Laser distance measurers use a laser and an optical sensor to determine the distance between two surfaces to find the height of a room, the length of a stairway, or other helpful measurements. With this tool, you won’t have to rely on a flexible metal tape measure.
After lining up the laser distance measurer with the surface on the other end of the room, the measurement is calculated almost instantly. Many laser measuring tools also provide area or volume measurements as well as an impressive accuracy range that can measure to within 1/8, 1/16, or even 1/32 of an inch.
Find the best laser measurer for your projects using the following guidance about key features, and explore some of the best options on the market in specific categories below.
- BEST OVERALL: Bosch Blaze GLM 50 C Bluetooth Laser Distance Measure
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: RockSeed Laser Measure, Mileseey Digital
- BEST PREMIUM: Leica Geosystems Leica DISTO Laser Distance Measure
- BEST PORTABLE: atolla Laser Distance Meter
- BEST HYBRID: DTAPE Laser Tape Measure 2-in-1 measurement
- BEST RANGE: LOMVUM Laser Tape Measure
- BEST FOR PROS: DEWALT Laser Measure Tool/Distance Meter
- BEST FOR OUTDOOR USE: BOSCH GLM400CL Blaze Outdoor Bluetooth Laser Measure
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Laser Distance Measurer
There are many choices when it comes to laser distance measurers for DIYers and professionals. To help weed through the options, consider a few key features when comparing laser measuring devices since different characteristics are important to different kinds of projects. The following factors may help you find the right tool for the job.
Indoor vs. Outdoor Use
While most laser tape measures are only suited for measuring distance indoors, there are some products that are specifically made for outdoor use. Most outdoor models are designed to measure longer distances, but the laser light of the laser measure doesn’t change in any way. However, the body of the tool is greatly improved for outdoor products because it needs to be able to stand up to rain, snow, and fluctuating temperature extremes.
This weather resistance helps to prevent the interior of the tool from becoming damaged by moisture buildup, but the tightly sealed case also keeps out dust. However, the upgraded case does come at a cost, so users can expect to pay more for an outdoor laser measure.
Accuracy and Range
The accuracy and measurement range are typically given together, with most products claiming an average accuracy rating to within 1/8 inch at a distance of 50 feet. However, some laser distance measures can measure much longer distances, while others can measure more than 320 feet accurately. Just remember that as the distance increases, accuracy can begin to falter.
Laser measures rated for use at long distances often have a higher degree of accuracy, with many products capable of accurately measuring to within 1.6 millimeters or 1/16 inch. This increase in accuracy is often attributed to a stronger laser, but a stronger laser also usually comes with a higher price.
When selecting a laser distance measurer, consider the tool’s various functions that may help make a project as efficient and successful as possible. Those who have no experience using a laser distance measurer may want to consider a model with detailed operating instructions or very basic functionality.
A laser measurer’s basic job is to simply measure the distance between two points, but products are made that can perform additional specialized functions:
- Some laser distance measures contain an integrated calculator that uses the length and width of measurements to provide the area of the room, which is necessary for flooring projects.
- Other products also can calculate volume using multiple laser measurements, which is helpful, for example, when determining the type of heater needed for a specific volume of space.
- Some laser measures contain a Pythagorean measurement function that uses known proportions to find an unknown length or distance.
Most laser measuring tools operate with the push of a button, though some provide a continuous or automatic measurement while the operator moves around to find the ideal angle without needing to take multiple measurements. This is useful for quickly measuring the length, width, and height of a room.
A bright display with text that’s easy to read in dim lighting is an integral feature of a laser distance measurer. If the display is backlit, the text is easier to see in both direct sunlight and low-light conditions.
Laser measuring devices may display only a few numbers to indicate the distance and the unit of measurement. Or, the displays may be more complex, featuring multiple menus, functionalities, and accuracy settings. Some even have rotating screens to make it easier to see the readings from any position.
Connectivity and Storage
The best laser tape measure can be equipped with a continuous measure feature and the ability to transfer data from the device to a computer. Upgraded models have an extended measuring range, and they may be capable of indirect measurement with the Pythagorean measurement function, keeping all information stored safely on the device.
Laser distance measures can also be equipped with Bluetooth connectivity, which allows the stored measurements to be transferred wirelessly to a smartphone or tablet, saving both time and effort. Just make sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions to properly connect the device.
The best laser measuring tools aren’t just equipped with the basics. They can include a range of additional features to help make the laser measure easier to use and more convenient for users including a battery life indicator, sound alerts, automatic shutoff, and holsters.
