I’m not that old, but I learned how to do construction the old school way. When I laid out batter boards and forms for the first time, we used an old fashioned field/sight level to do the job. The job consisted of me running around to each batter board, tape measure stretched way over my head and me hunched over at the end holding a pencil. My dad’s job was to look through the sight level and yell at me from afar to move the tape up or down until I hit the benchmark. It was tedious, time consuming and somehow I always went away with sore arms and hurt feelings.
Thanks to today’s modern rotary laser levels, it’s become an easy one-man job that takes minutes instead of hours to complete. I recently was lucky enough to get a huge detached garage project from a past client and even luckier still to get the chance to review the CST/Berger RL25HV Rotational Laser Level on the job. It’s a great tool to use and it beats all of the other laser levels I’ve had a chance to use in the past.
Before I dive into the review, here’s a quick video overview from CST Berger:
Favorite Features of the CST/Berger RL25HV
None of the rotational levels I’ve used before has the ability to be used in the vertical position (lying down on its side). That meant I could only use the tool for horizontal leveling. With the RL25HV, I can take the tool and turn it on its side. It will self-level and create a nice bright beam in the vertical position. Best of all, with the provided remote control, I can stand back and move the laser line without having to touch the sensitive base unit and make it self-level all over again. It even has a laser that comes out of the top, perfect for creating an instant plumb bob.
Another feature I was particularly impressed with was the fact that you can turn off the self-leveling device and change the laser axis to a slope. This feature will come in handy when it comes time to grade the swale of the fill dirt so water flows away from the back of the garage.
I was really impressed when I found out it has a hibernation mode. When you turn off a typical laser level to conserve batteries, once you turn it back on it, it self-levels again – and almost never to its original spot. I’d often have to leave my old rotary laser level on for hours at a time or create a new benchmark every time I turned it back on. With the CST/Berger RL25HV, all you need to do is hit the power button on the remote control and it sets the tool in hibernation mode for up to two hours, saving the level line in memory, as well as saving your batteries.
The laser detector was a treat to use and it makes a very loud chirping noise when you’ve found the laser line. It even has a LED display on the front and the back of the device so no matter how you’re holding it, you’ll be able to see if you need to move the detector up or down without having to crane your neck around to see what’s going on.
Another feature that sets this laser level apart from the rest is that it can be used to install drop ceilings. Simply mount the laser onto the provided wall mount kit. Adjust the mount until the laser is at the required distance. The magnetic target allows you to attach it to the drop ceiling hands-free. This way you can move the ceiling frame into place and secure it perfectly level without needing an extra pair of hands.
As if all of those features weren’t enough, CST/Berger crammed in even more on the RL25HV. You can vary the rotational speed of the laser to a faster-than-you-can see dot or make it rotate to a slow crawl for easy viewing. It also performs a line sweep so you can create a small, medium or large laser line wherever you need it most.
The only thing I wish I could change about the CST/Berger RL25HV Rotational Laser Level is that it’s not intense enough to be seen outside very well in the bright sunlight. The red glasses help some, but if you’re looking to see the laser in the middle of the day, you’d better do it on an overcast day. Of course, you can always use the laser detector to find the laser for you if it’s not visible.
What Comes in the Box?
The CST/Berger RL25HV Rotational Laser Level comes with plenty of goodies and a nice hard plastic case to carry most everything around in it. Inside the case fits the rotary laser, remote control, magnetic target, sexy red glasses, wall mount and laser detector. It also comes with a nice tripod and a collapsible measuring rod, but of course, those are a bit too big to fit into the case.
I am very impressed by how well-built the tool and accessories are. They’re stout, sturdy and don’t feel like they’re going to break very easily. The remote control is the cat’s pajamas because it fits perfectly into my pouch and I can use it as far away as a hundred feet. Even the laser detector is pretty tough and so far has taken the abuse from dirt, sweat and sawdust just fine.
You can get the CST/berger RL25HV Horizontal/Vertical, Interior/Exterior Rotary Laser for around $550 that comes with the laser, remote control, laser glasses, magnetic target and adjustable wall mount in the hard plastic case. If you’re looking for the RL25HVCK Complete Kit, you’ll get everything I just mentioned plus a tripod, detector and measuring rod and it has a price tag of around $730. Not a bad deal considering all of the options and the fact that you’re getting a great, highly accurate laser level. Plus you get those cool red cataract glasses that you can wear when you drop off your kids at school – I promise, they won’t be embarrassed at all.