Are Laser Distance Measures Worth it?

laser measuring tool

Are you wondering if laser distance measures are worth it? In this article, I’ll share everything you need to know about laser distance measures, and how they can help you make more accurate measurements. 

Laser distance measures are an effective device for measuring short and long distances. Lasers are fast and accurate, and they allow the user to make quick calculations. If you’re a full-time builder or an avid DIYer, then it’s definitely worth the money to buy a laser distance measure. 

Laser distance measures are designed for quick, accurate readings. A laser measure is especially accurate for calculating long distances and performing math without slowing down your project. 

However, not everyone will find the laser distance measure useful. While this is a great tool, it’s not without its downsides. Below, I share what you need to know about laser distance measures. 

Let’s jump in! 

Should I Buy a Laser Distance Measure? 

Whether you buy a laser distance measure will depend on the number of measurements you need to calculate and the distances you are measuring. 

Here are a couple of times a laser distance measure will be helpful: 

  1. Measuring the size of a room 
  2. Measuring volume 
  3. Measuring long distances 
  4. Measuring angles 
  5. Measuring height 

A laser distance measure can be as simple or as sophisticated as you would like. Let’s talk a bit more about the uses for the laser measure. The more you use your laser distance measure, the more you will become familiar with different ways to apply it. 

Measuring a Room with a Laser Distance Measure 

If you’re trying to figure out a room’s square footage, a laser distance measure is a great tool. Usually, it even has a setting that calculates the square footage for you. Just measure the length, measure the width, and the tool will do the rest. 

Measuring Volume with a Laser Distance Measure 

If you’re trying to determine the volume of a pool or determine what size HVAC unit you need for your home, measuring volume can be helpful. Like measuring square feet, the laser distance measure will take your length, width, and height and give you the volume of the area. It’s fast and simple. 

Measuring Angles with a Laser Distance Measure 

Angles, also known as Pythagorean measurements, are difficult to calculate with a standard tape measure. With the laser distance measure, you can easily calculate the distance for, say, a staircase. Just measure from the bottom where the stairs will end to the wall where the stairs will start, then measure the total height of the stairs. With this information, the length of the stairs will be determined. 

Here’s a video showing how to easily make Pythagorean calculations with a laser distance measure

Measuring Height with a Laser Distance Measure 

Measuring the height of an object can come in handy. If you have a barn, and you’re wondering the distance from roof to foundation, it’s safer to measure from the ground.

We’ve gone over some of the best ways to use a laser distance measure. Now let’s discuss the pros and cons of this tool. 

Pros and Cons to Using a Laser Distance Measure 

Though this tool is very versatile, there are some downsides. This section will touch on the pros of the laser distance measure and then look at some of the cons. 

Here are some pros: 

  1. Portable 
  2. Accurate 
  3. Digital 
  4. Quick Calculations 

Let’s take a look at these in more depth. 

Laser Distance Measures are Portable 

If you thought laser distance measures are another heavy piece of equipment, you can be reassured that many laser measures are only the size of a cell phone. 

For this reason, if you need one for a job, there are no problems tucker this tool in a pouch of a tool bag. It’s there if you need it, and it’s not taking up too much space if you don’t. 

Even some large roll-up tape measures can be bulkier and take up space. 

Laser Distance Measures are Accurate 

When you measure long distances with a tape measure, several problems arise. First, someone needs to be holding to tape measure at both ends, requiring two people. The laser distance measure only needs one person to operate. 

Second, if you’re by yourself, you may need to tack down one end of the tape measure, preventing it from moving. However, this limits your ability to make multiple fast measurements and compare them against one another. 

With the laser distance measure, you just hold the tool against one wall, press a button, and voila, you’ve got an accurate measurement. 

Finally, lasers are perfectly straight, providing a measurement that will better reflect your needs. On the other hand, tape measures are very difficult to get perfect, thus skewing the accuracy of your measurement. 

Laser Distance Measures are Digital 

Seeing a digital number helps prevent errors during measurements. Sometimes, when I’ve used a tape measure, I’ve accidentally made a cut that was too short or too long because I made a mistake with a tape measure. 

The digital display of a laser measure will prevent you from making mindless errors. If you measure the distance as eight feet, the display will read eight feet. 

The other nice thing about the digital display of a laser distance measure is the ability to switch from the metric system to the US system seamlessly. If you’re working on a project where everything is listed in meters, you can switch the laser distance measure to the appropriate system. 

Laser Distance Measures make Calculations 

Have you feared tackling some projects due to advanced calculations? Building stairs and joining the angles of frames can be daunting. However, the laser distance measure allows you to make these calculations without any effort. 

If you’re trying to measure the length of a beam for a staircase, you can simply measure the distance from the wall to the area of the base of the stairs, then measure the height of the wall. With these two pieces of information, many laser distance measures will give you the length needed for your stairs. 

With regular tape measures, you need to make all these calculations yourself; however, with a laser distance measure, the tool can make the calculations for you.

Alright, we’ve talked about some of the pros; now let’s look at some of the cons. 

Downsides to Laser Distance Measures 

Overall, this tool is very useful. However, understanding the potential pitfalls of this tool will help you combat the problems before they arise. 

Here are some of the cons to a laser distance measure: 

  1. Battery powered 
  2. Complicated to operate 
  3. Expensive 
  4. Not great for some uses 

Let’s take a closer look at these downsides. For many people, these downsides will be circumstantial. However, it’s helpful to understand the limitations of the tool. 

Laser Distance Measures are Battery Powered 

While using batteries isn’t an inherent problem, it’s something to consider. With most power tools, like drills and saws, having a rechargeable battery is very useful. 

However, when it comes to measurement tools, you turn something that used no power at all (tape measures, etc.) and create a tool that needs the power to function. While this isn’t a big deal, you wouldn’t want to get stuck on a job with a dead laser measure and no other way to get your measurements. 

For this reason, it’s wise to keep your tape measures, large and small, on hand. 

Laser Distance Measures can Seem Complicated 

Making calculations by hand isn’t any fun. Unless you love math, it’s helpful to take the guesswork out of woodworking. Even though digital laser distance measures can take the math out of complex equations, you still need to know how to operate this tool. 

If you press the wrong buttons or measure something with the wrong settings in place, you could get a number that isn’t right. For this reason, make sure you take the time to learn how to use your laser distance measure. Of course, these tools are not overly complicated, but they will take some time to master. 

Laser Distance Measures can be Relatively Expensive 

You can buy a long-distance tape measure for about fifteen dollars. On the other hand, you will pay anywhere from thirty to one hundred and fifty dollars for a laser distance measure. The price will depend on the quality and the features of the tool. 

While a laser distance measure is worth it for someone who will use it frequently, it might not be practical for someone who just needs to complete small projects

Finally, you’ll need to think about replacing batteries in your laser distance measure, which will also present some expenses. 

Laser Distance Measures are Not for Every Use 

Our last con is that they don’t replace your other measuring tools. This isn’t so much a downside as it is an empirical fact. If you thought that a laser distance measure would be the only measuring tool you ever needed, then you’ll be disappointed. 

You’ll still need all of the other hand, non-digital measuring tools. The laser distance measure doesn’t replace any measuring tools; it just makes you a fast, more efficient worker for those large projects