Laser levels come with either green or red beams for increased visibility. These beams help you get the most accurate results in a way that is easy, efficient, and convenient. But what color beam should you get? Many people assume that color options don’t offer much difference in performance, but this is far from true.
To find out exactly how green laser levels and red laser levels differ, read on. This comparison article covers both beam colors extensively and provides you with advice on how to choose between the two. Let’s get to it.
Overview of Green Laser Levels
Although red laser levels are more popular than their green counterpart, green laser levels are easier to use, have an increased range, and are more powerful. This, in part, means that green laser levels include more details, are more expensive, and die quicker.
When talking about either level’s visibility, you’re going to have to think back to your high school science class. The color green sits right in the middle of the spectrum of visible light. Even if you don’t remember what this means, that’s okay. You just need to know that this makes the color green the easiest to see to the human eye.
As a result, a green laser level is easier to see than the red, which falls to one end of the visible light spectrum instead of the middle. Since the color green is easier to see, it has clearer edges and further visibility. For example, the color green has a wavelength interval of 560 to 520 nm and a frequency interval of 540 to 580 THz.
If you are an average person, those numbers probably mean nothing to you. To put it simply: these levels mean that it provides four times as much light as a red level.
When working indoors, green laser levels will have a visibility range of 50 to 60 feet. Even more impressively, green laser levels can be used when working beyond 60 feet outdoors. All in all, green laser levels have superior visibility and viewing range.
Since green laser levels are so powerful, they have more parts than a red laser level. For example, green laser levels will have an 808 diode, a frequency doubling crystal, and more. As a result, green laser levels take more parts, time, and money to build than a red laser level.
Due to the increased parts, green laser levels are more expensive than red ones. This is why most lasers have red lights, not green ones. They are more expensive to make and require more time, as well. In fact, green laser levels are between 20% and 25% more expensive than red ones. This makes them less economical than red laser levels.
Once again, the extreme power of a green laser level comes with another downfall. Their battery life span is much shorter than the red counterparts. Whenever the battery starts to die, the visibility of the laser will be affected as well.
Green laser levels are best for those who need maximum visibility. When working outdoors, for example, the green laser level is the clear winner. Select the green laser level if you need enhanced visibility and don’t care about battery life and price.
In contrast, you would want to avoid the green laser level if you are on a tight budget. Since they’re so much more expensive than a red laser level, those on a budget will probably not be able to afford a green laser level.
Overview of Red Laser Levels
If you have seen any laser type, including laser levels, you have most likely seen products with a red laser beam. These laser levels are the most popular by far due to their more economical price and extended battery life. Of course, they offer less visibility than the green option.
As we mentioned before, the color red falls on one end of the visible light spectrum. This makes the color red much more difficult to see than the color green. It has a wavelength interval of 700 to 635 nm and a frequency interval of 430 to 480 THz. This means that the color red is four times less bright than the color green.
When working indoors, you will be able to see the color red between 20 to 30 feet. So, you don’t have to scroll back to the green laser section, this is about half of the range of green laser levels. If you are working in areas below 60 feet outdoors, then the red light laser can be suitable.
Overall, these facts mean that red laser levels offer less visibility than the green counterparts. When working nearby, this will not be as much of an issue. However, if you are working in larger areas, the red laser light will not provide enough visibility to help adequately.
Even though red laser levels offer lower visibility, one area that they beat out green laser levels is in construction. Red laser levels require fewer parts since they’re not as powerful. This makes them easier and more economical to build.
Since construction is simpler and more affordable, the price of red laser levels is also more affordable. Those on a budget will especially lean toward the red laser level for their affordability. Purchasing a red laser level and a laser level detector, making it easier to see the red light, is often more affordable than purchasing a single green laser level.
The lower power of the red laser level means that it has longer battery life. This is great for those who don’t want to replace the battery frequently or who only intend to use the laser level sporadically and don’t want to have to think about the battery. It could also save you money since you will need to buy fewer batteries.
The red laser level is best for those who are on a budget and working in tight areas. Since it offers lower visibility, it is only suitable for short ranges, both indoor and outdoor. Despite this, it’s affordable price and extended battery life makes it an excellent option for many.
However, if you are working in more spacious areas, you should forgo the red laser level and select a green one instead. Its lower visibility means that it will be inherently useless if used for more extensive ranges.
