If you’ve ever had a chance to use a laser measure, I’m betting you either went and bought one shortly afterward, or you’re thinking of how to justify the purchase to your significant other. (HomeFixated Insider Tip: After many years of marriage, I have determined that it’s easier to get forgiveness than permission. Now the fine print: If you choose to follow this sage advice, we accept no responsibility for any ensuing relational dysfunction, and will refuse to testify in any civil – or uncivil – proceedings). We recently took a look at several excellent Bosch laser measures, and we just received a sample of one of their latest pro-quality products to evaluate. We’ll explore how the Bosch GLM 50 C Laser Measure compares to its predecessors, and at the end of January, 2016, we’ll give one away to a lucky HomeFixated reader!
If you’re unfamiliar with laser measures, they work by projecting a deadly laser beam onto a target surface, and providing an extremely accurate measurement. Okay, it’s not THAT deadly, but you definitely don’t want to look at the light as it exits the measuring device, as the numerous warnings in the instructions make abundantly clear.
Using a laser measure, especially if you’re working alone, makes it MUCH easier to obtain relatively long measurements. Laser beams don’t droop like metal tape measures do, and you don’t have to wait for your slacker helper to get back from the roach coach to hold up the other end. They’re also great for getting precise inside measurements, such as between a top and bottom plate, or between two jack studs. The Bosch GLM 50 C, like most of its stablemates, is extremely accurate over its full 165’ range. Here are the full specs:
• Measuring distance extends to 165 ft. with +/- 1/16 in. accuracy
• Upgraded color display with back lighting for increased visibility
• Bluetooth® functionality
• Built-in inclinometer allows for advanced features like angles, min/max, stake out and double indirect measurements
• Default real-time measurement shows how distances move in relation to the target
• Functions include real-time length, length, area, volume and indirect
• Easily organize, document and transfer information using free Bosch apps (measure&document and FloorPlan)
• Handy pocket-size design
• Back lighting allows users to see information in dark areas
• The GLM 50 C can generate up to 10,000 measurements per battery supply
• Threaded hole for tripod or clamp mounting
The Bosch GLM 50 C is a very compact little device, measuring 4.2 x 1.8 x 0.9 inches and weighing under four ounces. It comes with a snug-fitting canvas case with Velcro closure flap and belt hook, a wrist strap, two AAA batteries, five target cards, and an instruction manual and quick-start guide.
The Bosch GLM 50 C – A Clear Display Of Superiority
At first glance, the Bosch GLM 50 C appears pretty similar to the Bosch GLM 40 we reviewed not long ago. The GLM 40 is an excellent tool; it’s incredibly accurate over its 135’ range, it’s fairly simple to operate, and it has a slew of useful features. Having said that, the Bosch GLM 50 C kicks it up to a whole new level (which is actually one of its many features).
When we reviewed the Bosch GLM 40, the only complaint I had about it was that the fractions were pretty tiny in the display. My son didn’t have any problem with it, but being an old guy with what could charitably be called “crap vision,” it was pretty tough for me to decipher the fractional part of the measurement. The display screen on the Bosch GLM 50 C is incredible; it’s slightly wider, and at least ¼” higher, and the clarity is amazing. The numbers are large, bold, and very easy to read.
Another feature I really like on the Bosch GLM 50 C is the auto-rotating display. When you lay the tool down on its side, or point it at the floor, the display rotates so it remains upright. This feature makes it a lot easier to read the display. It also makes it a lot less likely you’ll pass along an incorrect measurement because your upside-down reading skills aren’t up to par.
But Wait, There’s More!
Any of the Bosch laser measures would be useful to pros in pretty much any trade. The additional features and Bluetooth functionality of the Bosch GLM 50 C make it likely this tool will be popular among construction project managers, architects and engineers in the building trades.
Pressing the FUNC button brings up a circular display of the nine available functions. You can toggle through them using either the “-“ or “+” buttons, and when each button is in the top position, there is a word description above its icon. The available functions include area calculation, volume, three forms of indirect measurement, wall area, and length.
There’s also a level function, which includes the inclinometer, and access to the memory, which can store up to the last 30 measurements. Additionally, there’s a stake-out feature, which pinpoints recurring marks along a line, e.g. every 6 inches. The default function is real-time measurement, which means the numbers on the display increase or decrease as you move away from or toward your target.
