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HomeD-I-YWhat Is a Laser Level and How Does It Work?

What Is a Laser Level and How Does It Work?

Modern construction methods have come far along if you would compare it to the methods used during the days of yore, with modern technology enabling trusty tools to evolve with better functionality. Power tools and the laser level are fine examples of tools that have evolved to be more functional. But what is a laser level and how does it work?

Modern construction tools come in various forms and sizes, with the smallest fitting in the smallest pocket of your tool belt, and the largest one that needs its own space in the construction site. These tools play an integral part in the construction industry and are humanity’s partner when it comes to infrastructure development.

Modern Construction Tools

Construction tools can be categorized into three basic categories, each having their set of purpose, but some can work together to do another set of tasks. The three basic categories are:

Hand Tools

These are your screwdrivers, hammers, crimpers, and wrenches. Basically, anything that can fit in your handyman’s tool belt.

Power Tools

These tools are often powered either by electricity or hydraulics which get the job done much faster than manual labor. Fine examples of power tools include nail guns, circular saws, and power drills.


The larger category–mostly because of size–these tools are used to cut, grind, and shape construction materials before they are installed. These usually require a larger and a more permanent space than hand tools and power tools.

What Is a Level?

A level is a device that is used for establishing the horizontal plane and can be used in multiple applications. Basically, this device tells you if the thing that you are working on is dead flat, or if it has an incline that you need to fix.

A level is made up of a small glass or plastic tube that contains a colored liquid, often alcohol-based, and has markings near the right and left boundaries that indicate whether or not you have achieved the horizontal levelness that you are looking for. Usually, the forming bubble should be located at the center of the boundary markers for a plane to be declared level.

Levels are often heavily used in both construction and surveying, although a surveyor’s level looks very different from the handheld level that handymen use. A surveyor’s level is often equipped with a telescope and a spirit level. It is usually mounted on a tripod.

This level is used to check the heights of distant reference points in relation to a closer benchmark; both are sighted thru the telescope. You can often see these during road construction and property surveillance. A surveyor’s level is the precursor to the laser level as the two look more alike than the handyman’s level.

What Is a Laser Level?

So, what is a laser level and how does it work? Laser levels are not that modern per se as the concept has been around since laser was born, but it is only until the last decade where its practical applications were fully realized. As previously mentioned, laser levels look like a surveyor’s level and are usually mounted on a tripod as well.

Laser levels use, or rather projects, a beam of light that is used as a reference line to determine the horizontal plane. These beams of light eventually evolved into lasers and have since become more powerful to allow laser levels to be used outdoors.

How Does a Laser Level Work?

A laser level is a construction tool that utilizes laser beams shot through a diode projector that is affixed on a tripod to determine the accuracy of the horizontal or vertical plane, especially when constructing vital housing elements. These levels have two basic components that can be found regardless of the type of laser level you would be using.

These two components are the leveling base and the leveling system. The leveling base rests on a flat surface or a tripod, while the leveling system can use either an automatic level or a spirit level which is often attached to the units. Also found inside a laser level is a set of diodes which is used to generate the lasers it emits.

Some laser levels would have a mini-computer on the housing that does the computation for you, while some laser levers would have curved sighting scopes and adjustable tripods. Others still would eliminate the scope component and can just project lasers towards the work surface.

Types of Laser Levers

Given that the modern laser level can be used in more ways than one, it can be ascertained that it can come in the following forms or systems:


These lasers produce a single red or green dot that serves as a reference on a wall or work surface. Some systems can project multiple dots or points at the same time.


These laser levels project either a horizontal or a vertical reference line and are often used to align objects or design elements, as well as mark the level lines when needed.


This kind of laser level projects laser lines in a wider angle than line lasers.


This level projects a combination of lines and points to provide the most accurate reference points that a construction crew would need.


These lasers are the newest type of laser levels and are larger than the previous types of laser levels. Planes and lines are projected all around, and the intersections are considered as a point which makes it easier to create reference points.

Laser Level Applications

The laser level can be used in a variety of ways, and some of its more practical applications include the following:

  • Align walls and windows, as well as cabinets and shelving solutions
  • Leveling of floors
  • Checks the heights of windows and doors
  • Installation of railings, facia boards and even dropped ceilings
  • Land or property surveillance
  • Aligns masonry and columns, as well as fences and posts
  • Establishes site grades and contours, especially if used for drainage and farming projects
  • Checks the alignments of billboards for ad placements
  • Sets the boundaries between the road and land properties
  • Used for infrastructure building, i.e., bridges and roads
  • Used for hanging pictures on walls and paintings as well

Laser levels can be used in several construction applications, but it is not always limited within the construction industry. Some industries can also make use of this device as well. This tool is convenient, especially if your job requires you to be accurate and precise with your measurement, as the laser can give you details with minimal errors.


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