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How do Laser Measuring Tools work? How to Choose a Laser Distance Meter?

Published : 05/27/2020 12:49:12
Categories : Mister Worker , Professional working tools guide

METRICA

Measuring tools based on laser technology have been on the market for many years.
In a nutshell, laser measurement tools are based on the principle of reflection of a laser beam. To measure a distance, the device emits a pulse of laser in the direction of an object, for example a wall. The time necessary for the laser beam to get to the object and go back determines the measurement of the distance.

Laser meters based on this technology are generally called laser distance meters and belong to the category of meters that do not need to come into contact with the point to be measured.

Historically, laser distance meters have been preceded by ultrasound meters, which date back to the 1990s, which were based instead on the principle of reflection of sound waves. However, these tools did not allow to target the desired point and were not very precise.

Today laser distance meters are very popular, that’s why we have decided to discuss this topic with Bruno Corti, Italy Sales Director of Metrica, a leading Italian company in the measurement sector.

Laser Distance Meter

Why have laser distance meters become so popular? Can they replace traditional folding rules or measuring tape?

A good traditional meter can be handy when you need to measure short distances or when you want to physically simulate the space required by an object. That’s why many professionals, such as bricklayers and construction workers, still use it. 

You should also keep in mind that to operate a laser distance meters it is necessary to have a surface on which the pulse of laser can be reflected. They are therefore not suitable for measuring, for example, the length of a pole or the side of a box, that is, a length that does not have a protrusion at its end on which the laser beam can "bounce".

On the other hand, laser measuring tools offer great advantages: immediacy of measurement, ease of use, ability for an operator to measure any distance by himself. Furthermore, these measuring instruments are very important for the protection of workers safety. The laser beam can in fact reach the most inaccessible points, eliminating the use of precarious and dangerous structures, and consequent stunts at height, on balconies or on roofs.

If traditional meters are still preferable for professional workers such as bricklayers, who are the users of laser distance meters?

When it comes to measuring existing buildings, both indoors and outdoors, laser measuring tools are unbeatable and therefore have become indispensable for engineers, architects, surveyors, as well as for installers (electrical, plumbing, air treatment, etc.), real estate agents and even private individuals. These tools are also used to directly calculate perimeters, surfaces and volumes.

Almost all laser distance meters have the ability to also make indirect measurements, such as the height of a facade, or can calculate the height of a floor while remaining distant from the building.

Metrica offers a very wide range of laser distance meters. What tips can you give to choose the right tool among the various models available?

Laser Distance Meter - Metrica double flash 50m

Metrica always wants to offer the tool that best meets the specific needs of a user. For this reason, its catalogue includes a very wide range of laser measuring devices that try to cover the needs and request of different costumers.

This is the case of the Double laser-Incligrad (code 61114 / 50m, soon available on Mister Worker™), which is the only laser distance meter on the market equipped with a front laser and a rear laser that simultaneously measure in two opposite and parallel directions. The screen instantly indicates the total length measured, i.e. the sum of the two laser measurements, as well as the individual values measured in the two directions (front and rear). Unique in its kind, this Double laser has the great advantage of being able to measure vertically, i.e. the height of the ceiling of a room, while remaining comfortably standing without the hassle of bending down to the ground. For horizontal measurements it is possible to measure the side of a room without having to go to one of its ends.

Since it is not possible to simultaneously watch and check the points of the two opposing lasers, the instrument has an integrated inclinometer which helps the user to keep the instrument in a horizontal or vertical position during the measurement operations. As the two lasers are placed side by side, these tools are very compact and even smaller than a traditional laser distance meter.

In the Metrica pocket range stands out the MINI laser distance meter (code 61110 / 30m), which is as big as a lighter, with a very nice shape and color. Equipped with the continuous measurement function, this instrument has the advantage of highlighting the MAX and MIN measurements obtained by oscillating the laser beam around the desired target point. The indication of the MIN measurement is essential when you need to accurately determine the distance from a wall, because it selects and highlights the measurement taken perpendicularly. In addition, the device has a backlit black screen, 10 memories, the Pythagoras function and a rechargeable Li-Ion battery like a mobile phone.

