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VINE VOICEon August 12, 2009
Review of Bosch DLR130K Laser Distance Measurer

This handy little device is slightly smaller, and lighter than my trusty 25 foot tape measure. It won't replace your tape (for example there is no quick, convenient way to hook the edge of a board to measure off a cut), but it will do many of the same measurements, often better and quicker (for example finding "inside" distances such a a window interior or from one wall to another). It will also take measurements that a tape simply cannot (assuming just 1 person doing the measuring), for example picture yourself on a ladder, trying to find the distance from a window frame to the wall when your tape cannot reach it without collapsing, or checking the height of a soffit that's more than 15 feet above you, ....

Do you need a laser distance measurer? I can't answer that, however I can tell you that it saves me a significant amount of time because I do a lot of carpentry / renovation work which involves many, many measurements.

Here's what I like about this new DLR130 from Bosch:

o It does fractional measurements in inches to an accuracy of a sixteenth of an inch. For example 98 - 3/16 inches. The previous laser from Bosch would only do feet & inches combined (e.g. 8' 2-1/16"). This is a really important new feature for me because my feeble mind doesn't deal well with the feet-and-inches style output - it causes me to make all kinds of stupid cutting errors. Thank you Bosch for adding this pure fractional inches only mode.

o It is small and light (smaller than me 25 foot tape measure) weighing just over 6 ounces with all four AAA batteries installed. It is 4 inches long, 2-1/4 inches wide and 1-1/4 inches thick.

o Measures things really close to the unit starting at 2 inches. Older lasers (such as my TLM100) do not work at less than 24 inches. Although it may not seem like a big deal it makes the measurer much more usable in practice.

o Good feedback - when the laser completes a measurement it provides both audible and tactile feedback in the form of a "clunk". At first I though this was kind of weird - why not just a beep? - but then I realized the subtle beauty of the design. If you are wearing hearing protection or are in a noisy environment you can "feel" when the measurement is complete. The clunk sound is generated at such a low volume that it is unlikely to disturb anyone more than a few feet away.

o Has a ¼ inch threaded hole for tripod mounting (of course an inventive person could use this for other attachments as well....).

o Comes complete with four AAA batteries, and they last a long, long time (30,000 individual measurements or 5 hours of operation in continuous measurement mode with 1.5v alkaline). You can also use rechargeable batteries such as 1.2V NiMh, although they won't last as long, due to their reduced voltage. This is another technical improvement over the older lasers which required a 9v battery.

o Comes with a nice pouch (apparently) made of ballistic nylon with a Velcro strap to hook over your belt. One minor problem here is that the strap is a little bit too small to fit securely over a wide 2 inch work belt. It does it, but there isn't much Velcro left holding it in place.

o Continuous measurement mode is a nice touch. Allows you to use the laser more like a tape measure in certain applications (for example, when you want to mark off every 16 inches along a wall to show where studs should be). Most of the time it updates the display very quickly - about 2 times per second. The manual states that in certain unfavorable circumstances this could be reduced to as little as 1 update every 4 seconds but I have not experienced this slowdown in my applications.

o Sighting pins help one to see where the laser is over long distances or in bright light conditions. These are nothing more than slight notches on the right side of the case. Not a hugely important feature for my work, but I suspect those who take really long distance measurements might find it useful.

Here is what I do not like:

o Reference point (measure from the back or front) is not saved when the unit is turned off. It always restarts with the back of the unit as the reference point. In practice this does not bother me, but other people may feel differently.

o Memory display is only in decimal feet or decimal meters. This can be a little bit irritating for people who like to operate in pure inches mode. It's more than a little inconvenient to take a measurement like 95 - 5/16 inches, save it to memory, recall it and see it displayed as 7.942 feet.

o Display is not back lit. This would be a nice feature to have, especially for those of us with tired old eyes.

o Laser beam is not parallel to the unit. If you press the unit flat against a wall, or floor or any plane surface, the beam rises off the surface at an angle of about 1 inch every 8 feet. To overcome this one has to lift the back of the laser just slightly off the surface to keep the beam parallel. This wouldn't be a very big deal, except that pressing down on the measure button with holding the unit off the surface make for a wobbly, inaccurate situation. I would say this is the biggest problem with this device, and the only one that gives me pause in recommending it highly.

I talked to Tanya at Bosch customer service, who promised to look into it and get back to me. At first I was impressed with the service, but a week passed with no call back. I finally called Tanya again, and she not only did not apologize for failing to call back, she indicated that she thought this was a problem and that more recent versions do not have this defect. She promised to call me back when she knew more (heard from engineering) but it has now been another week and I've heard nothing. I was invited to send my unit to the repair center at my expense, and ask for a "recalibration" but I'm not sure it is worth the trouble or expense (and it's not certain that they will indeed correct this problem).

