If you’re going any kind of layout work, you may have started seeing more green lasers on the job site. While they may seem like the newest thing, it’s for good reason. Products like the DeWalt 12V Green Cross Line Laser are bringing green solid state lasers to the job site in more affordable packages. Green lasers have been around for quite some time. Only recently, however, have tool companies been able to manufacture green laser diodes consistently and efficiently. Now, brighter green lasers like the DeWalt DW088LG kit present an affordable solution for Pro consumers.
You may have noticed that the human eye sees green more easily than red. Then again, you may not—in which case just take our word for it! Just several years ago CST Berger would have been the only game in town for green lasers. Now, Bosch, DeWalt, Johnson Level, and others are getting into the game.
Needless to say, it’s a good time to be shopping for a new cross line laser.
DeWalt DW088LG Green Cross Line Laser Features
The DeWalt DW088LG 12V Green Cross Line Laser runs off a DeWalt 12V MAX 2Ah battery. This is the same battery that runs DeWalt’s compact 12V impact drivers. Like the DeWalt red laser cross line products, an aftermarket AA battery adapter is available (but not included).
The DeWalt 12V Green Cross Line Laser has what’s known as a “self-leveling” laser system. The guts include a pendulum system that literally floats the laser and keeps it in near-perfect level. The vertical and horizontal cross lines can be operated independently. You get +/- 4 degrees of play. After that, the level will flash to tell you it’s no longer accurate to level or plumb.
Of course, if you need to strike a beam that’s not level, it can do that as well. If the laser is between 4° and 10°, the beams blink constantly to let you know. When you’re more than 10º, the green beams will give you a triple flash that repeats every several seconds. This is handy for when you’re laying out stairs or something where you need a line that’s not level or plumb.
The housing on the DeWalt DW088LG has nice over-molding. While it looks cool, it’s not just for show. That housing gives the DeWalt DW088LG an IP65 rating. That means it can completely withstand dust, and it handles low-pressure water jets from any direction. You can basically use this $350 cross line laser in the rain without too much fear of damage.
Editor’s Note: Red vs Green
Red lasers traditionally operate between the 660 and 635 nm color spectrum. Green lasers (think of the rainbow) operate a little lower between 532 and 520 nm. Red and Blue laser diodes have been relatively easy to manufacture for years. True green laser diodes, however, lagged by a number of years. That issue got resolved somewhere around 2009-10. After that, the next challenge involved perfecting the technology and getting it to mass production.
DeWalt DW088LG 12V Green Cross Line Laser Specifications
- Buttons for Vertical & Horizontal lines
- Magnetic bracket
- Drop ceiling attachment with spring clip and metal plate
- 1/4″ and 5/8″ threaded mount points
- Range (visual): 100 feet
- Range (optional detector): 165 feet
- Accuracy: ±1/8 inch @ 33 feet
- Self-leveling range: ±4 degrees
- Battery: 2.0 Ah 12V Max battery
- Runtime (2.0 Ah 12V battery): 8 to 14 hours
- Price: $349 retail (~$150 more than the red laser model)
- Weight: 1.9 lbs
- Includes: DeWalt Green cross line laser, plastic case, extended ceiling bracket, 12V battery, 12V charger, target card
Using the DeWalt 12V Green Cross Line Laser
We used the DeWalt 12V cross line laser to layout our video production set. We also placed a countertop in a small break room and hung some cabinets. The DeWalt cross line laser includes a pendulum locking switch which automatically “grabs” the self-leveling pendulum when you’re stowing it away. This protects the laser from damage during travel. The vertical and horizontal laser beams are activated with dedicated buttons, and you can use them independently or simultaneously. The pendulum locking switch has the added benefit of also turning off the lasers.
So all that is to say that a child would find this an easy tool to use. It’s a great design. You’d think it’s impossible to screw something like this up, but we’ve seen cross line lasers (and similar products) with toggle function switches that cycle through modes. Dedicated buttons are far, far better.
Since I had access to a standard tripod, using the included 1/4-inch threaded mount proved to be simple. This allowed me to mount the laser at the exact height I needed to level out our break room counter. Compare that to an alternative process—using a two-foot level and constantly checking and rechecking the small bubble vial. Instead, I got a nice bright line for the back of the plywood.
I’m working on a tile installation later that will find me laying out a couple of lines with these lasers to ensure a consistent pattern across the floor. You can’t beat a cross line laser for layout—it makes everything so simplistic.
Accuracy and Conclusions
I found the DeWalt 12V Green cross line laser to be accurate enough for interior layout work. It’s rated to 1/8-inch at 30 feet. How do you test this? Simply get a room that’s around 30 feet or so wide (our office is 40 feet). Next, position the laser on one wall and shoot across to the opposite side. Mark the spot on the wall. Finally, rotate the laser 90 degrees and mark the spot again. The difference is the error. In our case, we had around 1/8-inch at just under 40 feet. Not bad!
This is a great product for Pros who don’t want to mess around. I remember grabbing a $50 red rotary laser many years ago to use for laying out a kitchen. What a disaster. It was cheap and inaccurate. It didn’t self-level. Lastly, a rotary laser produces very “thin” light indoors. We produced a video that compares cross line lasers vs rotary lasers (even green ones) for indoor use. When possible, a cross line laser like the DeWalt DW088LG is going to go a lot further. You get a super bright beam that’s easy to see, and you can check vertical and horizontal simultaneously.
Is the $150 premium worth it for the DeWalt 12V Green cross line laser over the Red model? If you use your cross line laser a lot, then probably. It will also get you out of a jam if you tend to work in well-lit conditions.