Professional constructors who got used to using plumb bobs, chalk lines, and bubble spirit levels for many years find it very difficult to shop and decide which laser model is the best. With the wide range of construction lasers available, choosing one that fits your needs can be a daunting adventure.
As you walk from one store to another, you will probably be trying to figure out which beam color will help you do your job. Should I pick a red beam laser or the green one?
In this post, we will try to help you find the laser color beam that best fits your needs. The first thing to do is to know what jobs you plan to do with your laser. Will you use it for indoor, outdoor jobs, or both? This is the question that will help you identify the features that you will need to look for before you purchase a beam laser level.
Regardless of the task you intend to complete, this post will help you make the right decision by presenting to you the factors that will help you understand the application of these two beam lasers and make a verdict on which one is better.
What are Laser Levels?
If you have worked in a construction site, then you should be familiar with laser levels. However, for people who are new in the construction industry, laser levels simply project a colored beam of light that can be used as a visual chalk-line. This can be done when you require a straight and level reference point. Laser Levels are a replacement of the popular bubble spirit levels that were or are still used in constructions.
The scope of the beam of light is dependent on the size of the diode; the smaller the beam the more precise it will be. With a wider beam, accuracy is not achieved because the accurate level will lie anywhere within the width of the beam.
Initially, laser levels were only limited to indoor use because the beam light was not bright enough for outdoor applications. That is not the case today because designs that are more powerful have been made to cater for both indoor and outdoor applications. Moreover, other devices have been designed to be used with light detectors to read the laser’s beam light.
Although most lasers project red beam light, some manufacturers are now building green lasers that are up to 4 times brighter than the red lasers. With these brighter beams, it has become easier to use the laser while working on outdoor projects.
Indoor Applications of Laser Levels
- Leveling floors
- Installing drop ceilings
- Aligning cabinets, trims, and shelves
- Aligning and plumbing the walls
Outdoor Application of Laser Levels
- All types of surveys
- Aligning posts, fences, and decks
- Checking land elevations
- Site layout
- Masonry alignment
- Establishing grades
- Contour drainage or farming
What are the Differences between the Red and the Green Laser Levels?
Typically, the differences between the red and the green laser levels go beyond their beam colors. Nevertheless, the color of the beam impacts the lasers brightness, visibility, and the price. That being said, potential buyers should review their specific features closely before settling on a particular color laser for their job. Below are some of the aspects that distinguish green laser beams from the red ones.
The Green Laser is brighter than the Red Laser
The green beam lasers are said to be more than 4 times brighter than the red beams, making them the best for visibility even in the bright ambient light environments. Even though the older versions of green lasers used a laser color conversion technology that generated a green laser light from the red laser beam, today we have true green lasers.
The green beam lasers function at a light frequency that is different to that of the red laser beams. Basically, it has a greater class of 3r output wattage of 5mW as compared to class 2 red beams that operates below 1mW. Although you can get a class 3r red beam with a sub 5mW output, the green beam will still appear clearer and visible in low light conditions. Moreover, the human eye is more sensitive to green compared to red color.
Cost of Production
In terms of cost, the green laser beam is a bit expensive compared to the red beam. To manufacture a green laser beam, a green laser diode is required, which comes at an extra cost. For instance, you will need up to 6 diodes to make a multiline green laser. This bloats the overall cost significantly when compared to making a red laser version.
The green laser diodes are also more susceptible to heat effects since it gets too hot when in use. This makes the intensity of the beam light to dim down more than red diodes at lower temperatures. However, once the ambient temperature subsides, the diode turns to its initial intensity.
The green laser has been said to use more power compared to the red laser. However, the power consumption of different green laser beams varies from one manufacturer to another.
Are They each Suited to Different Jobs?
There is a common assumption that a green beam laser is more efficient compared to a red laser when working in bright environments or when working outdoors. This is because you can see the green light more clearly than the red one. Nevertheless, it is recommendable to use a laser detector in case you are working in very bright ambient conditions and at a distance of more than 30 feet.
In case you are working on an outdoor project where the green laser is efficient but you cannot afford its cost, you can consider purchasing a red laser that comes with a laser detector.
