn’t of the highest quality, it was one of the only setups in the test that allowed for positioning the laser at an angle.
- Beam color: Red (though green is available)
- Planes: 360-degree crossline laser level (horizontal and vertical)
- Accuracy: 3/16 inch at 30 feet
- Self-leveling laser level prevents inaccurate measurements from being taken
- Easy to set up compared to similar laser levels; perfect for first timers or DIYers
- Decent build quality can withstand some heavy-duty use; suitable for home or jobsite
- Steadies quickly for accuracy and precision; will not take inaccurate measurements
- Laser level tripod is low quality and may not be suitable for use in heavy-duty conditions
Get the Skil laser level at Amazon or Acme Tools (no carry bag).
For a professional-grade laser, the Klein Tools 93LCLS Laser Level ticks most of the boxes, but has some features that the other models don’t. The Klein Tools 93LCLS has both vertical and horizontal beams, but it also features a plumb-spot finder that projects above and below the level, which can be a real asset when installing conduit, piping, or drop ceilings. It also features several mounting options, including a magnetic mount with a 360-degree swivel and a specialized mount for drop ceiling tracks.
The 93LCLS falls short when it comes to a constant 360-degree laser, but the ability to swivel it on the mount while maintaining level helps to offset that shortcoming. The variety of mounting options makes it incredibly versatile.
Testing the 93LCLS Laser Level revealed the Klein to be an overbuilt, sturdy, reliable laser level. The laser is very easy to see, and the plumb spot is a feature I wish I’d had on several recent projects since it’s far faster to use than an actual plumb bob or level. The setup was also very simple. The one con with this particular level is, for the price, it should probably offer a 360-degree beam.
- Beam color: Red
- Planes: Horizontal and vertical, with plumb spots
- Accuracy: 3/32 inch at 33 feet
- Plumb-spot finder is fast to take measurements of overhead locations
- Overbuilt and durable for long-term and heavy-duty use; can be taken to jobsites long-term
- Fast, simple setup for quickly measuring a whole room or multiple rooms
- Doesn’t feature a 360-degree plane; may take some time to measure a whole room
Get the Klein Tools laser level at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Acme Tools.
The Huepar 3D Cross-Line Laser Level is an interesting choice for outdoor use. This is a highly visible model with a 360-degree laser, but it’s inexpensive enough that users don’t have to worry about it the way they might a far more expensive model. It has an IP54 rating for water and dust resistance, making it ideal for building decks, grading small sections of land, and installing siding.
The Huepar outdoor laser level has two laser planes: a vertical and a 360-degree horizontal. The green 360-degree laser is easy to see, especially outdoors. It also has a 180-foot range, although users can only utilize it in the battery-saving pulse mode.
During testing, the Huepar proved to be a high-quality laser level, with a bright green beam and an easily utilized pulse mode. The 360-degree horizontal plane was also nice, particularly when leveling a large outdoor area.
The area where the Huepar fared the worst, however, was in steadiness. During testing, the laser shook far more than the other models, which does make the line potentially less accurate, though it steadied when all movement ceased. Also, it features plumb-spot indicators above and below, which is a nice and rare feature.
- Beam color: Green
- Planes: 360-degree horizontal line and 140-degree vertical line
- Accuracy: 1/9 inch at 33 feet
- Highly visible green beam makes taking measurements easy; perfect for those who need to write or leave measurements on the wall
- Self-leveling laser level provides ample user-friendliness; fast measuring speed
- Easy to switch to pulse mode to improve battery life and range
- Perfect laser level for grading, installing siding, and building structures
- Plumb-spot indicator is built in
- Shakes more than other laser levels; may need to be held while in use
Get the Huepar laser level at Amazon.
Having a crossline laser level available within arm’s length at any time might seem like a luxury, but with the compact and affordable GLL 30 from Bosch, it can become a reality. This small laser level features vertical and horizontal red laser beams and offers 5/16-inch accuracy at 30 feet. With its tiny footprint, it’ll fit in a tool bag or a tool box with ease, ensuring it’s always available.
Realistically, the Bosch crossline laser level doesn’t have the size to hold a lot of high-end hardware, so it trades a bit of accuracy for its compact profile. However, I found no issues with its accuracy during testing, and it was very easy to set up. Also, it came with a multipositional mount with a clamp for attaching to a variety of objects, plus the ability to position the laser at any angle or a flat surface (something almost none of the other levels could do).
- Beam color: Red
- Planes: Vertical and horizontal
- Accuracy: 5/16 inch at 30 feet
- Incredibly simple setup; suitable for first timers as well as professionals
- Multipositional clamp attaches to a variety of surfaces; suitable for DIYers or first timers
- Fits in a tool box or a bag with room to spare
- It trades some accuracy for its compact size; may not be as accurate as comparable models
Get the Bosch self-leveling laser level at Amazon, Lowe’s, Ace Hardware, The Home Depot, or Acme Tools.
What to Consider When Choosing a Laser Level
Options for the best laser level will vary greatly in each product’s accuracy, features, and ease of use. Before selecting a laser level for your needs, consider the intended use for your level and the type of beams required.
