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What is a Laser Level?

Shannon Kietzman
Shannon Kietzman

A laser level is a special tool used by do-it-yourselfers and construction workers to make sure an object being built or hung is level. There are many different types of levels, but a laser one combines a spirit level or a pendulum level with a laser. This combination makes it easier for the user to determine a straight and level line over a greater distance.

A spirit level involves looking at a bubble within a fluid to determine whether or not an object is level. When the bubble is located between two predetermined lines, the user knows the object being tested is straight. If the bubble is to the right or left of the lines, it is necessary to move one end of the object up or down in order to make it even.


As its name implies, a pendulum level involves using a weight on a string to determine whether or not an object is level. The pendulum will swing to the right or to the left if the object is not level. The goal is to make the weight hang straight down.

Both the spirit level and the pendulum level can be used without the laser addition, but the laser level makes it much easier for the user to see the level line. This is particularly helpful when hanging cabinets or artwork on walls. When the user finds a position that is level, the laser shines a line on the wall. In this way, the user can use the level to determine where nails should be placed or where the top or bottom of an object should be hung in order to make sure it is level.

Using a laser level is particularly important in cabinetry and in construction, since without one, the work being completed may be off-balance. A cabinet that is not level can result in objects falling from one side to the other. Similarly, care must be taken when building a home or other structure, or else the entire structure will turn out crooked. This is unpleasant to the eye and can place excessive stress on certain parts of the structure.

A surveyor also uses a laser level, which is typically placed on a tripod. It is then spun in order to create a horizontal plane. The beam projector uses a rotating head that contains a mirror that sweeps the beam horizontally and produces readable level vials. These can be manually adjusted with screws until the beam is level. The operator then carries a movable sensor to detect the beam and, when the sensor is in line with the beam, the level beeps and the different points on the terrain can be compared.

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