Everyone has their favourite DIY tool.
My current favourite has got to be my Leica laser tape measure.
Don't be swayed by impressive ads for Ultrasonic tape measures, all they do is give a rough estimation of distance....often not accurately at all.
Some sellers try to disguise the fact that they are ultrasonic by adding a laser pointer. Read the small print... if it says "sonic" or "ultra sound" or "ultrasonic" please, please, don't waste your money on something which will likely end up being chucked in the back of your toolbox....(Yep...... Been there, Done That!)
For the ultimate in quick, easy, and accurate measuring, it has to be a proper laser measure.
How on earth do they do it?.... after reading the explanation of how it works on the Leica website I'm still not sure!
I bought my used "Leica Disto Lite" some time ago, It's old.. thrashed...trashed...dirty.... beat-up. The case is cracked.... but it still performs as well as the day it was made.
No more struggling with a tape measure,. "Guesstimating" by bending it around into corners.
Awkward measurements become a breeze.
The more I use it, the more I trust it.
I've tested it against a top quality extending tape measure, and whatever the distance, found that the accuracy was ALWAYS within a millimetre!
Most laser measures can be set to measure from a reference point, usually at the back of the unit, but also selectable from the front of the unit, or even from a 1/4 inch tripod mounting thread if available.
The most usual setting is from the back of the laser, which allows you to hold the back end against something for inside measurements (for example) wall to wall room sizes, the inside of window frames, etc.
You will need to bear in mind that there is a minimum measuring distance. This is because it becomes harder for the electronics to accurately resolve a short laser bounce. On my old Leica laser this limit is preset to measurements less than approx 400mm, so measuring distances smaller than this still need to be done by some other method . Newer models however, can measure smaller distances so check out the specs.
My Leica takes 4 standard AAA batteries, which are still going strong after hundreds of measurements.
It's just "point and click" to get an accurate measurement.
You can see what exactly you are measuring from where the laser dot is shining.
You may also be able to set the laser to "tracking" mode, which continuously updates the reading every second or so, as you move the laser closer to, or further away from the target.
Check out the manufacturers specifications before you buy to ensure that your choice of laser does everything you want it to.
Who makes them?.....
Leica ... the inventor and Rolls-Royce of laser measuring equipment!
Bosch... another highly regarded brand.
Black and Decker...Hmmmm..... I've had good stuff from them in the past!
and others, including China suppliers.....(from personal experience, Banggood and Gearbest are well worthy of a mention for really good pricing and efficient ordering.)
If you are thinking of buying a Laser Measure, for professional use, or just for occasional home DIY..... They are a BRILLIANT tool..... I can't recommend them highly enough.
UPDATE... 5 Years on and I've got to say it is really, really, STILL my favourite diy tool (almost pipped to the post though by my Chinese laser cross line level) .
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Browsing my local Be and Skew-it DIY store I had a play around with a working display model of a Bosch laser measure, and was very very impressed with it.
The minimum distance measurement is really small!
YOU KNOW YOU NEED ONE, So go ahead and buy it!