How can you know if a cheap laser tape measure is any good? 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 any good is to test it against its rivals.
This is what I have done. I have bought 3, brand new cheap laser tape measures. I have tested them against each other and against a reference 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)).
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 best selling 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 an accuracy within 2mm (1/16”).
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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.
What is a good cheap laser tape measure?
What makes a laser tape measure good? For the purposes of this article, 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 tape measures work off?
The first criteria that these laser tape measures need to fulfil is to be able to measure to many surfaces. Any laser tape measure that can’t measure to multiple surfaces is useless, and therefore cannot be considered to be a good laser tape measure.
I have tested each of these laser tape measures at a distance of 20m (60ft) to a variety of surfaces to see if they can give a reading. Some of the surfaces should present a challenge to these laser tape measures.
The table below shows each of the laser tape measures and whether they can measure a distance to certain surfaces.
|Object Being Measured.||Mileseey||Atolla||Wesco|
|Black Ironwork (cast metal)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Red Plastic Fencing||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Can these cheap laser tape measures get the quoted range?
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.
A beige (or off-white) brick wall is one of the best surfaces that you can use for taking measurements with laser tape measures.
Which of the three laser tape measures passed the range test?
|Laser Tape Measure||Measure Quoted Range||Max Distance Measured|
|Mileseey 50m Laser Tape Measure||Close to Quoted Range||48.728m|
|Atolla 60m Laser Tape Measure||No||45.682m|
|Wesco 40m Laser Tape Measure||Yes||48.208m|
Of these cheap laser tape measures, I found that the Atolla 60m Laser Tape Measure was the worst of the three for measurement range. This is woefully short of the claimed range of 60m.
Of the three tested it has the shortest range. I tried several times to get a greater distance but just couldn’t.
The Atolla 60m Laser Tape Measure is also the smallest of the three tested here.
Surprisingly, the Wesco 40m laser tape measure outperformed its stated range. It also matched the Mileseey for range.
While the Milessey did not reach the range quoted, it is still close to the range quoted.
Range for these devices 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 all you have is an expensive paperweight!!!
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.
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.
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 A5||Mileseey||Atolla||Wesco|
|Difference to Leica Disto A5||0mm||0mm||2mm||1mm|
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.
In this test the Atolla is the most inaccurate. But in its defence the tolerance quoted for this laser tape measure is plus or minus 2mm. So I would have to say that it is accurate.
The most accurate in this test is the Mileseey. 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.
With any of these distances measured, I would be happy with any of these laser tape measures.
Which of these cheap laser tape measures is best?
Of these three cheap laser tape measures I think the Mileseey is best. This is because it gives the most accurate reading out of the three laser tape measures. It also feels better in your hand than the other two. The buttons feel better and press easily, also giving confidence in the press that the other two just can’t match.
If you have small hands though the Atolla laser tape measure could be the one for you as it is the smallest here. For me I found it a little on the small side in my hand.
The winner here has to be the Mileseey 50m Laser Tape Measure.
The three cheap laser tape measures that I bought from Amazon for this test are