Green vs Red Laser Level

When to use green vs red laser level

Carpenters use the PLS 180 Green Cross Line Laser as a baseline while leveling a door frame.

Outside of the obvious difference in color, there are significant differences between red and green laser levels. While a green beam appears brighter to the human eye and often produces a crisper point or line, it is also more expensive and consumes more battery power. Knowing which to pick is dependent on how you intend to use your laser level as well as your budget.

As there is no difference in accuracy between our red and green laser levels, the key differentiators are price, brightness, visibility range, and battery life. Overall, green laser tools are more visible to the human eye and will have some extended range over red lasers, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s always a better choice.

Is a Green Laser Better for Outdoor Use?

A common misconception is that a green beam laser will be much more effective for use outdoors and in bright light. While it will likely outperform a red laser, we recommend using a laser detector (see any PLS laser with system in the model name) if your work is mostly outdoors, in very bright ambient conditions, or at distances beyond 30 feet. If this is where you’ll be using your laser the most, you can gain battery life and save money by purchasing a PLS red laser system with detector.

The distance you’ll observe is also highly dependent on a few factors:

  • Remaining battery strength
  • Ambient light
  • Type of surface you are projecting the laser

If you work indoors on metal stud frames, you can expect a decent range with any PLS laser. A red PLS line laser might be visible at 20 to 30 feet and a green PLS line laser may still be visible at 45 to 60 feet when used with a fresh set of batteries. If you work mostly indoors, want to see the laser more clearly, and don’t want to move the laser around as much, a green laser level will almost certainly outperform a red laser level. While there is increased cost for the tool and you’ll have to change batteries more often, the time saved with a brighter laser will quickly make up for the cost difference over the long run. As a bonus, red laser levels are still more popular so you can easily distinguish your green laser from any other potential laser level users on the same job site.

While red laser levels will continue to play a valuable role on the job site —particularly outdoors or when working in very large spaces beyond 60 feet—green laser levels are growing in popularity within the construction and electrical industry. PLS offers multiple green laser levels to complement our full line of red lasers. The PLS 3 Green 3-point laser offers greater visibility when transferring plumb points during site layout or installation. The PLS 180 Green Cross Line Laser offers one of the largest horizontal and vertical fan angles in the industry with a bright and crisp green line, even near the edges. Our PLS HVR 505 G rotary laser is gaining popularity among acoustic ceiling grid installers and on larger job sites for setting level baselines or even laying out square. The PLS 180 Green and HVR 505G also have optional laser detectors for extended range or longer range outdoor use.