I would have given this product five stars except for the poor customer service and the non-parallel laser beam. I do have an early version of this product (March 2009), so perhaps other purchasers will have better luck.

Also note that you can peruse the manual for this product online at[...] if you want more specific details about it.
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on September 4, 2009
I've never written a product review before but this measurement tool is so useful and (for the most part) so well designed that I appreciate it every time I use it and I wanted to express it publicly. I do agree with some of Joseph Mooney's caveats, in particular that the unit does not retain its state when turned off. I find that when used on its side the laser beam is close to parallel. I haven't needed customer support so I can't comment on that. But its ability in taking measurements in circumstances where a tape would be difficult or impossible is remarkable. And the accuracy is as well. Every time I use it I am tickled at how well and quickly it performs. My initial interest in this device sprang from my experience with the short life spans of tape measures. After purchasing a number of tape measures and having them fail within months or a year I decided to look for something more durable. I've had the Bosch only for about 3 months but I see no reason why an electronic device of this type should not last for a long time. I highly recommend this tool.
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on January 3, 2012
I am an insurance adjuster and I use this tool all the time, I've had this for about 5 months now and it is very dependable, and extremely accurate, I check the measurement from time to time. One of the best features is that it takes into account the length of the device in it's measurement. I mainly use it inside where it works perfectly every time. I have used it outside and if you are pointing the laser where the sun is shining, it is almost impossible to see where you are pointing. I does work outside if you are in the shade. It is one of the more expensive Laser Measurers out there but in my opinion it's worth the money, especially if you use it all the time like i do. Oh and I haven't changed the batteries yet and I have hours of use on it. It turns off by itself if you forget to turn it off and comes back on very quickly. Another great feature is that it reads out your measurement is feet/inches, inches, in fractions or decimals and also supports metric. I can't say enough great things about it.
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VINE VOICEon November 26, 2013
This was never accurate enough to use where some degree of precision was required. However, where a general measurement was acceptable then this served that purpose. I used it mostly outdoors where approximate measurements were adequate. This device lasted for nearly two months and then died. Contacting Bosch was a useless pursuit.

Once upon a time Bosch provided an excellent array of tools. I gradually phased out all of my tools by other manufacturers and bought Bosch replacements. The older Bosch tools are still performing well. Sadly, Bosch has gone down the toilet both from a production standpoint and also customer service. This measuring kit was the last straw for me. So long, Bosch.
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on July 2, 2010
My three star rating is an average of five stars for the way it measures, and one star for the way they programmed the memory function.
I love the way it measures. Basically it's point and shoot. And you have your choice of measurement formats. Now, save that measurement. Here's where it all falls apart.
Your feet/inches or inches has now been converted to decimal feet or decimal meters. As I'm walking back to the chop saw, what the hell am I supposed to do with 12.15 feet? Sure, I could just write down the original measurement,but isn't that what the memory function is for? Oh wait, I've got a better idea. I'll just carry my construction calculator too and use that to convert the decimal feet back to inches. Then I can be the techno-nerd carpenter.
Bosch, you really fell off the logic train on this one.
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on February 24, 2011
I am a small commercial renovator and purchased this unit for layouts, measuring distances etc. I purchased the Bosch DLR130K and the Leica Distro D210XT. I took both with me for the day to measure some window frames for a blind install, measured area for painting, measured empty retail store layout, measure 2 ceilings heights to determine what ladders were required. Both units were accurate and displayed almost identical measurements.

Bosch DLR130K
- the keys felt mushy
- Can only store one measurement on the screen at a time
- The screen is NOT illuminated ? I was in a dim area and had to use a flashlight to see the distance(whats a backlit led worth these days .20 cents ?
- The keys are not protected from dust/paint/water coffee etc
- takes 4 batteries to the competitions 2

I kept the Leica Distro D210XT as it makes the Bosch feel cheap which is surprising as I have other Bosch tools that I love.

Stick with the Leica
- well lit green screen
- The last 4 measurements stay on the screen
- unit is protected from water, dust proof, drop proof to 5'
- keys feel solid
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VINE VOICEon August 18, 2013
WHAT TO PICK
I'm a DIY-er who was in search for a decent, yet not uber- professional Laser Meter. Thanks to Amazon and that home store we all love, I figured out quickly that the Bosch Models DLR130K and GLM 50 were what I was looking for - anything cheaper had bad reviews and/or bad specs. The term "distance estimator" on the $20 - $40 devices got a good chuckle out of me, but I did want accurate measurements.

