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Red vs Green Lasers

For most contractors, your choice on a construction laser’s beam color isn’t a factor of accuracy. Unless you are planning on laying out control points in extremely long situations, the decision is often more about worker productivity and initial instrument cost. Here are some key questions you should consider when opting for a laser’s beam color.

  • On what type of surface will you be projecting the beam?  Green or red might show up better on different surface colors and texture.

  • Do you plan to use a laser detector? If you commonly use a detector, a red beam may be a better choice than green. If you don’t plan to use a detector a green beam laser will be much more effective for outdoor use and in bright light.

  • How far do you normally project your beam? Red lasers are visible at 20 to 30 feet and a green line laser may still be visible at 45 to 60 feet when used with a fresh set of batteries.

  • Can my workers see the beam? To the human eye, a green laser will appear four times as bright as a red laser at the same power output based on your eyes’ light sensitivity.

  • Are you working outside? You’ll definitely want to be more selective in you’re your choice of beam color. The visibility of a green laser may increase the level’s range by up to 50 percent without distortion. You can even purchase an instrument that can project a green beam up to three miles. But, if you are leaning toward a red beam, shoot for a unit that is rated for at least 60 feet. This outdoor working range can be extended if you use a detector.

    But for most contractors working outside green beam lasers are best for applications with bright light conditions. They provide clear control lines and points. They are well matched for applications where many workers are using the beam at the same time such as framing a house, laying out a foundation, or placing a slab.
  • How long do you normally leave the instrument on? If you are working all day within short distances from your instrument, red beams are the better option. If you have longer distances, the choice becomes harder. If you are proving control points over a wide area for an entire shift, you probably want to opt for a green beam. The green beam is less likely to distort during the laser’s use. That’s because lasers that produce green beams use a series of diodes to create the control lines whereas lasers that offer red beams use one diode. But there’s a slight cost for this accuracy and greater visibility. The green producing diodes draw more energy from the battery to generate the beams, so you’ll need to keep an eye on your laser’s battery capacity.

Maximizing Your Return on Investment

Instruments with red laser beams are still the more popular choice. But as the price differential between green and red beam lasers narrows, you’ll notice that for the most part, green beam lasers can do everything a red laser can with higher visibility in most situations.

While there is increased cost for green beam instruments and you’ll have to change batteries more often, the time saved with a brighter laser will quickly make up for the cost difference over the long run. Trust your White cap professional to help you see the right color for your job.
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