Here we compare two 12V green beam laser level kits: the Makita 4 spot + cross line model SK106GDNAX and the DeWalt 5 spot + cross line model DW0825GL.
First a Few Specs
- Both are Self Leveling to +/- 4°
- Both have a Locking Pendulum
- Both flash every few seconds when set on an angle.
- DeWalt is IP65 rated (dust tight and light water jet resistant).
- Makita is IP54 rated (dust and splash resistant).
- DeWalt has a 6′ drop rating.
- Makita does not list a drop rating.
- DeWalt is detectable to 165′.
- Makita is detectable to 262′.
Laser Level Lines vs. Spots
The big difference between laser lines and laser spots is spots are greatly more visible in bright light 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 would need a laser detector.
In the pic above I’m standing below the grade rod and could easily see the DeWalt spot at 130′ and 11′ 5 1/4” off the ground. The Makita spot was also readable, but the DeWalt dot was smaller and brighter, smaller is better.
Four Laser Level Spots vs. Five
At the time of this writing, Makita does not offer a five spot/cross line laser. And, aside from DeWalt, the only other true five spot/cross line I know of is sold by Spectra. Other brands, Makita included, offer “five point” combo lasers with the fifth point being the forward cross hair, not an actual spot.
With the Makita you get an up/down – left/right dot, and a forward cross line. The DeWalt gives you an up/down – left/right dot, a forward cross line, and a forward dot, as shown above.
This matters when setting right angles in bright conditions. Without a forward dot you may need a detector to get your second point. See above diagram.
Laser Line Detectability
The Makita lines are detectable in sunlight out to 262′. The DeWalt out to 165′. I’m not sure if that is a limitation of the laser or the detector.
Indoor Laser Visibility
Indoors, the lines of both laser levels are visible to at least 100′ forward. The left/right 180° fan of the forward lines however, are barely visible past ten feet on either laser. This is good enough for hallways but for large rooms you need to spin the laser toward the wall you’re working on.
Above, you see the plumb dots on an 8′ ceiling. The Makita left, is visible to about three feet past the dot. The DeWalt right, is good to a foot past.
The Makita has two brightness settings and, even on the lower setting, which is about equal to the DeWalt’s one setting, it was more visible against this dusty floor. The Dewalt dots can be used with or without the lines but adding the dots dims the lines, I will guess around 30%. The Makita dots and lines are are always on together.
Laser Line Blind Spot
Set atop a 5′ tripod the DeWalt, right, needs to be about 10′ away from a wall for the vertical line to run floor to ceiling. Here it’s about 8′ away and the line still doesn’t hit the floor. The Makita, left, on a 5′ tripod not only hits the floor but comes to within 3′ of the tripod base. Setting the DeWalt closer to the floor solves the issue. But working in small rooms on a tripod is easier with the Makita.
The Makita laser line is brighter and more visible with less of a blind spot. And, unlike the DeWalt, it has an AC port and can be used without the mounting bracket making it more compact. That said, for me, the DeWalt forward facing spot won the day. I carry it in a small bag and the giant case it came in stays in my garage.
If you get one of these laser levels I hope you enjoy it. Please leave any questions or comments below, and thanks for reading.
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Check out this video to see the lasers in action.