I recently compared two DeWalt 12V Max green laser levels: (the five spot + cross line) combo and the (3 x 360 line), which has no spots. Here is what I found.
Laser Lines vs. Spots
The big difference between laser lines and spots is spots are greatly more visible outdoors and across distance.
Say, for example, you want to check the grade of a hill on a sunny day at 130′. With spots all you need is a measuring stick to capture the laser dot. With lines you need a laser detector.
In the pics above I’m standing below this grade rod, which is 130 feet from the DeWalt combo laser. I could easily read the spot that was 11′ 5-1/4” off the ground.
Granted, in some instances using a detector to locate a horizontal line is going to be easier than trying to find a tiny spot with a stick at 130 feet. The point is the five spot combo gives you the option to do either where the 360 does not.
In person both laser’s vertical and horizontal lines are visible on the door at the end of this hallway, which is about 60 feet away. It’s hard to see in the pic above but the 360 line is visible all the way around the room. The top, brighter, horizontal line is the combo laser and is visible only to about half way over this fireplace.
With the combo’s forward facing lines, the left/right 180 fan is only good to about 6′ before it starts to disappear. The dots are visible but the lines are weak. With the combo you can use the dots with or without the lines.
Both Lasers Are…
Full Time 360
Another thing to consider is the 360 is full time 360. So you’re throwing lines all around all the time. That can be a little obnoxious on a jobsite. These are class 2 lasers that will fry your eyes out if you look at the laser for more than a fraction of a second.
I’ve seen tool reviewers telling people these things won’t harm your eyes. They will, which is why it’s illegal to point one at anyones face.
The Giant Case
You get a huge case with a ceiling bracket that, unless you install drop ceilings, you’ll most likely never use. However, the case is a great place to store the laser detector and grade rod bracket. So all that stuff lives in the case in my garage, while the laser lives in an old camera bag inside my daily carry tool bag. Not bad.
A Chance To Jump Ship
Currently, DeWalt does not offer a fast charger that will charge 12, 20, and 60 volt batteries. This means I have to carry two chargers. One small, fast, single port charger for my 20 and 60 volts and one small charger for the 12V.
As this was my first 12V DeWalt tool I considered jumping over to Makita for my 12V tools. I like their 12V lineup over DeWalt’s. If I have to carry two chargers there is no reason not to carry another platform in 12V.
In the end I chose the DeWalt 12V laser for the forward spot. And besides, the charger that came with the 12V Makita laser was freakin’ HUGE! One of the things I love about big D’s platform is their compact chargers. But ya, no triple volt.
I prefer the slimmer size and versatility of the 5 spot combo laser over the 360. If you need full 360 coverage go for the 360. If you want brighter lines, and don’t need a forward spot (I don’t really need it actually), check out the Makita 4 spot plus cross line.
TOOLREV EARNS COMMISSIONS ON PURCHASES MADE THROUGH OUR LINKS
Whichever way you go I wish you good luck. For more info check out this video review: