Bosch Laser Rangefinder GLM 80 Professional

Laser rangefinder – a nice thing to have? If you’re in the construction industry or simply love DIY projects, a laser rangefinder is good to have. It is an indispensable tool for taking quick and accurate measurements of long distances – simply point, shoot, and read off the LCD display.

Last year, whilst I was in the middle of the construction of a hospital, I found using a measuring tape to measure distances and heights too cumbersome and inefficient. I had wanted to buy a laser rangefinder or distometer many years before that, and that construction project seemed like the best time to get one.

I shortlisted a number of reputable brands in the market, including Leica, Fluke, Hilti and Bosch.

For the average consumer, Leica and Fluke produce specialist instruments of industrial calibre which may not be suitably priced, with basic models starting at very high prices. These are very expensive equipment due to the company’s reputation in producing high precision and reliable measuring tools.

I had also taken a look at a number of Hilti laser rangefinders, and while they were built to last, they were also expensive for the features they offered. After making a number of cost and capability comparisons, I found the Bosch laser rangefinders to be most suitable for my distance-measuring needs, based on features to the dollar.


A few models were up for consideration – the DLE 70, GLM 50, GLM 80, and GLM 250. Let’s take a look at the specifications.

DLE-70 GLM-50 GLM-80 GLM-250
DLE 70 Professional GLM 50 Professional GLM 80 Professional GLM 250 VF Professional
Range 0.05 – 70 m 0.05 – 50 m 0.05 – 80 m 0.05 – 250 m
Accuracy ± 1.5 mm ± 1.5 mm ± 1.5 mm ± 1.0 mm
Power 4 x 1.5V AAA 2 x 1.5V AAA 1 x 3.7V Li-ion 4 x 1.5V AAA
Length 100 mm 115 mm 111 mm 120 mm
Width 59 mm 53 mm 51 mm 66 mm
Height 32 mm 32 mm 30 mm 37 mm
Mass 180 g 140 g 140 g 240 g
Memory 1 N/A 20 + 1 30

All the models above have the following common specifications:

  • Class 2 laser diode emitting wavelength of 635 nm at output of less than 1 mW
  • A typical measurement time of less than 0.5 seconds, up to a maximum of 4 seconds
  • Automatic deactivation of 5 mins when left unused, to conserve battery power
  • Ingress Protection of IP54 for dust and water splash protection suitable for tough job sites
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Choosing the Bosch GLM 80 Professional

Bosch GLM 80 review Ultimately, I decided to go with GLM 80. For the features and range at the price it was going for, it was the best value for money. Checking the latest pricing for all the models above, you will likely find that the significantly greater measurement range of 80 metres for the GLM 80 more than makes up the additional dollars you’d pay for it. This is when you compare it against models of the lower range.

I briefly tried and tested the GLM 250 VF as well, and didn’t like the relatively slow response it gave even for close distances, compared against the response time for the GLM 80. Furthermore, I didn’t need to take measurements at the range of up to 250 metres in my day-to-day work, and even if I did, at that range I would likely require a tripod mount and proper reflector to effectively get such measurements during the day.

Without that kind of stability and precise reflection back to the device, the laser rangefinder was likely to yield an error in reading. Anyway, the GLM 80 comes with a screw-threaded hole on the underside for mounting on a tripod for this purpose (see photos below).

So, today’s article is a Bosch GLM 80 review.

The Accessories

The main difference between the GLM 80 and the rest of the models, other than the obvious measurement range, is in the way it is powered. Its operation depends on a single built-in 3.7V 1250mAh rechargeable lithium-ion battery which is not removable, charged via a microUSB port on the rear of the device.

Initially I thought this was going to be a problem, but considering I never needed to remove the batteries in my more critical devices of continuous use such as the iPhone and the iPod, it shouldn’t be an issue with a device I use only occasionally to measure distances.

The set includes a mains charger with a microUSB end-connector, making charging very convenient.

On a side note, I have since replaced my iPhone with the Samsung Galaxy Note II, which also uses the microUSB for charging. Although I do not recommend it, the same cable could be used to charge both the phone and the Bosch GLM 80. If I wanted to. Or if I had no choice and needed to.

glm-80-holster The GLM 80 also comes with a well-constructed canvas holster, providing a snug fit within and easy portability with a velcro-fitted belt loop. With my pockets usually already full, carrying the GLM 80 in its protective case on the belt gives me quick and easy access to the device whenever it is needed.

