are cheap laser tape measures accurate

Are Cheap Laser Tape Measures Accurate? (3 Models Tested)

How can you know if a cheap laser tape measure is accurate? How can you tell if any laser tape measure is accurate? After all there is no physical tape measure to see. Do you just trust the laser tape measure to give you the right answer?

Paying a few hundred dollars/pounds/euros for a laser tape measure you would expect it to be accurate. But what if you are paying less than 50 dollars/pounds/euros? Can these cheap laser tape measures be accurate?

You can look at many reviews. You can look at the specifications from the manufacturers. You can talk to friends and family for their opinion. But the only way you will really know if the laser tape measure is accurate is to test it. And that is what I have done with 3 of the cheapest laser tape measures I could find on Amazon.

Back in October 2021 I sat at home and bought 3, brand new cheap laser tape measures from Amazon for them to deliver the next day. These were the laser tape measures that I would be testing to see if they were accurate. If these cheap laser tape measures are not accurate then they are not worth buying.

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Which 3 cheap laser tape measures were chosen?

I chose 3 cheap laser tape measures that are currently available on the Amazon website. I picked the bestselling one, the best choice one and one that was on special offer. All three of these laser tape measures were under £26.00. All three have a range of at least 40m (130ft) and have a claimed accuracy within 2mm (1/16”).

The best seller laser tape measure available was the Mileseey 50m Laser Tape Measure. I paid £25.97 for this laser tape measure in October 2021. To check out the Mileseey laser tape measure use this link to Amazon.

The recommended laser tape measure available was the Atolla 60m Laser Tape Measure. I paid £19.99 for this laser tape measure in October 2021. To check out the Atolla laser tape measure use this link to Amazon.

The third laser tape measure that was on special offer is the Wesco 40m Laser Tape Measure. I paid just £16.99 for this laser tape measure in October 2021. To check out the Wesco laser tape measure use this link to Amazon.

These three cheap laser tape measures are going to be put through their paces and tested against a control laser tape measure. The reference laser tape measure I will be using is the Leica Disto A5 that I have owned since new in 2007. I know that this laser tape measure is accurate as it has been checked over short distances (less than 1m (3ft)) and long distances (greater than 100m (300ft)).

The comparable reference laser tape measure today would be the Leica Disto D510. Checking the current price for the Leica Disto D510 it is over $700 or £450. The laser tape measures that are being tested here are a tenth of that price. Can they really be accurate?

To be able to test for accuracy they first need to be assessed if they are any good. There is no point having a laser tape measure that can’t measure off any surfaces!!! So, what makes a good laser tape measure?

What is a good cheap laser tape measure?

A good laser tape measure will be one that:-

  • Can measure a distance to various surfaces.
  • Can measure a distance of at least the quoted range.
  • Can measure a distance within the quoted accuracy tolerance.

What Surfaces can these cheap laser tapes measure to?

Each of these laser tape measures used to measure to a variety of different surfaces. Each surface was 20m away. Some of the surfaces should present a challenge to these laser tape measures but they are surfaces that you may well need to be measuring to.

The table below shows each of the laser tape measures and whether they can measure a distance to certain surfaces.

Object Being Measured.MileseeyAtollaWesco
Beige WallYesYesYes
Grey WallYesYesYes
Black Ironwork (cast metal)YesYesYes
Galvanised MetalYesYesYes
Red Plastic FencingYesYesYes
Black PlasticYesYesYes

What about the quoted range of Cheap Laser Tape Measure?

No laser tape measure can be considered accurate if it can’t measure the range that is quoted. It is also very disappointing to not be able to measure the distance that you want because the range is insufficient.

To find out whether these cheap laser tape measures can measure the range quoted I tested each of them on the same beige brick wall. The idea being that I kept taking measurements to the wall and keep going further and further away from the wall until I couldn’t get a measurement anymore.

The wall I was using for this test is in an industrial unit that measures about 60m long and just over 20m wide. The important point is that all the laser tape measures were all measuring to the same surface. In this case the beige-coloured brick wall.

Which of the three laser tape measures passed the range test?

Laser Tape MeasureMeasure Quoted RangeMax Distance Measured
Mileseey 50m Laser Tape MeasureClose to Quoted Range48.728m
Atolla 60m Laser Tape MeasureNo45.682m
Wesco 40m Laser Tape MeasureYes48.208m

Range for these laser tape measures is often quoted in favourable conditions. So, achieving them in real world conditions can prove difficult. The range may have been greater if I had done the test in darker conditions. But that is not what usually happens. We take measurements all through the day. When we need too.

Are these cheap laser tape measures accurate?

If a laser tape measure isn’t accurate then it is as much use as a chocolate teapot!!!

The only way to know if these cheap laser tape measures are accurate is to test them side by side. We need to know that they all give the same answer. We also need to know that that answer is correct. For this we need a control measurement device.

