Using the construction laser level will eliminate the time and effort on leveling job, thus the laser level is now preferred for handling the heavy work.
While most cross line laser levels are built for indoor use, the rotary laser levels are highly powerful and ideal for outdoor work.
If you still have the old water bubble level, maybe it is time to make an upgrade. Then the below best rotary laser levels are the ones you should consider first.
At A Glance: Our Top 5 Picks for Rotary Laser Levels
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Best Rotary Laser Level Reviews 2019
Sometimes you end up buying a product in haste only to realize that it has a very minor drawback that would have influenced your original decision to buy.
For example, we have heard several cases where engineers have complained about disadvantages as minor as a lack of automatic standby or power light in rotary laser levels. This can really affect work productivity.
Therefore, it is wise to go through expert reviews and read what they and fellow users feel about a product before making the final decision. In this regard, we have created a separate section of detailed rotary laser level reviews with lists of pros and cons and final verdict.
We have also compared the products as per their unique selling points (USP) to help you find your perfect tool. Whether you want a new self-leveling rotary laser level for excavation or an inexpensive one for occasional home use, this short guide will help you find what you’re looking for.
Here are the reviews of the six best rotary laser levels in the market right now…
#1 – Topcon RL-H5A Self Leveling Horizontal Rotary Laser
Topcon Corporation is a Japanese conglomerate (with its US headquarters in California) and one of the largest manufacturers of optical surveying equipment. Which is another reason why one of its bestsellers is taking up #1 position in our list of the best rotary laser levels.
Advanced users. General outdoor and indoor construction, surveying, excavation, and grading. Suitable for day-night applications in all types of weathers. Best in class product.
IP66 grade weatherproof built provides proofing from dust, rainfall, and shock.
- High accuracy
- Weatherproof, strong built
- Laser range of up to 2500+ feet
- Impressive battery life up to 100 hours
- Significant long-term warranty up to 5 years
- Heavy at 13 pounds (including the hard carry case)
A deserving successor to the legendary Topcon rotary laser level – the RL-H4C – this self-leveling beast is capable of shooting laser up to 2600 feet (800 meters) with an industry best 0.005-degree accuracy i.e. about 1/16 of an inch at 100 feet.
Its weatherproof, sturdy built will ensure that it plays anywhere you put it regardless of the climate.
Especially intended for outdoor construction applications, the Topcon RL-H5A has an extraordinary 100 hours of battery life, which further makes it one of the best tools in the market.
There is nothing else that you need to depend on when you have this Topcon model plus some additional accessories like a tripod. According to our experts, it is even qualified for measurements at night provided you make apt use of the complementary receivers/reflectors.
If you want a companion for general construction and grading applications, this Topcon model will be fully worth its steal price.
#2 – Trimble Spectra Precision LL300 Self-leveling Rotary Laser Level
Another export from the East in this list is Spectra Precision, a subsidiary of the Japan-based Nikon-Trimble Company Limited, known for its high-quality surveying and construction tools.
Beginners; general construction with low range and rugged requirements.
The optional remote control (sold separately) can be used to control the unit from the rod position when doing slope matching.
- Full weather and dusty proofing; shockproof for up to 3 feet
- Fast setup and easy to use
- Comes with optional remote control and complementary Spectra Precision HR320 detector with bracket
What sets Spectra Precision apart from other brands is not its 5-year full on-site warranty but its claim of full weather and dust proofing. We actually tested this out in harsh conditions of snow and rainfall, and were surprised to find that the accuracy matched with the claim.
The optional RC601 remote control will come in handy if you deal with slopes while excavation or grading.
The Spectra Precision Laser LL300 also offers single cross-axis manual slope mode with cross-axis self-leveling, providing more accurate grade measurements. Which is a boon to civil engineers who usually struggle and end up spending more time in measuring areas with slopes.
Compared to the Topcon model, this one has just one drawback of having a low range (up to 1650 feet compared to 2500 feet). It’s slightly heavier at 20 pounds, which limits its portability unless you own a vehicle.
If you have been toiling with your manual rotary laser level for years and want to shift to modern technology, this is the best rotary laser level you can start with.
#3 – CST/berger RL25HVCK Horizontal/Vertical Rotary Laser Complete Kit
CST/Berger is a partnership company with a history dating back to the nineteenth century and is now owned by the popular German conglomerate Bosch, which in itself is a testament to this tool’s high quality and precision.
