How Do Laser Measures Work [All You Need To Know]

Measuring tools can come in really handy for DIY home improvement projects. 

Over the last few years, modern laser measuring tools have grown in demand on the market for their precision and accuracy, but little is known about them. But how does a laser distance meter work? Well, it uses the principles of reflection of laser beams to measure the distance. 

Simply put, a laser beam is emitted towards an object till it reflects and bounces back to the tool. The overall time taken by the beam to reach the object and bounce back is used to calculate the distance between the object and the measuring tool. This has made the laser measurement devices one of the best types of measuring tools available in the market. 

But there’s so much more to know about them. So, without any further ado, let’s move to the next section! 

Principles Behind The Laser Distance Measurement Technology

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Every technology has a principle of physics that helps it to function optimally, and laser distance measurement is no different. Generally, laser distance meters work by projecting light beams that travel between the device and the object. And the distance is calculated by the time it takes for light to travel between the two points. 

In contrast to this, the traditional phase-shift method is inconvenient as it measures the incoming wavelength against the outgoing light beam to predict the distance from the tool to the object. These indirect measurements are highly inefficient and time-consuming, making the laser distance meter a more convenient method to calculate distance. 

The reflected laser pulse in a laser meter is a highly-focused beam that can easily travel through the atmosphere at a constant rate before it diverges and weakens. Since lasers are less likely to weaken compared to ordinary white light, most engineers and professionals have started using laser distance measurement to complete various jobs on-site. These laser devices have become one of the go-to measuring tools for engineering students and professors in colleges and universities. 

Advantages Of Laser Distance Measurement

When it comes to laser tape measurements, there are several advantages, such as: 

1. Ease Of Use

Unlike most methods that require you to measure distances physically, this method requires you to simply point the laser tape towards the object. Additionally, there is no need for any complex mental calculations, as the device is capable of computing the calculations for you by simply calculating the time it takes for the laser beam to reflect. 

2. Single Handedly Calculates Long Distances

Laser tape measures can easily measure a long-distance single handedly. In general, most laser tape measures are equipped to calculate distances up to 30 meters. However, some devices can measure longer distances up to 40 to 50 meters away. Besides this, only one person is needed to operate the device, which saves both time and manpower. 

3. Wide Range Of Utility

The laser measuring tool has become an invaluable method for measuring existing indoor and outdoor structures. Apart from that, it can be used by both novices and professionals to calculate the volume and perimeters of the target. 

As a result, even professionals like installers, engineers, architects, real estate agents, and surveyors have started using laser technology as a means to make their calculations easy and precise. 

Disadvantages Of Laser Measuring Tools

Laser technology is highly dependent on the pulse that is reflected back from the target. Furthermore, most laser beams are narrow, and they can travel a great deal of distance without losing much energy. However, they can still get affected by sudden atmospheric distortions in the air, which affects the normal wavelength that the device receives. 

On the other hand, some objects and targets can easily absorb or reduce the reflection of the beam. Based on our experience, every object reflects the laser beam differently, and some might even absorb the laser beam before it can reach the device. Similarly, some targets can scatter the light or split beam frequencies, causing the beams to lose energy. 

Now, there are some laser distance meters that have a special mechanism to reduce the intense background light that interferes with the beam. However, there are times when the sensors mistake the background light for reflected laser beams, and this can lead to false distance measuring. 

Applications And Utility of Laser Tape Measurement

Laser tape measurement can be used for a wide range of applications, making it a highly versatile and efficient tool. 

First off, the device can be used by professional sports athletes such as golfers, archers, and hunters. By using precise calculations, the athletes can predict the position of the target and aim for it accordingly. 

On a similar note, engineers and designers have found a way to design and build 3D models of various objects by using the reflected light from the device. Since most laser tape measures can calculate the perimeter and volume of an object, engineers can use this data to reconstruct the 3D design of the objects without much hassle. 

Recently, map surveyors and topology experts have started using laser tapes to achieve accurate distances of contours and draw topography maps. Plus, many laser tape measures are built to be waterproof so that they can easily be used underwater for exploring the ocean floor and understanding the topology of the ocean. 

Lastly, some military technology uses laser technology to pinpoint the targets from farther distances. Likewise, laser measurements can be used to scan the area for landmines and bombs since each target has a unique signature when it comes to reflecting laser wavelengths. 

Accessories Needed For Laser Tape Measures

A. Tripods

One of the most essential accessories to use with a laser tape measure is a tripod stand. As we have already discussed in the previous section, lasers are prone to hindrances that can affect the calculation of distance. And instability can add to this hindrance, which results in the failure of accurate measurements. 

Keeping this in mind, we suggest using a tripod stand as it provides a solid foundation for keeping your laser tape measure stable for accurate calculations. 

B. Target Plate

Another important accessory to consider while purchasing a laser tape measure is a target plate since it has a uniform reflection signature. In addition, most objects and targets reflect light differently, and therefore, a target plate can be effective in calculating the accurate measurement of the distance between the object and device. 

There are different brands that offer target plates, and each of them has its own unique characteristics. Moreover, some of the most commonly used target plates can fit in the corner, at the edge, or on flat surfaces of the target. 