- Battery life indicators are usually simple visual symbols that are displayed on the screen to tell the user how much battery life is remaining and may begin to flash or trigger a sound alert when the battery gets too low.
- Sound alerts can be used to notify the user about a low battery, to indicate that the device is ready to take a measurement or to simply alert the user when the laser measure has successfully taken the intended measurement.
- The automatic shutoff function of a laser measure is only intended to save battery life. When the tool hasn’t been used for a certain period of time, it shuts down to conserve energy but typically stores the previous readings.
- Holsters may not add anything to the functionality of the device, but having a holster for the laser measurer makes it easier to carry, put away, or grab from the holster when it’s needed.
Our Top Picks
There are a lot of details to consider when selecting the right laser measure for the job. To help shoppers find their best option in a laser distance measurer, below are some of the best product picks based on quality, price, and the considerations outlined above. The tools are organized by category to make the selection process even easier.
This compact laser distance measure from Bosch travels in a pocket or bag to gather measurements at distances of up to 165 feet. The device automatically takes measurements as the user moves it around, accurately measuring to within 1/16 inch while providing information for length, area, and volume. It has an easy-to-use control keypad and a bold color display with large backlit text that can be read in dim or lightless conditions.
Its Bluetooth connectivity allows this laser distance measurer to wirelessly share information to a phone, while the free Bosch app gives users the ability to document measurements and create floor plans. This device also has a soft, slip-resistant grip on the body to help protect it from drops and impact damage.
This RockSeed Mileseey laser measuring tool provides accurate measurements within 1/16 inch to a maximum distance of 165 feet. The device can be set to measure area, distance, length, and volume, or users can even take a Pythagorean measurement using three different points. After turning on the device, it takes continuous measurements until it’s turned off or changed to a different setting.
The display screen is a backlit LCD with bold black lettering that’s easy to see, even in dimly lit environments. This laser distance measurer has a hard rubber body that provides a slip-resistant grip, and this exterior also makes the device water resistant and dustproof. The laser measurer includes a wrist strap to keep it safe while working.
This premium-priced device from Leica Geosystems has several different measurement capabilities as well as built-in storage capable of storing the last 30 measurements. Bluetooth connectivity allows users to wirelessly transmit these readings through the free DISTO laser measurement app.
Take continuous measurements of length or single measurements of length, area, volume, and indirect measurements that use known proportions to find an unknown length or distance. This device can measure accurately to within 1/16 inch with a maximum distance of up to 660 feet. It also has a built-in camera with adjustable zoom so users can locate the laser at long distance or even outdoors.
Portability is an important consideration for those moving around a busy work site. The atolla device is compact enough to fit comfortably in a pocket, tool box, or bag. Its adjustable wrist strap can be set to the ideal size to ensure that it doesn’t slip off the wrist.
The atolla water-resistant laser distance measurer can accurately measure to within 1/16 inch and to a maximum distance of 196 feet. It features several measurement modes, including single measurement, continuous measurement, area, distance, volume, and Pythagorean mode. The backlit LCD screen is easy to see, and the built-in level helps properly align the laser with the targeted point in the distance.
This hybrid laser tape measure incorporates both the traditional method of taking measurements with a physical tape that extends up to 16 feet from the body for short, quick measurements, and it also has a laser distance measurer with a 131-foot range. It’s equipped with high-quality lithium batteries that can be recharged through a USB cord.
The laser will automatically turn off after 30 seconds, and the entire device will shut down to conserve battery power if it hasn’t been used in 3 minutes. While it isn’t advised to use this laser measure in heavy rain, it is water-resistant and dustproof with a waterproof rating of IP54.
Most laser measures have a range that extends just beyond 100 feet, but sometimes that just isn’t enough. This LOMVUM laser measure is designed to help take accurate measurements over a longer range without sacrificing the accuracy of short-range measurements. It boasts an impressive range from 0.1 to 393 feet, yet the accuracy of the laser measure remains within ±1/16 inch.
The laser measure has an IP54 waterproof rating that indicates it’s dustproof and it can resist damage from light to moderate rain, though heavy rain may cause an issue. It has multiple measurement modes and can store up to 20 previous measurements in the internal storage for quick reference, though it only stores data if the “save” button is pressed to help prevent filling the storage with continuous measurement data.
