Do Laser Levels Work Outside? (Here’s The Truth About It)

Have you ever wondered how perfect symmetrical structures came to be? It’s one of the marvels of structural engineering’s precision. Accuracy rules science, literally, and; every construction is the result of perfect calculations.

Laser technology does an unparalleled job for indoor tasks such as setting your furniture, cabinets, tiles, picture frames, etc.

But do laser levels work outside?

Yes, laser levels work outside, but they’re not visible to the naked eye. Your level needs a receiver or laser detector card to sense the beam. In addition, models that come with special goggles make the laser beam visible.

It’s more than that in reality so keep reading to find out everything you need to know!

How do you use a laser level outdoors?

Daylight blurs laser light and makes it hard to work outdoors. In short, you won’t view the beams when there’s sunlight. After a few meters, the laser becomes obsolete as you can’t see it anymore.

Of course, you can produce a large, powerful beam of laser that’s visible even during the brightest noon sun. But, that means you’d use lots of power. In addition, a laser of such a magnitude is harmful, so, stronger beams are not an option here!

So, how can you make lasers work outside?

The laser receiver is your hope of using the laser level outdoors. A receiver will detect the beam for you and alert you when you achieve the level. For more information about how a laser level receiver works, see this post.

Green vs. Red: What laser beam color works best outdoors? (and WHY?)

Red lasers have been around for several decades now, and that’s why many conventional laser equipments emit red wavelengths. But, that doesn’t mean they’re the best beam color.

Green joined the party late, and apparently, it’s the guest everyone was waiting for! The human eye perceives green brighter than red. Noticeably, green lasers even appear four to five times brighter than red.

 You can see green from several feet away, and we can’t say this for other colors. Green lasers, therefore, perform better outdoors than red light.

In short, when you want an affordable laser level that serves you for long, go for red. Green is the guzzler wagon that runs on rough terrains. The green lasers will consume more power but have better visibility and more extended range.

However, when you have a laser detector, you might not even notice the difference between the red and green laser levels.

Plus, the ideal laser color depends on your vision type. Color blindness will determine the ideal color wavelength for your laser.

Here you can find a great selection of some of the best green line laser levels! These are both for pros and DIYers. So make sure you check it out!

How can you see a laser level line on a sunny day outdoors?

Already, you acknowledge that the laser is not visible on a sunny day. Even sharp lasers just dissolve into the brightness of the sun.

But that’s not to mean the levels are obsolete outdoors. On the contrary, with the right gear and preparations, you can still use your laser level.

First, understand that the laser beam is an electromagnetic radiation and still exists, even when you can’t see it. Then, with good radiation detection equipment, your laser level becomes a valuable tool.

Tools to help you see a laser beam outdoors

Several advanced pieces of equipment can help you see the laser beam outdoors. Some laser level kits come with these tools, although you may have to purchase some of them separately.

#1. Laser detector card

Card detectors convert UV and IR light to a visible form. So, when invisible laser radiation is traveling along your path, the card will turn it into a visual form.

Laser card detectors are cheap and easy to use when compared with the receiver or goggles. The plastic credit-card-sized detector comes with a photosensitive part that emits colored light when invisible lasers of a specific wavelength hit it.

#2. Laser receiver and a grade rod

A grade rod (leveling rod) is a calibrated rod that measures elevation. Surveyors use the rod alongside laser levels when they’re digging out a foundation or basement.

The laser receiver detects the laser even when the sun is shining at its brightest. When shooting a grade, you set up the laser level on a tripod and position the laser receiver and grade rod on different site locations. 

This video explains how to use a grade rod and laser receiver outdoors

#3. Laser safety goggles

Lasers are harmful to your retina, but you can use safety goggles if you want to stare at them directly. But, these aren’t your ordinary sunglasses. Safety laser glasses absorb the laser, attenuate it and then reflect specific wavelengths.

Goggles, therefore, protect your eyes’ photoreceptors from radiation. Some experts call the protection goggles “laser filters” because they remove harmful light wavelengths from the beam.

