Dragging a measuring tape isn’t that bad. But compared to a laser distance measure, unless you’re trying to measure the distance between two mirrors, there’s virtually no advantage to using the tape. A laser distance measure delivers laser precision, and allows you to take measurements with the convenience of pressing a button.
Measuring at literally the speed of light, you can save quite a bit of time going from one measuring task to the next. That makes a laser distance measure a great tool for countless circumstances, from homeowners fixing things up around the house, to interior designers working in a professional capacity. And with the addition of Bluetooth, even data collection can be streamlined.
Choosing a Distance Measure with Bluetooth
When you’re selecting a distance measure with Bluetooth, you’re generally searching for five things. You need to consider the measuring range, battery life, calculation functionality, readability, and memory capacity. You also want an instrument with a generally solid construction, but that just about goes without saying.
You can focus on those five things because other factors can generally be guaranteed when you avoid poor quality instruments. For example, you don’t need to be deeply concerned with being able to switch between the imperial and metric system. Nearly any quality instrument will allow it.
Begin your search for a laser distance measure by considering the maximum distances you need to measure. When you’re looking at high quality instruments, you’ll typically see support for measurement distances between 100ft and 300ft. Exceeding 300ft requires rather specialized equipment intended specifically for large tracts of lands, road construction crews, or industrial construction.
Additionally, it’s worth keeping in mind that these figures are always taken assuming an optimal target, not a suboptimal target. That’s because the distance you can measure is affected by whether or not the target is reflective. Without a reflective target, measurement range depends on the sheer quantity of light the instrument can output. Smooth textures and lighter colors tend to be the most receptive surfaces for measurement.
Memory capacity of these instruments used to be critical. However, memory capacity is considerably less important when you have Bluetooth support. Being able to automatically send and backup your data is amazingly convenient, and it makes memory-loaded distance measure devices largely unnecessary. Nevertheless, it’s nice to have at least a small memory capacity. That way you don’t have to reach for your phone every time you want to check a measurement.
Battery Life & Readability
Bluetooth can make other critical features less important, too. For example, the visibility of each reading on the instrument is not nearly as important as it might otherwise be. Nevertheless, it’s always a good idea to take a look at the readability of the display.
The golden standard for a laser distance measure is a backlit LED or OLED display. Additionally, anti-glare screen protection can be important when you’re thinking about outdoor applications.
A typical laser distance measure with Bluetooth will operate with disposable batteries. They’re typically included with instruments that require them, and are typically alkaline AA or AAA batteries.
Calculations & Functionality
Distance measures are capable of doing far more than judging the distance between two objects. Any decent laser distance measure will also be capable of doing a variety of simple calculations. For example, they ought to be able to manage area and volume calculations with ease. You can even find features built specifically for professional use, like painter-mode.
Last but not least, you need to consider accuracy. The least expensive distance measure instruments on the market can still offer accuracy in the ballpark of 1/8”. For a quality instrument, you’re typically looking for accuracy between 1/16” and 1/32”. Exceeding those levels of accuracy can be done, but will gravely increase the cost of the instrument.
The DEWALT DW099S is a smart mixture of form and function. Intended to help you make quick and easy measurements, this 100ft laser distance measure also has the capacity to make many quick calculations.
You can look at volume, area, and even manipulate the data with some subtraction and addition functions. Although the DW099S could be used in a variety of circumstances, it seems particularly well adapted for capturing linear measurements, flooring estimations, and painting estimations.
Build & Design
The DW099S measures 7 x 4 x 1.3-inches, resembling almost any other laser distance measure on the market. The instrument weighs about 0.3lbs, which clearly doesn’t detract from its portability. The external chassis uses the black-and-yellow aesthetic which has become distinctive of the DEWALT brand, highlighted on its outer edged with deep texturized grooves. That helps provide a more stable grip during operation.
Like any quality instrument, the DW099S allows you to toggle between the metric and imperial system. But instead of hiding that setting away in some obscure menu, it’s front-and-center on the face of the DW099S in the form of a simple analogue button. Next to that, the onboard LED backlit display is exceptionally bright, and provides easy access for managing your data.
Another thing to note is the strength of the Bluetooth connection. With the DW099S, Bluetooth can support an impressive 100ft of connectivity. That figure assumes you’ve got line of sight with your receiver, but that’s often a safe assumption during the operation of a laser distance measure.
Internally, the DEWALT DW099S is powered by a pair of AAA batteries. The DW099S comes with some batteries included. And it is worth noting the DW099S is not a battery hog. While there are countless factors that affect battery performance, you can expect to get roughly 10,000 measurements from a single set.
Accuracy & Measurement
Looking at its face, you would think the DW099S would be totally intuitive to use. After all, there’s only eight buttons, and virtually all of them are instantly identifiable. There’s certainly little mystery surrounding the “off” button, or the button that’s marked “units.” But unfortunately, the 4-line LED display is not organized in a totally intuitive way.
You may have to browse through the included instructional booklet to help get your bearings. But once you do, you’ll find the DW099S is accurate to 3/32”. Additionally, the DW099S includes a 3-year limited warranty, 1-year of free service, and 90-day money back guarantee.
