The GSL2 emits two laser beams in an X-pattern, aligned diagonally with the floor and at 90° to each other
Since acquiring CST/Berger from Stanley back in 2008, Bosch has become a major contender in the flourishing laser-tools market. With the GSL 2, Bosch has what it’s calling the world’s first surface laser.
The $550 GSL 2 was designed with one purpose: to show how close to level a floor is and to find the deviations within that plane. The tool emits two laser beams in an X-pattern, aligned diagonally with the floor and at 90° to each other. After lining up the two beams with each other on the floor by means of a height-adjustment dial, you use a remote control to rotate the laser in a 360° radius. As the laser rotates, the beams show high and low spots by diverging from each other when they encounter rises and depressions. An adjustable laser target allows the user to find how high or low any area deviates from the original plane.
I was eager to try the tool and also to get it in the hands of my flooring contractors. After all of us had some time to play around with it and use it in the field, we came up with similar impressions.
For what it does, the GSL 2 works well. By rotating 360°, the laser gives an exact, detailed topography of the entire floor area, something that no other tool or combination of tools can do in such a quick time. The main weakness of the tool comes out when measuring the deviation of the height with the laser target. The target itself is a bit finicky to set exactly, and any variance from the control line on the target will give a false height reading. The laser lines themselves are wide, and the lines on the target are fairly close together; as a result, I found it easy to misread the height difference by 1⁄8 in. or more. Because the width between the lines on the floor corresponded roughly to the deviation, I ended up just measuring New laser finds lows and highs that difference when I wanted a quick idea of height difference.
The remote control works well, with buttons to rotate the laser continuously clockwise or counter-clockwise at either slow or fast speeds, as well as to rotate a small distance with a click of a button.
If I were leveling floors or if I needed to check the leveling work of others on a daily basis, I would think the GSL 2 could easily become an indispensable tool. My flooring contractors do a lot more installation than I do, and while they could see the practical benefits of the laser for installing floating click-together flooring (something they do a lot) or tile over concrete, they still felt more efficient and confident using straightedges and levels to establish areas that needed to be addressed. For myself, I found that I was just as quick and comfortable using a horizontal laser level and measuring variation with a tape measure.
At some point, I hope to come across someone in the field who uses this tool on a regular basis and see how it’s incorporated into their routine. For now, though, I can’t justify the price of this unit with how seldom I would use it, no matter how cool I think it is.