Win a Ryobi Tek4 Laser Distance Measure - Fine Homebuilding

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Win a Ryobi Tek4 Laser Distance Measure

comments (20) July 30th, 2009 in Blogs
JFink Justin Fink, Senior Editor

Update: The winner is SawdustTechie - thanks for all the comments, folks! More giveaways to come!


Much to my surprise, I just received a big box full of little tools from Ryobi. It’s a surprise for two reasons: First, because nobody from Ryobi told me that it was being sent. Second, because I had no idea that Ryobi was launching a new line of 4v Li-ion tools.

Its ok, I can roll with the changes…

I put the box aside and steered my internet browser to the Ryobi website to see what I had missed. Apparently the Tek4 line of tools, all of which run off of rechargeable 4v Li-ion batteries, includes lots of new categories under an overarching banner of “Cordless Electronic Tools” which are aimed at the professional.

You can browse the product line, but I want to focus on one product in particular: the Ryobi Tek4 Professional Laser Distance Measure (model # RP4010).


  • This little bright-green bugger costs about $150, which puts it in price competition with the Craftsman AccuTrac, Bosch DLR165, Trimble HD50, and CST/Berger LT-160 (which was the Best Value in Kit’s test).
  • It’s accurate to within a 1/16-in. over 195 ft.
  • The tool has all the bells and whistles, too - flip-out reference tab, add/subtract-, stake out-, and continuous measurement functions…not bad at all for this price point!
  • Finally, it runs off a rechargeable 4v Li-ion battery…which means I don’t need to hunt around at the local drug store to find the AAAAAAAA-size batteries necessary to power other laser measures.

Thing is, we’ve had more than our share of laser measures in the last few months (see Tool Test: Laser Measures), so I’m giving this Ryobi model away to one Tool Hound reader, chosen at random, who weighs in on the following discussion topic:


Q: Will laser distance measures replace standard tape measures? If so, when?


posted in: Blogs, Ryobi, li-ion, lithium ion, Tape Measure, Laser

Comments (20)

JFink JFink writes: Hi Stan,
SawdustTechie won the draw; tool shipping out to him today. I apologize for not updating the blog with the winner - I will do so right now. Thanks!
Posted: 9:22 am on August 11th

Stan Stan writes: Today is Monday, August 10th. Who won the TEK4?
Posted: 5:30 pm on August 10th

DrFilmo DrFilmo writes: I have to agree with Paul C with respect to the hammer vs. nail-gun argument. Walking through a subdivision that is under construction, how many times to you hear an intermittent 'thok, thok, thok . . . " compared to the rapid-fire staccato of an air nailer? I'd bet dimes to doughnuts that the air nailer out does the hand nailer (aka: hammer) nine to one. But I'd also lay money on the probability that everyone on the job site that is wearing a carpenter's apron will have a well used hammer dangling from the loop.

The other and possibly biggest factor that will sway the masses to the digital dark side of the force will be price-point. I'm not making any wagers as to the actual dollar figure but I will bet that there will come a point that digital measuring devices will heavily outweigh a old-fashioned tape. I teach photography classes at College and I saw it happen with conventional SLR (single lens reflex) cameras vs. digital SLRs. As soon as the Digital SLR dropped to below $1000, the tides turned on a dime and within two years - I very rarely see a conventional SLR in any of my classes. I hate to say it but it all too often comes down to what something costs that determines it's applicability and acceptance.

Have a great one!

Wild Bill

Posted: 12:44 am on August 6th

JFink JFink writes: Tek - it's funny you mention that "tape measures will always be used at the saw", because last week I saw a miter saw stand with a digital fence system. Maybe somebody has a better memory than me, because I forget the name now...but I think it allowed you to slide a board along the fence and look at a digital length readout for the cut.
Posted: 9:13 am on August 4th

Dreamcatcher Dreamcatcher writes: I for one think that lasers will eventually replace tape least the 25' and 30' tapes that most of us use.

The more that I work alone, the more that I find that tape measures are inaccurate and cumbersome in situations around 8' and more. In short situations I switch to a folding rule or a metal ruler.

As someone else already stated, lasers are taking over on the job. I personally have a rotary laser to replace a transit, a laser square to replace chalk lines, and a laser plumb bob to replace the old string and bobber. I see many using lasers on their miter saws for reference and my millwright has a laser on a chain line saw to maximize the yield from rough edged lumber. I am sure we will see many more uses for lasers in the near future.