Bosch GLM80 wall charger
Wall charger with a micro-USB plug

Key Features of the Bosch GLM 80

Other than being very adept at getting single straight line measurements of distance quickly and accurately, the Bosch GLM 80 is also equally capable at measuring the following dimensions and scenarios:

Bosch GLM 80 review
Point and click for 2 successive distance measurements to get the area automatically calculated and shown on the display.
Bosch GLM 80 review
Similarly, point and click 3 successive points of length, width and height to get the volume of the space automatically calculated and shown on the display

For taking indirect vertical and horizontal measurements at an angle:

Bosch GLM 80 review
Where it is not possible to get a direct vertical upright measurement, place the GLM 80 at floor level where you are standing and point-click towards the top of the wall or building. The GLM 80 measures the angle to the horizontal and applies trigonometry to give you the vertical height of the structure. Refer to the diagram on the display.
Bosch GLM 80 review
Where it is not possible to get a direct horizontal distance perhaps due to an obstruction in between, place the GLM 80 at floor level where you are standing and point-click towards the top of structure of interest behind the obstruction. The GLM 80 measures the angle to the horizontal and applies trigonometry to give you the horizontal distance of the object of interest from where you are standing. Refer to the diagram on the display.

For taking indirect vertical measurements at an angle from two arbitrary points and to quickly measure the total wall surface area:

Bosch GLM 80 review
Point and click towards a lower point and higher point from the same reference point where you are standing to obtain the vertical distance between those two target points. You could be standing at the edge on the top of one building, and want to get the vertical height of an adjacent taller building. Refer to the diagram shown on the display.
Bosch GLM 80 review
Assuming that the floor-to-ceiling height is constant, first obtain this vertical height measurement, followed subsequently by horizontal distance measurement of each wall in succession. The total wall area is automatically calculated and shown. Refer to the diagram shown on the display. Useful for when you need to know how much paint to buy, or quoting for a paint job.

Taking Measurements with the Bosch GLM 80

Depending on the situation, measurements can be taken from four different points of reference on the Bosch GLM 80. These reference points are changed and shown on the display at each sequential push of a button.

Bosch GLM 80 review
Measuring single-line distance from the base of the GLM 80…
Bosch GLM 80 review
…or from the top of the GLM 80 if that is more convenient.
Installing a tripod to the GLM 80
You could screw on a tripod on the underside of the GLM 80…
Bosch GLM 80 review
…and take distance measurement from the tripod screw as the point of reference.
Bosch GLM 80 review
Flick out the corner spike from the underside of the GLM 80 and extend it fully…
Bosch GLM 80 review
…and the GLM 80 measures from the tip of the corner spike – useful for tight corners where the GLM 80 cannot be seated squarely on its base.

Other Accessories – The Rail R 60 Professional


Another important feature of the Bosch GLM 80 that sets it apart from the other models is its ability to be used in conjunction with a purpose-built measuring rail produced by Bosch under the model R 60 Professional.

The 0.6 kg aluminium measuring rail of 610 mm in length consists of a hollow chamber located a third of its length from one end as a holder specifically for the GLM 80. When the GLM 80 is placed securely in its holder on the R 60, the inclinometer function described earlier comes on automatically, effectively turning the GLM 80 and R 60 into an accurate digital spirit level. The GLM 80 tilt sensor can also be calibrated by following a series of steps as given in the included instruction manual.

The Rail R 60 may be purchased separately or as a set with the GLM 80. There is only a slight savings with the latter option, so you may purchase the R 60 at a later time when you really need one.

At the moment for quick and accurate level checks, I use the GLM 80 but where a rule is required, I am still quite happy using a conventional liquid level rule.

By all means, use the Rail R 60 if your job cannot tolerate an off-level by one decimal place of a degree.



If you think you need a laser rangefinder for whatever the reason, you are probably right, and you can do no wrong by going with the Bosch GLM 80 Laser Rangefinder.

It covers a good usable range, features a host of other useful measuring programs, and is priced very competitively compared to other similar products of other makes.

I have used it consistently since the day I bought it without any regrets. Highly recommended!

Of course, if price is no object and you feel a certain loyalty to the other brands, do take a look at other suggested laser rangefinders below.











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1 year ago

What a detailed review! My team used to have one GLM 80 Bosch device like this one. Worked like charm.

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