Fresh off the review of the Johnson 25′ PlanReader tape measure, the Johnson Level 40-6616 Tiling and Flooring Laser Level makes doing right angle flooring layouts simpler and is a good tool to use along the way to check to make sure things stay in line and square. For a reasonable price, the DIY’er has a tool that can make their tile projects have that professional appearance. Everyone knows that in tile work, it is all about straight lines, perfect corners and a layout that matches the room. With laser guidance within reach, you can ensure that your flooring project will come out the way you dreamed it would.
Our Johnson Level 40-6616 Tiling and Flooring Laser Level arrived in a clear plastic retail style package of the kind you can expect to find on store shelves. Once we cut our way into it, we found that, along with the flooring laser level, it included, 2 “AA” alkaline batteries, a red floor target, instruction manual, and a soft-sided pouch. While it is a silly thing, I love when products include batteries. All too often in the shop we never seem to have the right batteries around when we need them. There is nothing better than the instant gratification that you can open a tool, put the batteries in and get up and running in seconds.
Johnson Level 40-6616 Tiling and Flooring Laser Level Features
The flooring laser level has a main body that is made of orange plastic, but on the bottom there is a metal base plate that has three machined surfaces that contact the floor. The reason for this is two-fold (we suspect). One it adds weight to the base so it is sturdier, and second, with the three contact points there is much less chance that the level will rock when set down. Mounted at 90 degrees to each other, are two bubble level vials that make it so you can check the plane of the surface you are working on in two directions. In line with these bubble level vials are the red colored lasers that project out to about 30 feet indoors depending on the lighting conditions. When working with tile and many flooring products, it is critical to maintain straight lines and you can be sure that this level will perform since it is calibrated to be with in a 1/4″ at 60 feet (a tolerance which we verified). There is a simple red on/off toggle button in the center of the tool and the batteries are located inside a black cover just behind that button. The batteries will provide about 30 hours of continuous use. The red target is handy and we will touch on its use later. We really liked how the soft carry case made it easy to store and transport the Tiling and Flooring Laser Level.
Testing and Use
If you have ever done a tile flooring job you’ll instantly appreciate the convenience of a laser system like this. Setting up the Johnson Level 40-6616 Tiling and Flooring Laser Level was very simple. You turn it on, set it on the floor, and take some measurements to make sure that it is projecting the lines where you need them. Even if it is your first time doing a floor, we are pretty sure that the system will be easy to understand and use. No more will you have to draw lines or use a chalk box to mark out where things need to be. I always used to think to myself how silly it was to go to all the trouble to layout the tile floor on the sub flooring material, and then still have to measure and check once I started to lay the tile because I covered all my markings with thinset mortar. Now, once you have a tile or two placed, you can set the laser level on them and use it to project the straight lines right over whatever material is in its path. Just in case you can’t see the laser line, the floor is long, or not perfectly level (which is the case most of the time in the real world) you can use the included red laser target to help you find the line. Just position the target down the line from the laser and it will instantly and brightly let you know where the line is. I tried to capture this in this photo to make it easy to see in action.
Given the right angle projecting abilities of the 40-6616 Tiling and Flooring Laser Level, we suspect this tool can be used for more than just tile and flooring. It’s not as sophisticated or automated as the Bosch GSL 2 surface laser, but it delivers a lot for the price. The trick to remember is that it must be used on horizontal surfaces because there is no way to either mount it on a tripod or on a vertical surface – this is a tad disappointing, but we suspect it’s because Johnson Level has other products specifically suited for that purpose. Things like doing floor layouts for cabinets, cubicles, furniture and walls are some of the other uses we were able to come up with. Our only complaint is the battery door does not have a very positive latch, so it has the tendency to want to pop off when you grab it around the middle. If you drop the tool, you can also expect to lose the cover.
We find that the Johnson Level 40-6616 Tiling and Flooring Laser Level is definitely something that anyone should pick up if they are getting ready to lay a tile floor. With a simple design, good accuracy, and a reasonable price, we feel this is a tool that will bring a level of quality to your project, even if you are going to do a single floor. With a smorgasbord of laser-type products on the market, with many of them costing considerably more, we felt that this tool earned an 8/10 on our Value scale. For our Performance rating we gave this tool a 6/10 since it works well and has features that both the DIY and pro can benefit from. We also would have squeaked it up another point if the battery door was a little more robust.