Choosing The Best Laser Tape Measure For Your Needs

The best laser tape measure is not easy to determine. Every tradesperson or DIYer will have a different opinion about what’s important when it comes to these devices. That’s because they’re used in such an amazing variety of settings: from enormous, mind-blowing skyscrapers like the Burj Kalifa to kitchen remodeling projects and everything in between. The laser tape measure provides faster, more accurate, less labor-intensive measurements than the traditional tape measure and when you’re building to the exacting tolerances required by today’s energy efficient structures, that’s important.

Quick, Convenient, Accurate

Even the best tape measure needs to be physically run out, making sure it’s fixed properly at the far end before taking a visual reading based on your viewpoint. If the tape is lying across debris on the floor or if the surface is curved it could skew your measurement in a way that negatively affects the integrity of the overall build. With a laser tape measure you simply point and shoot. The precise distance is then provided to you on the LED screen down to a tiny fraction of an inch and there’s no second guessing involved. You can be certain you got the right measurement. Also, should you need to convert your measurement to or from metric, the device does it for you instantly.

For the purposes of this review page we’re going to start with a quick presentation of what we consider to be the ten best digital measure tape devices available and then go into detail on each one.

The 10 Best Laser Tape Measures Available Today

Whether you’re placing a TV antenna atop a soaring skyscraper or putting an addition on your dream house, you’ll want to be sure you’re working with accurate measurements from start to finish. Here’s a quick overview of what we consider the 10 best laser tapes on the market today.

1. Stanley TLM99

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What the Stanley TLM99 lacks in distance it makes up for in convenience and dependability. Because of its 100 ft practical limit this isn’t a tool you’re going to want if you’re building a suspension bridge. However, for home construction, office renovations, landscaping, creating exhibitions and a host of other projects this digital distance measurer has you covered.

The TLM99 features continuous tracking capability. The large, clear display is easy to read regardless of weather conditions or time of day. Measurements are presented in standard or metric, fractional or decimal. This is a high-quality device that will serve you well for years to come and, with the Stanley name attached, you know you can count on first class customer service if you should ever need it. $68.50 on Amazon.

2. Bosch DLR 130K

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The Bosch DLR 130K is a handyman’s dream. Ideal for all manner of carpentry and light construction the DLR130K Bosch laser measure makes obtaining all the information you need quickly and accurately a snap. Whether you need to know length, area or volume and whether you need that information in standard or metric, fractions or decimals the DLR 130K provides it.

The DLR 130K features continuous measurement so you can take multiple readings as you advance across an area and will provide those measurements accurate to within 1/16 of an inch (1.5 millimeters). The device comes with a belt pouch and 4 AAA batteries and is ready to go out of the box. A real time saver and problem solver that will ramp up your productivity and increase quality across the board. You’ll pay a bit more for the DLR 130K but you’ll be getting more. $204.81 on Amazon.

3. Bosch GLM 50

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The Bosch GLM 50 is a compact, easy to use, easy to hold laser measurement device that’s ideal for everyday use whether you’re a home builder, landscaper, general contractor or just like to tinker around the house. It’s good out to 165 feet, accurate to within 1/16 of an inch and will measure for length, area and volume in standard or metric. It will perform continuous measurements so you don’t have to constantly reposition yourself and also features the ability to measure indirectly at a distance in case you need to know the height or width of something that’s on the far side of the construction site. Few other tools in your box will get as much use as the Bosch GLM 50 laser measure tool. $110 on Amazon.

4. DeWalt DW03050

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The DeWalt DW03050 is a laser tape measure built to last. This sturdy, easy to use laser tape is ideal for busy construction sites where things are swirling all around you and important measurements need to be taken quickly and accurately. It will calculate to within 1/16 of an inch out to 165 ft and like the Bosch GLM 50 it allows you to take indirect measurements of height and width from a distance if need be. The continuous measurement feature will store up to 5 measurements at a time so you can keep things moving without having to stop and reposition constantly. The hardy construction is water resistant so don’t be afraid to take measurements in the rain (just don’t leave it lying around in the rain all day and expect it to be unfazed). You can get this electronic measuring tape for as little as $102.99 on Amazon which also makes it a great deal.