DIYers and house owners with large projects. Best value for money.
Variable speed and angle setups.
- Variable speed/angle scan
- Durable housing design for better outdoor construction use
- Hibernate mode for saving battery
- High range of up to 2000 feet
- Complementary remote control, wall mount, and tripod
- Short term warranty of 2 years
If you are looking for a complete package and a mix of the above Topcon and Spectra Precision models, look no further.
The CST/Berger RL25HVCK comes with a remote control, RD1 detector with bracket, laser glasses, and aluminum tripod (39 inches), and 8-feet leveling rod.
This rotary laser tool is perfect for large projects, is an all-in-one tool, and gives you total value for money.
This modern self-leveling rotary laser level has features where you can vary the speed (150, 300, 600 RPM) as well as the scan angles (10, 25, 50 degrees), which is a boon to engineers who struggle with a fixed angle.
The 85 hours of runtime is less compared to Topcon, but it does come with an indicator (battery level gauge) to notify you that it’s running low on juice.
The class enclosing top further gives it a better tactile proofing from dust, debris, and heavy rainfall.
We also particularly love the hibernate mode which saves a lot of battery power when you are out taking a break with your colleagues at the site.
This CST/Berger self-leveling rotary laser level is a power-packed product that will take care of all your requirements. It does not get any better than this.
#4 – Bosch GRL400HCK Exterior Self-Leveling Rotary Laser Kit
If CST/Berger is new to you then you should try the original brand itself. Bosch is an industry leader in the precision and surveying equipment sphere.
Both beginners and advanced users. Designed for outdoor use with IP56 rating.
High rotation speed of up to 1200 RPM.
- Range of up to 1300 feet
- 3 rotation speeds – 350, 600, and 1200 RPM
- Large, easy-to-grip carrying handles
- Moisture and dust resistant
- The 40 hours of battery life is not very decent
If the brand name is not enough for you, then it would be great to know that this Bosch rotary laser level excels in its self-leveling feature. Equipped with the proprietary Smart Pendulum System, it helps in accurate measurements in any type of terrain.
Combine that with the three different rotation speeds (350, 600, and 1200 RPM), it adds to the total functionality of this engineer’s dream.
We are also looking at an IP56-rated protective hard built that has moisture and dust proofing. Bosch markets it as an all-weather tool and despite the comparatively lower IP rating, our test results for outdoor use came positive. Take it out even when there is a light drizzle and the Bosch GRL400HCK should work just fine.
The red laser level is bright enough even without reflectors or laser glasses, and goes up to 1300 feet in range.
Just like the CST/Berger model above, it is a complete package and comes with a grading rod and aluminum tripod.
This Bosch model has its set of cons but it still is the best performing rotary laser level that you can own. Make this a one-time investment and reap the benefits for years and years to come.
#5 – Johnson Level & Tool 99-027K Self-Leveling Rotary Laser System
Johnson is an American company and believes in the marketing itself as “Made in the USA”.
Advanced users. Large job site excavations, as well as indoor projects like drop ceilings.
- Range of 2000 feet
- Pendulum locking mechanism
- Visual and audible alarms about range and battery level
- Detector does not have a built-in level
Johnson’s “Made in the USA” products are known for their versatility and tough build (IP66 rating). This self-leveling rotary laser level is no different. With a locking mechanism that protects the pendulum, you can transport it between sites without the tension of breaking the plumb.
The visual and audible alarms provide you notification about the range as well as battery levels, which again makes it a direct competitor of the CST/Berger model reviewed above.
It is dustproof and can withstand light shower on all weathers, making it suitable for external uses as well.
The range is around 2000 feet that can cover large construction sites without the need of any external support. However, this Johnson 99-027K kit still comes with a 13-foot grading rod, clamp detector, tinted glasses, and a magnetic target.
The Johnson 99-027K is targeted at users who have a diverse set of projects. Like the CST/Berger and Spectra Precision models above, this is also a great tool for advanced users who work with both small and large projects. It does what it promises and a neat job at that.
#6 – Johnson Level & Tool 99-006K Self Leveling Rotary Laser System Kit
Another Johnson model on this list, it is a combination of economic and powerful.
Beginners handling low-cost projects.