What I couldn't figure out was the difference between those two models. Both are still produced, with the GLM50 apparently being a few years more recent (judging from the first occurrence of Amazon reviews), but that was the extent of information I could gather online. Even Bosch's own comparison function wasn't any help, so I did what I usually REALLY frown upon: ordering both products from Amazon with the full intent of returning one and paying restocking fee! I'm not asking for absolution here (I know it's a waste to pack, ship, reship, and restock an item), but hopefully by sharing my findings I prevent other people from doing the same? Anyway, on to what I learned.

SIMILARITIES
- Both units take accurate and reproducible measurements.
- They are the same size, even though they don't look like it at first. But their w*h*d is within 3% of the other.
- Both units have a similar build and color scheme: rubberized corners and a professional Black/Blue/Orange look.
- The laser package seems identical, with exactly the same color and intensity.

ADVANTAGES OF THE DLR130K
- It's cheaper (usually, although beware of Amazon 3rd party sellers cashing in)
- It looks and feels A LOT more worthy than the GLM50: smaller (not true), heavier (true), more attractive shape, and rubber marks. This may sound very silly, but upon picking up the GLM50, my thoughts were "I hope it works" and with the DLR130K it was more in the line of "I must not point this at people". To make an analogy, I'll go as far as to say that the GLM50 is like a plastic spoon, and the DLR130K is like a metal spoon - you can eat your yogurt either way, but for some reason there's a difference.
- Sights: The notches that let you locate the laser point on the DLR130K are gone on the GLM50.
- More buttons: The DLR10K has 10 buttons, whereas the GLM50 has 7. More buttons is better in my book, although admittedly it made sense to cut down on the number and introduce "menu".

DISADVANTAGES
I consider the GLM50 the successor of this model, so I don't want to list all the newer item's features as defects. But some things stand out:
- The memory function only works in decimals. Even if your preference is to show feet and inches in fractions (like 3' 11/16"), when you use the memory function to store and retrieve it, it'll be 3.555 ft. I saw some reviews saying that one just needs to push the m/ft button, but that's not true! That button just switches from decimal feet and decimal meters at that point. The upper line of the display isn't physically capable of showing a fraction.
- This unit is a little bit slower than the GLM50. All measurements are within 1/2 sec or so, but the GLM50 is noticeably faster.

OVERALL
If you want a reasonably- priced, yet accurate laser measurement unit, this might just be the ticket. It strikes a nice balance between accuracy, ease of use, and build quality - in short, nothing is wrong with it and your money definitely well spent. That said, if you want to go just one step further with the GLM 50 you'll get a few more nice-to-have features, such as a much more informative three- line display, faster operation, and no fraction problem.
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on April 7, 2009
This is one of the best tools I have ever owned. It is fantastic for installing base board, toe mold, crown mold and other trim. Very accurate and most of the time the measurement will be to the 1/16 plus side, which is good. Much better than a tape measure and it makes measuring a one man job.
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on June 22, 2013
Product was very accurate and handy. I used it on average 1 hour a month but it started turning off and not turning back on for no reason. Replaced the batteries a few times thinking that the batteries were bad but no luck. I would not recommend it.
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on March 26, 2011
I use this device for my work, measuring kitchen cabinets in inches, and have owned it for a couple of years now. I must say that the measurements this device takes is very reliable and accurate but there are a few basic features that are lacking or flawed.

For example when add/deduct feature is used for linear measurements, it converts the final output into feet instead of leaving them in inches. Not to mention that the add/deduct functionality is quite cumbersome and I have never gotten used to it. My other laser measuring device was an old Stanley TLM 100 Fatmax which served me for years before it dropped and fell into pieces, and although it had its own flaws, was a lot easier to use in this aspect or some other aspects.

Pros:

- Takes accurate measurements.

- It makes a clicking sound after each measurement, which I find very useful when i am holding it against hard to reach surfaces.

- Measures short distances like 6" or so.

- Battery lasts for ever.

Cons:

- Poor add/deduct functionality.

- Numbers on screen are too small. I don't know why this is, specially when the screen itself has tons of room for bigger fonts.

- No back light. There has been many instances when I wished this thing had a back light.

- Build quality is questionable in my opinion. It looks rugged and tough but I don't think it is. I had it on a surface 12"-15" from floor and dropped it on wood floor trying to pick it up and the thing just stopped working. Fortunately after trying many things to make it work with no success, I got pissed and banged it on the floor and it started working again!

My other thoughts are that the physical size of this device is good but a little on the bulky side, however I did not hold this as a con because this may not be an issue for many other people.

I think if you are not a heavy user, this can be a perfect tool, however my next laser device will be something of a better build quality with better functionality.
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