How do Laser Measuring Tools work?

Published : 12/28/2022 11:23:13
Categories : Mister Worker , Professional working tools guide


For many years now, length gauges using laser technology have been on the market. Today, the laser rangefinder is enjoying great popularity, so we decided to take a closer look at the subject with Bruno Corti, Sales Manager for Italy at Metrica, a leading Italian company in the measurement sector.

How does a laser distance meter work?

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. In consideration of the speed of light, distances can be defined precisely with this kind of laser. Laser distance meters can also accumulate independently to calculate surfaces and volumes.

Laser meters based on this working principle 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, this kind of 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 the users to target the desired point and were not very precise.

Today laser measure tools such as distance meters are very popular, that’s why we have decided to discuss this topic with Metrica. In this article, we will talk about the properties and functionalities of laser meters, the brand’s best laser measure tools, as well as the famous laser measure Leica.

What is a laser measure?

Laser measure tools are innovative measuring devices able to measure distance (such as length, height, or width), area, as well as volume through a laser beam. If you’re asking yourself “Are laser measuring instruments accurate?”, you will be pleased to know that they are normally considered to be accurate to within one-eighth of 3 millimeters/one inch in measuring a distance of up to 91.5 meters. 

Furthermore, many people often ask how far a laser measure goes: its measuring range varies from 100 to 1,000 feet, depending on the model. 

Laser Distance Meter

Is a laser measure better than a tape measure?

Laser measure instruments generally offer great advantages, such as the following ones: 

  • Fast measurement performances;
  • Ease of use;
  • The possibility for an operator to measure any distance by himself/herself; 
  • High safety level: the laser beam can in fact reach the most inaccessible points, eliminating the use of precarious, dangerous structures, as well as consequent stunts at height, on balconies or on roofs;
  • Their ability to guarantee a constant measurement in situations where you would have to reposition a tape repeatedly. This characteristic is very important, especially in hazardous environments. 

Their accuracy, versatility and quick performances make laser distance meters generally better than a traditional tape measure. Despite this, the latter can be useful 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 tape measures.

You should also keep in mind that, in order to work with a laser measure tool, it is necessary to have a surface on which the pulse of the 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".

How to use a laser distance meter

In order to use correctly a laser measure tool, you have to follow these steps:

  • First, hold the tool solidly against the point where the measurement will start;
  • Second, turn on the instrument and point it to the spot you’re going to measure;
  • Then, choose the mode you need to carry out measurements; 
  • After that, press the button that activates the laser. According to the mode you have selected, you should see the measurement from the starting point to the other target;
  • Finally, keep holding the device until you get a readout on its screen. 

Please remember that, to properly use a laser distance meter or any type of laser measuring instrument, it is necessary to see the red (or green) dot on the target object from a distance.

When would you use a laser measure? 

When it comes to measuring buildings, both indoors and outdoors, laser measurement instruments are unbeatable.Almost all laser 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.

Therefore, laser distance meters have become indispensable for engineers, architects, surveyors, as well as for installers (electrical, carpentry, plumbing, air treatment, locksmiths etc.), real estate agents and even private individuals. These tools are also used to directly calculate perimeters, surfaces and volumes. The laser distance meter is also largely used in the industrial sector. Then, due to their versatility as well as ease of use, these tools are used in agriculture, construction and many other fields

Which is the best laser measure instrument?

Laser Distance Meter - Metrica double flash 50m

It’s difficult to state which laser distance meter is the best. Metrica offers a very wide range of laser meters, in order to meet the specific needs of a user. 

In the Metrica range stands out the MINI laser distance meter (code 61110 / 30m), which is as big as a lighter, as well as characterized by a very nice shape and color. Equipped with the continuous measurement function, this instrument can highlight 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, since it selects and highlights the measurement taken perpendicularly. In addition, the device has a backlit black screen, 10 memories, an intelligent Pythagoras function, along with a rechargeable Li-Ion battery.

We then have the entire intermediate range of laser measuring tools with a capacity between 25 and 80 m: we are talking about the ones of the Flash series, which are slightly smaller than a mobile phone, have a non-slip body as well as a more intense laser beam.

In the brand catalog there are the laser distance meters with code 61130 / 30m, 61150 / 50m, 61155 / 60m, plus 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 professionals (e.g. digital inclinometer, various types of indirect measurements). They all have an intuitive system, providing thus an excellent quality/price ratio.

Take a look at the ONE BUTTON laser distance meter (code 61120 / 30m) too. 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 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), as well as 16Gb of internal memory to store measurements and photos of the measured points. This laser measure tool is multitasking too: 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.

Last but not least, you can find the FLASH GO 15 laser meter (61109): it provides extremely quick, accurate measurements, thus improving your working experience. Then, it automatically switches off for increased versatility; its display is on one line and it is powered through a rechargeable LI-ION battery with enclosed cable.

Laser Distance Meter - Metrica Mini Flash 30m

What differentiates green laser distance meters from red beam ones?

Green laser beams are much more visible even in bright environments. Due to their different wavelengths, the luminous efficacy of green light is higher than that of red light. As a consequence, the laser line appears brighter and is four times more visible to the human eye. 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.

How to choose the right laser measure tool

Laser distance meters should be chosen based on the required use and circumstances. For a precise measurement, it is always better for the laser 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 measure tool based on your needs: 

  • If you have to take measurements in an apartment, a measurement capacity of up to 30m is sufficient. In this case, you can opt for MINI laser distance meter (ref 61110), which is pocket size and only weighs 36 g, or for 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 meters with a capacity of at least 50-60m. This should be also equipped with a laser beam that allows for greater light output, 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, such as the 61185 / 80m or the 61190 / 120m, must be chosen. The latter model, in particular, features a 4x ZOOM. If there is a camera, the green beam is not necessary, as the viewfinder shows exactly where you are pointing the laser beam.

Therefore, it’s quite difficult to state which is the best laser distance measurer: it depends on the place or the surface to be calculated.

What are the key features of Metrica's laser measure tools?

In recent years Metrica has regularly offered innovative products and significant improvements to existing tools, covering more than just laser distance meters.

Just to name a few innovations, it is worth mentioning: 

  • 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.
  • The digital depth caliper 12145, made of hardened stainless steel. This tool has three buttons: an ON/ OFF, a reset for comparative measurements, as well as conversion mm/inch. It guarantees a precision of ± 0.02 mm

The brand always wants to deliver the best performing tools and tries to give comprehensive answers to the needs of its customers.

Leica laser distance meters sold by Metrica

We’re very pleased to introduce a new line of products, included in our range of measuring tools: the Leica laser measure.

In particular, we would like to introduce you to the Leica Disto D2: it is characterized by an ergonomic design with a soft grip, an X-Range power technology and a backlight useful for reading in the dark. The D2 model offers multiple measurement modes, such as: distance, min / max, permanent measurement, tracking, addition / subtraction, area and volume, and includes painter and Pythagoras functions.

Last but not least, this product is an ISO certified measurement engine that guarantees an accuracy of 1.5mm and a measurement range of 100m. Watch out for the Leica DISTO D510 too. This laser meter provides the most advanced functions, such as Smart Horizontal and Height Tracking and its ability to fulfill complex measurements such as our trapezoid function. 

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

Our experts constantly study the behavior of users and from their needs they draw ideas to create new patented products, which include simple and effective solutions. 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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