- Work both horizontally and vertically, making it versatile
- Self-leveling with pendulum protection guard
- Comes with complementary tools
- Range of up to 800 feet only
- It does not have a sturdy construction as compared to other tools above
This is the lowest priced rotary laser level on this list. A dumbed-down version of the 99-027K, this economic model is known for its self-leveling capabilities and a range of up to 800 feet.
External usage is limited but it still boasts of a high accuracy ratio compared to other models in this price range.
We also found that the red beam is clearly visible up to 100 feet in broad daylight, which should take care of most applications for beginners.
The Johnson 99-006K kit comes with complimentary soft carrying case, a 13-foot grading rod, LED one-sided detector, a contractor grade tripod, freestanding target, a drop-ceiling bracket, and laser glasses. All of this in a single package at a steal price makes it the #1 choice for beginner engineers and homeowners.
If you are on a budget and still require the functionalities of a rotary laser level, this is the model to go for. Its features give other top models a run for their money.
Best Self Leveling Rotary Laser Level Comparison
Now that we are done with all the rotary laser level reviews, it is time to help you choose the product for your specific needs.
Take a look at this rotary laser level comparison table for a better decision.
|Spectra Precision |
|Best Overall||Most Durable||Best Value||Easy to Use||Multiple Uses||Best Budget|
150, 300, 600
350, 600, 1200 RPM
150, 200, 250, 300 RPM
200, 400, 600 RPM
|Check Price at Amazon||Check Price at Amazon||Check Price at Amazon||Check Price at Amazon||Check Price at Amazon||Check Price at Amazon|
Go through this help guide below to get a grasp of the factors that you need to count in while choosing the right rotary laser level.
If you have already selected your pick, use this guide to ensure that it will live up to your project expectations. If you are a beginner user, don’t forget to check out the tips and FAQs at the latter part of this article.
Which Is The Best Rotary Laser Level To Buy?
Every user is different. And every user has their own set of requirements. A house owner may need an inexpensive rotary laser level for indoor works and small outdoor projects like fence construction.
On the other hand, an advanced user – a civil engineer – will need a robust rotary laser level for excavation, grading, landscaping and similar heavy-duty construction/surveying projects.
And not all rotary laser levels are capable of everything. As noted in the reviews above, some models provide a long range (the Topcon RL-H5A provides the longest range at 2600 feet) whereas some provide resistance from weather conditions like dust and water.
Therefore, it is important to identify the type of needs you want to be accomplished with your rotary laser level.
Top 4 Rotary Laser Level Parameters
The best way to choose the right product is to go through these top laser level parameters and then select your pick.
If you deal with sites that are long and wide in terms of area, then a rotary laser level that can cover a few hundred meters will fall short. You will struggle with your laser level and might need to borrow a long-range one. To avoid such issues, it is always a good idea to base your selection on your required range.
If you are a DIYer and only work with small projects, a rotary laser level with small range will be enough. The Johnson 99-006K offers a range of up to 800 feet, which will be sufficient for your basic needs.
If your requirements are large, then consider the Topcon RL-H5A model we have reviewed above.
Almost all the models reviewed here offer very good accuracy with low error quotients. Typically, errors enter your calculations when long ranges are involved. For shorter projects, all the six rotary laser levels we reviewed above will provide highly accurate results and plumbs.
According to our experts, the Topcon RL-H5A is the best rotary laser level for accuracy.
In an ideal scenario, you want to take your rotary laser level in any type of environment. Especially if you work outdoors, having a tool that can withstand debris, continuous dust, and occasional rainfall is necessary. Otherwise, a big investment like this will go down the drain.
Although most of these brands offer years-long warranty, damage from external elements is usually not covered. Therefore, it is wise to select a level that is fully waterproof and weatherproof.
Both the Topcon RL-H5A and Spectra Precision LL300 are the best tools for external, all-weather use.
Most of these precision instruments work on alkaline batteries. The concept of Lithium-ion has not yet been introduced here, even though we have used customized tools that work on 5V charging.
More than the total running time that you get from a single charge, you must look at supporting features such as hibernation mode and automatic shutdown. These will ensure that your rotary laser level does not waste precious power and the whole unit last longer.
Now that you know the four main factors to judge your potential buy, here are expert recommendations for the two most common types of users.