All these 3 cheap laser tape measures have been tested straight out of the box. Just like the way you would use them at home.

I will be using my Leica Disto A5 as a reference for this test. I have used it for many years and know what it can and can’t take measurements to. I also know that it is accurate over a variety of distances.

This is what these three cheap laser tape measures will be tested against. We should find that all the measurements taken are the same.

For this test I have measured across the industrial unit from a window to the wall. All the laser tape measures were lined up next to one another with the base of the unit against a reference bar.

A measurement was taken with each of the laser tape measures when they were all placed with their bases against the reference bar. The reference bar was parallel to the opposite wall. Therefore, all the measurements taken should be identical.

All the laser tape measures were placed next to each other. As shown in the picture below. This picture also shows the measurements that were taken. All these laser tape measures give distances from the base of the unit (as standard) so all the measured distances are from the bar to the wall opposite.

Accuracy of Measurements from the cheap laser tape measures.

All these cheap laser tape measures can give distances accurate to within 2mm of the reference distance from the Leica Disto A5. There is in total a 3mm inaccuracy between three cheap laser tape measures.

 Leica Disto A5MileseeyAtollaWesco
Distance Measured21.280m21.280m21.278m21.281m
Difference to Leica Disto A50mm0mm2mm1mm

These measurements are conducted straight out of the box. There has been no need to adjust or self-calibrate them. If you are buying these laser tape measures, you would expect them to be right. To give you the correct distances, without having to do any adjustments prior to use.

The most accurate in this test is the Mileseey S2. The Mileseey measured the same distance as the Leica Disto A5.

Next was the Wesco with a difference of 1mm and the least accurate in this test was the Atolla.

In this test the Atolla T201 is the most inaccurate. But in its defence the tolerance quoted for this laser tape measure is plus or minus 2mm. But as it also failed to measure to the quoted range, this is one laser tape measure that I wouldn’t buy.

Which of these cheap laser tape measures is the most accurate?

Of these three cheap laser tape measures the Mileseey S2 is the most accurate. It was the one that gave the same distance measurement as the reference laser tape measure. It is the one that I would pick if I was buying a cheap laser tape measure.

I was impressed by two of these laser tape measures. The Mileseey and the Wesco. These had a comparable accuracy to the reference laser tape measure.

But I was not impressed by the Atolla T201. It was the least accurate of the three, but it was the inadequacy of the range that disappointed.

If you want an accurate cheap laser tape measure then my recommendation would be to get the Mileseey S2.

Laser Distance Meter 50M/165ft, Mileseey IP54 Laser Measure with 2 Bubble Levels,Portable Laser Rangefinder Digital Distance Meter with 4 Line LCD Display and Bigger Clear Backlight (Battery Included)
  • ✦ PRACTICAL FUNCTION & HIGHER ACCURACY - Measuring range 50m/165ft,accuracy: ±1/16 inch,unit:m / in / ft / ft + in,and distance, area, volume, Pythagoras (indirect measurement), continuous measurement, addition and subtraction, maximum values and minimum, can meet your different needs.With unique 2 Bubble Levels, providing more precise measurement compared to one bubble.
  • ✦ LARGE LCD BACKLIGHT SCREEN & Mute Setting - Large backlight screen provides users with a better visibility.Mute setting allows your different needs .With accuracy up to ±1/16inch, the portable laser measure can perfectly finish a measure task ranging from 0.16 to 165 feet. Also 4 interchangeable units among m / in / ft/ ft+in are designed for people with different reading habits.
  • ✦ EASY TO USE - Handy and compact mode provide good operating feeling; IP54 waterproof level and dust-proof function protect the laser distance measure to the maximum extent,It's suitable to use everywhere.
  • ✦ WIDE APPLICATION - With multiple measurement modes like distance, volume, area measurement, continuous measurement and measurement by Pythagoras, the laser level is ideal for home, construction and industries, especially in large areas such as rooms, apartments, buildings, real estates, factories, warehouses, etc.
  • ✦ Package Contents & Warranty - 1*S2 50m/165ft Laser Distance Meter; 2 AAA Batteries; Package Box; User Manual; 30-Day RETURN refund guarantee.
Leica Disto D510 Laser Distance Meter
  • Precise distance measurement - quicker than using a measuring tape
  • You can set it to use different tilt units. Select in the settings “Units inclination” and choose between ° , %, in/ft and mm/m
  • Full colour screen and digital Pointfinder with 4x zoom - perfect for outdoor use
  • Extremely robust, designed for use on construction sites. IP65 Rating
  • Bluetooth Smart Ready so it easily transfers measuring information to other devices such as the iPad and iPhone simply and can be used with the Leica Disto Sketch app

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Review of the Mileseey S2 laser tape measure

The purpose and importance of laser tape measures

Is a laser tape measure worth it?

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