September 14, 2010

Bosch GLL2-80 Laser Level - Reader Review (Mike K.)

Yet another round of the Bosch reader we see how the tool fares against an engineer...

Bosch_mike_k_House.jpgAs an engineer for an industrial wood products manufacturer and a part time "handyman" for friends and family I'm exposed to a variety of projects that until a couple weeks ago could have been accomplished more efficiently had I already had a Bosch GLL2-80 laser level. I purchased a different brand laser level years ago that was not self-leveling that was essentially worthless because the set up time to level it made it more trouble than it was worth.

When the Bosch GLL2-80 arrived I immediately took it out of the box, turned it on, and was very pleased to have level lines running throughout my house without the need for manual adjustment.

Project 1: Some Shelves in My House.

The Bosch GLL2-80 came with a VM1 adjustable stand with magnetic back and a red target. I completed the first few levels of shelves quickly and easily because of the adjustable mounting bracket. I was very pleased with the model until I got to the fourth shelf where the line was not level. At this point I had to turn to the manual, for the first time... where I discovered that the on-off switch has two settings and the level has a leveling compensation of +- four degrees. As it turns out if you have the level in the locked mode and you're not paying attention your lines will be un-level... now I knew and with that knowledge completed the project without incident.

Project 2: Grade Readings for Drainage

bosch_mike_k_Grade.jpgWith the record rains we've had in the Midwest this summer we've had several issues at work pertaining to run off and drainage. After a weekend of record rains we had some flooding that caused product damage, and a solution was to re-grade some of the property to channel water away from storage areas. With my newly acquired GLL2-80 I ran to the problem area only to find that the level package did not come with a receiver... the Bosch LR2 receiver is available for ~$170. I quickly found that the laser, as I'm assuming would any laser, without a receiver is not much good outside. I couldn't find the laser line when I was more than 20" from the unit.

Project 3: Damaged Building Column

bosch_mike_k_column.jpg bosch_mike_k_ceiling.jpg

A forklift in the production facility hit a building column in an area of the mill that has 40' ceilings and I was asked to determine the extent of the damage. The vertical line feature on the GLL2-80 made collection of the field measurement a three minute task. I was very pleased with how well the laser line stood out on the inside of the production facility. The beam was clear and visible at the 40' high ceiling.

Evaluation and Rating:

In summary I would give the Bosch GLL2-80 a 9 out of 10 rating. The tool is very easy to use and provides a beam that is easy to see. My favorite feature on the unit is that it has dual plane ability. There does not seem to be many dual plane laser systems available in the same price range and for what I do this is a very critical feature. I will be keeping the level and already have an extensive list of projects that I plan on using it for.

There are only two things I would change on the GLL2-80 and VM1 bracket.

Change 1:
I believe that the GLL2-80 should have a small bubble level on the top of it so that you can easily determine if you're within the +- four degree setup requirement. I plan on purchasing a round bubble level and gluing it to the top of the unit for reference.

Change 2:
I believe that the VM1 bracket should have magnets on the bottom as well as the back. In the environments I work in almost everything is made of steel and having magnets on the bottom would be very beneficial.


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Posted by Doug Mahoney at September 14, 2010 5:00 AM
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