Leica DISTO D2
Several years ago, the D1 was an impressive instrument, especially with respect to its accuracy and early support for Bluetooth. However, it lacked many basic features. The Leica DISTO D2 is a considerable improvement over virtually every aspect of the D1. Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, a well-backlit display, and intuitive design are only the beginning of that the D2 can offer.
Build & Design
Like its predecessor, the D2 is a highly compact instrument, measuring only 4.57 x 1.73 x 1.02-inches. The entire device weighs about 4-ounces, meaning it’s certainly small enough to shove in your pocket. Its red-and-black exterior gives off a professional vibe, and it’s not just a feeling. The IP54 chassis provides the kind of protection you want from a fully portable professional instrument.
With respect to ease of use, the DISTO D2 delivers through its bright backlit LCD screen. The display is constructed with a 3-line readout, each line providing incrementally larger text. Even from modest distances, each line is readable. And intuitive the organization of its interface makes it easy to identify one figure from the next.
Along the face of the instrument, there’s a range of well-sorted, albeit common analogue buttons. They include an addition or subtraction button, a function-swap button, Bluetooth pairing button, and so forth. There’s really no surprises here, each options being well-labeled.
Although this instrument cannot be mounted to tripods, it can do something better. Its end-piece flips out 90º, allowing you to hook the instrument against the outer corner of a wall, or extend from its inside corner. Combined with a sensible min/max function, the Leica DISTO D2 can help you get accurate diagonal measurements pretty quickly.
Accuracy & Measurement
The D2 is capable of remembering the last 10 measurements you take. Not a stunningly impressive memory capacity, but certainly enough for an instrument of this type. It measures area, volume, and has its own stake-out function. The D2 also supports a Pythagoras function, enabling you to take measurements of indirect width or height, and a painter function.
The D2 uses a standard Class II laser with 1MW output. By default, the laser measures from the base of the D2. However, it can be reconfigured to measure from its front side instead. Either side delivers 1/16″ accuracy and a maximum 330-foot measuring range. And you can swap between metric and imperial units, but you do have to dig around in option menus to do so.
You may or may not appreciate that a measurement confirmation beep function is built-in to the D2. You will certainly appreciate it has the option of being switched off. Powered by a pair of AAA batteries, you can expect roughly 10,000 measurements from a single set of batteries. Finally, the Leica LISTO D2 also includes a 2-year warranty.
Bosch GLM 50 C
Some instruments are more impressive than others. The Bosch GLM 50 C has many ways of proving its worth. For starters, it’s constructed with its own inclinometer. That can help you more easily measure angles, or take double-indirect measurements.
Like every distance measure on this list, the Bosch GLM 50 C is compatible with Bluetooth. Wireless connectivity is further supported with the included data collection app, MeasureOn. And the soft grip protecting this instrument also makes it comfortable to use.
Build & Design
The GLM 50 C uses a pocket-sized design, measuring 4.2 x 1.8 x 0.9-inches, allowing the instrument to weigh about 0.2lbs. On its front side, the GLM 50C makes use of a bright and colorful backlit display. It facilitates an exceptionally large and visible text readout, even from a short distance away, and even with poor lighting conditions.
It’s easily the most readable display of all the instruments on this list. Moreover, the easy-use keypad is totally intuitive. You can almost figure out how to use the GLM 50 C without ever picking it up. The well-labeled power and Bluetooth buttons need little explanation. Neither does the feature or menu button, or the three directional arrows.
The GLM 50 C is capable of taking 10,000 measurements from a pair of AAA batteries. It includes a carrying pouch, as well as a hand strap to ensure portable safety for the instrument.
Accuracy & Measurement
With respect to basic functionality, the GLM 50 C is certainly not lacking. It can do real-time length, volume, and area calculations. But there’s little in the way of deep customization for the kind of calculations you can do.
The Bosch GLM 50 C takes measurements with the aid of a Class II laser, providing a safe output under 1mW of power. This manages to keep the laser accurate to 1/16″, plus or minus 1/16”. It also allows the laser to achieve a maximum measurement range of 165ft, a considerable improvement over the DW099S.
Choosing Between 3 Accurate Laser Distance Measure with Bluetooth
The DEWALT DW099S was made to serve as a basic yet essential instrument. Its allows for a highly functional range of accuracy, certain to be adequate for almost anyone who needs to take laser distance measurements. Provided you’re not working on the industrial scale, the DW099S will be a great choice. It delivers a solid performance without a bunch of unnecessary features.
The Bosch GLM 50 C is one-step above the DW099S. Its distance and accuracy capabilities help it squeeze slightly ahead, largely thanks to advanced features like the built-in inclinometer. In addition to those accuracy upgrades, the GLM 50 C is a good choice for someone who truly values an exceptionally clear and colorful backlit display.
Finally, the Leica DISTO D2 is nothing short of a top shelf instrument. With stunning accuracy, a highly compact form, and exotic calculation functionalities, it has almost everything you could ever want from a laser distance measure with Bluetooth. Its 330-foot capacity nearly triples the capabilities of the other instruments on this list, which makes the D2 a good choice for someone who’s looking something truly powerful.