How do laser distance measurers work?

If you’re in the business of making things, fixing things or planning things then you’re going to have to measure a few things. Seasoned DIYers can whip out a tape measure like Clint Eastwood would his 1851 Navy colt revolver. A person’s proficiency for the task at hand can be gauged by their handling of the measuring apparatus. Like a spirited horse, a tape measure will tell if its owner isn’t as adept as they profess.

The long-trusted tape measure (no pun intended) has been usurped by something a lot less telling – the laser distance measurer. No longer need you wrestle with 7 metres of unruly metal (apologies), simply point and click. Off-the-shelf laser distance measurers can measure distances of up to 250 meters (like the Bosch GLM250VF Laser Rangefinder from Screwfix).

The Mestek 2 bubble level 100m laser distance measurer from AliExpress

These devices give point and click simplicity to the point and click generation but how do they work? Well… they work by measuring the time taken for the laser to be reflected off the target surface (known as the “time of flight” principle). When using a laser distance measurer the device emits a beam, akin to a laser pointer, when you are ready to take the measurement you press the button, the laser beam will flash enabling the device to measure the time taken for the beam to be returned, thereby working its magic and giving you the reading you require.

From one DIY tryer to another I would advise picking up one of these handy little gadgets, they quickly pay for themselves by saving you time. You can pick one up from AliExpress or keep it local and pick one up from a DIY shop near you. Laser distance measurers are available from most big brands in the building tools trade and can be picked up in most DIY outlets: Draper Tools, Lenehans, Stanley, Woodie’s DIY, Expert Hardware stores, Homebase, Topline, Stabila,, Hilti, Tucks O’Brien,,, caulfields, Hultafors, McQuillan Tools, Dewalt, Vida XL, arco Safety,, and to name a few!

(No tools were harmed in the making of this article)

Peter loves all sorts of gadgets, from tin openers to jet fueled micro lights. He particularly likes any outdoor related gadgets, eco-friendly gadgets and anything photography related.When he's not reviewing gadgets you can find him out walking the hills with his pet tamagotchis

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