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BTP Review: Bosch GCL 2-160 Laser level – Old School concepts using Modern Day Tech

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The Bosch Self-Leveling Cross-Line Laser with Plumb Points Deliver Big Time Performance

Reviewed by: JKirk

Self-Leveling Cross-Line Laser with Plumb Points mounted on my tripod.The Bosch GCL 2-160 is now my go to laser level for everyday lining up and squaring.  The days of water levels and builder’s levels are long gone for shooting long range elevations.  Laser levels, like the Bosch GCL 2-160 have taken the reigns.   Laser levels offer so many different options for layout tasks.  I won’t even mention that they make what was typically a two man operation into a 1 man operation.  I have been using laser levels for 12 of my 13 years in the residential construction sector.   For the past 5 years I owned a short range model Bosch laser level which gave up the ghost a little while ago.  So the timing of this tool tester request couldn’t have been more perfect as BeThePro was very generous and sent me out the brand new Bosch GCL 2-160 which is a much more powerful line laser model packed with features.

Notable Features of the Bosch GCL 2-160

  • The molded plastic case is a much applauded feature.  My old laser came in nothing more than a nylon zip pouch. The plastic protective case that comes with the Bosch GCL 2-160 not only protects the laser from getting damaged when getting transported but it also has a tray that proves useful.
  • Multiple mounting methods are also an excellent upgrade.   The case of the laser itself has 2 different sized ports for either a ¼ in. threaded tripod mount found on most digital camera tripods or a 3/8 in. mount more common on heavy duty tripods designed for rotary lasers.  It can also be mounted to the provided clip on style with a built in magnet for steel stud work.
  • 5 modes.  With the capability of shooting both plum and level lines it can also act as a plumb for shooting a dot both straight up and down for pinpoint precision with pot light locations.  The addition of simultaneous plum and level lines are perfect for layout of finished wall panels that both require a deadly level and square installation.
  • Low Visibility plate.  The inclusion of the red transparent plastic plate is a huge plus, often sold separately it aids in seeing the red laser line in lighter conditions such as exterior applications and such as shooting elevations for siding or framing.
  • Onboard Battery fuel gauge.  The added feature of a on board battery gauge is a huge aid.  There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of shooting elevations and the batteries cut out so you have to stop what you are doing to change batteries.

What I used the Bosch GCL 2-160 line laser for

Self-Leveling Cross-Line Laser with Plumb Points - control panel.I specialize in the renovation sector and interior finishing.   Its’ all too often that uneven and out of level floors are encountered.  I used the Bosch GCL 2-160 line laser to set windows in order for the sills to be perfectly in line for both siding and interior trim to be level with one another.  The same was done for interior doors that are in extreme close proximity where the head casing will intersect one another at inside corners.    A similar practice for setting interior doors was needed on one project due to accounting for the un-level floors which required cutting the door jam legs at different lengths so the headers are level.  Man, that was not fun, but the Bosch GCL 2-160 line laser was up to the task.

A very common detail in floor layouts calls for knee walls.  Framing such a wall requires every stud to be a different length do to a floor that’s up and down, with the Bosch GCL 2-160 line laser it is literally 100 times easier to do so than with a spirit hand level.

Performance of the Bosch GCL 2-160 line laser

Self-Leveling Cross-Line Laser with Plumb Points in use.Right out of the package the Bosch GCL 2-160 self-leveling cross-line laser with plumb points was pretty much ready to go, including the batteries.   Operation of the unit and changing settings is very simple as it has a large red slide type power button that is impossible to miss.  The first thing I checked on the laser was its range, just indoors the line produced is pencil thin even at 25′, compared to my previous short range laser which was almost 1/4” wide at that range.  Outdoors in low light conditions it was easily shooting across the full distance of the property and showing up across the street on other structures.   The fact that the Bosch GCL 2-160 line laser produces such a thin laser line is huge when taking elevations on a tape.  There was no need to second guess what mark on the tape the line was on it. I’m often dealing in sixteenths of an inch and that’s a huge margin in finish work.

There was zero room for questioning the lasers precision when set up correctly.  The only room for error is if the user turns the laser on and has it in the locked position.  The locked position means the lasers self levelling pendulum is locked in position creating a sloped line.  This is extremely handy when doing handrails on stairs.

Final Words on the Bosch GCL 2-160 self-leveling cross-line laser with plumb points

The Bosch GCL 2-160 line laser is very simple to set up and use, pinpoint accuracy, it most definitely sped up my installations.  I highly recommend it to finish carpenters, cabinet installers, commercial interior wall and ceiling installers working with steel stud and tbar ceiling systems and general carpenters.   This laser is a very welcome addition to any toolbox.   To learn more about the Bosch GCL 2-160 and where to buy one (or two), click here.

For more reviews of the Bosch GCL 2-160 line laser – click here.

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BeThePro.com is a construction industry information source for professionals working in the North American market. It provides access to how-to, best practices and best new materials details from experts in a variety of disciplines. The site is sponsored by leading construction manufacturers

5 comments on “BTP Review: Bosch GCL 2-160 Laser level – Old School concepts using Modern Day Tech

  1. Profile photo of Brian
    Brian

    Great review Jeff, thinking I should eventually get this laser, the battery gauge sounds like a simple but nice feature,
    And the other points to use as a plumb bob is another good option.
    Once again great review,

    1. Profile photo of Jeff
      Jeff

      the plumb bob feature is pivotal where it allows transferring layout marks on the floor up to the ceiling for whatever it may be.. wall layout, pot lights, or any other architectual detail that might be easier to lay out on the floor first

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