As seen in:
DEWALT
Self-Leveling
Qooltek
Multipurpose
HAMMERHEAD
Compact
AdirPro
Cube
Bosch
3 Plane
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Good

Self-leveling within four degrees. Range is 100 - 165 feet, depending on mode and other tools used. Includes an acoustic ceiling mount.

Consistently straight line. Includes tape and bubble level. Very inexpensive.

Easy to operate. Multi-purpose clamp included. Self-leveling with a helpful red LED light indicator.

Includes a tripod and padded case. Range is 65 feet. Audible accuracy alert.

Advanced laser projection system creates three beams. Range can reach 265 feet in pulse mode (with the right receiver).

Bad

Pricey. Does not function as well in outdoor light. (This is a common flaw).

No clamp/no way to attach a stand. Must be calibrated by owner.

Range is decent but not extraordinary.

The audible accuracy alert (a beeping sound) is annoying to some owners.

Accuracy at a distance could be improved.

Bottom Line

Bulky yet lightweight, this revered product delights amateurs and pros alike. It's the best available.

A low-cost laser line that projects a single beam. This basic tool is designed for simple projects.

An inexpensive tool with excellent specs and high customer satisfaction rates.

Both amateurs and pros find this affordable package to be very useful. The best value for the lowest price.

A high-end, professional tool for a lofty price. Definitely overkill for the DIY worker.

How we decide
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Products received from manufacturers
111
Models Considered
33
Hours Spent
2
Experts Interviewed
183
Consumers Consulted

Best Line Lasers

You could pay less than twenty dollars or more than four hundred dollars for a line laser. Clearly, there's an enormous amount of diversity in this market. With that in mind, our five finalists aren't in direct competition with each other. Rather, each is a "best of breed" – the top pick within a particular price bracket. The line lasers on our shortlist offer ideal solutions for different groups of people. We're confident that one of the following will suit your needs.

Products we Considered

DEWALT
Self-Leveling
Qooltek
Multipurpose
HAMMERHEAD
Compact
AdirPro
Cube
Bosch
3 Plane

Considerations

Design & Construction

We start our review by looking at the physical aspects of each product, focusing on noteworthy features such as screw threads for stands and dirt/water-resistant casings.

Laser Projection Type, Range & Accuracy

A good line laser could be used for putting up a simple shelf, dry lining a room, or installing a suspended ceiling in a warehouse. Therefore, the type of projection, distance, and accuracy it provides impacts your buying decision.

Features & Capabilities

In this part of our ratings, we look at any important "extras" offered by the products, including magnetic bases and self-leveling functions. We also assess the types of tasks each line laser is best suited for.

Price & Performance

In the last part of our line laser review, we look at what each model costs and, with the help of owner feedback, assess how well each performs in real-world situations.

Considerations

Design & Construction

Qooltek Multipurpose Laser Level

The Qooltek Multipurpose Laser Level combines several useful elements in one low-cost tool. It looks much like a standard spirit level, except there's an eight-foot tape at one end and a small laser emitter at the other. Conveniently, it weighs less than six ounces and is only 7.5 inches long, but there's no clamp or way to attach a stand. One owner said he attached his to the wall with a bit of putty. This is a workable solution, but it's not a particularly neat one.

HAMMERHEAD HLCL01 Compact Self-Leveling Cross

The Hammerhead HLCL01 line laser measures roughly 3.5 x 2 x 3 inches. At around 1.5 pounds, it's heavier than it looks, but it's a compact package with a small number of controls arranged neatly on the top and side. It comes with a clever multi-purpose clamp that affixes to all kinds of things at virtually any angle. The base is threaded to fit any 1/4-inch tripod (not supplied).

AdirPro Cube 3D Self Levelling Cross Line Laser

At just 2.5 inches in each direction and weighing only half a pound, the AdirPro Cube 3D line laser level is one of the smallest units you'll find. And yet, as we'll see later, it lacks nothing in terms of accuracy and technology. The plastic casing has rubber ribs for "extra friction," though it's not immediately apparent how that would be useful. An undoubtedly valuable addition is the included tripod. This is a design feature that, in most cases, you would have to pay extra for.

DEWALT DW088K Self-Leveling Cross Line Laser

The DeWalt DW088K line laser is sizable at 9.5 x 9.5 x 4.5 inches. Much of the bulk exists to protect the internal mechanism from hazards in the working environment, including accidental drops. Fortunately, it's quite lightweight at only one pound. The IP54 casing is resistant to water and debris. As is common, there's a 1/4-inch thread to accommodate a tripod, but a tripod is not included with this purchase.

