Lasers and leveling equipment have a fundamental purpose of creating a level plane from which to build your foundation/deck/driveway etc. from, so it is critical to ensure that they are doing their job! Leveling equipment does go out of calibration and become inaccurate over time due to dropping, knocks and bumps and general usage.

You should regularly carry out a self-test and send to the service workshop at least once per year (preferably every six months) for a full test and calibration. For the small fee, you pay it is definitely worth the costly errors you could avoid!


Set your laser up 30m away from a wall on a stable tripod, preferably with a plumb bubble for greater accuracy.

Align the laser so that one axis (X or Y) is parallel with the wall.

Once the laser has self-leveled and started spinning draw a mark on the wall by either visually marking the beam line or using a detector to locate the beam line, Label this mark ‘point A’.

Turn the laser exactly 180 degrees in the same place and wait for the laser to self-level and start spinning again. Following step 3, draw another mark on the wall and label ‘point B’.

If the difference between point A and point B is greater than 6mm you should send your laser in for a service and calibration.

You now need to check the other axis of the laser level, turn the laser 90 degrees and follow step 3, label the mark as ‘point C’.

Follow step 4 and mark this as ‘point D’.

If the difference between point C and point D is greater than 6mm you should send your laser in for a service and calibration.


It is important to know the difference between a manual slope laser (often advertised as a grade laser) and a proper digital grade laser.

The manual slope laser simply has a manual override on the self-levelling system so you can press the manual button and put a slope on the beam manually using the remote or machine keypad. To do this you set up the laser so that it self levels then mark the level point at the far end of your project, from here you need to manually work out what fall you need, if you project is 100m long for example you may want to drop 1m over that distance, now you simply make a mark 1m down from your level mark, put the laser into manual mode then adjust the beam down until you are hitting your receiver on your offset mark. You can now work through this sloped beam.

 It is important to note that the manual slope laser at this point has no alarm or self levelling mechanism so if bumped it can be spinning on a completely different plane to what it was set at, so not ideal for busy worksites.

Digital Grader lasers on the other hand have a digital screen where you can type in an exact percentage of fall, so set you laser up, let it self level then you can enter a grade into the screen as a percentage (100% grade is 1:1 or 45 degrees) a typical grade for drain-laying would be 1%. Once this grade has been entered the laser will self adjust to that exact grade. 

There are two different types of digital grade laser, standard and Autoslope (like our Theis Autoslope in the Civil section) once the grade is set, if bumped the standard grade laser will stop and sound an alarm to advise the user that the laser needs to be re-set. The Autoslope laser on the other hand will re-adjust to the entered grade and continue spinning, great for sites where there is a lot of vibration and activity.

Our Theis lasers also come with a feature called ‘Align’ also know as grade match. This is a really handy feature for using when you have a set start and finish point. you can set your laser up at your start point, then position your receiver at the finish point and the laser will scan up and down until it finds the receiver then lock onto it, creating a plane to work through between two set points.


There is two main types of self levelling lasers, electronic and pendulum. Pendulum self levelling lasers have an internal pendulum system and will always have a bubble vial on the laser, when the bubble is adjusted to within the centre circle the pendulum will hang free within the casing thus self levelling the laser based on gravity. If the pendulum touching the surrounding casing an alarm will sound/show showing that the laser cannot self level.

The other main type of self levelling laser is the electronic self levelling laser – most lasers these days are electronic self levelling. Inside an electronic self levelling laser you have two little motors, one for each axis that self levels the internals of the laser. Although electronic self levelling lasers don’t have a bubble vial they need to be within a certain range of vertical (normally 5 degrees) for the motors to self level. If the laser is outside of its self levelling range an alarm will sound/show. The self levelling process usually takes a minute or so with these lasers and the diode will not start spinning until the laser is level.

Both lasers can be equally accurate depending on the brand. Electronic self levelling lasers are more common these days as they are more simple to use, simply push the start button and the laser will self level and start spinning.

Fukuda FRE 203 Rotary laser laser level 1

Fukuda has been manufacturing quality laser equipment for nearly 15 years - Made in Asia

mce laser logo 1

Super premium quality civil grade & pipe lasers. Machine control - Made in Australia

5005 1

Premium quality builders and grade lasers – Made in Germany


VERITECH – Professional pre-sale calibrated laser gear with a 3 year warranty


Emlid products are designed to work right out of the box and are suitable for experienced and beginner surveyors. 

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