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Laser vs. Spirit Levels: Which is More Accurate?

When choosing between a laser and a spirit level it is good to compare the two before making a decision as to which to purchase or use for a particular project. There are a number of projects such as the installation of tiles, ceiling and other applications where the level will need to be measured before the project can begin and is it vital to understand the features that are available on the levelling tools. 

A laser level is usually extremely accurate and particularly reliable when used in projects for which a high degree of precision is required. Spirit levels tend to be less accurate but can work well in some areas where cost savings are a necessity. 

What is a laser level?

Laser levels are the name given to electronic devices that emit visible laser beams for the sake of determining the level of a surface.

The laser beam will either be red or green and are able to be shot at both the vertical and horizontal axis. It is necessary to make sure that all surfaces are level when they are part of construction projects and using the laser level makes it simple for the level of a particular surface to be determined. 

What is a spirit level?

Spirit levels, also sometimes referred to as bubble levels, are water levels that are able to be used to work out if a surface is horizontal or have a plumb. The spirit level features a frame that is used to house a vial made from water or some other liquid. The liquid comes with an air bubble that is able to indicate a surface level between the bubble and the liquid level. 


Spirit levels are able to achieve a very high level of accuracy but the absolute highest possible accuracy level can only be reached with the use of a laser level. They are often made use of in areas that require that highest level. 


Spirit levels may be more durable than is the case with laser levels with the latter featuring a number of moving parts that less careful handling could cause to break. 

Ease of use and calibration

It is very easy to use and calibrate a spirit level, though a laser level is a more complex electronic device that demands careful handling during calibration. 

Potential applications

Spirit levels are often used in simple applications such as identifying wall plumbs. However laser levels tend to be used in long distance applications such as when plumbing walls, the installation of rails, surveying projects, installation ceilings, window heights and landscaping projects. A high level of accuracy will result from using these tools. 


There are four different laser level types – combination laser levels, dot laser levels, line laser levels and rotary laser levels. Spirit levels also come in a variety of designs and the number of different types can sometimes be overwhelming. Laser levels tend to have a greater degree of versatility than is the case with spirit level types. 

It is important to understand the difference between a laser and spirit level to choose the tool that will offer the greatest accuracy in a particular situation.