5. Bosch GLR225

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The Bosch GLR225 is a must-have device that’s perfect for dedicated DIYers as well as carpenters, plumbers, electricians or anyone who relies on fast, accurate measurements during the performance of their job. It’s good to within 1/16 of an inch out to a distance of 230 feet which makes it one of the farthest reaching of our top 10 best laser tapes. If you’re a painter trying to determine how much paint you’ll need for the job the GLR225 makes is super simple to calculate the area of several surfaces at once. No more guessing or spending an hour dragging the tape measure around. Like some of the other laser tapes here, it will also do indirect measurements so you can keep things moving without having to make trips across the site to get measurements. If there’s one downside from our perspective, it’s the button setup which is not conducive to easy use if you’re wearing work gloves and the like. Other than that it’s all good. From $129.99 on Amazon.

6. Stanley CST/Berger TLM100

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An ergonomically superior device that’s comfortable to hold for long periods of time and provides crystal clear measurements down to 1/4 inch over 100 feet. It performs basic addition and subtraction and should be a great fit for most tradespeople who need to periodically take measurements throughout the day. The rubberized grip is something other manufacturers should take note of although the button setup is as disappointing as that on the Bosch GLR 225. Beyond that minor quibble, however, and the fact that the Stanley CST/Berger TLM100 has an unnecessarily long name this is a great tool for plumbers, carpenters and others who need to make accurate measurements on the fly. From $69.99 on Amazon.

7. Bosch GLM 80

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It might seem as though our top 10 is a bit Bosch heavy and it is, but that’s only because the company have put so much emphasis on developing state of the art laser measuring devices and succeeded so splendidly. The GLM 80 is yet one more example of this. It’s accurate to within 1/16 of an inch out to an amazing 265 feet, will produce super accurate volume measurements in seconds and provides indirect measurements as well so you don’t need to go slogging across the job site to get the information you need. Calculating the area of multiple surfaces is also a snap although its boxy design did not particularly impress. Still, a great tool for everyone from dedicated do-it-yourselfers to those working on the world’s most high-profile construction projects and everyone in between. From $152 on Amazon.

8. Leica DISTO D2

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We love the way the Leica DISTO D2 laser tape measure looks. We had to get that out of our system right up front because so many of these laser measure devices, while certainly being practical, also happen to look like they were designed by people who think cardboard boxes are the epitome of industrial design. But the DISTO D2 is not just better looking than most of its competitors it’s also smaller, easier to use and has a button setup that other manufacturers should study for its ergonomic cleanliness and simplicity. The D2 weighs a mere 3.2 oz, slides easily into your pocket, can measure within 1/16 of an inch out to 200 feet and also features a three-year replacement warranty.  From $149.95 on Amazon.

9. Leica Geosystems DISTO E7400X

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The Leica DISTO E7400X is the big brother of the D2. It’s tougher, bigger, less concerned with aesthetics and not as easy to read as its more user-friendly little brother. On the other hand, it’s good to within 1/25 of an inch out to 265 feet, won’t fall apart if you drop it accidentally and sports the same ergonomically astute button layout as the D2. It will provide the full range of measurements including area, volume, triangular area and height tracking and is water resistant, resistant to dust and debris and slips almost as easily into your pocket as the D2. You’re going to pay for all those top of the line features though. From $279.00 on Amazon.

10. Bosch GLR825

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We wrap up this series of overviews of the 10 best laser measuring tools with yet another Bosch product. This one the GLR825. While most of the other laser tapes we highlighted here would feel right at home on most small to medium size job sites, this Bosch laser distance measurer is the one device indisputably built for large scale projects and its 825 foot active measuring zone is proof enough of that. It’s accurate to within 1/25 of an inch over that distance which by itself makes a case for this as the gold standard of pocket laser measuring devices. It will handle everything from the simplest straight line measurement to double indirect measurements, trapezoidal measurements, multi-surface area measurements and more. Much more. If the GLR 825 has a drawback, it’s the same clumsy button array as the other Bosch measuring devices. Something the company will hopefully address in future models. For now though the 825 is where it’s at when it comes to the best laser tapes; the undisputed king of the hill. From $327.99 on Amazon.

A Closer Look at What Makes the Best Laser Tape Measure

Range – The effective range of the best laser tape measure is anywhere from 65 feet out to more than 800 feet. Not many contractors or homeowners are going to need a laser tape that measures such enormous distances, however, which means most will be perfectly happy with something that’s good out to 200 or 300 feet, which is the effective coverage area of most mid-priced models. So in general:

  • Homeowners and DIYers should be perfectly content with getting a laser tape that measures out to 100 feet or so with reasonable accuracy. They won’t need all the bells and whistles and functions that are found on high-end models.
  • Most tradespeople will be content with models that measure out to a few hundred feet and provide things like indirect measurements and continuous measurement. These are typically mid-priced models and are slightly more durable than basic models as well.
  • General contractors working on large scale projects are going to want models like the Bosch GLR825 that can measures (as its name implies) out to a whopping 825 feet and obtain a measurement that’s accurate to 1/25 of an inch over that distance. 

