September 2, 2010

Bosch GLL2-80 Laser Level - Reader Review (Kimber Janney)

...Here we go with number three of the Bosch reader reviews. This is a good one and directly compares the Bosch to a DeWalt rotating laser and a David White builder's level. Also, make sure to check out the link to the Janney's construction company at the end. He's got a cool portfolio (as well as a very cool camera - click on the pic to enlarge).


The first thing that struck me as I un-boxed this tool, was how compact the case was compared to the small suitcase that our houses our Dewalt rotating laser level. The GLL2-80 itself is very compact, 2 inches thick and less than 6 inches square; and very light as well.

bosch_laser_kj.jpgI loaded the batteries, placed it on a counter and switched it on and into the self-leveling operation. Immediately, a constant red line marked the perimeter of our 1000 square foot main level (open floor plan). This continuous red beam was so different from the rotating laser, so much calmer; I couldn't help smiling. My six year old just said, "That's awesome."

I touched the red button on top of the tool and the line now defined a vertical plane; another touch and both vertical and horizontal lines were displayed. I took a closer look at the tool and saw that the beams originated from two tiny mirrored cones in small glass cylinders, pointing towards the center of the laser. It seems incredible that these tiny cones could be so precisely machined to reflect the continuous as accurately as Bosch claims(0.25 inches in a100 feet).

I took the tool to the job the next day to test it. We set it up on a tripod in the center of the lower level of the house we are remodeling, all of the partition walls were framed no drywall yet. We were able to compare the GLL2-80 to the Dewalt rotating laser and a David White conventional builders level. The builders level was the hardest to use in the low light area; lasers are perfect for this type of remodeling. The Dewalt and the Bosch were both on par accuracy-wise, within a 1/8 of an inch over 60 feet. The line from the Bosch did seem a little thicker when we were further from the tool. I wonder if that is a property of the conical reflector?

I really prefer the constant beam of the GLL2-80 in this type of environment, with all of the commotion of normal activity, the flash of the rotating laser seems disconcerting and annoying. (I wonder if they ever cause seizures in epileptics?)

bosch_laser2_kj.jpgThe old slab in this area is way out of level and will soon be covered with insulation and 4 inches of radiant slab, but the electricians were ready to nail up there blue plastic boxes, so I turned the GLL2-80 over to them. They set the tool up with the WM1 Universal Holder and placed it on an elevated plank that ran across the center of the area. After setting a benchmark, they were able to mark all of the box heights level in a jiffy by sliding the level down the plank and fine adjusting the height on the WM1 to stay on the benchmark.

The Lead Electrician immediately put in an order for a GLL2-80 for himself.

The next day I tried the laser out outside on a foundation. It was next to impossible to see in the bright sunlight. This kit did not come with a receiver, so I tried the receiver that came with the Dewalt (at a considerably higher price). I put the GLL2-80 in pulse mode but the receiver did not pick up the signal. (note to self: Get a Bosch Receiver)

The next weekend I was ready to install a built in desk in my daughter's room, starting with toe-kicks. I realized that I had left my six-foot and four foot levels at the job-site and was ready to drive over to get them when I remembered that I had the Bosch GLL2-80. I set up the Bosch on the floor and I had the toe-kicks leveled within minutes!

This tool is great for many construction tasks; if you need to use it in bright sunlight the Bosch Laser Receiver would be a good investment; it lets one man do the work of two.

This tool really shines in interior work when the constant. visible level red line makes setting cabinets, soffits, drop ceilings or electrical devices a snap. I can even plumb a door jamb with it.

I won't give the GLL2-80; a 10, the line is a little to thick when you are 30 feet away from the tool, but it does deserve a solid 9. It is already in high demand among our crews. I won't be too surprised if the lead carpenters buy their own.

Kimber Janney co-owner of Kiva Construction, Inc., in Colorado Springs, Colorado has been remodeling and building since 1981. We've done all sorts of projects from rescuing ramshackle cottages to strawbale, adobe, steel and concrete. Our real niche seems to be quirky older homes and catering to our quirky customers.

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at September 2, 2010 5:10 PM
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