Projects & Improvements

4 Reasons Why a Laser Level Is Worth Buying (Even if You’re Not a Contractor)

published Apr 15, 2021
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

A few years ago, I hired a TaskRabbit handyman who used a laser level to hang some things up for me (before I knew how to use a power drill myself) and I was fascinated.  What was this fancy tool? How much did it cost? Did I need one immediately?

Since I didn’t even know how to use a drill at the time, I came to the conclusion that no, I did not need a fancy set of laser levels (yes, he had many).

Then I wrote an article on painting accent walls in older homes and the recommendation of a laser level came up as a way to make sure you know your paint job is level, even if your ceiling (or floor!) is not. And a few months ago, I interviewed some amazing DIYers on their favorite buy of 2020, and Tina (@tinadoodles) said a laser level was her favorite buy of the year.

It was a combination of all these things: my initial fascination, a rec from a DIYer I love to follow, and my dream to color-band an accent wall in my older apartment that led me to buy this $14 laser level

Our pink living room.

I wanted to paint my living room in a style similar to the one in Joanna’s living room, shown above, that I saw in Apartment Therapy’s Small/Cool contest last year — and I knew I needed a laser level to do it.

I landed on that particular laser level because it was affordable and I didn’t need any other ladders or tripods to set it up for use. I was also swayed because many of the reviewers said they use it for handwriting and craft projects, so I felt like if it didn’t work out with my color-band painting, I could at least use it to make straight lines in calligraphy.

But, no need for Plan B because Plan A is working out amazingly! It is safe to say I am in love with the laser level. It has some flaws, mind you, the main one which I documented in this TikTok, but now that I know I love working with a laser level, I’ll probably invest in a better quality one like this one

However, my little cheap one has sufficed as I’ve already used it on several around-the-house projects. Here’s why I love it, and why I think it was worth the (small) investment.

It made my accent wall dreams come true.

First and foremost, my color-band painting job would have been nearly impossible without a laser level.  But with my laser level, Frogtape, and a bit of patience, I was able to successfully create a straight line around all four walls (and crevices) of my entire living room so that I could paint the bottom of the line a light pink while leaving the top an off-white.

I simply tacked in my laser level (yes, this model uses a push-pin which is a bit of a negative, but it still worked for this), then I placed the tape right along the top of the laser level line so I could confidently paint all the way up to the tape.

There is no better feeling like peeling away painter’s tape and watching a perfectly colored line come through.

It helped me hang my curtain rod with confidence.

Have you ever tried to hang a long curtain rod by yourself? It’s not very fun — I recommend doing it as a DIY date night or with a pal.  However, I had to conquer this project by myself, and it turned out to be a lot less painless thanks to my laser level.  I could confidently drill in the curtain brackets in a straight line without having to ask “Does this look straight?” a million times to anyone.

It’s a gallery wall savior.

While I didn’t line up my gallery wall along a straight line, it helped to keep a line of reference for where the center of the wall was so that I could place my pictures off of that, as I wished.  It also works vertically so if you prefer to create the center of your wall that way, it works as well.

It even works diagonally.

While this particular one doesn’t give you a diagonal degree, it does give you a straight laser line that you can manipulate as you wish. This allowed me to also use it to hang three coat hooks in a diagonal line in my entryway.

As I mentioned before, this particular laser level is not perfect, but even in its imperfections (having to push pin it into the wall and rechecking to make sure it stays level on that pin), it has made my solo home projects so much more efficient, and it has upped my DIY confidence tenfold. Even if you’re a DIY novice, it’s worth adding to your arsenal.