The Review Smiths
DeWalt 18V XR Compact 3×360 laser kit (DCLE34031D1-GB) DeWalt 18V XR Compact 3×360 laser kit (DCLE34031D1-GB)
DeWalt 18V XR Compact 3×360 laser kit (DCLE34031D1-GB)

If you’re planning on doing some major home renovations any time soon then one thing you’re going to need to get right is ensuring everything is straight and lined up – not an easy task, especially for those of us that aren’t builders or architects! Even if you are however, we all need a helping hand now and then so this big lumpy gadget is useful for everyone finding themselves in this situation. Now, I say big lumpy gadget and that’s probably a little unfair (look at me, worried about hurting the feelings of a tool!) as it gives the wrong impression for what is actually quite an elegant device in function if not in form.

Let’s start with the main component, the 360° lasers. As you may have guessed by the name above, there’s 3 of them! One goes straight up and down in front, one goes straight up and down on either side and the final one goes down the landscape route giving you all the possible right angles and straight lines you’re likely to need. They have a workable range of 40 metres but this can be extended up to 100 metres with the use of the laser target card included in the box. As far as accuracy goes, they are good to within 3mm either way over a distance of 10 metres (a vast improvement over a spirit level!) and they are self-levelling so no need to fiddle about. Each individual laser has its own on/off switch so you don’t have to have them all switched on or off at once which is handy for conserving the battery. There is also a useful feature that keeps the last settings in place when you switch it off so there’s no need to worry about re-calibrating when you switch it on the next day to carry on with your work. Finally, the lasers themselves are green beam diodes, making them much more visible than your traditional red lasers, especially in bright light, something that red lasers have trouble with.

This kit has been designed to make use of the DeWalt 18V battery packs that are cross compatible with so many of their other devices and comes with a battery charger for the battery provided. This battery has a life of about 11 hours before re-charge is necessary so should be long enough to get the job done for the day if left on all the time. The housing for the battery is also placed well, being at the base of the unit and out of the way of the lasers and magnets. Speaking of the magnets, these are on the bracket and allow you to place the XR Compact on metal studs to better aid your job. The bracket is pivotable so you can turn the laser part of the unit to whichever direction you need it to be facing. There is also a thread mount with both ¼” and 5/8” fittings for a tripod.

As you may expect with De Walt, this thing is rugged and designed to last and survive the usual kind of knocks and bumps that you’re going to face when on a site. When you turn it off the pendulums used for the self-levelling are locked in place to ensure they can’t rattle about and get damaged in any way adding further to the longevity of this device. The carry case is strong and sturdy but does lack any kind of foam that would just help to add a further level of protection but it’s the 360° part of this kit that really sells it for me and simply makes life easier. RRP £465

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It’s not the most accurate laser kit out there but it’s good enough for the majority of jobs and does it well. Small price if you’re doing the kind of job that needs it.
  • 360° lasers
  • Lasers are green
  • Locking of pendulums when switched off
  • Good battery life
  • Tough
  • Not the most accurate device out there
  • Carry case could do with some extra padding