Simplicity Wins the Day for the Bosch GLM15 Laser Measure
These days, technology has given us powerful tools in small packages. From layout to distance measuring, we’ve benefited greatly from technology in our jobsite laser tools. Sometimes though, to get to the amazing calculating features, I feel like I need a 40 hour week of training just on the tool. The new Bosch GLM15 Laser Measure is a breath of fresh air when it comes to the simple measuring jobs.
The GLM 15 Laser Measure has but one function: measuring distance. On paper, it’s accurate to within 1/8 of an inch up to 50 feet. It features a simple one-button function and can switch between metric and standard measurements. It will hold one measurement for you in the display while still measuring another or will hold two measurements. The compact size easily fits in your pocket, favorite toolbox, or tool bag. Think of the GLM15 as nothing more or less than a really good tape measure replacement.
Bosch GLM15 Laser Measure Specs
- Power Source: 2 AAA Batteries (included)
- Battery Life: Approximately 5 hours of use
- Range: 50 feet
- Accuracy: +/- 1/8 inch
- Precision: 1/16 inch (standard), 0.001 meter (metric)
- Warranty: 2 Years
- Price: $49.97
Bosch GLM15 Laser Measure Out of the Box
When I opened up the package to get my first look at the Bosch GLM15 Laser Measure, several things were immediately apparent. First, this measuring tool is compact. It fits easily in my hand and is lightweight. It has just one button. Hallelujah! I love simplicity. Don’t get me wrong, I like electronic tools that do a lot of things, but sometimes I just don’t want to spend 8 hours reading the instructions. Bosch packages the GLM15 with the required batteries, so I wasn’t forced to head to the store to purchase more.
Bosch GLM15 Laser Measure: Learning the Features
The GLM15 Laser Measure is a simple looking device with simple instructions, but is it simple to actually use? I put in the two AAA batteries and pushed the button…
The red laser beam hit the wall on the other side of the house, and I had a distance on the display in feet, inches, and fractions of an inch. That was it – no setup, no calibration. Just put in the batteries and push the button.
At this point, I was excited and couldn’t wait to start playing with, er, utilizing the GLM15. We were looking at a place to move, so we decided to use the Laser Measure instead of a tape measure to see how furniture might fit in the house we were looking at. While we did not need it to be perfectly accurate, it was a great way to familiarize myself with the functions.
To turn the GLM15 on, simply press the button one time. A blinking indicator in the top left of the digital display lets you know that you are in continuous measuring mode. If you would like to switch to metric units, hold the button down as you turn the unit on and it will cycle between metric and standard. Standard units are in feet, inches, and fractions of an inch, while metric units are meters with three decimal places.
Press the button a second time and the measurement is held for you. The word “Hold” appears and the blinking indicator is off.
Another press of the button holds the first measurement above your continuous measurement. The blinking indicator is on so you know an active measurement is being taken.
One more button press will hold the last two measurements with the word “Hold” displayed. If you continue to press the button, you will alternate between the previous held measurement/active measurement and two held measurements.
The measurements are taken from the back of the laser. This is an important consideration when it comes down to measuring wall to wall, the insides of a frame, or anywhere else that you don’t have the luxury of open space behind you.
That’s really all there is to it!
Measuring for Accuracy with the Bosch GLM15 Laser Measure
General measuring is great, but there are times when you need specific, accurate measurements for estimates and materials. I took the GLM15 Laser Measure and measured off some distances in varying light and against varying materials to compare with a tape measure. I also wanted to see if the unit would suffer from accuracy issues when measuring at an angle or into a corner.
When measuring the distance to a wall, the Bosch GLM15 Laser Measure was dead on with the tape measure I used. From the same spot I tried several other materials including paper, plastic, and painted glass. The measurement was still dead on against the glass or plastic, and it was only 1/16 of an inch off against the paper. Bosch does let you know in the instructions that reflectivity can slightly alter the accuracy in some materials.
When measuring at angles and into corners, I did not find any lack of accuracy in the measurements against the walls and wood that I tested it on.
When it comes to getting accurate measurements, you really need to have the Laser Measure sitting on a flat, stable surface. I suppose that if you’re an Olympic Archer you might be able to get away with measuring accurately while holding it in your hand, but for most of us mortals, I doubt it.
The one area that this really has some room for improvement is in the display. The fractions were sometimes hard to see if I didn’t have good light. A backlit display would be great for improving that, bearing in mind that it would likely bump up the price and affect the battery life.
For the vast majority of professionals, the +/- 1/8 of an inch accuracy and precision measurement to the 1/16 of an inch is going to meet all of their needs. Keep in mind that even though there is a little bit of variance in the laser on different materials, there is also variance in tape measures themselves.
There are still a couple of areas where the tape measure still rules over a laser. The obvious one being the ability to measure over the surface of materials, like a 2 x 4, that the laser can’t reflect off the end of. I will still carry a tape measure for those functions.
On the other hand, the Bosch GLM15 has a permanent home in my toolbox as my go-to measuring tool for distances to solid objects. The $49.97 price tag puts it at about twice the cost of the better tape measures out there. With the time that it saves and the simplicity of its function, I would recommend the Bosch GLM15 Laser Measure to any pro or serious DIY enthusiasts that will be doing a lot of measurements for any area estimation applications including framing, drywall, cabinetry, and flooring. It also has a home with HVAC pros measuring for ductwork. If you’re willing to use a second person and go for measurements “surveyor style”, the GLM15 becomes even more valuable.