Size Up Measurement Needs with a Laser

    The Bosch GLM 30 was the author’s choice among several laser measuring devices.
    The Bosch GLM 30 was the author’s choice among several laser measuring devices.
    The Bosch GLM 30 at $70 was my choice among several laser measuring devices.

    We’ve all been there. You are trying to measure the distance from the floor to the ceiling and the tape measure keeps flopping over. Or you are cutting a 2X4 inch stud for a wall you are building and you can’t quite get an accurate measure and have to keep making kerf-wide cuts to make it fit. Frustrating and time consuming.

    Or you are a real estate professional and want to give a client a quick, accurate record of the square footage of a room or whole building. Or you might be the client trying to double check what the property description says.

    And here’s a good one: You’re wanting to cut down a tree and are worried its height might be more than the distance from your home or garage, if it should fall toward them. You want an accurate measure.

    Solving these situations is easy and quick with a laser tape measure, and you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a good one. Measuring distance, area and volume is relatively easy, and you can use their continuous measuring feature, which gives you read-outs as you move the device or walk on a path from a wall or property line. If you work alone on home projects or on the construction site, these tools are a major help. One simple advantage: You don’t have to keep walking back 25 feet because the tip of your tape measure keeps falling off and you have no one there to hold it.

    There are many great choices to pick from, but the Stanley TLM 99, with a range up to 100 feet, gets solid reviews. Its accuracy is plus/minus 3/32 of an inch at that distance, reviewers say. I tried the Bosch GLM 30. It’s $70 at Home Depot, a bit cheaper than the Stanley TLM 99. It has an accuracy of plus/minus 1/16 inch at 100 feet, which was fine for my needs. I quickly measured square footage of rooms and made precise 2X4 stud measurements and cuts. Of course, you must complement the laser measurement with your tape measure to transfer cut lengths to the saw. It worked great, I must say, and I was quickly using it to take quick measurements for other projects. The screen is a little hard to read, but I got used to it. The tool is compact, about the size of a small flip phone, and came with two AAA batteries to get you up and running.

    At the same price, Ryobi makes the Ryobi Phone Works, a laser measurement tool that plugs into your iPhone. You download an app and you are ready to make and view measurements on your phone. I wanted to keep my iPhone for more protected situations.

    Search online for “laser tape measure reviews” and find out more. Here are a couple places to start:


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    Richard Blanchard
    Rick is the Managing Editor of Corp! magazine. He has worked in reporting and editing roles at the Port Huron Times Herald, Lansing State Journal and The Detroit News, where he was most recently assistant business editor. A native of Michigan, Richard also worked in Washington state as a reporter, photographer and editor at the Anacortes American. He received a bachelor of arts from the University of Michigan and a master’s in accountancy from the University of Phoenix.