Home improvement projects are not a new trend. Whether you are replacing a faucet, repairing the roof or turning the garage into a rec room, the most important part of your project will be the tools that you choose, and the very first tool that should find it’s way into your toolbox is a good measuring system. We’ve all heard the phrase “measure twice, cut once”, and if you’ve ever ignored that little bit of wisdom, you know that the results can be disastrous.
With technology constantly improving, DIY projects are taking on a whole new dimension. No longer does measuring have to be the time-consuming, two-person, metal-tape method of the past. Laser distance measurers now provide accurate readings in just seconds, and require no assistance. As with any tool, it is important to choose wisely. Here we compare two of the top units available on the market today. Our goal is to help you make an informed decision when you decide to purchase your measuring tool.
Comparison Laser Distance Units
Our two units are manufactured by Bosch, a German company with solid brand recognition and Solatech Software, an American company with a reputation for quality. The Bosch GLM80 was introduced in July of 2011 and has been a consistently rated top contender ever since. The Leica d330i is about a year older, first coming to the market in May of 2010.
Measurement modes and accuracy
The GLM80 has multiple measurement modes, including the minimum/maximum mode which is especially useful for determining plumb lines (minimum) and diagonals (maximum). The Leica d330i also offers multiple modes, including the Smart Horizontal Mode, which allows you to determine horizontal distance precisely and quickly. Both units are accurate to within 1/16”. The GLM80 measures up to 265’, while the Leica d330i is accurate to 230’.
The GLM80 use a rechargeable integrated lithium-ion battery, which allows up to 25,000 individual measurements on a single charge. The Leica d330i uses 2 AAA batteries. The Leica d330i is slightly smaller than the GLM80 at 5” long compared to 7.8” long.
Pros and Cons: GLM80
The GLM80 features a backlit display screen and tilt-screen technology that allows the screen to rotate when the unit is turned more than 75 degrees, and can be read upside down. In addition, the GLM80 has a history feature that records the last 20 measurements. Reviewers found that the 265-foot range was not impossible, but that in general the most accurate measurements were taken at distances closer to 200 feet. It is difficult to use outdoors, especially in sunlight, because the laser and screen are difficult to read. On the pro side, the unit is rugged, well made, and good for measuring indoor and lower-lighting jobs. It is drop-resistant up to three feet, and is water and dust-proof. Amazon reviewers rated it 4.5/5 stars. Most reviewers felt that for the DIY handyman who is looking for a professional quality mid-priced measuring unit with easy-to-use features, the GLM80 is well worth the money.
Pros and Cons: Leica d330i
The Leica d330i comes equipped with Bluetooth technology that allows the user to transfer information to Windows based PC’s. Reviewers were disappointed that the unit does not work with Apple products due to Apple regulations.The laser is difficult to see in bright sunlight, however the company sells a pair of red-lensed glasses that allow the user to see the laser better in outdoor lighting. Reviewers reported that the 230’ measuring range was accurate. Amazon reviewers rated this unit 4.5/5 stars.
Bosch is a German company that is well known worldwide for the quality and craftsmanship of its tools, while Solatech began as a window manufacturing company and has only recently delved into the tool industry. Both units that we reviewed were rated highly for measuring indoor and low lighting jobs, while both received low scores for outdoor lighting. Distance was a factor with the GLM80, while the Leica d330i was rated high in distance accuracy.Both units are ruggedly built, however the GLM80 scored higher marks for being drop-proof, waterproof and dust-proof.Based on the specifications listed on their respective websites, as well as reviews from Amazon, there really is no “clear winner” between these two units. Both units are a good value for the price, however the Leica d330i is considerably more expensive than the GLM80, with prices running about $150 more on most websites. The Leica d330i is definitely the more professional unit, however both units would be suitable for either home improvement projects or contractor jobs. As always, which unit you choose will depend on what you are planning to do with it, so you need to do your homework and know what you are looking for when you go to purchase your measuring tool.
Other Bosch GLM80 Comparisons
Other Leica D330i Comparisons
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