C. Soft Carry Bag

Laser tape measures are very delicate and fragile, making them prone to damage if proper care is not taken. The lens is the most vulnerable part of the device, which is why we suggest using soft carry bags to store your device so that it can easily be transported from one place to another. 

Moreover, you can keep other accessories such as the target plate and tripod stand in the bag since it is a convenient place to store all the essential tools for your work. 

Factors To Consider While Picking The Right Laser Tape Measure

Depending on the type of work you are performing, there are multiple factors to consider while picking the right laser tape measure. With this in mind, we have come up with a list of important aspects that can help you narrow down your search for the right type of laser tape measure. 

1. Price And Utility

The prices of laser tape measures can vary from low to high to suit different budget requirements. And if you ask us, we would suggest going for a device that offers a diverse utility option at a fair price. 

So, instead of going for something more costly, you can go for a mid-range laser tape measure as long as it has all the features you need to get the job done. 

2. Waterproof And Dust Resistant

If you are planning to use the laser tape measurement device underwater, then it is highly recommended to choose one that comes with water-resistant properties. Otherwise, the standard laser tape measure can easily short circuit underwater, which can affect the overall efficiency of the device. 

Similarly, dust can affect the light beam while the device is trying to calculate the distance of the target. But getting a device that is waterproof or at least water-resistant can add to the overall utility of the device. 

3. Outdoor And Indoor Use

When it comes to a laser tape measure, it is mostly built for either indoor use or outdoor use. However, some brands specialize in making laser tape measures that work both indoors as well as outdoors. These laser tape measures are highly beneficial for those who undertake both indoor and outdoor projects on a regular basis. 

In addition, the lens can easily work even during broad daylight, as it is specifically designed to remain stable no matter what environment you are working in. 

4. Distance Measurement

Lastly, a laser tape measure can calculate distances depending on the range it can handle. A residential laser tape measure can easily measure short distances, while a commercial or industrial type can measure long distances without any trouble. 

On that note, most laser tape measures can accurately measure up to 60 meters, while others can measure up to 200 meters. If you are planning to work with distant objects, then we would suggest picking a laser tape measure that can cover the appropriate distance. 

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How Do Laser Measures Work Frequently Asked Questions ?

Is It Possible To Use Laser Distance Meters Outdoors?

In general, all-laser distance meters can measure accurately outdoors, provided you know how to use them the right way. Usually, the device will emit a short laser beam to measure the exact distance between the required surface and itself. 

However, the calculation may not be accurate all the time since the light from the sun can affect the overall calculation. 

Is It Dangerous To Use Laser Tape Measures?

Laser tape measures use light technology to measure distances, and they don’t really have any adverse side effects. However, you can take certain precautions to make the overall process safe. 

Most laser tape measures use class 2 lasers which can be hazardous to the eyes if they come in direct contact with them. Hence, we strongly recommend keeping the laser away from the eyes and wearing protective eyewears for optimum protection. 

What Are Some Issues You Can Face While Using A Laser Distance Measure?

Although laser distance measures are accurate in measuring distances, they have certain issues which can affect the overall calculation. For instance, laser beams are vulnerable to stray lights, laser noise, and interference from the speckle effect.  Moreover, some objects can reflect light differently, and this can cause the device to give inaccurate calculations. 

Similarly, devices that are designed for long-distance measurement can be dangerous for those who are not wearing appropriate eye protection. 

What Is A Laser Radar?

Laser radars use the same technology and techniques as a laser distance measure to scan an area from a two-dimensional point of view. In addition, the former can collect information regarding the depth profile, measurements, and speed of light. 

Unlike ultrasound radar, which takes a long time to calculate the distances, laser radar can give an instant reading since it has a shorter and quicker wavelength. 

Is It Possible To Measure Moving Objects With A Laser Tape Measure?

Technically, it is possible to measure a moving object with a laser tape measure, provided the object is moving at a constant uniform speed. In the continuous measurement mode, the device makes several calculations simultaneously. Hence, uneven movements can affect the overall accuracy of the calculation. 

For this reason, it is recommended to use the device while the object is stationary. 

How Can Dust Affect Laser Tape Measure?

No matter which electronic product you use, dust will always be its primary enemy, and the same goes for laser tape measures. This is one of the main reasons why laser tape measures should be cleaned regularly, as dust can accumulate around the laser beam. 

Accumulated dust can hinder the red beams from making accurate calculations, and this can reduce the overall efficacy of the laser distance meter. 

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How Do Laser Measures Work Conclusion

We have finally reached the end of our extensive and informative guide on laser tape measures. 

Our lives are highly dependent on technology and its advancement. The laser measuring tape is one such technology as it serves a wide range of utility and productivity. On that note, if you ever notice any damage to your laser measuring tape, we recommend contacting the service center and getting it repaired by an expert. Tinkering with the product with no prior experience can damage the product further. 

Moreover, you should pay special attention to the way you store the device since the lens is fragile and it can easily break. After using the device, it is recommended to store it in a soft cloth pouch that will keep the lens safe and prolong its longevity. 

On that note, there is no harm in exploring the product and trying it out since it will get your job done easily. 

And with that, it’s a wrap. See you next time! 

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