Milwaukee Laser Distance Meter – Measuring Up, Down and Sideways

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases (more).

Laser distance meter

You’ve been there before: standing on an 8-foot ladder, reaching out as far as you can with your 30 foot tape measure, attempting to extend the tape just a little further… then, SNAP, the tape folds over on itself and you curse, reel it in and try again, and again, and again. Now, however, this new “laser” technology comes along making distance measuring a different kind of snap. Like virtually all major tool brands, the Milwaukee Laser Distance Meter is available in various models depending on your needs.

I had the opportunity to check out a couple laser measuring tools sent to us by Milwaukee. (That’s actually pronounced “Meel-ee-wah-kay” which means “the good land” in Algonquin, according to Alice Cooper in the movie Wayne’s World). In this review, we’ll review and compare two of their more popular models. But first, a few words about Milwaukee from Alice Cooper:

65 Foot Milwaukee Laser Distance Meter 48-22-9801 Spec’s

laser distance measuring device
Comparing the Milwaukee laser distance measurement to tape measure

Milwaukee Tool 65 ft. Laser Distance Meters are designed to provide the easiest measurements from all orientations. Backlit screens offer maximum visibility in low light conditions. In addition, each tool includes memory storage for 3 readings and impact-resistant overmold for protection from tough jobsite conditions. Milwaukee Laser Distance Meters also feature a side shot button for an easier, more ergonomic experience when measuring in all directions.

65 ft. range
+/- 1/8 in. accuracy
Side-shot button
Backlit screen
Continuous real-time measurements
Belt clip
3 year tool warranty
AAA Battery powered—batteries included
Belt clip included

The Milwaukee Laser Distance Meter 65 Foot (LDM) 48-22-9801 Review

This is quite simply, a very simple tool to use, with limited capabilities. This Milwaukee laser distance meter is small and has a belt clip that is handy so it won’t get lost in your tool bags. Turn on the power, hold it steady where you want to measure or set it on a surface (it measures from the bottom of the case) and it gives you the measurement. You can click through the menu to give you measurements in either meters or feet and inches. Measuring in feet and inches gives you measurements to 1/16th of an inch with accuracy within +/- 1/8 of an inch. When measuring in meters it gives you measurements to within one one-thousanth of a meter, which leaves me scratching my head as to how to use that practically (for example, 4’09” 3/8 gives you a reading of 1.458 meters).

I used the 65 Foot LDM on a jobsite and took various measurements throughout the job, comparing measurements to my tape measure. I was building 30 foot long shelves attached to the wall with a ledger in the back; in the front I need to measure up for leg length, which varied as the existing cement floor had undulations. It worked great and after feeling confident that the measurements were reliable, I ditched my tape and ran with the LDM.

On another remodel job I used the tool to measure up from the bottom plate to top plate to find my stud measurements on layout, the lengths of which varied stud to stud. Again, comparing my tape measurements to the LDM, I found the measurements reliable enough for framing. Also as you click through your measurements, the three most recent measurements remain on the screen, so you don’t have to remember them, or write them down on an odd piece of lumber.

One application that I did not try, and would be eminently useful would be finding stud lengths to the long point of a gable/rake wall. One would have to assume that the laser shoots accurately enough from your layout marks on the bottom plate to either the short or long point of the layout mark on the top plate. A possible drawback for this application is that the tool does not give you a bottom point to shoot from and is not self leveling (like a self leveling plum/level/square laser tool). So you kind of have to guess where to place the tool on the bottom plate and line up the mark on the top plate.

Regardless, this tool is very helpful to gather measurements, quickly and accurately for a wide range of basic applications: Measuring wall lengths for perimeter square footage, measuring the area of a room for materials estimates, measuring floor to ceiling height for stud lengths—pretty much whatever you can dream up to measure. A real strength of this tool, is the ability for one person to measure up to 65 feet, without having to stretch a long tape that far, or taking multiple measurements on a ladder, adding it up in your head the best you can with a 30 foot tape measure. Overall a great addition to the measuring tool kit.

