Choosing a Rotary Laser Level for Both Indoor & Outdoor Use

Shop all rotary laser levels from Johnson Level.

Consult our how-to guide on how to calibrate and use rotary laser levels.

This article will help you select the best rotary laser level for both outdoor and indoor use. Rotary lasers levels project a beam of light 360° allowing the user to establish a horizontal or vertical plane.

Johnson Level rotary laser level

How to Choose a Rotary Laser Level

  1. For indoor projects: multiple line lasers work well for lining up kitchen cabinets or framing pictures in a small, enclosed room.
  2. For outdoor projects: use a rotary laser level on a secure tripod for uneven surfaces and long distances. Purchase appropriate colored goggles to see the beam more easily.
  3. Consider room size or distance for the laser to travel. Laser levels with a low rotations per minute (RPM) are bright and visible, but don’t travel far. High RPM levels travel further, but the laser is fainter.
  4. What is the stability of the job? You can use a manual laser level for indoor projects on a relatively flat work space. You’ll want a self-leveling laser level for outdoor projects with uneven surfaces.
  5. Do you have a level surface for the rotary laser level? You may use a bucket or sawhorse, but a tripod is the best option.

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Models Recommended for Outdoor and Indoor Use

40-6522 Electronic Self-Leveling Rotary Laser Level with Integral Vertical Mount (#1 feature: self-leveling horizontal and vertical)

Product: 40-6522 MoreImages/40-6522-3.jpg

40-6532 and 40-6527 Electronic Self-Leveling Rotary Laser Level (#1 feature 40-6532: remote control and detector are included in the kit: #1 feature 40-6527: self-leveling with a 2,000' range)

MoreImages/40-6532-4.jpg MoreImages/40-6527-1.jpg

40-6515 and 40-6516 Self-Leveling Rotary Laser Level (#1 feature 40-6515: self-leveling; #1 feature 40-6516: includes a detector)

MoreImages/40-6515-4.JPG MoreImages/40-6516-1.jpg

40-6502 and 40-6512 Manual-Leveling Rotary Laser Level (#1 feature 40-6502: Very easy to setup: #1 feature 40-6512: comes with a complete kit)

MoreImages/40-6502-2.jpg MoreImages/40-6502-40-6512-1.JPG

40-0918 Manual-Leveling Rotary Laser Level (#1 feature: excellent value kit)

Product: 40-0918 MoreImages/40-0918-2.jpg


Key Features

  • Variable speed
  • Scan/Chalk line feature (not on the 40-6515 & 40-6516)
  • Horizontal and vertical capability
  • Out of level alarms (not on the 40-6512, 40-6502 & 40-0918)

Common End User Applications

MoreImages/40-6502-APPD-Concrete_09.jpg MoreImages/40-6502-APPD-Cabinets_09.jpg MoreImages/40-6527-APPD-Shelves_09.jpg

1. Construction Contractors

  • Leveling
  • Checking cut and fill
  • Setting foundations & footings
  • Concrete pours
  • Septic tanks and basement excavations
  • Acoustical ceiling & drywall

2. Builders

  • Align & plumb walls
  • Metal stud and wood framers

3. Deck Builders

  • Leveling deck floors
  • Establish diagonals & footings for decks/patios

4. Farmers

  • Contour farming, drainage

5. Landscapers

  • Terracing & retaining walls


Accessories Model#
Tripod/Grade Rod 40-6305
Laser Detector 40-6715
Universal Detector 40-6790
Machine Detector 40-6791C/M
16' Grade Rod 40-6320
13' Grade Rod 40-6310
8' Grade Rod 40-6862
Heavy Duty Elevating Tripod 40-6330
Heavy Duty Tripod 40-6340
Contractor Tripod 40-6335
Ceiling Mount 40-6304

If you’d like more informational level and tool how-to’s, check out Johnson Level’s guide of how-to's.

Shop all rotary laser levels from Johnson Level.

Consult our how-to guide on how to calibrate and use rotary laser levels.

©2010 Johnson Level & Tool Mfg. Co., Inc.