Laser Levelling: Green Beam v Red Beam Explained

The last few years has seen a dramatic increase in the number of green beam lasers on the market versus the more traditional red beam laser levels which have dominated the market in the previous 30 years.

The human eye sees green four times better than it sees red and therefore the relative distance that the laser line or dot projects seems further and brighter if it is green. This equates to better performance over longer distances and hence improved accuracy from a green beam diode.

Manufacture of Green Beams

From a manufacturing perspective there has been in the past some stumbling blocks to mass producing green beam lasers competitively at a price that is acceptable to the mass market.

The main constraint has been the extra wattage and amp hours capacity that is required for the extra power draw from a green diode.
As power source technology has evolved and especially the more recent use of lithium-ion battery power, so has the ability to get the necessary run times and power required to have multiple green beam lines running in a single unit.

Also, with red diodes being used in everything from computers to all manner of electronic equipment it is less expensive to mass produce a red diode versus a higher technology green diode and this has impacted on affordability of green diodes.

However, with all of the combined technological advancements in the last 5 years the green beam versions of most laser models have come down in price to within about 20% of red beam versions and are now far more common.

What to look for in Green Beam model

From a consumer’s perspective care needs to be taken when choosing and purchasing of green beam models to make sure that the specifications are correct for the day in day out performance that a professional tradesman requires.

This includes ensuring that the power source is preferably lithium-ion or rechargeable alkaline and that the laser line or dot itself is not a heavy, thick line which denotes a “hot” diode which may be a laser class that can cause safety issues or can be illegal on some sites and in some jurisdictions.

Some of the cheaper, imported offerings available on the large online platforms can utilise this inferior technology.

Which laser suits my task, red or green beam?

Overall a green beam laser is now the optimum choice for all trades that are predominately undertaking internal tasks.
For builders that do a variety of indoor and outdoor tasks a green beam is the best choice.

As any red or green beam is “lost” after a few metres outdoors, due to the constraints of the human eye, a green beam is no advantage for tradies who do mostly outdoor tasks and these require the use of a receiver in any event.

Therefore, a red beam laser is still the preferred choice outdoors and can also be teamed with a machine control receiver which attaches to a skid steer loader or excavator; these only have red beam pick-up at the moment.

Imex has a wide choice of models which are available in both beams.

In summary the general classifications for trades to beam choice is:-

Red Beam – Earthmovers, landscapers, concreters, drainage plumbers, civil contractors, steelworkers
Green Beam – Building contractors, all internal trades; tilers, electricians, plumbers, interior designers, glaziers, painting and decorators

Imex September 2020

Laser Levelling: Green Beam v Red Beam Explained