Red vs Green Laser Level (Which to Choose for Which Job)

In general, both the green and red laser levels were designed for specific purposes. But consumers often do not consider this, they only consider the cost.

Green laser levels produce 4 times as much light as compared to a red laser level. The visibility range of green lasers when working indoors is between 50 to 60 feet. Red laser levels are convenient when working in tight areas.

Generally, green laser levels are the best ones to use either in indoor or outdoor constructions. They offer increased visibility; they are detectable by the human eye more easily as opposed to the red lasers. The red laser levels have low visibility but they are cheap and their batteries last longer than those of green laser levels. In addition, green laser levels are very expensive. Therefore, choosing a laser level depends on factors like your working range and budget. Large ranges demand green laser levels but for short ranges, you may use a red laser.

man holding both a green and red laser lights
Video | styropyro

The laser beams are excellent construction tools. The beams give you the best alignment or level in an easy, efficient, and convenient way. I will go over the features of the green and red laser levels in this comparison article. Then, you will be able to choose the best laser level based on your working conditions.

An Overview of the Green Laser Levels

green laser light

Green lasers are easy to operate; they have enhanced visibility, and are more powerful. Their range is also high. Let’s now check these properties from an in-depth perspective.

Visibility of Green Laser Levels

The green light is right in the middle of the light spectrum under the visible light range. Visibility refers to the visual quality, or simply the clarity of vision. The green light is easily detected by our eyes. In that sense, we see that we will be able to see green lasers without straining. The red light is at the end of the visible spectrum. Therefore, difficult to see when compared with the green light. (1)

The green light has clear edges and visibility. Its wavelength is in the range of 560nm and 520 nm. Its frequency is between 540THz to 580THz. In simpler terms, the visibility of green light is four times that of a red light or laser.

In an indoor setting, the visibility range of green light is between 50 and 60 feet. To most people’s surprise, green light lasers can be applied when working beyond 60 feet (outdoors). The overall implication is that the green light is superior to the red light laser levels.

man besides a green laser level device

The Construction of a Green Laser Level

Based on their superiority and power, the green laser levels are bound to have more features and parts as opposed to red lasers. The green laser levels have an 808nm diode and a frequency doubling crystal and many other complex features. The green lasers, therefore, have more parts, they are expensive and take more time to build.

The Cost

It is now self-evident that the green lasers cost more money than the red lasers. They are approximately 25% more expensive than their red counterparts. This fact is owed to their complexity, high functionality, or generally their construction. This also explains why the red lasers are flooding the market, and not the green ones.

We agree that the red lasers are more economical than the green lasers. However, this concept is a bit debatable thing. If for example, the construction costs millions and then you cannot afford to make any mistakes. In such a situation it will be worth it to use the green lasers.

The Battery Life

Green laser levels have very powerful lasers with excellent visibility. This comes at a cost. They consume a lot of the electrical energy generated by their batteries. For that matter, the battery lives of green lasers are really short when compared to that of red lasers.

Please note that the visibility powers of the green lasers are drawn from the energy in their batteries, so there is a direct proportionality relationship.

As the battery fades, so does the visibility. So, if you are using this type of laser, be certain to constantly check your battery status. You may need to have several batteries just to be safe.

The Best Application of Green Lasers

A green laser level gives optimum visibility. So, it will be your best choice if you need maximum visibility. In an outdoor working environment, the green lasers take the lead. In this situation, you will have to disregard the cost and battery costs the green lasers have. And focus on their visibility output.

Contrastingly, it’s wise to avoid these types of lasers if you are on a tight budget. You have to choose the red lasers. However, if your budget is not tight, go for the giant laser level – green lasers.

An Overview of the Red Laser Levels

red laser light

Having explored the green laser levels, we will now drive our focus to the red laser levels. The red lasers can be said to be the cheaper versions of the green lasers. They are by far the most commonly used lasers globally due to their cost. They are cheap and have fewer maintenance costs as compared to the green laser levels.

Visibility

We have already mentioned that the red light is at the end of the visible light spectrum. It is therefore somewhat difficult for the human eye to perceive this light. On the other hand, the green light is located right in the middle of the visible light spectrum, hence easily detected by the human eye. (2)

  • Wavelength interval of red light: 635 to 700 nm
  • Frequency interval of red light: 430 to 480 THz

Comparing these values to the green light’s (wavelength and frequency), we see that the green light is 4 times stronger/brighter than the red light. Therefore, when working indoors, your eye will detect the red color at about 20 to 30 feet. This is about half the range that the green light spans. When you are performing your work outdoors, in areas that are below 60 feet, feel free to use a red laser.

Generally, red laser levels are inferior to green laser levels. Red lasers offer less visibility when compared to green laser levels. So if you are working in a small area you can use a red laser. However, if your working area is large then you have to use a green laser level. The red lasers will be inefficient in a large area.

Design

red laser level mounted at the wall

Yes, the red laser levels are inferior to the green laser levels by visibility standards. But when comparing them in construction terms, the red lasers take the lead. They (red lasers) are made up of fewer components and hence very economical. They are also very easy to operate. If you are a newbie in the laser world and just need to perform a few tasks like aligning objects on the wall, go for a red laser level.

The Cost of the Red Laser Levels

These types of lasers are indeed affordable. If you are on a budget then get a red laser for your simple tasks. The price of a red laser level including its detector is altogether cheaper than one green laser level minus a detector. 

The Battery Life of the Red Laser Levels

The red laser level batteries outlive those of the green laser levels. The battery of a laser level is dependent on the power consumption by the laser – visibility strength. The red laser levels have limited visibility compared to the green lasers hence consuming less power. Less power consumption means less power is drawn from the battery.

The Best Use of Red Laser Levels

Red lasers are suitable for short ranges – indoor or outdoor. Furthermore, they are cheap and hence good for people on tight budgets. Their long battery life also cuts the maintenance costs.

So, Which Laser Level is Best for You?

Having discussed the red and green laser levels, it will be easy to figure out which laser level is best for you. Well, it will depend on your situation.

The Green Laser Level will win:

  • When working outdoor at a 60+ ft. range
  • Indoor operations at 30+ feet range (you may also use a red laser + a detector in this situation)
  • If you want maximum visibility

The Red Laser Level is the winner:

  • When you have a tight budget
  • Outdoor situation – 1 to 60 ft.
  • Indoor situation – 20 to 30 feet

Take a look at some of our related articles below.




References
(1) clarity of vision – https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbooksauthors/
2021/02/11/three-steps-to-clarity-of-vision/
(2) light spectrum – https://www.thoughtco.com/the-visible-light-spectrum-2699036

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About Sam Orlovsky

b1d87d2ee85af3e51479df87928bdc88?s=90&d=mm&r=gI realized early on carpentry was a huge passion for me and I’ve stayed in the industry for over 20 years now. This gives me a unique ability to really be able to tell you what the best tools and recommendations are. I’m not only a carpenter but I also like machinery and anything to do with electrics. One of my career paths starting off was as an apprentice electrician so I also have a lot of experience with electrical products and anything related.