Challenges of laser level outdoors application

Bright sunshine is not your only challenge when working outdoors. Some of the construction sites will be a dump, windy, hot, and rainy. You won’t just stop working because it’s snowing or windy. Instead, learn to face and mitigate the challenges.

Using Laser levels in the rain

Rainwater can badly damage your electronic laser level equipment. Take care of the devices and wipe away any water that seeps through their casings.

And yes- you can use laser levels in the rain. Just ensure the level equipment is water-resistant.

Using laser levels during strong winds

Strong winds can vibrate your laser detector or level and get you the wrong reading. In the worst-case scenario, these winds can cause the equipment to fall and break into pieces.

So, when you’re working in windy regions, spread your tripod legs far enough to get the perfect balance. A larger base area lowers your level’s center of gravity and therefore increases its support.

Using laser levels in populated areas

Intrusion is perhaps the most common challenge when working outdoors. Everyone is watching you, and some people just can’t wait to quench their curiosity.

In other situations, animals may come from nowhere and damage your setup.

So, when you get to a construction site, fence around it to avoid any physical intrusions. Then, when it’s just a minor construction activity, put a ribbon tape around your area of operation and erect a warning sign.

At least, let people know the dangers of approaching the site.

Examples of great laser level brands for outdoor projects

So, which is the best laser level for outdoor work? The ideal laser equipment should overcome all the challenges of an outdoor operation. The unit should be waterproof, sturdy, and have a powerful beam.

Such a brand should undoubtedly come with a complete kit, including a level receiver, goggles, and any other helpful part of the kit.

1. Bosch Laser Level

Bosch Self Leveling GREEN Rotary Laser Level

The German company provides some of the best self-leveling laser levels. Their GRL300HVG is a manifestation of the company’s quality assurance. The visible beam comes with a self-leveling technology and remote control unit.


2. Dewalt Laser Level

DeWalt 12V DW089LG – 3X360 Green Beams

V laser levels have an accurate precision and boast a rich century-old history. The DW089LG Has a rechargeable battery and produces a green laser that’s more visible than the red. The water-resistant housing and locking pendulum ensure its durability and ability to survive in tough environments.


3. Topcon Laser Level

Topcon RL-H5A Horizontal Self-Leveling Rotary Laser

It’s true when they say that the Japanese have some of the best Hi-Tech tools. The Topcon RL-H5A Laser level is not only affordable but also compact. It comes with an LS-80L receiver and runs on dry cell batteries. You can use it for a range of up to 2,600 feet with your receiver. 


4. Huepar Laser Level

Huepar 902CG Self-Leveling 360-Degree Cross Line Laser Level

Huepar boasts using the latest technology in producing different work tools. Huepar 902CG is one of the cheapest self-leveling 360-degree laser levels. The green laser power comes from a hi-tech level enclosed in a durable waterproof casing.


5. Spectra Laser Level

Spectra Precision Laser LL300N Automatic Levelling

For more than 50 years, Spectra has stayed on the frontline in producing high-tech laser kits. Spectra LL300N comes with the HR300 receiver that works within half a kilometer. Plus, the Spectra laser level is compact and sturdy enough to withstand water or heat.

Bottom line: Can you use a laser level outside?

Already, you know that a laser level gives you the most accurate measurements. The level has a deviation of 1/16 of an inch, almost ten times more precise than a spirit level.

But, while it’s easy to use laser levels indoors, challenges such as physical intrusion, rainwater, wind, and excessive sunlight make the outdoor work hard.

Our post stipulates ways in which you can use laser levels outside. And, with the help of a laser receiver, safety goggles, and a gauge rod, you can make laser levels work outside.

Have more questions or ideas on how to make laser levels work outside? Share with us in the comment section below.


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Adrian – WebMaster / Construction Professional

Construction Professional, driver, crane operator, handyman … As a construction pro I love to get creative and see things done with my hands coming to life. Here I share with you some of the things I learn and hopefully you’ll get something out of it. Enjoy 🙂


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