Red or green laser level? The 4 factors that matter

Red or green laser

Red or green – what’s your favourite?  While personal preference may matter if you were buying a car or a pair of shoes, it’s not a factor at all in the world of laser levels.  To make the right choice for your organisation or business application, we’ll need to dive a little deeper.

The laser level has become a high-tech, reliable, precise and – best of all – highly affordable piece of equipment that any professional or organisation involved in level surfaces, angles and surveying can no longer do without.  Where previously sophisticated and complex surveying gear may have been required, or rudimentary and less precise spirit, water and string levels – or manual calculations – all that’s needed these days for an instant and near-perfect measurement is a laser level.

Now, there are a few basic laser level sub-types, but perhaps the most rudimentary initial hurdle for your product selection is clear: red or green?

The quick answer is that red is standard – requiring less complex components and power for the red wavelength beam.  Green, on the other hand, will therefore cost a little more but the higher frequency and crisper wavelength – in the green spectrum – will be a lot easier for the human eye to detect in natural light and over longer distances.

Need a starting-point for your red versus green laser level selection?  Let’s start with price, brightness, visibility range and battery life:

  1. Price

The good news is that the laser beam itself is equally accurate whether it’s red or green – for a decent product, the deviation is about 1-6mm over 20 metres – or at least ten times more accurate than a spirit level.

A bigger difference is the price – but luckily it’s not a massive difference.  Because green-beam laser levels are harder and more expensive to make, and the manufacturing process requires more complexity, expect to pay somewhere in the range of 15-25% more than a standard red-beam product.  The good news is that you’ll generally get a better overall device quality for that extra money.

  1. Brightness

It may not seem like it when you actually use the respective devices, but green laser projections aren’t just a little brighter than their red counterparts – it’s more like 50 times brighter!  So while you’ll most certainly see that red laser on a white interior wall, you’ll struggle a lot more once you’re outside – let alone trying to spot it over a longer distance.  For easy use in rain, shine, indoors and out, green is the obvious pick.

  1. Visibility range

It’s all about the human eye!  Because while that red line will be very hard or impossible to see outside and over longer distances, rest assured it is there – it’s just a lot less visible to the human eye compared to green.  But it’s not all bad for the red lasers – because even outside, it’s still a highly useable and visible beam even up to 20 metres and beyond.  After that, though, you’ll need a green laser, which is still perfectly visible to the naked human eye over distances exceeding 100 metres.

  1. Battery life

For the same battery configuration, a green laser will drain the battery in half the time of its red counterpart.  However, green-beam laser levels tend to be packaged with more sophisticated and powerful battery configurations anyway, so the end-user may not actually notice a discernible difference in red versus green battery depletion – apart from price.

Are you ready to choose the perfect device for your applications – or are you still thoroughly confused?  Ultimately, red or green really is about the required visibility – even though technically you may be able to grab a red-laser product as well as a laser detector for outdoor and longer-distance use, effectively extending the range and visibility, and actually save a few dollars compared with a standalone green-beam device.  If you need some more tips and guidance, don’t be shy to consult with our technology experts.