From the autonomy of operation and the working distance and to the speed with which you reach the desired result and the degree of accessibility in various locations, the differences between the classic and the laser level are enough to know them before buying one of them.
The level is an essential tool both in the field of construction and in your own home, for everything that means interior design made with attention to detail and straight lines. But when it comes time to buy such a product, you have to decide correctly between the traditional and the modern version, with laser. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each alternative? Find out the content of this article.
Because sometimes it is the budget that decides, we start the comparison by evaluating the simplest criterion, namely, the costs involved in the two categories of products. While a classic level, made in most cases, made of aluminum, can be bought starting from the price of 7-8 lei and up to 250-300 lei, in professional format, modernized, with LCD screen, tilt angle display or even magnets for easy fixing on metal elements. In addition, if you are inventive and like to do it yourself, you can build a model with water and air bubble from components that you can buy in stores.
However, the laser options are a bit more expensive, the most affordable at a price starting from 30 – 40 lei, and the high-performance versions slightly exceeding 400 – 500 lei.
Accessibility and visibility
The laser level handles very well in spaces without obstacles (support poles, furniture, etc.) that can interrupt the light beam, making it difficult or impossible to evaluate the target surface. Unlike these models, the classic water level can be used more easily in locations limited in size and in hard to reach areas.
The need for direct contact with the analyzed surface is from this point of view an advantage. For example, you can’t really use the laser in a room with half-demolished intermediate walls, where you can’t place or create a straight support area that allows direct access of the beam to the evaluated area.
Another weak point of laser beams is the reduced visibility in the outdoor environment, in the presence of sunlight. In order to be able to use a modern level with diodes, outdoors, you will need an additional device called a laser detector.
This device replaces the ability of the eye to perceive the laser beam and is used to find the equilibrium point or position on the surface on which you want to project the signal generated by the level. It means of course extra costs and training to be used correctly and quickly. By comparison, a classic bubble level can be used without problems both indoors and in projects that involve the direct presence of sunlight.
Regarding the speed of completing the measurements, this time, the laser levels do a little better. Because it requires direct contact with the evaluated surface, the classic model must be held in the hand most of the time while looking for the balance level.
The movements of the hand determine the movement of the air bubble to the left or right of the point that indicates the position in equilibrium. You need precision, patience and a safe arm to be able to bring the level to the perfect angle and keep it that way, without moving it. It can often happen that the device slides on the wall and you have to start the process again.
Laser options work remotely, most often placed on a horizontal stand and are easier to handle. Between a classic model and an electronic one, the latter is faster, especially in the hands of a person who is not familiar with any of the variants.
The classic models, with water and air bubble, use gravitational force to work, being calibrated so that the air bubble reaches the central portion, generally delimited by two lines, when the level is straight.
The operating system means that this type of level can be used without problems in humid conditions and at high temperatures, specific to summer, but less in winter, below zero degrees. Also, do not expose yourself to the risk of explosion or fire if you use it in a space where flammable solutions are found (liquid or gaseous). There are also shock and shock resistant models.
Laser options are a bit more sensitive due to electronic components. They are not used in conditions of extreme temperatures or in environments with high humidity and in no case in rooms where there is a risk of the presence of flammable gases or liquids. It is also important not to drop them because they can be messy or damaged.
Maintenance and repairs
A water level is so simple that it can be made by yourself, and one that is broken can be repaired relatively easily or simply replaced, taking into account the very low costs. All you have to do in terms of maintenance is keep it clean, so you can easily see the movement of the air bubble inside.
If you use the laser level , it is important to periodically remove dust, especially from the laser exit area, and use a special bag for transport and storage, usually sold with the device. If it breaks or gives an error, you must take it to the service, because your direct intervention on the device cancels the warranty. You may also need original spare parts that often mean substantial costs.
In general, the autonomy of operation is not a problem for any of the variants, because the laser options work with batteries, but consume quite a bit. However, you may run out of power if you do not take care to change them in time or you have a model with a green laser beam that uses more energy than the red one.
The water level does not need any additional resources, being excellent, at least as a reserve, on more isolated sites, from where you can not quickly reach the city to buy new batteries or where there is no energy source yet to charge the batteries.