It is important to understand that the distance you will want to observe is highly influenced by factors such as:
- Ambient light
- The type of surface you are projecting the laser
- The strength of the battery
In case you are working on interior metal rivet edges, you may need to use a good range with any PLS laser level. An inflamed PLS track can be observable up to 30 feet but the green PLS laser beam can still be seen up to 60 feet when fitted with a fresh set of batteries. As such, you will not need to move your green laser as much as you would a red one if most of your work is indoors and you want to see the laser clearer. This is because in indoor working conditions, a green laser level will most likely outdo a red laser level.
While there is an increased cost for the green laser level and the frequent change of batteries, the time saved when using a brighter laser will, in the long run, make up for the difference in the cost. Considering that the red laser levels are still popular, you will be able to differentiate your green laser level from the other laser users at the same work site.
Undoubtedly, the red laser level continues to play a significant role at various work site, especially in the indoor projects and when working in large spaces. The green laser level, on the other hand, is extending its popularity within the construction sites as well as in the electrical industry.
Moreover, the PLS provides several green laser levels to supplement the full lines of red lasers levels. The PLS also give better visibility particularly when you need to relocate plumb spots during site layout or fitting. It also gives one of the biggest straight and upright fan angles with bright and hard green lines, even near the edges. When working with PLS green laser level, you will require laser detectors to extend your range or for long-range outdoor use.
What are the Pros and Cons of Red and Green Laser Level?
Advantages of Red Laser Level
The red laser levels are the most common because they are the least expensive to make. The red diodes are the cheapest to produces since they are semiconductors when electrically pumped.
The red laser level has a very low light frequency thus not very visible. This makes it a better laser for you if you are planning to work indoors. The indoor environment is not brightly lit making the red laser a better pick to meet your requirements.
Since there is additional light outdoors, the red laser level might not be the best choice to serve your needs. However, if you are willing to invest in a light detector, you will be sure to mark your area accurately using the red laser.
The red laser belongs to a lower class 2 that requires a little amount of power to generate a beam. Since it needs less power, it is fairly safe to use. The stronger the beam generated, the higher the chances of blinding your assistant.
Disadvantages of Red Laser Level
The frequency of the red laser level is not as bright as the green laser. As such, it cannot be visible when used outdoors or in brightly lit areas.
Due to its low light frequency, the red laser level cannot be effectively used in outdoor job sites. Regardless, you can seek the help of a light detector to mark your areas with precision. You, however, need to note that this will come at an extra cost and might not be viable if you are working on a tight budget.
Advantages of Green Laser Level
High Light Frequency
The green laser level is four times more visible to the human eye compared to the red laser. Since the green light is more receptive to the human eye, this makes the green laser a great option to work with when working in brightly lit areas and outdoors.
The green laser level comes in handy when working on outdoor projects. If you prefer not to spend more money on laser detectors, then the green laser is the best choice you got.
When it comes to deciding the type of laser to use for your indoor layout, you may want to have a laser that will work anywhere without the help of a detector.
Disadvantages of Green Laser Light
The green laser level belongs to a higher class 3 that requires a high amount of power to generate a beam. The beam produced thereafter is very strong and can be dangerous to your eye. As such, it requires more care to avoid blinding your assistant.
When deciding on what type of laser to use for your indoor layout, you will most likely pick one that is just fine without a detector. The green laser level is very bright, implying that it will not require the use of a detector. However, the brightness emitted might be extreme to your eye thus difficult to adjust.
The green laser level requires more diodes to build as compared to the red laser. This makes them a bit expensive compared to the red laser level.
Depending on your job assignment or objective, you need a laser level that is best at serving your needs. The red and the green laser levels are common in various construction sites, although the former is the most common.
After reviewing the differences, advantages, and disadvantages of the two laser levels, we believe that you can now identify the laser level best suited for your particular site. Although the green laser level is quickly gaining popularity, the services of the red laser level cannot be underestimated. As such, you will need to factor in your working environment before you choose the laser level to buy.
Evidently, the green laser level is a bit expensive, which means that many constructors will prefer buying its alternative. However, if you want a laser level that can handle different outdoor projects, it could be your best bet.