Pros: No Marking Walls. Four ways to mount and use. Hands Free Leveling.
Cons: Uses regular AA Batteries.
Did you ever see something and say Man that is cool, I have to have one of them.? Well I admit it; I sometimes buy tools that I really dont need. I just say to myself that it will come in handy someday. This past Christmas, I ran into just such a tool that I had to have, but may never use. I bought the Craftsman 4-in-1 Laser Trac Level expecting it to see limited action, but that couldnt have been farther from the truth. This little guy helps with some many household jobs that its well worth the $40 price tag.
Looks Like Something From Star Trek.
The main part of this Laser Level is made of hardened plastic with rubber coverings in certain areas. The sides have handy indentions for better gripping. It has two level bubbles on the top for horizontal and vertical leveling. There is also a turning knob on the top for changing the angle of the beam. On the front is the on/off switch which reminds me of a camera lens cover. You simply pull down on the cover, and the laser comes on. The back is reserved for battery storage. The two AA batteries are installed by unscrewing the cover and revealing the battery compartment. The main unit is 2 wide by 4 1/2 long by 3 high, and weighs around 2 pounds.
The model 48247 level comes with a few nice extras that make using this product easier. The thin pin wall mount is used to hang the level on the wall. There is a protective cover on the bottom of this mount to save accidents. These pins are very sharp. After attaching the level to the base by magnet, remove the cover, level the bubble, and press the two red buttons on each side. The pins come out and secure the level to any soft wall. This only leaves pin sized holes in your drywall or wood walls. There is also a adjustable manual leveling base for setting on flat surfaces. This base has three sides with three knobs to adjust for perfectly leveling of this tool. It can be used on counters, tables, ladders or any other flat surface that is at least 4 by 6. The level is also magnetically attached to this base. Another nice addition that works with the leveling base is the tripod mounting base for use with a tripod which is not included in this set. The cost of the tripod is $20, and I plan on buying one. I will most likely review it also after some experience. The last extra in this set is the laser enhancing glasses. They are used in bright areas when the laser line is hard to see. Note: They are not made for eye protection from the laser. Everything in this set is kept nicely in the included soft sided case. The case is 8 1/2 by 12 and has a padded inside to protect the contents from damage.
Technical Info and Specs.
Since I dont work for NASA, I took some of this technical stuff directly from the manual. I think it can be useful, and needed to be included. This product is made for indoor use. The laser diode type is Red Laser Diode 650nm. The Laser Class is Class IIIa, maximum power output less than 2.5 mW. This level is power by two AA 1.5 volt batteries which are stated to last for 40 hours of continuous use. The operating temperature range is from 30 degrees up to 104 degrees. Accuracy is plus or minus 1/2 at 30 feet. Ideal maximum distance from project is no more than 30 feet. This laser level can project a line from horizontal to vertical, and any angle in between. You also get a one year complete satisfaction warranty on this tool for home use. Professionals and Rental purposes are covered for only 90 days.
What About The 4 in 1 Feature.
Simply put the 4 in 1 in the title of this product refers to the different mounting options.
1. Hand Held operation.
2. Wall Mounted with Thin Pin Base.
3. Flat Surface Mount with adjustable base.
4. Tripod Mounting Base. (Tripod is not included)
Whats It Good For?
Surprisingly this tool came in very, very handy for my recent room addition project. Since much of the construction work was done by a contractor, I did not use it for building purposes yet. That being said, I used this tool for placing moldings, hanging curtain rods, mounting shelves, and just plain aligning a number of things. I could also see where it would be helpful in wallpapering, paneling, and a stop line for painting portions of walls. Also professionals or do it yourselfers will find it great for counter, kitchen cabinet hanging, and installing drop ceiling.
What I Liked.
First and foremost is the fact that you can put this level somewhere out of your way, and its still useful. The projection of the line is good up to 30 feet, and is easily readable at that distance. This tool does away with marking walls with a chalk line or pencil. Also you dont need to use one of your hands to hold this level in place, like with a regular carpentry level. And the length of the line is variable by the distance that you place the level from the project. It shoots around corners, so transition from one wall to the next is very smooth. The included bases are wonderful and very easy to use. Also they are varied enough that you can almost always find a way to use this product. The case is perfect size for carrying with you, and protects everything wonderfully. The glasses are also a great addition. Most of my work was done in our new sunroom which is very bright, so I used these glasses a lot.
What I Didnt Like.
Positioning this laser level at the right spot is essential to success. When using the flat surface base placing the level straight on is important. Also the beam turning knob only goes one way, and moves 90 degrees. This can be a bit of a problem with angles that slope from left to right, but there always seems to be a way to position the laser after some thought. Last but not least the batteries. I do not like using regular batteries in my tools. Most times when you need the tool to work the batteries are dead, and you cant find any of the hundred AA batteries that you just bought. A rechargeable battery pack for this tool in my opinion would be a wonderful addition.
Using This Level Safely
A few words for caution: Never stare into the laser, it will cause eye damage. Keep your children away from this tool for that reason also. Also be extremely careful when using the wall mount. Make sure to cover the pins as soon as possible after use. They are very sharp and will easily go into your skin.
All in All.
I was completely surprised by the number of uses that this tool has seen since Christmas. The room addition project was of course the main cause for this, but I think I already got my $40 out of this tool. The hands free leveling that this level offers is the most wonderful thing. Also the follow the line leveling makes hanging or positioning a breeze. I recommend this tool for any professional or home owner that wants things level in there work. The do it yourselfers out there will find this a must have. So go to Sears and pick one of these up. Happy Leveling.
Folding 60 in. Adjustable Tripod $19.99
Four Stars: The only reason for the four star rating is the fact that this tool runs on regular batteries. Aside from that fact this tool is wonderful.
Thanks for Reading!!!