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Top Coverage, Optimal Accuracy: How do Rotary Laser Levels Work?

Rotary laser levels are the most popular construction laser levels used outdoors. They produce a dot that rotates 360 degrees, providing the most advanced laser level available on the market.

Rotary construction lasers provide a horizontal plane illumination, as opposed to line lasers which produce a fixed line illumination.

Let’s take a look at how all this is possible.

How do rotary laser levels work?

Rotary laser levels spin the laser dot 360 degrees in a fast horizontal action. This produces a horizontal or vertical plane effect, and surveyors can adjust the RPM – spinning speed – according to the work’s requirements. Rotary laser level RPm varies between 100-1000 RPM.

How does the levelling mechanism work?

A rotary level laser can be self-levelling or manually-levelling. With manually-levelling lasers, the surveyor has to adjust the bubble vials before getting an accurate reading. This is why they avoid disturbing the tripod throughout measurement as this can be problematic.

Self-levelling lasers, conversely, utilise magnets for auto-levelling the reading. Self-levelling levels may provide a more accurate reading, they do have a threshold range that doesn’t go as far as a self-levelling laser. Self-levelling lasers are good for saving time but this threshold can be a drawback.

New generation levels, called electronic self-levelling lasers, utilise small servo-motors to self-level.

The colour mechanism

Rotary levels come with green and red beams. The red beam lasers have lower visibility than the green laser levels.


Rotary levels have the highest working range compared to other laser levels, making them more popular for outdoor levelling. Particular high-grade rotary lasers can work up to 2000 ft, providing optimal distance for levelling.

The “working range” is the radius as the rotary levels operate around a 360 degree mechanism. This being said, you can find the working range without the detector when working with the specified item. Essentially, you can’t see the laser beam with your own eyes outside of the rotary level’s working range.

Laser level collaboration

Certain rotary laser levels are pre-calibrated whilst others are not. Calibration is an essential part of the levelling process as it is what provides the accurate levelling measurement. Typically, once the laser level is calibrated, the rotary laser level doesn’t require recalibration for some time. However, this can differ depending on the job at hand, and if the surveyor’s rotary laser has ever been knocked or disturbed it may require recalibration.

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What are rotary laser levels used for?

There are a variety of uses for rotary laser levels, with many being inside uses and many not. Some rotary laser level applications include:

  1. Excavation
  2. Foundations
  3. Acoustic ceilings
  4. Framing
  5. Windows & glass
  6. Trim work
  7. Slabs
  8. Fences
  9. Grading

Inside uses for rotary levels are typically based around mounting the level on the ceiling or wall of the house. When working inside, a laser detector is unnecessary, as the working range is small and the laser beams can easily be seen indoors.

When working outside, rotary laser levels typically require tripods for effective application. What’s more, a laser detector is required and attached to a rod to detect laser beams over a greater distance. Laser detectors optimise the working range and the surveyor has to pick the right colour beam of green or red depending on their working conditions.

So, that’s how rotary laser levels work! They are incredibly useful – even vital – pieces of construction equipment, used across Australia for the most accurate results.

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