Hilti PM 2-L Cross-Line Laser Level Review
Hilti PM 2-L Cross-Line Laser Level Review
Updated: December 20, 2016
The Hilti PM 2-L Cross-Line Laser Level is a mid-range product intended for professional applications and challenging environments where an IP 54 enclosure is required.
At a Glance:
$$$ High Range
Read our full review below for full technical specifications, pros and cons, and recommended applications for this model.
Full Product Review
Hilti PM 2-L Review
Hilti makes serious tools for serious professionals. You can rest assured that you will be quite happy with your investment, because Hilti backs up their products with the single best warranty available in the marketplace today. The limited warranty lasts for 20 years (no, that's not a typo - twenty years), with all normal wear and tear covered for 2 years. And to top it all off, Hilti guarantees a one-day turn-around on all repairs at Hilti-certified service centers.
The Hilti PM 2-L runs on four AA batteries, and it can operate for up to 20 hours with a full charge. Pick up some rechargeable AAs and you'll have no problem keeping backup power ready at all times. The operating temperatures are standard for this type of product, and the unit will operate normally anywhere from 14° F all the way up to 122° F. So you'll have no worries in hot weather, but you may need to provide supplemental heat in extremely cold conditions.
The Hilti PM 2-L uses a standard 635nm red laser. The laser diode is class II, so it's approved as safe for normal use but can potentially cause damage to your eye if the laser maintains direct contact with your eyeball for more than 0.25 seconds. The red line is easily visible at 33 feet, and can be picked up beyond that range in dark or cloudy conditions. Bright sunshine makes it much harder to see the lines, but you should be able to find them within the 33 foot range with no problem. The available receiver (see accessories below) effectively increases the range all the way up to 98 feet.
One of the biggest differentiating factors between the Hilti PM 2-L and comparable products in the same category is its enclosure. The Hilti enclosure is rated IP54, which means it is thoroughly protected against dust ingress and can also withstand splashing water.
While the Hilti PM 2-L does offer an IP 54-rated enclosure and an ongoing calibration service, these features do significantly impact the overall cost of the tool. If you will be using this level exclusively for home-scale projects, and you don't anticipate any extreme dusty or wet conditions, you can save some money by selecting a level that has all of the other features of this level - without a rated enclusure or an ongoing calibration service. See the Bosch GLL 2-15 and the comparable Dewalt models for less expensive options.
No special training is required to operate the Hilti PM 2-L. It has a standard switch and push button interface with features including: power on/off; pendulum lock on/off; toggle horizontal line, vertical line, or both. The self-leveling feature is automatic and requires no special action from the end user.
The Hilti PM 2-L ships with a simple magnetic positioning mount that is great for suspended ceiling installations and other commercial jobs where metal surfaces are already available for quick set-up. If you'll be using this laser for framing, cabinetry work, or other applications where magnetic mounting may or may not be available, we'd recommend picking up the optional tripod or the upgraded positioning mount (Hilti PMA 78) for greater versatility and more configuration options.
- Hilti calibration service available for dependable accuracy year after year
- Laser receiver available for distances up to 98 feet (30 meters)
- Self-levels up to 4° in less than 3 seconds, for speedy setup and operation
- Pendulum locks in power off state to conserve battery power
- Engineered for protection against dropping and other impacts
Items Included in Package
- Hilti PM 2-L Cross-Line Laser Level
- Magnetic/clamping L-type mounting bracket
- 4 AA Batteries
- Soft Carrying Pouch
The package includes a simple magnetic mounting bracket that is useful for suspended ceiling installations, but is not very versatile for mounting on wood or other materials. If you'll be using the laser for applications where metal mounting surfaces are not available, we would recommend investing in a tripod or the more versatile upgraded positioning mount (Hilti PMA 78). The Hilti PM 2-L cross-line laser level uses a standard 1/4-inch mounting thread, so you have lots of options for various mounting solutions.
The laser receiver (Hilti PMA 31) triples the range to 98 feet (30 meters) - a great option for contractors who will occasionally require ranges beyond the advertised 33 feet. The target plate (Hilti PRA 51) is a great time-saver on suspended ceiling installations. And there is also a height transfer tool available.
Hilti does offer a set of red laser visualization glasses that work well with the PM 2-L. At the time of this writing, you will need to order glasses directly from Hilti.
The Hilti PM 2-L is ideal for jobs in tight spaces and challenging sites where dust, debris, mud, and water are likely to come in contact with your electronic tools. This makes it a great choice for foundation work, basement work, deck work, and crawl spaces.
Indoors, the Hilti PM 2-L is great for leveling the installation of pipes, conduits, junction boxes, cable trays, and radiators. It is a popular choice for contractors who do suspended ceiling installs. The cross-line design also makes it useful for installing, leveling, and aligning windows, doors, and cabinetry. With both lines enabled, the PM 2-L is useful for transferring reference heights from one area to another.
Pros & Cons
- Best warranty you will find, hands down
- Perennial calibration service from Hilti means no worries about diminished accuracy over time
- IP54-rated enclosure protects components from dust and moisture on harsh job sites
- Engineered to withstand dropping and impact
- Optional laser receiver triples range to almost 100 feet
- Significant investment required
- Included magnetic mounting bracket lacks versatility
For contractors who work in harsh environments where dust, water, mud, or impacts could be a problem, the Hilti PM 2-L is an excellent choice. It costs more than comparable products with similar features, but the trade-off is for a best-in-class warranty, superior engineering, and an ongoing calibration service from Hilti's tool service fleet. The additional investment makes a lot of sense for contractors who have already been through a laser level or two that stopped working after a tough job or a hard impact.
The range of the Hilti PM 2-L is comparable to other products in the same category, but the Hilti offers an optional laser receiver that triples its standard range - an option that is not available from most of the less expensive options in the marketplace.
Great choice for contractors. However, if you plan to use the laser exclusively for light projects at home, you could potentially cut your investment in half by selecting a lighter duty laser without the IP54-rated enclosure.
We give the Hilti PM 2-L 4 1/2 out of 5 stars.
Product Specifications - Hilti PM 2-L
Cross Line (2 Lines)
33 feet (98 feet with receiver)
± 1/8 inch at 33 feet
Laser Diode Specifications
4 AA Batteries
14° F / -10° C ~ 122° F / 50° C
Rubberized plastic composite
4.2 x 2.2 x 3.75 inches
0.95 pounds (with batteries)
2 Year Wear & Tear Coverage