Which Laser Level is Best for You?
|Situation||Which Laser Level to Select|
|Indoor 20 to 30 ft range||Red laser level|
|Indoor 30+ ft range||Green laser level OR red laser level with a detector|
|Outdoor 1 to 60 ft range||Red laser level|
|Outdoor 60+ ft range||Green laser level|
|Budget pick||Red laser level|
Ultimately, deciding on the best laser level for you depends on your budget and working area. You should select a green laser level if you are working in longer ranges. The green laser level has enough visibility that you can use it for larger areas. In contrast, select a red laser level if you are working in short ranges. It’s lower visibility and more affordable price will make it worth it for this kind of work.
In terms of budget, the red laser level is also more ideal. Because of its lower visibility and simpler design, it is more affordable, making it the best option for those on a budget. If you aren’t as concerned about budget, then you might want to go ahead and select a green laser level since it is more powerful and offers you more features regardless of the range.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Laser Level
Knowing what factors to consider when selecting a laser level can help you purchase the best option for your needs. Below are the four most important factors to consider when buying a laser level. These factors will help you select which color beam you need, as well as what model to get.
The first question you should ask yourself is, “What range will I be working at?” The range tells you what color beam you should get. You can opt for the red laser level when working in smaller ranges, but you should select a green laser level if working in more extensive ranges.
Related to the range is indoor versus outdoor use. Normally, indoor use is a shorter range. You can probably work with a red laser level if most of your work will be indoors. In contrast, you will probably need a green laser level if you’re working outside. Of course, you still may need a green laser level inside if the building is large and has a wider range.
You also need to consider the visibility of the laser level you select. The beam’s color will affect the visibility. As you already know, green laser levels offer more visibility than red ones. The color beam is not the only factor that impacts visibility, though.
The reliability and manufacturing also affect the visibility. For example, higher-end laser levels are likely to have better visibility since they include better and more powerful parts. Battery life will also affect visibility. As the battery dies, the visibility decreases. Make sure your model has a good reputation and battery life for increased visibility.
Even if you select the most visible laser level, it means nothing if it is not accurate. Make sure the laser level you choose is accurate with exact measurements. If not, your project will be slightly off, even though you could see the beam clearly.
Manual vs Auto
When selecting a laser level, you will have two options: manual or auto. Auto lasers, or self-leveling lasers, give you a true level line on their own. This makes the levels more accurate. On the other hand, manual lasers will require you to set them up properly to get accurate results. If they are disturbed, they will keep on running even though they aren’t level anymore.
If you know how to set up a manual laser level, you will have no problem getting an accurate result. However, you might want to select an auto laser level if you’re unsure how to use a manual one independently.
Quick Look: Our Top Choices
|Our Favorite Green Laser Level||DeWalt 12 Vmax Line Laser, 3 x 360 Green||
|Our Favorite Red Laser Level||Bosch Self-Leveling Cross-Line Red-Beam Laser Level||
Our Favorite Green Laser Level: DeWalt 12 Vmax Line Laser, 3 x 360 Green
This DeWalt green laser level offers three 360-degree line lasers that aid full room layout. It is four times brighter than a red laser level and is suitable for an indoor visibility range of 100 feet and an outdoor visibility range of 165 feet. It offers an accuracy of +/0.125, making it highly accurate. The tool is also highly durable with an integrated magnetic bracket for attachments.
Our Favorite Red Laser Level: Bosch Self-Leveling Cross-Line Red-Beam Laser Level
The Bosch red laser level projects two lines, independently or together, with a visibility of up to 50 feet indoors and outdoors. The system comes with a smart pendulum system, which allows the laser level to self-level for enhanced accuracy and easy setup. The tool is designed to withstand tough job sites and elemental conditions and even includes strong magnets for attachments.
Even though red laser levels are more popular, green laser levels have a place in construction, too. Green laser levels offer increased visibility, but they are more expensive and have shorter battery life. Red laser levels, in contrast, offer lower visibility but cost less and have longer battery life.
With all this in mind, choose the laser level color beam based on your intended working range and budget. Larger ranges will require a green laser level, while smaller budgets will be most suited for red laser levels. It’s relatively simple.
Pete has been working in the trades since high school, where he first developed a passion for woodworking. Over the years, he has developed a keen interest in a wide variety of DIY projects around the home. Fascinated by all sort of tools, Pete loves reading and writing about all the latest gadgets and accessories that hit the market. His other interests include astronomy, hiking, and fishing.
As the founder of House Grail, David’s primary goal is to help consumers make educated decisions about DIY projects at home, in the garage, and in the garden.
- 1 Overview of Green Laser Levels
- 2 Overview of Red Laser Levels
- 3 Which Laser Level is Best for You?
- 4 Factors to Consider When Buying a Laser Level
- 5 Quick Look: Our Top Choices
- 6 Conclusion