The Bosch GLM 50 C also gives you the ability to determine what point the laser measures from. Pressing a dedicated button on the front allows you to measure from the rear of the tool (the default), the center or the front. This provides good flexibility for various situations, for example measuring from a tripod.
Got some windows, joists or headers to install, and forgot to bring your level? The built-in inclinometer on the Bosch GLM 50 C can serve as a pocket-sized substitute, and can tell you when you’re dead-on plumb or level, as opposed to eyeballing a bubble on a level. You can also place it on an inclined surface, like a handrail or rafter, and find its exact angle, allowing for precise adjustment of your miter saw. The inclinometer also helps ensure you’re holding the tool perfectly level, to get the most accurate measurement possible.
Beam Me Up with the Bosch GLM 50 C
One of the most useful features for anyone who spends a lot of time working with building diagrams and floor plans is the Bluetooth functionality. Measurements can be digitally transferred to a smartphone or tablet, and users can easily organize, document and transfer information using free Bosch apps (measure & document and FloorPlan). My son, who is an architect and construction project manager, has been using an older Bosch GLR 225 for years. He offered to trade his “classic, collectible” laser measure for the Bosch GLM 50 C. I declined, and locked it in my truck.
According to Bosch, The free Bosch measure&document app allows Bosch GLM 50 C users to record and save measurements without manual calculation or errors. The measure&document app overlaps measurements on jobsite photos and allows users to add notes to photos. Photos can be stored in the Bosch measure and document app or sent via email to share with others.
The free Bosch Floor Plan app allows GLM 50 C users to measure digital blueprints of a room or floor plan. In addition, users can create their own floor plan in the app or modify existing floor plans. Drawings and measured values can be stored in the Bosch Floor Plan app or sent via email to share with others.
The Bosch measure&document app is compatible with the following devices: Android: Smartphones and tablets with Android 4.0 or higher, iOS (Apple): iPhone 4S or higher, iPad (3rd Gen. or higher), iPad Air (1st Gen. or higher), iPad mini (1st Gen. or higher). The Bosch Floor Plan app is compatible with the following devices: Android tablets 4.0 or higher Apple iPad (3rd Gen. or higher), iPad Air (1st Gen. or higher), iPad mini (1st Gen. or higher). Here’s a quick Bosch measure&document tutorial video:
I installed the measure&document app on my iPhone 5s. The app installed quickly, and paired itself easily with the Bosch GLM 50 C when I turned it on and pressed the Bluetooth button on the front. I played around with it a bit, and was able to take some pictures of walls for a current project, and add lines, measurements, and notes to the photos.
I’m not a super tech-savvy guy, but there’s a pretty good help function built into the app. I suspect someone more digitally knowledgeable (which is pretty much everyone) would be able to play around and experiment with the app, and get proficient with it pretty quickly.
I don’t have a tablet, so I couldn’t experiment with the FloorPlan app, but here are a couple of quick videos to give you an idea how they can be used:
An online search for “GLM measure&document” or “GLM floorplan” will provide several sites with varyingly useful information on how to use the Bosch apps. Bosch also has a website with information, including tutorials and videos, set up for the Bosch GLM 100 C, but also applicable to the Bosch GLM 50 C.
The Bosch GLM 50 C – The Final Measure
Clearly, the high-end Bluetooth data transfer and documentation features of the Bosch GLM 50 C are aimed at construction professionals. I believe the wealth of other functions, combined with the amazing color display, will make this laser measure appealing to anyone in the market for a laser measuring tool. Carpenters (or anyone in the building trades), real estate professionals, appraisers, home inspectors…hell, anyone who does a lot of measuring would likely LOVE to have the Bosch GLM 50 C.
The extra features, and the color display, come at a bit of a premium over the basic models. You can expect to pay around $150 for the tool, vs. around $96 for the standard Bosch GLM 50. For someone with crap-o-vision, such as myself, the higher price would be justifiable, as the small fraction size on the standard models was almost illegible to my poor eyes. The self-orienting, large color display on the Bosch GLM 50 C makes it much less likely you’ll read a measurement incorrectly, and the ease of reading the numbers should speed up the process for anyone with numerous measurements to take.
The Bosch GLM 50 C has excellent user reviews on every retail site I checked. It comes with a two-year warranty, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Available from Home Fixated sponsor Ohio Power Tool $149.95:
Or, enter for a chance to win one free in our January 2016 Giveaway: