I tested 13 laser distance meters for the January 2013 JLC. These models cost $115 to $280, are accurate to within 1/16 inch or better, and let you measure lengths by yourself with simple pointing and clicking. Most add helpful features such as estimating tools and the ability to measure indirectly. My favorite was the Bosch GLM 80, which costs about $175.Meanwhile, the Stabila LD 400 I tested was an older model with a perplexing keypad and a high price of $250. But Stabila is now replacing that model with the LD 420, which costs about $230. It’s powered by...

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