“ Brand: Bosch / Type: Laser Ruler „
If you read one of my old reviews you will know that I qualified as a Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA) after I was made redundant from my previous job. A DEA produces Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) for homes being put on the market for sale or for rent. An EPC used to be a part of the infamous HIPS pack but since that was suspended by the current government you now only require an EPC.
The survey involves, amongst many other things, taking precise measurements of the size of the property: length of the walls; height of the ceilings; size of the windows... Setting myself up with the equipment I needed for the job involved a fair amount of capital outlay. For taking measurements the recommended tools are a metal tape measure, like those used for DIY, and a 30 metre reel tape measure such as those used by professional surveyors.
I got those but the primary drawback I saw with both was when measuring the ceiling height of rooms: neither was really up to the job. I had seen the electronic types of range-finders in DIY stores and thought that they looked like they might be the right thing but they were all quite expensive. Not only that but all of them used a laser beam purely to spot the target, the actual measuring was done with a sonic beam, like bats use for working out their surroundings. I was concerned that such a system wouldn't be accurate enough, especially in restricted surroundings.
What I wanted was a similar device but one where the targeting and measuring were both done solely with the laser beam. That, I reckoned, would be just the job. I discovered that there were a few such on sale but all seemed extremely expensive; it was clear that you paid a premium for the better technology.
The device that really took my fancy was the Bosch PLR30 Laser Rangefinder. It seemed to tick all the boxes. The only problem was that the best price at which I could find it was £125 and that was far more than I wanted to pay. However, I then found it on sale on eBay for £50. This was much more like it. I bid and won.
The PLR30 is about the size of a modern compact digital camera, maybe just a little thicker. It comes with a black woven nylon case to protect it. It runs on 4 AAA batteries, which fit in a compartment at the back.
The casing is dark green with non-slip rubber grips on each side. There are a couple of sighting notches at the top and bottom, which line up with where the laser beam is but, to be honest, I've never had any trouble in spotting the red dot of the laser beam on any target. The user guide states that it measures distances up to 30 metres with great accuracy. To be honest, I've never got anywhere near those sorts of distances so far.
The front of the device has a black and silver LCD screen at the top and below that a set of operating buttons. The first is the red button with which you cause it to take measurements: the first press activates the red laser beam so that you can target the objective and the second tells it to take the measurement. The three buttons below this tell the device if you want it to take a simple length, measure an area or a volume; the device then knows whether to ask for one, two or three measurements and does the calculations for you.
Below this are three memory buttons, which provide the same sort of function as on a pocket calculator: memory +, memory - and memory =. Below these, in the centre, is the on/off button although the device will automatically switch itself off after a while of non-use, in order to save battery power. To the left is the "C" Clear button. To the right is the "Continuous Measurement button. I haven't had a need to use this yet; it sets the device to take a measurement reading every half second until you stop so that you can target, say, a wall and then walk away from it, watching the distance readout until you reach the desired distance away.
I mostly use it for taking simple distance measurements. For this it is pretty well perfect. The only drawback is that, of course, it requires a target: one isn't always available, such as when measuring the length of an outside wall. It's OK if the wall ends at a junction with another wall where you can target that wall but there will always be those walls where that isn't the case. If you are working with someone else than they could hold a piece of card against the end of the wall, to act as a target but I mostly work alone. In these cases I still have to use a tape measure. However, for ceiling heights, internal room sizes and window reveals, it's perfect.
A set of rechargeable batteries lasts about enough to do a couple of houses; I always carry a couple of sets of spare, charged batteries with me anyhow. You get a visual warning on the LCD screen when battery power is getting low.
This device is worth its weight in gold to me and has never let me down. I've been using now for around 2 years. If you have a need for a device like this, I can't recommend the PLR30 too highly, especially if you can get for the price I paid.
Laser Ruler for measuring distances.