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Old 12-04-2015, 04:21 PM   #1
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Laser level that's like traditional bubble level?


Hi,
My dad has a traditional 4ft level with the green bubbles, but its old, nicked, and not as accurate as it once was. I want to get him a new one for Christmas. I'm looking at laser levels, but it seems like they are only useful for marking things like straight lines to hang paintings and such.

Are there laser levels that would be able to serve the same purpose as the bubble type? For example putting it on a surface to gauge how flat it is, or whether it is slanted.

Also, would I be able to get any such device for $50 or less without it being a piece of junk?

Thanks
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Old 12-04-2015, 05:25 PM   #2
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There are 2 foot laser levels with a built in bubble for close work. Whether you would call them trash or how accurate they are I can't say.
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Old 12-04-2015, 05:51 PM   #3
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We didn't have kids, and old enough to be on to grand kids by now, but if we had, and one of them asked what I really would like in this case, I would say get me a good 4' wood level that I can use for hanging doors, etc., I will use it to adjust the vials on my old aluminum one, then retire it for concrete or masonry work, or when I want to set some stakes in the yard. Lasers are great, love mine for some things, but, for general work around the house or whatever, it's hard to beat a plain old level, in my opinion anyway. I have a 4' wood level, Macklenburg Duncan I think, and I don't think they make them any more, but it and a couple of wood 2 footers get used a lot for the things I mentioned. Outdoors, I use my aluminum ones. Johnson, Mayes, and maybe Port Austin come to mind as far as where I would start. Toss in an aluminum 12-18" torpedo level if he doesn't have one and you'll have a happy dad.
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Old 12-04-2015, 06:03 PM   #4
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Adding a laser to a level to increase its functionality isn't necessarily an improvement, two different tools. If you wish to get him a better level, there are better ones out there, they just don't add on the laser. Since your question was interesting I did some searching and reading and here's a good link to review. Hope that helps, and you may have added a new item to my xmas list.
http://www.finehomebuilding.com/tool...-a-bubble.aspx

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Old 12-04-2015, 07:36 PM   #5
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any laser level thats under $50 wont be shooting truly level.. decent ones dont rely on a bubble.. they operate on a pendulum system that self levels...

ive seen the cheap laser levels like your talking about and they can be off by upwards of 1/2" on 30 ft



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Old 12-04-2015, 11:18 PM   #6
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If you want to get him a good level, go with a Stabila. You can barely get a torpedo level for that budget so you might have to up it a bit, but they're the ones the pickiest pros use.
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Old 12-05-2015, 08:41 AM   #7
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Gotta agree wouldn't trade my good level for a dozen lasers.
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Old 12-05-2015, 08:46 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodworkbykirk View Post
any laser level thats under $50 wont be shooting truly level.. decent ones dont rely on a bubble.. they operate on a pendulum system that self levels...

ive seen the cheap laser levels like your talking about and they can be off by upwards of 1/2" on 30 ft



I'm not disagreeing. Being off 1/2" in 30 feet or so is probably close enough for most projects.

The only time I use the silly thing is for grading or roughing in forms. When the time comes to get something level or plumb I am reaching for the old, 4 foot, bubble level.
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Old 12-05-2015, 11:09 AM   #9
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1/2" on 30 ft is terrible.. bare minimum 1/8 on 100 ft .


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Old 12-05-2015, 11:29 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colbyt View Post
I'm not disagreeing. Being off 1/2" in 30 feet or so is probably close enough for most projects.
???

Anyway back to the OP. I really think you're confusing the purpose of different types of levels. A carpenter's level and a laser level are two different things. Yes, they make carpenter's levels with a laser on it, I'm not sure that's what you'd want. A laser level is mostly for putting a reference line on a wall, for example. A carpenter's level is moved around to hold against doors, span across 2 sections (such as across two fence posts), etc.

What you might want to consider is one of the new electronic carpenter's levels. That might be more up his alley. Such as...
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Johnson-2...-204513506-_-N
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Old 12-05-2015, 11:45 AM   #11
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And by the way, unlike some people here apparently, I think laser levels are super handy. It would be hard to do some jobs without both a carpenter's level and a laser level.

I installed hundreds of feet of picture rail in a condominium hallway using the Bosch GLL2-45. The job would have been ridiculously hard without it. We were on a scaffold installing the picture rail (i.e. basically floor baseboard) at a 10' height off the floor. How do you get a dead level line down that hallway? Easy as pie with the laser level.

Another use is when installing tile. It gives me both a vertical and horizontal line for installing tile level, and also lining up vertical grout lines for subway tile, etc. You can put a bunch of lines on the wall or floor, but thinset tends to cover up the lines. Obviously not an issue with the laser level. This guy was off a little.
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_0vuJZhliRZ...g+Pics+157.jpg

Actually it's not just about perfection, it's about ease of use. That's easier than any other method, even if you're not into perfection.

Another use is getting any straight line (note I did not say level.) Let's say you want to hang a bunch of pictures along the wall going up your stairs. Just take that laser level, lock, then tilt it at whatever angle you want on its adjustable base, and voila - dead straight tilted line drawn on your wall for you. Now just tap in picture hangers anywhere along that line and they're all in synch. I'm not sure how this guy is lining things up, but you get the point.

http://www.homedepot.com/catalog/pro...dd91e_1000.jpg
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