Laser tape measures are a popular and convenient tool for a wide range of tasks, from construction and carpentry to interior design and home improvement. They offer a level of accuracy and precision that traditional tape measures simply can’t match. Laser Tape Measures have come a long way since the first one was introduced by Leica 30 years ago in 1993.
However, with so many different laser tape measures on the market, it can be tough to know which one is the best fit for you. In this article, I will go over the important features to look for when buying a laser tape measure, so you can be confident that you’re getting the best laser measure for the job.
Whether you’re a professional contractor or a DIY enthusiast, these features will help you find the perfect laser tape measure to suit your needs.
When it comes to laser tape measures, accuracy is perhaps the most important feature to consider. After all, what’s the point of using a tape measure if it’s not going to give you accurate measurements?
Consideration needs to be given to the accuracy you need from your measurements and how you can avoid or eliminate errors from your measurements. A laser tape measure will often be more accurate than a traditional tape measure as the effects of tape sag and/or stretch are eliminated.
Look for a laser tape measure that has a high level of accuracy, ideally within 1/16 of an inch or 1.5mm. This will ensure that you get precise measurements every time, leading to better results in your projects.
Only the cheapest of the laser tape measures will not achieve this accuracy. For example, the Atolla T201 has an accuracy of plus or minus 2mm. I bought the Atolla T201 laser tape measure to see if it was any good. It disappointed. Find out why I thought it was the worst of three cheap laser tape measures that I bought. Cheap laser tape measures tested.
Another important feature to consider is range. You will want to buy a laser tape measure that has a range greater than that you will usually measure. If you’re working on larger projects, you’ll need a laser tape measure with a longer range, probably in the order of 500ft or 150m.
Most laser tape measures have ranges of at least 100 feet or 30m, which should be more than sufficient for most indoor tasks. These will be fine for most indoor applications and are suitable for most DIY situations.
Just be sure to check the range before making a purchase to ensure that it exceeds your needs. This is because some laser tape measures struggle to receive a signal back from some surfaces. And this can impact the range of the laser tape measure.
The range quoted for laser tape measures are always in favourable conditions. When we take measurements, we take them when we need to and not when conditions are always favourable.
Ease of Use.
Ease of use is another key feature to look for in a laser tape measure. You don’t want to spend your time struggling with a complicated or awkward device. Also look for a laser tape measure that is easy to handle that has clear, intuitive buttons and controls. This will make your measuring tasks much more efficient and enjoyable.
The size and the position of the buttons is an important factor when choosing a laser tape measure. There are numerous different sizes but as a general rule the more accurate and professional ones are larger. The smallest laser tape measures usually have limited range and accuracy.
Nearly all laser tape measures have a big centrally located button for taking measurements. This usually means that you must use your thumb to take the measurement. I find that this is not always ideal. I think the first manufacturer that puts a measurement button on the side of the laser tape measure will have a winner.
Durability, or toughness, is another important factor to consider when choosing a laser tape measure. And if you are going to be taking measurements outdoors then you’ll be using your tape measure in all sorts of conditions.
It’s important to choose one that is built to last and has a good IP Rating, ideally IP65 or above if you intend to use it outdoors. If you are only going to be measuring indoors then a minimum of IP54. Look for a laser tape measure with a rugged design and high-quality materials that can withstand wear and tear.
Also look for laser tape measures with a long guarantee. The more robust laser measures will come with a two year guarantee as standard. Good DIYer laser measures should have at least a one year guarantee that should be extendable.
The general rule is, the more expensive a laser tape measure is the longer the guarantee (and more robust) should be.
From my experience I have always found that Leica Disto’s are very durable. I bought my first Leica Disto (Leica Disto A5) in 2007 and still have it today. It is still accurate and has a very good range even compared to many of the new laser tape measures available in 2023.
Finally, it’s a good idea to look for a laser tape measure that comes with a back-lit display. Being able to read the measurements that you have taken is a must. A back-lit display with large clear numbers is necessary.
Having a back-lit display is a real advantage. Only when you are using the laser tape measure in poor conditions will you notice that what a benefit this feature is. This, I think, is one of the most overlooked features of good laser tape measures.
When looking to buy a laser tape measure, be sure to consider accuracy, range, ease of use, durability, an easy-to-read display. Also consider any additional features that may be useful to you. Ensuring that you have these five features in mind, you’ll be well on your way to finding the best laser tape measure for your needs. And for whatever you are measuring.
When it comes to laser tape measures, I have some recommendations. The first is to avoid buying the Atolla T201. I think that you will be disappointed in it like I was. I have got 5 laser tape measures that I would recommend that you could buy. Here are the five laser tape measures that I would (or have) buy.