We then have the entire intermediate range of laser measuring tools with a capacity between 25 and 80 m, Metric Flash series, which are slightly smaller than a mobile phone, they have a non-slip body and a more intense laser beam.
Let’s begin with the ONE BUTTON laser distance meter (code 61120 / 30m). This tool indicates the detected measure on a high visibility screen, it is very simple to use as you can use it pressing just one button.
In the Metrica catalogue there are also the laser distance meter with code 61130 / 30m, 61150 / 50m, 61155 / 60m and the most advanced models 61160 / 60m and 61180 / 80m. These tools differ for the growing number of functions available, which can be very useful for professional operators (e.g. digital inclinometer, various types of indirect measurements). They all have an intuitive system, with an excellent quality/price ratio.

In the top of the range there are two models with target camera, viewfinder and inclinometer: ref. 61185 / 80m and 61190 / 120m. The latter has a 4x ZOOM, a double inclinometer (2 directions) and it is also multitasking. It has 16Gb of internal memory to store measurements and photos of the measured points. It can make video and voice recordings. It has the most advanced indirect measurement functions, which make possible even measurements that seemed impossible at first sight. It allows professionals to store all the video and voice recordings in the device.

Laser Distance Meter - Metrica Mini Flash 30m

Why do some laser distance meters use green laser beams?

Green laser beams are much more visible even in bright environments. Soon Metrica will launch two new laser distance meters with a green beam, ref. 61060 / 60m and ref. 61100 / 100m. Certainly, these devices do not replace the models with red beam and camera, however they improve the naked eye visibility of the point to be measured over long distances.

What are the characteristics to consider in order to choose the right laser distance meter?

Laser measuring devices should be chosen based on the required use and circumstances. For a precise measurement, it is always better for the laser distance meter to have the continuous measurement function, with indication of the MINIMUM value, which ensures that the exact measurement is perpendicular to the wall.

Here are some examples of how circumstances can guide you in the choice of the best laser measuring tool based on your needs.

If you have to take measurements in an apartment, a measurement capacity of up to 30m is sufficient. For example, you can opt for MINI laser distance meter (ref 61110), which is pocket size and only weighs 36 g, or you can buy the Double laser (ref 61114) to comfortably take measurements up to 50m without bending over.

If you need to take measurements in larger buildings or even outdoors, it is better to choose laser distance meters with a capacity of at least 50-60m, equipped with a laser beam that allows for greater light output, with a digital inclinometer, which is useful for evaluating slopes and directs the laser beam horizontally or vertically (or in the desired direction).

For long distances, a model with camera and viewfinder (61185 / 80m and 61190 / 120m) must be chosen, the latter also has 4x ZOOM. If there is a camera, the green beam is not necessary, because the viewfinder shows exactly where you are pointing the laser beam.

What are the key features of Metrica's laser measuring tools? What sets you apart from competing brands? What has Metrica done to keep up with the times?

Our experts study the behavior of users and from their needs they draw ideas to create new patented products, which include simple and effective solutions. In recent years Metrica has regularly offered innovative products and significant improvements to existing tools in the field of professional measurement, covering more than just laser distance meters.

Just to name a few innovations, I would like to mention:

  • The tape rule with magnet fixed on the tape (ref. 38597) that fixes the zero of the measuring tape to a metal object without making mistakes, eliminating the measurement error of many tape rules on the market, where the magnet is mounted on the mobile hook;

  • The tape rule with rubber hook that has an internal surface with rubber tabs to prevent the hook from sliding: XL33 (code 08755 / 5m and 08758 / 8m), metric bravo (code 08803 from 3m to 8m), metric rubber touch (code 08793 from 3m to 10m); 

  • The levels of the INVISIBLE megalevel series (codes from 32224 to 32270, from 40cm to 200cm), formula (codes from 32834 to 32841, from 40cm to 200cm) and prismatic formula (codes from 32754 to 32758, from 40cm to at 80cm) with the built-in and invisible magnet so that by simply passing your hand you clean the magnetic base from the ferrous dust that can accumulate on its surface.

  • The universal foldable crack gauge (ref. 40090) to measure cracks even along an arch, on a step or in any case on uneven surfaces.

Metrica always want to deliver the best performing tools and tries to give comprehensive answers to the needs of its customers.

What can you expect new in the near future in the field of laser distance meters?

As for all technological products, there is a continuous evolution. Sometimes, however, the changes do not always correspond to the user's real needs and these are simple additional gadgets, without any practical use.

Metrica will soon present new models with truly innovative performances, which will be able to process the measurement data collected, according to the operator's needs, and integrate them directly into the user IT systems.

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