Recently I was contacted by TackLIFE to do a review of one of their Laser Distance Measuring tools. I was excited at the opportunity to use one of these because I’d used other brands in the past, and was curious about trying out a new brand.
On receiving the tool I was impressed with the packaging. It came in a small tan box that fit the tool perfectly. I opened the box and found the digital laser, a nice nylon carrying case, a reflector, and a rather lengthy instruction manual on how to use the device.
Right out of the box it feels rigid in the hand, so it feels quality built. The digital display is packed with information, but cleanly displayed. At first I thought I might just be able to turn the tool on and figure everything out without reading the instructions but after a couple minutes scratching my head at the nomenclature on the buttons I decided I had to break out the instructions.
After reading a bit I realized the device was set to metric units of measure, and I had to thumb through the manual to figure out how to change everything to standard units. This took a couple minutes because the manual is thick with information. I started reading about everything the tool will do and learned that it will calculate distance up to 50 meters or just over 164 feet. There is also a setting that will allow you to shoot two dimensions and automatically get an area dimension. Even cooler yet is that you can shoot three dimensions and the tool will give you volume of a room as well. I don’t see myself needing volume, but it is pretty cool that they have that functionality.
I couldn’t tell right away if the I was measuring distance from the rear, middle, or front of the tool. After digging through the literature I found that you can change where the tool reads to all three of these options. There’s a nice threaded hole on the bottom that will allow you to mount the tool on most standard tripods. This is handy if you want to set a certain height and take measurements around a room from the same point.
All and all for indoor use this tool is pretty impressive. It’s well built and has a great range of functionality. Now for the true test, outdoor use.
I will most likely use a tool like this more outdoors than I will indoors. Or at least, close to 50/50 indoor/outdoor. I went to a job where I built an outdoor service rack by a road, and had to find the distance of my underground feeders to two different locations. The day was sunny and bright, perfect day to test a new tool! Upon turning the tool on I couldn’t find the laser. I stuck my hand in front of the laser several times to ensure it was on, but after moving my hand away the laser was impossible to find.
I tried pointing it down at the ground and moving it upwards toward the trees or anything around to find a distance. I even walked up to an object and slowly backed away but the tool would not read because the laser was bouncing all over the place and eventually I couldn’t find the bead once I was more than 10ft away. I really gave it my all, but the laser is not very strong and I ended up being more frustrated that I had to pull out my 100ft tape measure to get the job done. This laser is obviously not designed for outdoor use.
I would recommend some changes to the design. First off, the laser must be strong enough for outdoor use. If this means moving to a stronger green laser or something with more power behind it, so be it. Or maybe pushing more voltage to amplify the strength of the beam? I’m not an engineer, but something should be done because I will not purchase this specific model because of the experience I had outdoors.
Indoors this tool rocks. It is very easy to use in dim lighting. It’s reliable when comparing the measurements to a tape-measure. For anyone working indoors and trying to get a general layout or lengths for subfeeds/feeders, this is a great tool. Just know that if you take it outdoors it will not work unless you’re 10 feet away from what you’re measuring. I give this distance laser measuring tool a 3.5 out of 5 on my scale of quality/usefulness.