How does the latest Bosch Rangefinder measure up? Professional Builder’s Lee Jones finds out.
Many tradesmen may still trust in a tape measure, whilst some might use their eye and the benefit of experience, but there is no doubt that a decent laser rangefinder will beat them both all day long for speed and accuracy.
Not only that but the equipment will also allow end users to calculate very long distances and get the measure of hard to reach places, all at the push of a few buttons. Kitchen fitters have found particular use for them in some of the more intricate spaces they might need to operate, for instance, but in truth almost any trade that still carries that time worn tape in their toolbox could make use of one.
The area or volume of a room can be quickly and precisely gauged, continuous measurements are possible, whilst allowance can easily be made for doors and windows. There’s a levelling function, inclines can be determined in degrees, and measurements can be added or subtracted, all of which adds up to a whole range of good reasons why you should be at least considering the investment.
Bosch already has an extensive offering in this class of equipment, all of which can now be trialled at the first ever Bosch laser measuring centre at the Grip Fixings premise in Cambridge, but that certainly wasn’t the only debut on show at that particular venue, as the centre recently played host to the launch of the latest addition to the family in the shape of the GLM 120 C.
This new unit is the first measuring device from the company to be fitted with a camera and zoom, eliminating one of the common problems with this kind of tool – being unable to find the laser spot, especially outdoors, in complex surroundings or during adverse weather conditions.
Much of the functionality of the 120m unit is taken from the existing 50m GLM 50 C, but there are significant new additions. The device is equipped with an impressive range on a Bosch unit of a 120m, maintaining accuracy of just +/- 0.5mm over that distance, and there’s much more besides. Images from that 5 mega pixel camera are displayed on a 2.8in. screen, and there’s a choice of measurement buttons on the front or side for hard to reach places.
The Bosch Group is a mighty beast of a company with annual sales across its many divisions totalling over €78 billion in 2017. That financial clout brings with it the opportunity to innovate, which is why the manufacturer is one of the pioneers of connectivity in power tools.
Measuring data, as well as dated and timed images, can be transferred via Bluetooth to your smartphone or tablet where, using the free-to-download Bosch Measuring Master App, they can be transformed into the likes of floorplans.
These can be downloaded as PDFs and used as part of quotes to customers, assisting in greater accuracy with your pricing, or shared with your fellow tradespeople. Up to 50 images can be stored in the internal memory, whilst the built in Lithium-ion battery provides 10 hours of continuous measurement.
For those that have not yet made the switch to a Professional Rangefinder you might think that it would be a rather more delicate than your existing solution but think again. The damage and scratch resistant Dragontail cover glass is dropped tested onto concrete from 1 metre. As well as that, the housing is sealed against dust and splashing water to IP54 standards.
This is undoubtedly a more significant investment than measuring with any hand tool alternative will ever be or, indeed, making use of that entirely free resource between your ears, but for tradesmen it’s all about speed and accuracy.
Getting it right with a rangefinder could mean more accurate ordering of materials, less waste at the end of the job, more precise planning, quoting and sharing of information and all from one little blue box. Indeed, with the Bosch GLM 120 C Professional Rangefinder about your person you’ll probably find reasons to make use of that you never even thought of.