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.
- 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′.
Lines vs Spots
Laser spots are greatly more visible in bright light, and across distance, than are laser lines. 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, which can be a pain.
Both the Makita and Dewalt laser spots are visible in sunlight to at least 100′. The DeWalt dot was smaller and brighter at 100′, which is better for taking a measurement.
Four 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 lines out to 165′. I’m not sure if that is a limitation of the laser or the detector.
Indoors, the lines and spots of both lasers are visible to at least 100 feet forward. However, the 180° fan of the lines are barely visible past ten feet on either laser. So, good enough for hallways but not so good for large rooms. Note 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 a full 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 dot. The Makita laser dots are always on with the lines. The DeWalt dots can be used with or without the lines.
The Makita line is way more visible against a dusty floor than the DeWalt. The Makita has two brightness settings and, even on the lower setting, it was more visible. The Dewalt has no brightness setting, but dims slightly when you add the dots to the lines. The Makita dots are always on with the lines.
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, atop the same tripod, can be set 2′-3′ from the wall with the line touching floor to ceiling. Setting the DeWalt closer to the floor will solve the issue. But working in small rooms on a tripod is easier with the Makita.
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The Makita is better laser. It’s brighter, can be plugged into a wall, and has less of a blind spot. And, unlike the DeWAlt, it can be used without the mounting bracket, making it more compact. The DeWalt has a forward facing laser spot, which turned out to be more important to me.
If you get one of these laser levels I hope you enjoy it. Check out this video to see the lasers in action. See ya.