Bosch GLL 3-80 3 Plane Leveling Alignment Laser

Given the technology it incorporates, the Bosch GLL 3-80 Alignment Laser is relatively compact, weighing about 1.5 pounds and measuring 6.5 x 3 x 5.5 inches. It's an unusual shape at first glance, but as we'll see in a moment, this is largely to accommodate a laser projection system that's more advanced than what is offered by most competitors. The body moldings incorporate fittings for the clever BM1 positioning device; this virtually doubles the overall size. The alternative is to use a tripod. The Bosch accepts 1/4- and 5/8-inch threaded models.

In most cases, you would have to pay extra for a tripod. However, the AdirPro Cube 3D Line Laser package includes a tripod in its low price.
Considerations

Laser Projection Type, Range & Accuracy

Qooltek Multipurpose Laser Level

The Qooltek is among the simplest of line lasers, projecting a single beam onto a surface for basic alignment purposes. By rotating the fitting on the end, you can set this beam to project a horizontal line, a vertical line, or a cross. The manufacturer doesn't quote a range, but most owners say it's good for around 15 feet, which is more than adequate for what it's intended for. Accuracy is claimed at "+/- 2 mm at 10 m and 25 m" which, frankly, doesn't make sense. This tool would be handy for simple tasks like hanging shelves, but you would want a higher-quality solution if you needed to maintain accuracy over a distance.

Like the Qooltek, the Hammerhead HLCL01 projects a single beam in a choice of three orientations. The manufacturer calls these three options "Level," "Plumb," and "Cross-Line" – three terms that are appropriate for this kind of device. The Hammerhead's range is quoted at 30 feet. Across that distance, accuracy is claimed to be within a quarter of an inch. Those are excellent specs for a low-cost laser, and we were initially a little skeptical. However, testing reveals that the Hammerhead is as precise as the manufacturer says it is.

More advanced line lasers offer two beams: one horizontal and one vertical. In the case of the AdirPro Cube, the vertical lasers project from both sides of the unit, effectively generating three lines. You can turn on one or the other, or you can project them simultaneously. Because the lines are at 90 degrees to each other, you can use them to square things up – a huge advantage! The AdirPro has an effective range of up to 65 feet (depending on lighting conditions) and a quoted accuracy of 2 mm at 10 meters (1/16 inch at over 32 feet).

The DeWalt DW088K is another line laser that generates two beams. Like the AdirPro, you can use just the horizontal line, just the vertical line, or both. In "standard" mode, the DeWalt has an impressive range of up to 100 feet. However, this line laser can also operate in "pulse" mode. In combination with the appropriate laser line detector (available as an extra), the product's range extends up to 165 feet! This feature is probably only of benefit to professionals; most DIY owners won't need a range this big. The DeWalt's accuracy is claimed to be 1/8 inch at 30 feet.

Not satisfied with two independent beams, the Bosch GLL 3-80 provides you with three: one horizontal and two vertical. Each beam runs a full 360 degrees, which gives you a great deal of versatility. For example, it's possible to get lines on all four walls of a room, across the ceiling, and along the floor. In "standard" mode, you get a range of 65 feet. Like the DeWalt, however, the Bosch has a "pulse" mode that extends the range to a remarkable 265 feet (given the right receiver). Accuracy is a quarter of an inch across the standard range, which is very good, but it's not better than some rivals.

More advanced line lasers offer two beams: one horizontal and one vertical. The AdirPro projects vertical lasers from both sides, effectively generating three lines.
Richard
Expert Consultant
Richard
Hardware Store Owner, Do-It-Yourself Guru

Richard is a seasoned small business owner in the hardware industry. He also owns a pool maintenance business and serves as an advisor on groundskeeping committees for a number of prominent organizations. He’s a regionally renowned safe cracker/locksmith expert, and in his spare time, he renovates and repairs vaults, safes, appliances, and a number of other products.

Considerations

Features & Capabilities

Qooltek Multipurpose Laser Level

You don't get much in the way of extras with a cheap line laser like the Qooltek. In fact, the only stand-out features are the tape and bubble level. There's no clamp, no socket for a tripod, and no magnetic base. Owners must find a level surface to rest it on (or some other solution). This laser wouldn't be suited to a large job like framing a room, but it's just right for hanging pictures or putting up shelves. The Qooltek requires three AG13 button cell batteries, which are included.

