Answer these questions to help you choose the proper construction level
• Will the laser level be used indoors, outdoors, or both?
To use the laser visually for interior construction, choose a level tool with a highly visible beam, either ~635nm red laser or ~530nm green laser. You will need a laser level detector for outdoor work, as even a highly visible green laser will be lost in daylight. Laser construction levels designed for interior work will also feature variable rotation speed or beam scanning to maximize visibility.
• Can the laser level be disturbed by laborers, live traffic, or heavy equipment?
If you work on large, busy sites, self leveling is an absolute must. A self leveling construction laser corrects for slight disturbances from wind or vibration, and will shut off for greater disturbances. Manually leveled lasers must be periodically checked and re-leveled to assure accurate results. This is fine for small, well controlled sites such as house foundations, or deck and landscaping work. Self leveling lasers are a must for larger jobs and commercial buildings. Self leveling is achieved by either a servo motor system or a compensator, both which can provide similar accuracy. If you are placing the laser level on a 12 foot tripod for machine control work, or up on wall angle for suspended ceiling installation, a servo leveled laser is handy because it does not have to be rough leveled. Compensator leveling systems have to be roughed-in before they can self level and are simpler electronically
.• How much accuracy do you need in your construction laser level?
Rotary construction laser accuracy starts on the low end at about ±1/4in per 100ft (6mm per 30m) for inexpensive manually leveled products, and increases to as fine as ±7 arc sec (.040in per 100ft or 1mm per 30m) for self leveling lasers. Error increases with distance from the laser transmitter. If a laser's accuracy is ±1/16" at 100ft, it is ± 1/8" at 200ft and ±1/4" at 400ft. The best accuracy comes from working as close as possible to the laser level.
• Do you need a laser level tool that can also project a slope?
Construction lasers for precision slope (storm sewers or airport runways) have mechanical or digital counters that enable entry of slope in increments of .01% or better. For less precise applications such as drainage ditches, there are self-leveling lasers capable of manual "slope matching".
• Do you need a specialty laser for conical slopes, or high-accuracy plumb applications?
The Alpha-C cone laser projects a beam that can be sloped either up, or down. Because this slope is projected as a cone, it simplifies certain otherwise difficult setups. Jobs such as baseball fields, where the pitcher’s mound is the high point and the surrounding area slopes away in a cone shape. Or, the banked corners and “D zones” of a sports field with an oval running track surrounding it.
The Alpha-V is a high precision plumb laser projecting vertical beams both up and down. The Alpha-V is used in high-rise construction where control can be difficult using standard plumb bobs, or other methods.