Red vs. Green Laser
It might not be obvious, but the colors on laser levels make a big difference. There are two options—red and green—and they each have their pros and cons.
- Red lasers are less powerful but use far less battery life. These lasers are also less expensive to purchase, which is why many of the best models on the market continue to rely on red laser beams.
- Green lasers are more visible from a greater distance and easier to use for outside projects in sunlight. However, they’re also more expensive and potentially more damaging to users’ eyes than a red laser.
For these reasons, many pros own both red and green lasers and use them for projects that play to their strengths.
A hallmark of any good level is accuracy, whether it’s a spirit level or a high-tech laser model. The best laser levels will list a degree of accuracy on the packaging or in the manual. For a rule of thumb, however, look for a model with less than ⅛-inch deviation at 30 feet for truly dialed-in results.
However, keep in mind that the best self-leveling laser will give the most accurate laser level line than DIYers can achieve with a spirit option. The act of holding a spirit level perfectly and completely level is very difficult, though the end results tend to be sufficient. Laser levels operate on a similar principle while increasing accuracy.
One of the most important features of any high-quality laser level is the beam orientation option. Depending on the budget, there are models with up to three orientation planes: two vertical dual-beam lasers and one horizontal, and one or more of those planes might be 360 degrees.
While the usefulness of the horizontal and vertical beams is obvious, the best 360-degree laser level’s practicality cannot be overstated. A 360-degree beam can help hang an entire room’s worth of pictures quickly and accurately, or it can help the user dig perfectly level sections of the yard. Also, for projects like drop ceilings, having the most accurate laser level on hand is critical to the strength of the finished product.
The best laser levels on the market make leveling a push-and-play procedure. Most models with self-leveling technology use a laser on a pendulum in conjunction with magnets to provide stability. Once placed on a relatively flat surface, the pendulum takes over and achieves the final degree of level. This makes setting up fast and easy, especially if there is an existing reference point to register against.
Many laser levels with a self-leveling feature also lock the pendulum in place when not in use. This helps reduce the risk of calibration issues while transporting the laser level, and it can be a big help in getting the most out of a level.
One of the most useful aspects of laser levels is that they allow the user to work essentially hands-free. Once set up, they’re designed to be left alone while the project continues on, using the laser line as a point of reference.
The best laser levels use different mounts and features to achieve this set-and-forget function. Some of the less expensive models might simply poke small pins into drywall for support. Other models will come with tripods or mounts that attach to metal studs or drop ceiling tracks. When purchasing a laser level, consider its intended use and which mounting accessories might be necessary to ensure compatibility.
If making an informed decision on this handy tool feels like information overload, you’re not alone. Let’s bring things back to level by answering some of the most frequently asked questions about the best laser levels. Be sure to check for an answer to your question listed below.
Q. How do laser levels work?
Laser levels produce one or more focused, sharp, and straight beams of light from a diode to provide a level line for measuring.
Q. Is it worth getting a laser level?
Whether it’s for DIY jobs or for professional use, laser levels are worth getting. For most purposes, they’re more than accurate enough, and the setup time and consistency can make short work of a long project.
Q. What are laser levels good for?
When doing construction or measuring in a large space, a laser level can help provide accurate lines to ensure even, level measurements. Some of the most ideal situations for a laser level are aligning cabinets and plumbing, leveling floors, installing doors and windows, and measuring drop ceilings.
Q. Which is better: a red or a green laser level?
Neither color is better overall, but each one is better in certain circumstances. Red lasers are harder to see in sunlight, but they offer better battery life and are less likely to damage the user’s eyes. Green lights are more expensive and can damage eyesight faster than red, but they’re easier to see in daylight.
Q. Are Bosch laser levels good?
Bosch makes some of the best laser levels on the market, and the brand’s higher-end models are more accurate than most models.
Q. Do laser levels measure distance?
A laser level does not measure distance, only if a surface is even.
Q. How do you check the accuracy of a laser level?
If you have doubts about your laser level’s readings, you can double-check it by opening the level and re-calibrating the pendulum (where the laser comes from). Many models will have internal buttons or controls for easy recalibration. For a quick-fix, you can also place the laser at an evenly-placed tiled surface to check the X and Y axes.
Q. How often should you calibrate a laser level?
If you use your laser level regularly, recalibration should be done every 6 months.
Q. Do laser levels work outside?
Laser levels can always be used outdoors.
Q. Can I see a laser level in daylight?
Be advised that daylight may limit the visibility of the beams so green beams may be best for outdoor use.
Q. How do you use a laser level without a tripod?
If you do not have a tripod for measuring, an available level surface is also acceptable for measuring. Some units also come with a stand or base, so a tripod is not necessary.
Why Trust Bob Vila
Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series including “This Old House” and “Bob Vila’s Home Again,” he popularized and became synonymous with “do-it-yourself” home improvement.
Over the course of his decades-long career, Bob Vila has helped millions of people build, renovate, repair, and live better each day—a tradition that continues today with expert yet accessible home advice. The Bob Vila team distills need-to-know information into project tutorials, maintenance guides, tool 101s, and more. These home and garden experts then thoroughly research, vet, and recommend products that support homeowners, renters, DIYers, and professionals in their to-do lists.