HAMMERHEAD HLCL01 Compact Self-Leveling Cross

While the Hammerhead HLCL01 is quite basic, its major advantage over the Qooltek (apart from the clamp) is that it's self-leveling. If you get it within four degrees of horizontal, it will make the remaining adjustment for you. If it's outside that range, a red LED light will tell you so. If you want to use it out of level for any reason, there's a manual mode to disengage it. The Hammerhead is a good solution for all types of general DIY projects. Its range isn't as great as some, and though it will project quite a large cross, it doesn't offer the twin beams that professionals demand. It comes in a soft bag with the clamp and an instruction booklet. Conveniently, it requires two ordinary AA batteries, which are supplied.

AdirPro Cube 3D Self Levelling Cross Line Laser

The AdirPro Cube offers self-leveling within three degrees. An audible alert sounds when it's off by more than that. Some owners find the beeping sound a bit annoying, but the tool is easy to use. Once again, there's a lock-out option if you want lines that aren't level. As a package, the AdirPro offers all the features a home user could want and many that would suit professionals – particularly painters, decorators, and interior re-modelers. A tripod is included, as are three AAA batteries, instructions, and a padded case.

DEWALT DW088K Self-Leveling Cross Line Laser

As you might expect from a company with such a stellar reputation, DeWalt's DW088K line laser is self-leveling within four degrees. There's a manual override if you want angled lines. The DeWalt's built-in pivot is extremely useful and boasts an outstanding feature that most products don't: a magnetic base. If you want to stick a laser line to a metal rail, you can do so with the DeWalt DW088K. Notably, an acoustic ceiling mount is also included. This tool comes in a hard-sided, protective box with three AA batteries, the acoustic mount, and instructions.

Bosch GLL 3-80 3 Plane Leveling Alignment Laser

Working within a range of four degrees, the Bosch GLL 3-80's auto-leveling system is similar to those of our other finalists. There's the expected option to use it out of alignment, but there's also a pendulum lock. The lock activates automatically when you turn the line laser off, minimizing the possibility of damage when it's being moved around. With the Bosch, you also get a pair of laser-enhancing glasses – a thoughtful, low-cost addition – and a superb BM1 positioning device. The positioning device may seem complicated at first, but it actually makes it easier for users to mount the tool anywhere they choose. The Bosch is definitely aimed at the professional, be it a flooring installer, ceiling installer, carpenter, plumber, or tiler. You could certainly use it to line up a couple of shelves, but that would be overkill! This product also comes with a hard case and four AA batteries.

The DeWalt's built-in pivot is extremely useful and includes an outstanding feature that most products don't: a magnetic base.
Considerations

Price & Performance

Qooltek Multipurpose Laser Level

Given that you get a tape, bubble level, and laser line, it's no surprise that the $12 Qooltek is extremely popular. It's not the most accurate or versatile line laser around, but the line is always straight. The main drawback is that the laser is not level on delivery; it needs to be calibrated. This is easily done by turning a screw, but a number of owners were disappointed that the extra step was necessary. To be fair, the majority are perfectly satisfied with the performance they get from this ridiculously cheap line laser.

HAMMERHEAD HLCL01 Compact Self-Leveling Cross

The Hammerhead HLCL01 costs $49. At this price, many view it as the ideal DIY line laser. With a range and accuracy that are perfectly adequate for the work it's intended for, the Hammerhead is a neat little package that's easy to operate. It's a popular model with few critics. One or two say it functions poorly outdoors, but even high-end line lasers struggle in outdoor lighting. A few have questioned the Hammerhead's long-term durability, but in truth, breakdowns are rare. Most owners are completely delighted with this product, and more than one have said that it's a pro-grade tool for DIY money.

AdirPro Cube 3D Self Levelling Cross Line Laser

At $84, the AdirPro Cube isn't a cheap line laser, but it gives you capabilities that are a match for many so-called "professional" competitors. It generates two independent beams, making it more versatile than the Qooltek and Hammerhead. And for such a small unit, accuracy and rage are quite impressive. The inclusion of a tripod in the package is unusual, and it only adds to the value of the tool. In use, it's hard to find anyone who has a bad word to say about it. It's simple to set up and, while some find the beeping sound to be a little annoying, it certainly does let you know when it's aligned properly.