This DEWALT laser measuring tool is an option for professionals who need an easy-to-use device to take quick measurements within 100 feet. It has only five buttons to learn, and the entire device is covered in a thick, durable protective cover to help keep the laser measure safe from scratches and impact damage if it’s dropped.
The device can take and send measurement data through an active Bluetooth connection. Using the Tool Connect app, the collected data is stored and can be used to create new projects, like flooring or painting. It also can be used to export the project, saving pros time and effort that may otherwise be spent drawing a plan by hand.
This outdoor laser measure from Bosch has a robust reinforced glass screen that’s anti-scratch, glare resistant, and shatter-resistant, which protects it and makes it easier to read the measurement results in bright light. It has several different measurement options as well as built-in storage capable of storing the last 50 measurements and more than 600 images.
Bluetooth connectivity allows users to wirelessly transmit collected measurements through the free Bosch app, which also can be used to create custom blueprints. This device can measure accurately to within 1/16 inch with a maximum distance of up to 400 feet, but it also has a built-in camera with adjustable zoom so users can locate the laser at a long distance when outdoors, despite the light from the sun.
The Advantages of Owning a Laser Distance Measurer
Adding a laser distance measurer to your tool box or workshop helps make many home renovation projects easier to complete. A laser measurer can produce an accurate measurement at long distances, unlike a metal tape measure that may slip or sag if not properly supported at both ends.
Not only do these devices deliver better accuracy than regular tape measures, but they also can be recalibrated. Many laser distance measures provide the ability to measure area, volume, or even triangular shapes. Plus, their compact size makes them easy to carry, store, and use.
Tips for Using a Laser Distance Measure
Laser measures are impressive tools that can make it easier to take long measurements. However, as the distance between objects increases, any slight alteration to the laser measure can change the measurement. To help ensure that the laser measure is lined up properly, use a piece of painter’s tape or a sticky note as a target.
Outdoor measurements with a laser measure can also be difficult because the laser can get lost in bright sunlight, making it hard to see if it’s properly aligned. Some laser measures have a built-in viewfinder or an external viewfinder to help users locate the laser and line it up.
After using the laser measure, make sure to properly clean it. These tools rely on the uninterrupted beam of light, so any dirt or debris on the tool can block a portion of the laser, reducing the accuracy of the tool.
- For accurate measurements, consider using a small target, like a sticky note, on the opposite side of the distance being measured.
- Use a viewfinder to help track down the laser on the target surface in bright light.
- Before putting it away in a tool box, clean the laser measure to continue to get the best results.
FAQs About Laser Distance Measures
Before deciding on a new laser distance measure, you may have a few lingering questions. The following answers to some frequently asked questions may help you make a more informed decision about which tool is right for you.
Q. How does a laser measure work?
A laser measure essentially emits light in a concentrated beam, then measures the time it takes for the light to hit an object and reflect back to the laser measure. Through this process, it is able to determine the distance between the laser measure and the object it’s pointed toward.
Q. Can a laser measure replace a tape measure?
A traditional tape measure is still a better option for short measurements because it takes less time to set up, but there are hybrid laser measures that incorporate a traditional tape measure into the laser measure, providing users with the best of both tools.
Q. How accurate is a laser distance measurer?
An average laser distance measurer is capable of accurately measuring a distance to within 1/8 inch or even 1/16 inch at a distance of 50 feet.
Q. Can you use a laser distance measurer outside?
Yes, a laser distance measurer can be used outside, but bright sunlight can impair the ability to see the laser dot. Moreover, other factors can interfere with the reading, such as falling leaves or blowing dust and debris. Consider using a telescopic optical viewfinder, tripod, or a targeting camera for better outdoor results.
Q. How do you calibrate a laser distance measurer?
To calibrate a laser distance measurer, refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines. Each model may have a different calibration method, such as a detailed manual process or an automatic process. Some laser measures may require professional calibration.
Instead of opting for a traditional tape measure that can be difficult to manage with just one person, a laser measure can be easy to use, and the results of the measurement can be stored in the device, uploaded to a computer, or transferred through Bluetooth to any compatible tablet, computer, or mobile device.
These impressive tools release a concentrated beam of light that reflects off the intended object to measure the length and width of a room, the size of a window, or the distance between two fence posts. The light reflects back, and the laser measure determines the distance by measuring the time it takes for the light to shoot out and bounce back. If the laser measure will be used outside, make sure to invest in an outdoor model to help ensure that it is better protected from extreme temperatures, moisture, or dust.