I recently compared two 12V, green beam, laser level kits: the Makita 4 spot + cross line model SK106GDNAX and the DeWalt 5 spot + cross line model DW0825GL. The difference was surprising.
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 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 spot. With lines you need a laser detector.
The DeWalt dot was smaller and brighter at 100′. But both laser spots will give you a good measurement. Here, standing below the grade rod, I could easily see the DeWalt spot at 130′ and 11′ 5 1/4” off the ground.
Four Laser Level Spots vs. Five
At the time of this writing, Makita does not offer a five spot/cross line laser. Aside from DeWalt, the only other true five spot/cross line I know of is sold by Spectra.
The Makita gives you an up/down – left/right dot and a forward cross line. The DeWalt gives you an up/down – left/right dot, a forward dot, and a forward cross line.
This matters when setting right angles in bright conditions. Without a forward dot you may need a detector to get your second point.
Laser Line Detectability
The Makita lines are detectable in sunlight out to 262′. The DeWalt out to 165′. 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 past 100 feet forward. The left/right 180° fan of the forward lines however, are barely visible past ten feet on either laser. So, good enough for hallways but not for large rooms.
In the picture above, the horizontal line of the Makita makes a full 180° to the side spots. The DeWalt spots are off, but I can tell you the horizontal line runs about 6 inches short of the 180°.
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, it was more visible against a dusty floor. The Dewalt has no brightness setting and dims slightly when you add the dots to the lines. The DeWalt dots can be used with or without the lines. 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 laser, it has an AC port and can be used without the mounting bracket making it more compact. That said, I chose the DeWalt for its forward facing laser spot. 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. Talk to you later.
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Check out this video to see the lasers in action.