DEWALT DW088K Self-Leveling Cross Line Laser

DeWalt has a reputation for excellent quality across everything it makes, and the DW088K line laser is no exception. It will cost you $144, but that's quite competitive when compared to other models at this performance level. One important item we have noted is that some descriptions can be misleading. The DeWalt DW088K produces two laser lines (like the AdirPro), not three. If you want three laser lines, you need the DeWalt DW089K, which costs significantly more than this model. Not surprisingly, independent reviewers and owners rate the DW088K highly. The only complaint we've found relates to a weakness outdoors, and as previously noted, that's a common flaw in line lasers. The use of a detector and the DeWalt's pulse mode improves this handicap considerably.

Bosch GLL 3-80 3 Plane Leveling Alignment Laser

By now it should be clear that the Bosch GLL 3-80 is a high-end, professional tool. Devices like this don't come cheap. Indeed, the Bosch costs $440. For your money, you get the kind of range necessary for fitting out offices, factories, and warehouses. There's nothing to stop you from using it at home, but frankly, you could get a DIY-rated model for a fraction of the price. This line laser is designed for those who need one on a daily basis. Most owners find it to be a well-made time-saver with bright, clear beams. Criticisms are few, though some people (including us) would like to see better accuracy over distance.

In the majority of scenarios, both DIY and professional users find that the DeWalt DW088K Self-Leveling Cross Line Laser offers everything they need.

Best of the Best

The best line laser on our list of fabulous contenders is the DeWalt DW088K. The Bosch GLL 3-80 came close to clinching the title, but although it's a superb tool with greater range, it's no more accurate than the Bosch, and it costs a whole lot more. In the majority of scenarios, both DIY and professional users will find the DeWalt offers everything they need.

At 9.5 inches tall (and the same from front to back), it's far from the smallest of line lasers. However, it incorporates a clever pivoting base that's magnetic and has a 1/4-inch thread for a tripod. You could set this device up just about anywhere! The hard case gives the internals plenty of protection, and it's the only one of our finalists rated IP54 against water and dust ingress.

Unlike cheap line lasers that only project one beam, the DeWalt DW088K offers two beams that can work independently or together. It's a set-up that's useful whether you want to put up a simple shelf or tile an entire room. With a range of 100 feet in "standard" mode and, when using an appropriate laser detector, 165 feet in "pulse" mode, it's capable of handling really big spaces. Accuracy is also impressive: 1/8 inch at 30 feet. The DeWalt levels itself once you get it within four degrees and has a flashing light to warn you when it's outside of that range. Need a line that's out of level? No problem. Just use the manual lock-out.

As you'd expect from DeWalt, the DW088K is put together extremely well. It's designed to take the kind of knocks that are inevitable in this type of work. With purchase, you receive a case, three AAA batteries, and instructions – although the DeWalt is so easy to set up that the latter are hardly necessary. In use, almost no one, from home owners to professional contractors, has a bad word to say about the DeWalt DW088K, our Best of the Best contender. Neither do we.
Best of the Best
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The DeWalt DW088K's dual beams work independently or together. It's a set-up that's useful whether you want to put up a simple shelf or tile an entire room.

Best Bang for your Buck

One model stands out as the product that offers the best value for the money. That model is the AdirPro Cube 3D.

If you just want an occasional straight line, the ultra-cheap Qooltek is a useful gadget to have in your toolbox. For the money, the Hammerhead is also a very good single-line laser level. But the AdirPro bridges the difficult gap between DIY and pro tools, offering features that you'd normally find only on more expensive devices. It even includes a tripod, which is a rarity for an inexpensive line laser like this. Almost all other manufacturers expect you to buy one as an extra, and when purchased alone, a decent tripod could cost upwards of $30 in and of itself.

At only 2.5 inches in each direction, this is a neat little cube. In spite of its size, it generates two lasers (independently switchable) and will project them 65 feet with remarkable accuracy (1/16 inch at 32 feet). What's more, it's a self-leveling tool that will beep at you to let you know if it's not within range.

All this for $84: a tripod, a nicely padded bag, three AAA batteries, instructions, and a line laser. It's a superb deal. Our declaration that the AdirPro is the Best Bang for Your Buck is reinforced by owners, the majority of whom are absolutely delighted with this bargain line laser.

Best Bang for your Buck
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A tripod, a padded bag, three AAA batteries, instructions, and a line laser that bridges the gap between DIY and professional grade: what's not to like about the inexpensive AdirPro Cube 3D?
The team that worked on this review
  • Bob
    Bob
    Writer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Editor
  • Jasmin
    Jasmin
    Operations
  • Jimi
    Jimi
    Product Analyst
  • Adrian
    Adrian
    Senior Engineer