Accuracy – The importance of this feature will depend almost entirely on what you plan to use it for and the accuracy of this feature will depend by and large on how steady your hand is. If you’re holding the unit in your hand and moving while you try to take an important measurement, you may be disappointed with the results. But you can’t lay that at the feet of the device. If you truly want an accurate measurement, you’ll always be better off setting the unit down before pointing and shooting. Launching your measurements from a stable platform rather than a shaky hand will make the difference between 1/4 inch accuracy and 1/25 of an inch accuracy relevant.

As a general rule a measurement accurate to within 1/16 of an inch is roughly equal to that achievable with a standard retractable tape measure, with the difference being a matter of speed and simplicity when it comes to securing the measurement. The best laser tape measure, however, will not only measure greater distances than is practical with a standard tape measure, they’ll also do so more accurately.

Functionality – Today’s laser tape measure offers a wide array of features. Which ones a particular tape measure will include is dependent almost entirely on price. The cheaper, the simpler with low-end laser tapes featuring little more than straight line measurements and maybe the ability to do simple addition and subtraction. High-end models, by contrast, will sport an array of complex features that make them suitable for practically any job site regardless of how large or complex. Here is a list of features offered by various laser tapes.

  • Length – The basic measurement made by any tape device whether cloth, metal or laser. The distance between two points.
  • Area – Height by width or length by width. Area is another basic unit of measure and is important for all manner of tradespeople from carpet layers to painters and more.
  • Volume – Length x width x height. Another basic measurement though one that’s beginning to get into mid-priced laser tapes. This measurement is important for people who install pools, create landscaping elements, install AC units and more.
  • Continuous Measurements – Continuous measurement allows you to get a series of measurements as you move along an axis without having to stop and reposition yourself and your measuring device.
  • Multi-surface area – If you’re a painter or wallpaper hanger this type of measurement is important to you. Being able to achieve it quickly and accurately will help you provide timely accurate quotations.
  • Indirect Measurements – No need to dust off your high school geometry book to get accurate indirect measurements at a distance. Most mid-priced to high-end laser measurement devices will make this calculation for you.
  • Double Indirect Measurements – Used to determine things like the height of a balcony or roof so that you can bring in the appropriate ladder or crane for a particular job. Not something most DIYers will have a lot of use for but general contractors, roofers, house painters and more will find useful.
  • Trapezoid – Trapezoidal measurements are those of angled surfaces such as sloped roofs or ceilings. A measurement roofing companies are familiar with but also home builders.
  • Stake Out Measurements – Fencing companies will need to make the same measurement over and over in order to determine where to sink fence posts. Municipalities will also use this measurement for installing light poles and such.
  • Angle Measurements – Angle measurements gauge the angle between slanted surfaces. Builders, roofers and more will often need to obtain angled measurements to perform their job. 

Batteries – The modern laser tape measure utilizes either disposable or rechargeable batteries. Users concerned with environmental issues will probably want to opt for rechargeable batteries although whether your unit uses disposable or rechargeable batteries it will likely drain the battery after 2 to 4 hours of use. Because of this it makes sense to always have spare batteries on hand and remember to turn the unit off when you’re not using it.

Memory – There is an assumption made by many these days that every electronic device is overflowing with spare memory. Such is not the case, however, with many an electronic tape measure. These are not smartphones after all. They’re devices for measuring the distance from A to B and as such have very rudimentary memory cards. As such, simpler models will store only a few measurements at best. If you need more than that, you’re going to have to shell out for a high-end model.

Additional Features –

The more you pay, the more you’ll get. It’s the same with automobiles as it is with a laser tape measure. Want a scratch-proof screen and a unit you can drop without damaging it? You’ll need to pay for a high-end unit. Want the basic carrying pouch and a few spare AAA batteries? Most low-end models will provide those things. If you’re looking for water resistance, rechargeable batteries, robust memory and an extensive warranty you’ll only find those things on the higher end models. 

Conclusion

A laser measuring tape makes the job of securing necessary measurements faster, more accurate and less labor intensive. They can keep a project moving forward that might otherwise need to stop for the taking of repeated measurements. Like most high-tech devices the laser ruler has become smaller and more feature-rich lately while also trending down in price. Whether you need something simple or something professional-grade, you’ll find the best laser tape measure above to fit the bill. Laser Level Guides you’ve found these laser measuring tool reviews helpful.

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