150 Ft. Milwaukee Laser Distance Meter 48-22-9802 Spec’s

Laser distance measuring device
Comparing tape measure to laser distance meter results

Milwaukee Tool 150 ft. Laser Distance Meters are designed to provide the easiest measurements from all orientations and feature an array of new functionality. 2 inch color screens offer maximum visibility in low light conditions. Each features a simplified user interface that has been designed from the ground up for fast navigation so users can quickly choose their function and take a measurement with minimal downtime. For additional ease of use, the 150 ft. Laser Distance Meter includes a built-in 2-position auto-detecting lever so users can easily measure in corners. Each 150 ft. Milwaukee Laser Distance Meter offers several different measurement functions that allow users to add and subtract values and calculate linear distance, surface area, total area and volume. In addition, each tool includes memory storage for 30 readings and impact-resistant overmold for protection from tough jobsite conditions. Like the 65 foot model reviewed above, this Milwaukee Laser Distance Meter also feature a side shot button for an easier, more ergonomic experience when measuring in all directions.

150 ft. range
+/- 1/16 in. accuracy
Simplified user interface
Backlit color screen
Side-shot button
Continuous real-time measurements
2 position auto-detecting lever
3 year tool warranty
AAA Battery powered—batteries included
Protective case included

The 150 Foot Milwaukee Laser Distance Meter (LDM) 48-22-9802 Review

The 150 Foot Milwaukee LDM, takes the basic idea of the 65 Foot LDM with expanded functionality and capabilities. Like the 65 Foot LDM, this device shoots a laser measurement; however you can choose to shoot the measurement from the top of the device, from the bottom of the device, OR from a fold out “auto detecting lever” which adds 1 3/8 inch, allowing you to shoot measurements from a corner, a helpful feature. The easy to use menu shows the additional features of this tool: You can shoot length in varying units (in feet and inches to 1/32 of an inch; in inches to 1/32 of an inch; in feet to one one thousandths of an inch; and in meters to one one thousandth of a meter).

Laser measuring device
Photo courtesy Milwaukee Tool

Additional Functions

Surface Area:
Shoot a length and a width, the device saves the measurements and automatically calculates square footage.
Total Area:
Shoot multiple lengths of an odd shape (multiple walls or a room with partitions), the device saves as many lengths as you enter and it calculates the total square footage.
Shoot length, width, and height and the device calculates volume in cubic feet.
Click the History option in the menu tab and it gives you a numbered listing of the measurements you took with an icon to show if it was a length, area, or volume measurement.

The Milwaukee Laser Distance Meter in Action

I used the 150 foot Milwaukee Laser Distance Meter on multiple jobs, even tested it side by side both comparing measurements to my tape measure AND the 65 Foot LDM. I found it to be incredibly useful, and have yet to fully test its capabilities. Like the 65 foot it shoots accurate length measurements, and has all the likeable qualities. It has an expanded measuring range to 150 feet, and measures to 1/32 of an inch. Now, I’m a framing to finish carpenter, and its very rare to need that level of accuracy. In fact it was slightly confounding to my brain to convert, say 19/32, into eighths of an inch! For my purposes and my feeble brain, I’d like to be able measure only to within 1/8 of an inch, but that doesn’t seem to be an option. However, I think that’s about the only critical thing I can think of.

Laser distance measure Laser distance meter

The Surface Area and Total Area functions come in handy in so many applications on the job site: calculating for paint needs, materials estimates for drywall, plywood, metal roofing, subflooring, tile, you name it. The Volume function, I could see being put to use to calculate air flow/duct work for HVAC installers.

Overall these Milwaukee Laser Distance Meters are incredibly useful tools. They are extremely lightweight and easy to use, the batteries seem to last a long time, and they automatically turn off when not in use, conserving battery life. There are endless possibilities in their practical application and the time saved make them a total worthwhile investment. Plus you get to act like Dr. Evil from Austin Powers every time you pull out your “finger quote laaaaayzer.”

Laser measuring device
Bradley figuring out how to use his new “laaaayzer” – Samurai sword NOT included

You can find the Milwaukee Laser Distance Meter 65 Foot 48-22-9801 for about $53 and the 150 Foot Milwaukee Laser Distance Meter 48-22-9802 for about $98 via

Buy Now - via

Buy Now - via

Photo of author

About Bradley

Bradley is really a professional musician who can’t make a living playing the drums, so he spends most of his work and free time building things. Whether it be the perpetual remodeling of his house in southwestern Colorado or on the job as a Carpenter/Project Manager, building from the ground up to finish, he’s always been fascinated with design and construction. In his free time he spends his time rehearsing and playing gigs with his band the Afrobeatniks, studying and performing rhythms and musical modes from Guinea, West Africa, as well as performing with a Rio style Brazilian percussion group Samba Galactica.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get access to free prizes, product sneak-peeks, reviews, how-to's and much more!

More Info | Email Privacy

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.