People probably didn’t suspect that upon the advent of the laser, it would become so crucial to the efficiency of every day building projects. First it was the laser level, and then laser measuring tapes hit the market with them now being common among professional craftsmen. The best laser measuring tapes are comparably as easy to use as the traditional models, compact enough to fit in your pocket, and able to give quick and accurate measurements.
All of the above is pretty standard with laser tape measures. However, what separates a good laser tape measure from a great one is range. The range of a laser tape measure is what makes them so much handier than the traditional model, so you don’t want a laser that doesn’t have any range to it. Thankfully, even the lower end laser tape measure still has at least twice the range of their traditional peers.
Capable of measuring up to 165 feet, the Dewalt DW03050 can go the distance. However, while short distances can reach accuracy of up to 1/16 in., when it comes to measurements between 130 feet and the maximum distance, that accuracy becomes 5/16 in. Although the accuracy is great, you will still need a target plate to get accurate numbers.
With a button to automatically calculate volume, it just gives the DW03050 added utility. It is also convenient as it saves the last five measurements so you don’t need to stop and write your measurements down. However, while it has sheer distance on its side, it lacks some of the many extra features that are included in other laser measure brands.
As for the device itself, it is built with that Dewalt sturdiness with a back-lit screen and housing that can stand up to a few bumps. Like most Dewalt tools, you can slip it in your pocket or store it in your tool box and not worry about it breaking on you.
This Bosch model looks, hands down, to be the most complex laser tape measure out there. However, its basic function is easy to use. The DLR130K measures up to 130 feet and gets it accurate within 1/16 in. Aside from just measuring distance, it has three other modes including area, volume, and continuous measurement. This does add more buttons on, but once you learn to use it, you get a versatile range of measurements. Furthermore, all these measurements can be taken in both imperial and metric measurements and it has the ability to convert measurements when needed as well as store them.
While it does have a lot of buttons, it features an ergonomic grip and is extremely light weight. One nice feature that you don’t find with many laser measuring tapes is that is vibrates when measurements are done instead of beeps in case you are wearing hearing protection. It is the little details and features that help this model stand out from the pack.
Like the Bosch DLR130K, the Tacklife Advanced Laser Tape Measure comes with a lot of buttons, but it also comes with a lot of features. It also comes in models that have a maximum distance of 131 feet as well as models that measure up to 196 feet, both giving highly accurate results with 1/8 of an inch. (click here for this awesome tool!) Alongside distance, the Tacklife is also a handy tool for measuring area, volume, continuous measurements, and indirect measurements via the Pythagorean theorem.
Although the buttons can be a little less than intuitive, once you figure them out, it has a huge LCD, back-lit screen than makes the numbers easy to see even if your eyesight is going a little bad. The rubberized case also helps you feel a little safer than just its reasonable IP rating of 54.
Laser tape measures don’t need to be just for professional craftsmen. Sometimes you don’t need one with a huge price tag and a ten tons of functionality. Sometimes, you just need a laser tape measure that measures distance and does it well. The GLM 15 by Bosch is the model for the causal craftsmen. It has one button and pushing it will cause it to measure distance in continuous mode. It is worth noting that holding the button with cause the GLM 15 to hold that measurement as well.
Accurate with 1/8 in., the trade off with this model and its affordable price tag is that it only measures up to 50 feet. That still trounces the distance of a traditional tape measure, but it is significantly less than other laser models. Still, if you need more than 50 feet, you probably aren’t just a casual craftsmen. However, while it is sturdy enough to hang around in your tool box, it doesn’t have a back-lit screen so it can make using it in direct sunlight an issue.
As a significant step up from the aforementioned GLM 15, the Bosch GLM 35 is our top pick for the best all-around laser tape measure. It doesn’t matter if you are a casual craftsmen or work in construction, the Bosch GLM 35 has the functionality and simplicity that both professionals and causal builders can enjoy with a reasonable price tag.
While its maximum range at 120 feet is not the longest range among laser tape measures, it is by no means the shortest either. With accuracy within a 1/16 in., that is a pretty impressive distance and will work for most situations.
As for other functionality, the GLM 35 can measure distance, area, length, and volume as well as can take continuous measurements and do addition and subtraction for you. Unlike its sibling, the GLM 15, the GLM 35 has a back-lit screen while also having the same sturdiness that comes with all Bosch model laser measures.