It’s a scientifically proven fact that the human eye is three times more sensitive to the green portion of the spectrum than it is to the red, which is why some layout lasers have green beams. Green beams are brighter and easier to see at long range and under strong interior lighting. Pacific Laser Systems has just introduced green beam versions of two of their most popular lasers, the PLS 180 line laser and PLS 3 point laser.

Historically, green beams have been rare in small lasers because the diodes they used were difficult and expensive to produce and not very reliable. But a technical breakthrough in 2013 made it possible to fabricate reliable true green semiconductor diodes, which are brighter and use less power than the diodes in earlier green beam lasers (red diodes with a crystal overlay to change the color). This new type of diode is still, however, expensive.

You wouldn't think power consumption would be an issue for lasers, but early green beam models were plagued by extremely short battery life. PLS's new green models will run 6-8 hours on a set of batteries, a reasonable amount of time, but far less than the 30+ hours one can expect from the red beam versions of the same lasers. Tradesmen who plan to make heavy use of these green beam tools would do well to lay in a store of AA batteries or buy some rechargeables.

These new PLS lasers do not pulse (don’t work with detectors) and are intended for use indoors; in bright outdoor sunlight they will perform no better than red beam models. Pacific Laser Systems will continue to produce the red beam versions of these tools because not every tradesman can afford—or has reason—to pay extra for green. But for those who need to work in difficult lighting conditions without resorting to the use of detectors these new lasers may be just the thing.

The MSRP for the PLS 180 Green Beam is $495 and for the PLS 3 Green Beam $329. By way of comparison, the red beam versions of the PLS 180 and PLS 3 go for $280 and $205 respectively. But those are online prices so they probably overstate the premium one will pay to go green. Both green beam lasers are assembled in San Rafael, California, with globally sourced parts.

Specs for PLS 180 Green Beam

  • Accuracy: +/- 1/8 inch @ 30 Feet (+/- 3mm @ 10 meters)
  • Working Range: +/- 60 Feet (20 meters)
  • Weight: 1.7lbs (.77kg.)
  • Power Supply: 3 “AA” Batteries
  • Dimensions: 2” x 2 7/8” x 3 3/8”
  • Fan Angle 180 Degrees
  • Self-Leveling Range: 6 Degrees
  • Operating Time: 6-8 Hrs.
  • Multiple Functions
  • Class II Laser Product

Specs for PLS 3 Green Beam

  • Working Range: +/- 100 Feet (30 meters)
  • Accuracy (all beams): +/-1/4 inch @ 100 Feet (6mm @ 30 meters)
  • Leveling: Automatic
  • Self-Leveling Range: 6 Degrees
  • Power Supply: 3 “AA” Batteries
  • Operating Time: 10-12 Hrs.
  • Dimensions: 1 1/2” x 4 1/2” x 3 1/8”
  • Weight: 12 oz. (.33 kg.)
  • Class II Laser Product