Aaron wrote in asking for help selecting a laser line level for around $150 or less.
I missed Aaron’s email the first time (sorry about that), but luckily he reiterated his criteria in a followup.
I decided to DIY some tile back splash and I thought using a self leveling laser would be a super easy way of setting up perfect chalk lines.
I’ve never bought one and I know nothing about them so I thought about just going with a trusted brand like Bosch or Dewalt.
There are a lot of brand names that I don’t recognise and some of the old standbys have received some negative reviews on Amazon. People commented that the Bosch I was looking at seemed cheap and broke easily for example. So, I wanted some help. I’m looking in the 150 price range. Any ideas?
At them moment I am leaning toward the Dewalt DW087K. I am a rookie and a new home owner. I want a tool that will work for this job, but also be versatile enough as to not be absolutely useless after I’m finished with the tile. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
- Laser level for tile work and other home DIY projects
- Cross-line beam pattern
- ~$150 or so target price
I have zero experience with self-leveling cross-line laser levels, and so my approach was to consider known brands. This is actually a product category I wanted to look into for projects planned for later this year, so Aaron’s question came at a good time.
Given the presented criteria, these are the models I looked at first:
Dewalt DW087K ($161 via Amazon)
Dewalt DW088K ($178 via Amazon)
Bosch GLL2-15 ($160 via Amazon)
Bosch GLL2-40 ($132 via Amazon)
Leica DISTO LINO L2 ($173 via Amazon)
Skil MT 8201 ($90 via Amazon)
Johnson 40-0921 Kit ($90 via Amazon)
There is also the Bosch GLL2-10, but it looks a bit bulky and seems to have limited mounting options compared to Bosch’s other models. It seems this is the level which users report as having potential build quality issues.
There are other brands worth considering as well, but there aren’t that many more options in the $150-$175 maximum price range or so.
Of these levels, the Dewalt DW087K and new Bosch GLL2-15 would be my top two choices.
Both of these levels have independent cross-line modes (horizontal, vertical, or both), both have ±1/8″ accuracy at 30-feet, and both have 50-foot max ranges. The Dewalt self-levels within 5°, while the Bosch self-levels within 4°.
Exact product dimensions aren’t readily available for the Dewalt, but the Bosch looks to be more compact and measures 3.1″ x 1.6″ x 3.8″.
The Bosch has a safety lock that protects the pendulum internals during transport; the Dewalt does not have such a feature.
It’s a tough comparison. The Bosch GLL2-15 is newer and has a few benefits over the Dewalt DW087K, but the Dewalt is tried-and-true with proven reliability and solid features.
Personally, the Bosch would be my first pick, and the Dewalt a close second. To be truthful, I don’t have enough experience with both brands’ cross-line levels to be able to tell you which is better than the other. Ask me tomorrow, and I might recommend the Dewalt over the Bosch.
It’s worth mentioning that Bosch owns CST/berger (more tool brand corporate affiliations), a company that specializes in professional laser measuring technology. This bit of knowledge might be subconsciously influencing my preference.
I searched user reviews, and didn’t really see many gripes about either brands’ levels. The newer Bosch level looks similar to the older model, and so it might be worth looking at reviews for the older model (GLL2-40) until more professionals and DIYers report their findings about the newer one.
Buy Now: Bosch GLL2-15 | Dewalt DW087K (Amazon) DW087K (Home Depot)
Neither of these models are under $150, but $160 isn’t too far of a reach.
Do you agree or disagree with this recommendation? Are there any other levels that fit the above criteria? Please let us know in a comment!