Best Rotary Laser Level For Professionals
Here are our top picks of best rotary laser level for builders and professional contractors:
- Topcon RL-H5A Self Leveling Horizontal Rotary Laser
- Spectra Precision L300 Self Leveling Rotary Laser
- CST/Berger RL25HCK Interior/Exterior Rotary Laser
Professional contractors will need a device that can deliver a lot of features for both interior and exterior applications. You will need to look for high performance, long working range, durability, warranty, battery life and many other superior features.
For people who are willing to make an extra investment to get the best laser leveling tools, here are top choices for you.
The Topcon RL-H5A has an impressive range (with detector) of 2500+ feet (800 meters). You can use it for larger projects (both indoor and outdoor) than other common laser levels on the market.
The second option is the Spectra Precision L300 which has the optional remote control for large site surveying and excavations. From a durability point of view, it even fares better than Topcon.
The CST/Berger RL25HCK laser level does not fail to impress either in terms of range it can offer or the durability. With an extended range of 2000 feet (600 meters), it is among the best rotary laser level kits you need today for a large project.
Best Rotary Laser Level For Home Use
Top choices of the best rotary laser level for homeowners:
- Johnson Level & Tool 99-006K Self Leveling Rotary Laser
- Bosch Exterior Self-Leveling Rotary Laser Kit GRL400HCK
As an avid DIYer, sometimes you will need to use the rotary laser levels to handle a number of home improvement projects like hanging cabinets or building a backyard deck. In this case, we recommend you to invest in an affordable rotary laser level for home use.
If you are looking for an inexpensive rotary laser level, then either of the Johnson models above is great. They have good ranges at a very good price and are built like a stone that will take some hard hitting to break.
The Bosch GRL400HCK is also a great option, especially if you require high-speed laser beams. If you have an automated process for surveying, this will serve as a great facilitator and help you get things moving faster.
These models are also great as budget-friendly options.
Read more: Best 5-Point Laser Level For Electricians
Tips To Choose The Ideal Rotary Laser Level
These are some additional tips to help you buy better:
- Go for complete packages than laser level-only ones to save money on accessories like glasses and tripods
- Always check out the company website before making the final purchase. Critical information about warranty and product registration will help you maintain your product in the long run
- Invest on a tripod if you choose to get a standalone rotary laser level. It will make outdoor projections easier
- Check out additional features like hibernate mode and battery indicator if you are torn between two models
- Trust a brand that you have previous experience with (e.g. Bosch and Spectra Precision are widely known international brands)
Frequently Asked Questions About Rotary Laser Levels
Some of the most frequently asked questions and their answers about rotary laser levels:
Is red laser beam better or green?
It depends on the application. Both beams are effective, and can be improved through the use of laser glasses.
Want to buy a rotary laser level with green beam? Read this review on best green rotary laser level
Should I get a tripod when using a rotary laser level?
Yes, it is recommended. A tripod will make your task of plumbing and surveying easier.
Are all rotary laser levels waterproof?
No. Only a few models provide full proofing from water (rainfall and snow). The Topcon and Spectra Precision models are the only ones that provide complete weatherproofing.
What is motorized self-leveling?
It is a type of self-leveling where the plumb is set by a motor than a pendulum. Most of the models today use a rotating pendulum for this purpose.
Safety Tips While Using A Rotary Laser Level
These are some critical tips to follow while using your rotary laser level to avoid accidents:
- Always switch off or pause the laser level when not in use, especially during outdoor usage
- If your laser level does not have pendulum lock-in, take extra care during transportation. If the pendulum breaks, the self-leveling functionality will be lost
- Always carry an extra set of batteries
- If your laser level is not being used for a long period, remove the batteries and keep them separately to avoid leakage
- Always keep the laser level in the hard/soft casing it came with
Read more: 5 Safety Gear That Every DIYer Should Own
According to our experts, the best rotary laser level in the market today is the one by Topcon. The versatility and scope of applications that the RL-H5A boasts of make it a true companion of civil engineers and household DIYers alike.
The models by Spectra Precision, Bosch, and Johnson are equally good with their own set of pros and cons. When you make your choice, base your decision on their individual characteristics and cross-check them with our buying guide.
We hope our expert guide on which is the best rotary laser level for builders and homeowners has helped you make a wise decision. If you have any more points to add, do let us know in the comments below.