The new General Tools Laser Tape (LTM1) is a 2-in-1 layout tool that combines a 50-foot laser distance measuring tool with a 16-foot tape measure.
It’s said to be 10x faster than tape, and go 2x further than tape, allowing users to Measure Everything. Faster.
Part of the appeal, for anyone who only has a tape measure at their disposal, is easier one person and one-hand operation for measuring longer indoors span.
- 50′ laser distance range
- LCD display
- 1/4″ accuracy
- 10″ minimum measuring distance
- Requires 2 AAA batteries (included)
- 15 second auto laser power-down, 60 seconds for display auto shutoff
- 16′ tape measure
- 3/4″ blade
- 5′ blade standout
- Belt clip
On the back of the packaging, it says that the tape is 10x faster at measuring 35 feet or more, compared to using a standard 25 foot tape measure. The “2x further” distance measuring is compared to using a standard 25 foot tape.
There’s a large red button for turning the laser distance measuring feature on and off.
As for the tape measure, there’s an automatic-style locking clamp that can be released by pressing a wide button on the bottom of the tape measure.
Laser distance measurements are made from the rear of the tape measure.
This product photo, showing a rendered laser and a measurement display on the LCD is an impossible scenario. It doesn’t show real-time measurements, it shows dashes until you press the button again to deactivate the laser and hold the measurement.
This is what the tape measure looks like. On the top is my 16-foot Stanley hi-viz tape measure, on the bottom is the General Tools Laser Tape.
I find the markings to be a little cluttered, but they’re sharp and easy to read. Do the x-foot y-inches markings really need to have a big F in there? Are homeowners easily confused as to what those numbers mean?
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There are some neat aspects to the General Tools Laser Tape, but I can’t help but feel it needs some tweaking. Target users, DIYers and homeowners, will likely have fewer complaints. I don’t have much to complain about the Laser Tape itself, but it’s in the context of other tools that its potential shortcomings become known.
Most if not all of the compact laser distance measuring tools I’ve used have a real-time distance measurement display, and the ability to “hold” measurements. Many show 2 measurements – either 1 “held” measurement and 1 real-time measurement, or 1 held measurement and the previous held measurement.
With this one, if the laser is active I only see a row of dashes. The user manual, which I had to look online for, gives troubleshooting tips in case the display shows “all dashes” rather than a distance reading. However, nothing I could do brings up a measurement on the display when the laser is active. Thus, I can only assume that it’s not capable of doing so.
I didn’t realize how much I was used to seeing real-time distance measurements, until the simple feature wasn’t available.
Compared to the Bosch GLM 15 laser distance measuring tool I also have in front of me, the General Tools Laser Tape has a slightly larger and less bright laser spot size. The measurements are within 1/16″ of each other, and I haven’t determined which measurement was closer to the actual distance. In other words, the Laser Tape is reasonably accurate.
However, its accuracy rating is said to be ±1/4″, compared to 1/8″ for the Bosch GLM 10, GLM 15, and Kobalt laser distance measuring tool. Slightly pricier tools have 1/16″ accuracy.
I triggered the 15 second laser timeout a few times. It’s no big deal to press the red button to reactivate it.
I grabbed the tape measure to make a quick measurement, and somehow the laser turned on. I guess I pressed the button without realizing it.
The battery compartment is held closed with a Phillips screw, and General Tools made sure to include a small Phillips screwdriver with the Laser Tape. I don’t know how I should feel about this.
The Laser Tape is about the size of a 25-foot tape measure, and so it’s reasonably compact and easy to use, carry, and store.
Who Should Buy This?
Are you the type of user who wants a 2-in-1 tool? The Laser Tape’s tape measure functions acceptably well, and the laser distance measuring feature fulfills its function.
Its $40 price is reasonable for a 16′ tape and 50′ laser measurer.
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Who Should NOT Buy This?
I wouldn’t buy this, because I’m choosy and would prefer to have my choice of tape measure and laser distance measuring tool.
I also don’t like 2-in-1 tools like this. What happens if the tape measure hook gets mangled? Or the blade breaks? Or something goes wrong with the laser distance measuring tool? You’d be stuck with reduced functionality and having to spend more on a new tape or laser distance measurer.
The Bosch GLM 20 has a 65′ range, the GLM 10 a 35′ range. The GLM 15, with its 50′ range, seems to have been discontinued. Even if not, you get the GLM 20’s longer range and backlit display for the same price.
The Kobalt tool is currently $25. Bosch is my compact laser distance measuring tool of choice; I threw the Kobalt out there as another option. It has a longer measurement range than the Bosch and for a few dollars less.
You can get a decent tape measure for $10, and a no-frills 35′ to 50′ laser distance measuring tool for $30 or even less. That beats the $40 price of this combo tool.
But I should point out that “no frills” laser distance measuring tools still have slightly more features than the Laser Tape’s, such as real-time measurements and the ability to store 2 measurements on-screen at once.
There aren’t many 50′ laser distance measurer options for under $50 these days, though. So that means the next step higher than 35′ requires going to $60 for a tape and laser, except in the case of the Kobalt which I like but don’t love.
There are also no shortage of no-name laser distance measuring tools that you can find for under $40. But I wouldn’t trust their accuracy.
The bottom-line is this. I would spend the same for slightly less laser distance measurement range, or $20 more for greater measurement range and added brand and model options.
There’s also a new Dewalt laser distance measuring tool coming out at the $50 price point. It will feature a 65′ range with 1/8″ accuracy.
All this talk of other options makes one thing clear – the General Tools Laser Tape is still a good option if you want a both-in-one option.
The General Tools Laser Tape is compromised in ways that seasoned laser distance measuring tool users will notice, but its target audience of DIYers and homeowners might not notice or even care.
Thank you to General Tools for providing the review sample unconditionally.