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Distance Meters & Laser Levels

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Tired of using a tape measure and getting inaccurate measurements? Laser distance meters are the solution to this problem.

These devices work by shining a pinpoint precision laser onto a surface at a distance. The distance meter then measures the exact time it takes for the laser’s reflection to return to the instrument, and calculates the distance based on the equation distance = ½ (speed x time).  Some models of these devices uses sound instead of light to measure a distance, and are known as ultrasonic distance meters as they bounce ultrasound that humans can’t hear and measure how long it takes to return to gain measurements.

Ultrasound meters are generally much less accurate than lasers. Lasers are strongly focused beams that are generally of a single frequency – sounds waves are more likely to bounce around the environment, and require a flat surface to accurately return to the meter. Lasers don’t have this problem – they can be used on such applications such as pipe interiors, which usually have curved edges, without a problem.

The benefits of using a laser to measure distance compared to using a standard tape measure are massive. First and foremost, using tape measures is a pain. They’re easily bent, hard to navigate and if they aren’t completely straight, measurements won’t be correct. In comparison a laser shines in a completely straight line, and most laser measuring tools are accurate within just a few millimetres. They can also be used at a much greater distance than conventional tape measures can and users to can use the precision laser to accurately pinpoint exactly where the measurement should end.

The minor discrepancies with measurements can be altered by a number of factors such as light conditions, and there’s also the factor of how steady the hand holding the meter is. Generally distance meters are constructed to be lightweight and easy to hold in one hand, but there’s still a chance a hand can shift when holding a device. To compensate for this, many laser meters are able to be inserted into static tripods, allowing the user to accurately pinpoint exactly where they want the beam to shine and then fix it in place.

Not all laser measurers use straight horizontal lines – certain devices can be used to calculate exact angles and features multiple adjustable lasers for precise horizontal and vertical measurements.  This makes devices such as the Leica Lino L2+ Cross-Line Laser Meter ideal for precisely cutting things such as tiles, or for accurately gauging the width or height of a construction project. The overall distance measurement capability of a meter depends totally on the manufacturer and model of the product. For example, a meter such as the Fluke 419D Laser Distance Meter is able to measure distance up to 80 metres away from the tester.  The Fluke 424D, an upgrade of the 419D, is able to measure up to 100m.

The applications where laser determination is used to calculate distance are vast. As previously mentioned, construction workers can benefit from these devices and use them to calculate the height or distance of an object. They’re also used in military applications, 3 dimensional modelling, forestry, sports, industry production processes and are even beneficial for use by estate agent measuring up properties and professional building surveyors.  The devices used in military, industrial and 3-dimensional modelling applications are generally more specialist, and can be integrated into product control systems, weaponry and other applications.

Fluke laser distance meters are generally very popular amongst surveyors.  As well as these we also stock meters from Leica, UNI-T, Extech and Cordex.

You may often also see many meters in this category stating they have an integrated Pythagoras function – this basically means that the device can be used to measure around corners by creating two sides of a triangle, with the third automatically calculated to create an exact distance measurement.  There’s also the safety factor to consider when using a distance meter – you don’t have to climb ladders or get into tricky spots to perform measurements. Simply stand on the ground, point the meter at the targeted application and receive a distance measurement quickly.

More advanced models of distance meter, such as the Leica Disto D510, also feature integrated visual cameras to showcase exactly where the laser is pointing. This device is also designed for use outdoors, enabling building surveyors and construction personnel to exactly calculate distances in construction projects, regardless of lighting conditions. Whether it’s dark or light, laser precision measurements can be used as the laser shines through the conditions and is easy visible.

That said, not all laser distance meters are suitable for use outdoors. Indoor meters are designed purely for that environment, and it may be more difficult to see the laser outdoors than it is indoors, particularly if the weather is sunny that day.  Outdoor meters work in the opposite way – they have brighter lasers generally designed for viewing in outdoor environments, but this should be perfectly acceptable for use indoors as well.

Most laser meters use a class 1 laser. This is a laser beam that is deemed safe for humans to see, and this obviously is extremely important as you wouldn’t want to damage someone’s eyesight should they actually wander into the beam of your laser.

If you’re working in an environment where there’s risk of explosion or ignition (I.E. Zone 1 IIIC T4 and Class B, C and D explosive environments) then laser distance meters are generally too dangerous for use. Certain intrinsically safe products, such as the Cordex 3000XP LaserMeter, are specifically designed not to ignite the atmosphere, and distance measurements can be taken without worry.  

Fluke laser distance meters are generally very popular amongst surveyors.  As well as these we also stock meters from Leica, UNI-T, Extech and Cordex.

Got any questions about our range of laser distance meters? Our team are available from 8:30 to 5:30 every single weekday and are happy to answer your questions either by phone or email. Just use the numbers at the top of the site to give us a ring!