Milwaukee Cross Line Laser Levels Will Leave Others Green with Envy
BOOM! Just like that, Milwaukee Pipeline Episode #2 is in the books and we’ve got everything you need to know about the Milwaukee cross line laser level lineup!
- Green beams in all laser levels
- Two power sources to choose from—M12 or RedLithium USB
- Five designs to choose from
- Full-day runtime in each model (8-hour minimum)
- New micro-adjust dials in positions easily and quickly
- Laser pivots on the plumb spot so it doesn’t move while you adjust
- 1/8-inch per 33 feet accuracy
- More expensive than some of the competition if all you need is the basics
RecommendationMilwaukee cross line laser levels have the accuracy and visibility we demand and help speed up the setup process. We like the fact that every model is lithium-ion powered with the runtime to make it through a full 8-hour day. Overall, there’s genuine innovation to be excited about and we expect Milwaukee is going to make a significant impact in the line laser market.
Milwaukee Cross Line Laser Visibility
Every Milwaukee cross line laser uses a green beam to get the best visibility. The design team also worked up a new form of the standard target card to make seeing your line easier when you’re dealing with a brighter area.
It has better visibility with a high-contrast design that makes it easier to see when you’ve hit the center. It’s also magnetic and has standard and metric measurements.
Green beams come with a couple of trade-offs. For starters, they’re more power-hungry than red, so your runtime is lower given the same battery sources. They’re also more expensive to produce, so you’ll notice a bit of a premium compared to red lasers.
But they’re so much easier to see that we’re willing to accept those trades to get better visibility.
Milwaukee Cross Line Laser Accuracy
Milwaukee dialed in the accuracy of the diodes at 1/8-inch for every 33 feet. That’s dead-on what we expect from professional laser levels in this class. Some models drop to 1/4-inch over 33 feet or worse, giving Milwaukee better accuracy than entry-level models.
Power Sources and Runtime
Milwaukee is targeting two types of power sources: alkaline and lithium-ion. The irony is they’re doing it solely with lithium-ion power.
Milwaukee RedLithium USB Laser Levels
Milwaukee RedLithium USB cross line laser models are designed to replace the ones Pros use with alkaline batteries. Using up to 4 AA batteries for power, heavy line laser users might go through two or three sets of batteries a week.
Even though these Milwaukee laser levels run $50 – $100 more than alkaline, there’s a value proposition worth considering.
Let’s say you’re on the conservative side use just one set of batteries a week. A pack of 48 Energizer batteries runs a little over $20 on Amazon. That’s enough to get you through 12 weeks. You’re going to need four of those over the course of the year (plus a little, but we’ll give you some vacation time), costing you $80. Your return on investment for going lithium is about a year or less.
If you’re that heavier user running through three sets of batteries a week, you’re in it for $240 a year. You’ve almost paid for the whole laser by the end of year 1.
So what about that runtime? Milwaukee’s RedLithium USB batteries will run for more than 8 hours in the cross line lasers and 15 hours in the 3-point model.
Thanks to USB charging and the ability to run while charging, you can easily use an M18 or M12 battery with a USB adapter as a power source. That will extend your runtime significantly.
Milwaukee M12 Cross Line Lasers
For compatibility with Milwaukee’s compact cordless tools, go with one of Milwaukee’s M12 models. These line up more closely with the lithium-ion competition out there in terms of runtime.
Using a 3.0Ah battery in the cross line/point laser or a 4.0Ah battery in the 3-plane model, you can expect 15 hours of continuous use.
One of the major highlights on each Milwaukee laser level is a micro-adjust for the vertical beam. We’ve used plenty of lasers with a micro-adjust on the mount for horizontal height, just not on the vertical plane.
Most of the time, you make adjustments by hand and there’s a lot of wobble along with simply overshooting your mark from across the room. With Milwaukee’s adjustment, it’s much smoother and more precise so you can get it right more quickly.
The other issue that pops up from adjusting most lasers by hand comes from the using the plumb spot to dial in a starting position. As you make your side-to-side adjustment, the plumb spot moves, too. The design team put their pivot right on the plumb spot, so you can make that vertical line adjustment without shifting your floor reference.
Sensitive diodes, jobsites, and less-than-careful crew members don’t necessarily get along. However, Milwaukee designed these laser levels with 1 meter (3.3 feet) drop protection and with an IP54 ingress rating.
Styles and Pricing
|Cross Line + Points||$349||3.0Ah|
|Cross Line + Points||$499 ($399 bare)||3.0Ah|
In addition to the lasers, there are a couple of handy accessories worth pointing out.
First is what appears to be a fairly standard magnetic/hangable mount. In reality, the design allows you to attach the laser in 360º, making it easier to find a quick mounting point in nearly any environment.
There’s also a track clip to help you out when you’re working on a drop ceiling or something similar.
The Bottom Line
Milwaukee cross line laser levels have the accuracy and visibility we demand and help speed up the setup process. We like the fact that every model is lithium-ion powered with the runtime to make it through a full 8-hour day. Overall, there’s genuine innovation to be excited about and we expect Milwaukee is going to make a significant impact in the line laser market.