I am surprised that nobody has yet invented the laser distance meter/ tape measure combo! hmmmm...
Posted: 6:38 am on August 4th

tek tek writes: Exactly, it's a nail gun and hammer situation. The laser will be used more and more for getting required measurements, but I think the tape will always be used at the saw.
Posted: 10:55 pm on August 3rd

mschell mschell writes: I have never felt super confident about bending my tape to take those difficult inside measures. It would have trouble replacing my tape but I would not be hesitant about using it.
Posted: 12:19 am on August 2nd

PagosaRob PagosaRob writes: the tape is indispensable though I think there are uses for the laser. It will take time for me to learn to trust the laser. The tape is a 'visual' that can't be disputed.
Posted: 10:29 pm on August 1st

SawdustTechie SawdustTechie writes: The way technology has progressed through history I can see a laser being able to replace the tape eventually. When, that I don't know yet, but in 5 years I don't think being able to fine tune a laser to within 1/32 or 1/64th is unreasonable. That should satisfy just about every carpenter I know. Durability will be a factor. I know my tape gets busted by lumber all day long but since a tape isn't required, maybe the laser will save money in the long run. It's current accuracy would be fine for me!
Posted: 5:48 pm on August 1st

MDFContracting MDFContracting writes: The tape cannot be replaced, however I think there's gonna definitely come a time where these will become regular in everyones toolbox. |Never tried one personally, but I can think of a few tricks it would be good for.
Posted: 1:29 am on August 1st

MerlinofSkye MerlinofSkye writes: Much like a laser level, a laser measuring tool can make itself indispensable, but won't be a replacement for a tape measure. For doing quotes and adding run length, they'll smoke a tape measure, but you still need a tape or a story pole to mark your materials and get into the tight spots. Just as I wouldn't use my PLS 180 in place of my Stabila jamber set to hang a door, I can't see fumbling with a laser (in bright sun?) to cut a 2X4.
Posted: 7:12 pm on July 31st

StrawBale_guy StrawBale_guy writes: 1/16th of an inch in 195 feet is close enough for me. If I have the math right, a 100' metal tape can be just under 5" longer on a 90F degree day than a 30F degree day. 69/1,000,000" x 60 degrees F x 1,200" = 4.968".

Lasers beams don't change with the air temperature.

Will this type of gizmo take accurate readings off of curved surfaces like a boat hull?
Posted: 4:03 am on July 31st

monsenor monsenor writes: Laser distance measures already well on their way to being an indespensible item in tool box. Nevertheless I don't think they'll ever replace the tape measure's reliability and versatility.
Posted: 1:08 am on July 31st

PaulC PaulC writes: No. But only in the same way that nailguns haven't replaced the hammer. Having said that, it's still a few big leaps in technology before electronic measuring devices are as refined as nailguns.
Posted: 11:13 pm on July 30th

Panax Panax writes: It'll happen when there is and easy, fail-safe way to quickly stick an endpoint on whatever you're measuring, in the time it would take to hook the end with your standard tape. Also, it needs to be something that won't be lost easily, say it docks with the measuring unit...
Posted: 10:03 pm on July 30th

Stan Stan writes: Again, as Ed (Epirnik) mentioned, one needs an end point. What if I need to measure the depth of a cavity filled with water? The beam will not transmit to the bottom.

BUT...if I need to measure a wall to discover the run of some crown then a laser such as the Ryobi Tek4 just might fit the bill!!
Posted: 6:10 pm on July 30th

GPinTX GPinTX writes: They really won't, as Ed (Epirnik) mentioned, some applications simply require steel on wood. How would you mark the center of wall with one of these? You would know the distance but there is as far as I know, no way to stop the laser at midpoint(now, that I would pay to see - Star Wars, anyone?) One thing that I have rented one for in the past was to use it for a building as-built survey. They are great for those tall ceilings and long walls, and the calculation feature gives my mind a break.
Posted: 4:26 pm on July 30th

John316 John316 writes: Ed - I perfectly agree with you. They're great for measuring rooms for drywall, insulation, tile, etc., but they won't ever replace my FatMax, unless they can overcome what you mentioned. I suppose that will come when the skyhook is invented :).
Posted: 3:30 pm on July 30th

RDA RDA writes: Dang. I can't win it either, but I'm wondering if the laser measure might help Ermides get a more accurate shot with his office nailer:
Posted: 3:28 pm on July 30th

Ed_Pirnik Ed_Pirnik writes: Granted, I cannot be a part of this giveaway but, it's NOT gonna happen. A laser requires and end point, someplace for the beam to bounce off of. That's where the point of measurement ends. I'f I'm cutting, say a 2x6 on a set of sawhorses, how the heck I'm I supposed to use a laser to get that measurement?

I'll stick to beat-up, rusty, been-everywhere-with-me Stanley tape, thank you very much.



Posted: 2:14 pm on July 30th

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