Bosch GRL 500 HCK Rotary Laser Review

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Bosch GRL 500 HCK Rotary Laser Review

Bosch GRL 500 HCK Self-Leveling Rotary Laser Kit

3.5/5
Manufacturer: Bosch
Model number: GRL 500 HCK
Price: ~$1,200
Power source: Integrated Li-Ion Battery Pack
Weight: 25 lbs
Working for a commercial general contractor, we have a need for checking grades and heights every day. Many times, we are checking them over a large area. In the old days, a water level could be used to establish level from a known benchmark. Today, lasers are the quickest and most accurate way to check for level and the gold standard at construction sites. In early 2015, we attended the World of Concrete show to see the new offerings from Bosch. The GRL 500 was one of the tools presented. Bosch GRL 500-2

Features and Specifications

  • Bosch GRL 500-7

    Bright, back-lit displays on both sides of the receiver

    Fully automatic – dial-in grade with center line mode for automatic searching and positioning of the laser beam on receiver.

  • Li-ion-powered – integrated rechargeable batteries in both unit and receiver for extended operating time.
  • Theft deterrence – tool locks when receiver is undocked from rotary laser. An alarm sounds if rotary is moved, unit rendered inoperable without receiver.
  • Remote control and receiver in one. All information about rotary laser status, settings and measurements is easily accessible. Readable from either side of the receiver.
  • Accuracy – ± 1/16″ @ 100-ft.
  • Battery Voltage – 7.4.
  • Laser Diode – Class II 635 nm, < 1mW.
  • Leveling Type – Electronic Self-Leveling, Up to 6°.
  • Material – Plastic Composite.
  • Mount Threading – 5/8-11.
  • Operating Temperature – 14° F / -10° C ~1 22° F / 50° C.
  • Range – 1,650-ft.
  • Warranty – Limited 2 years.
  • Weight – 25 lb.

In Use

As an example, I used the GRL 500 for building a deck this last summer. There was a previous deck that had become unsafe so a new one needed to be erected in its place. We used pin piers for the footings, 6x6s for the posts, and 2x8s for the beam. Because there was a previous deck, the location and height of the ledger didn’t change (the ledger board itself was changed though). We used the Bosch to zero in the ledger as the known bench mark and then set the heights of the rest of the deck members based on that. Once the benchmark was established, it was quite easy to set the depth of the pin piers in the ground and build the rest of the deck upward. The GRL 500 worked exactly as it should with no issues. That’s exactly what a pro contractor wants in a tool.Bosch GRL 500-4

Precision

With a pro level laser tool, we pros are looking for precision over a large area. Many of the buildings we put up have at least a couple walls over 100′ long. The GRL 500 sports an precision level of +/- 1/16″ over 100′. That’s as good as the pro level lasers we have in all of our trucks, lasers costing in the $1400 range.Bosch GRL 500-5

What I Love

The remote feature of the GRL 500 is so awesome. Being able to turn the laser on and off from the receiver is a godsend. Just about every site I’ve ever worked on we’ve set the laser in a safe location away from equipment and vibration to keep it safe and accurate but that means that it is a ways away from the work area too. That means a lot of walking back and forth to the laser to turn it on and off. The receiver of the GRL 500 also gives the charge levels of both the laser and receiver right on the screen. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been setting grades and the batteries die on our other lasers. Honestly, those two features alone and the lasers accuracy is what make this a great tool.Bosch GRL 500-3

What Needs Improvement

The internal battery and all in one charging of both the laser and receiver is great. With that said, the charging port is located in an area that is covered by the tripod plate. That means you can’t charge it and use it at the same time. If you forget to charge the tool after a few days of heavy use, you won’t be able to work until you get a charge in it. For a pro, that’s a deal breaker. Our other lasers can at least take alkaline batteries when the internal one is dead. Thankfully I haven’t forgotten to charge it yet but I’d still like to see the location of the port changed so that the unit can be charged while in use.Bosch GRL 500-6

Summary

The Bosch GRL 500 HCK Rotary Laser has the precision needed for medium/large job sites without the large price. It works well and fast so that you can check for grade and level and keep on building. It should have a place in the truck of a commercial or residential contractor.

Bosch GRL 500 HCK Self-Leveling Rotary Laser Kit
~$1,200

 

About the author

Jeff Williams

Contributing Editor Jeff Williams is a carpenter for a commercial General Contractor specializing in concrete, steel, and wood buildings. Jeff comes from a long line of contractors. His parents started a commercial General Contracting firm many years ago and it has afforded him life-long, hands-on learning opportunities from rough and fine carpentry all the way to structural steel and concrete. Jeff has a Construction Management degree and loves the thrill of coordinating and successfully managing large jobs from start to finish. Inspired by the difficulties sometimes encountered to complete punch lists his motto is, "Work hard until the job is done."

@jeff_williams

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1 Comment

  1. Martin

    You forgot to mention the angular setting for drainage purposes of roofs and floors…

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