Spectra Precision 5.2XL Cross-Line Laser Level Review
Spectra Precision 5.2XL Cross-Line Laser Level Review
Updated: December 22, 2016
The Spectra Precision 5.2XL cross-line laser level is a tough contractor-grade tool designed to perform the job of 2 separate tools - a cross-line laser level and a 5 beam alignment laser.
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
Spectra Precision 5.2XL Review
The Spectra Precision 5.2XL cross-line laser level is actually two tools in one, as it has an integrated 5 beam alignment laser function that is available at the push of a button. It has all of the features you would expect from a high-end cross-line laser level and a high-end 5 beam alignment laser. The versatility and convenience of this setup makes the Spectra Precision 5.2XL a wise choice for many contractors who would otherwise need to carry two tools to take care of these different tasks.
The laser diodes are class IIIa, so you'll need to be careful to protect your eyes from direct contact with any of the laser beams. The Spectra Precision 5.2XL is powered by 3 AA batteries (1.5V) which makes power simple and convenient, although you may want to invest in some rechargeable batteries to help keep your costs under control over the long run. The lasers operate under 5 mW and emit radiation at 635 nm, which is the industry standard for visible red measuring and alignment lasers. The operating range in indoor light is 100 feet, and can be extended up to 250 feet with the optional laser receiver.
The composite enclosure is rated IP 54, which should bring you some peace of mind if you run into a lot of dust on your jobs, or if you do exterior jobs. It's resistant to splashing water, but not direct impact from water jets or submersion. The edges of the enclosure are over-molded with rubber padding, and Spectra claims that the 5.2XL can withstand a drop from 3 feet onto concrete without any change in the accuracy of the laser. I wouldn't test that out on purpose, but even if you do knock the lasers out of alignment you won't need to worry. The Spectra Precision 5.2XL cross-line laser level comes with a 3-year limited warranty, and Spectra has a 2-year instant over-the-counter exchange policy at certified service centers.
If your work requires both a cross-line laser level and a 5 beam alignment laser, the Spectra Precision 5.2XL is an outstanding opportunity to save a couple hundred dollars. This tool serves both purposes, without compromising on the functionality of either. If you're a contractor who does use a cross-line laser level, but you don't want the 5 beam alignment option, you might check out the Hilti PM 2-L for a top-of-the-line dedicated cross-line laser level.
The Spectra Precision 5.2XL cross-line laser level has a simple and intuitive interface that includes all of the features and functionality of the best laser levels on the market. You can switch between the cross-line and 5-beam modes with the push of a button. There is an on/off toggle to disable the self-leveling compensator for custom slopes and angles. And you can switch between 5 modes of beam operation simply by pressing the power button: horizontal line, vertical line, cross-line, 5 beam alignment, all beams on.
There is an LED indicator light to indicate communication with a receiver. And there is an LED indicator for the self-leveling compensator's lock position. If the lock is on and the laser is out of level, all beams blink twice per second.
The Spectra Precision 5.2XL cross-line laser level comes with a versatile magnetic positioning mount. Beyond the included mount, the mounting options are virtually unlimited. The underside of the enclosure accepts standard 1/4-inch and standard 5/8-inch mounting screws, so you can set this tool up on just about any tripod, monopod, or mounting bracket that's available on the market today.
- Automatically self-Levels up to 4° for quick and accurate operation
- Integrated manual mode disables the self-leveling function for custom slopes
- Engineered to withstand a drop of 3 feet onto concrete without affecting accuracy
- Industry-leading warranty policy - 2 years of instant exchange at certified dealers
Items Included in Package
- Spectra Precision 5.2XL Cross-Line Laser Level
- Universal Magnetic Mount and Adapter
- Ceiling Plate and Laser Target
- 3 AA Batteries
- Soft Carrying Case
The most important accessory that is available for the Spectra Precision 5.2XL cross-line laser level is the optional laser receiver which more than doubles the working range of the laser from 100 feet to 250 feet. You can purchase a compatible receiver separately from Amazon (see link below), or you can purchase the 5.2XL in a package that includes Spectra Precision's HR220 laser receiver.
The laser ships with a normal magnetic positioning mount which should take care of suspended ceiling installations, metal framing jobs, and anything else where convenient metal surfaces are available. Otherwise, mounting options for the Spectra Precision 5.2XL are wide open, thanks to the two separate threaded receivers on the underside of the enclosure. It will accept standard 5/8" or 1/4" mounting threads, so you can set it up on pretty much any standard tripod. A few tripods to consider are the TPI's heavy duty tripod which can elevate the laser up to 12 feet high, and the CST/Berger tripod which is a great value.
Spectra Precision promotes the 5.2XL as being designed for both interior and exterior projects, however the laser can be quite hard to see in bright sunlight. The operating range for exterior applications in direct sunlight is well below the listed 100 feet. For maximum visibility on outdoor jobs, consider picking up some red laser identification glasses... and try to schedule work that will require a laser for the low-light hours of the day.
The Spectra Precision 5.2XL cross-line laser level is well-adapted to a wide spectrum of applications on both interior and exterior jobs. It's dual-purpose design makes it even more versatile than most cross-line laser levels, as you can switch the 5.2XL to 5 beam laser pointer mode with the push of a button.
Indoors, this tool is ideal for suspended ceiling installation, wall layout, point transfer, tiling and wainscotting, cabinetry, and general horizontal/vertical leveling applications. The manufacturer claims that this tool was designed to do the work of two separate tools - but if you take a closer look, it can also replace the spirit level, plumb bob, chalk line, and builder's square.
The Spectra Precision 5.2XL is equally valuable outside. With its IP 54 enclosure rating, there are no worries about dirty/dusty job sites, and you can rest assured that it won't be ruined by a sudden downpour of rain. You will find that the range is considerably diminished by bright sunshine, but that won't stop you from using this tool on deck work, porch work, door and window work, and even landscaping applications. Just pick up some laser identification glasses and get your laser work done when the sun isn't too bright.
Pros & Cons
- Survives a direct drop onto concrete from 3 feet with no impact on accuracy
- Push button switch to 5 beam laser pointer mode
- Manual mode disables the self-leveling function for custom slopes and angles
- IP 54 enclosure rating provides protection from dirty/dusty environments and splashing water
- Instant over-the-counter exchange is available from certified dealers for 2 years from date of purchase
- Compatible receiver extends working range up to 250 feet - regardless of conditions
- Difficult to find the line without glasses or receiver in bright exterior conditions
Contractors who have used separate laser levels and 5 beam alignment lasers in the past will love the money and time that can be saved by incorporating both of these functions into one versatile tool. Spectra use high-power, high-quality class IIIa diodes, so you don't need to worry about compromising on the quality of your laser level.
All of the features you would look for in a high-end laser level are on-board the Spectra Precision 5.2XL. It's got self-leveling, manual slope mode, receiver compatibility, and versatile mounting options. Combine those with the 2 year instant exchange included with the warranty, and I think you'll agree that this laser is a great investment for contractors who work on all types of jobs.
The Spectra Precision 5.2XL might be overkill for home users, depending on what types of projects you want to use it on. If you're using a laser level for home use and you're not concerned about having an IP-rated enclosure or concrete drop protection, you can safely save a little money by downgrading to a less expensive tool.
We give the Spectra Precision 5.2XL 5 out of 5 stars.
Product Specifications - Spectra Precision 5.2XL
Cross Line (2 Lines) and 5 Beam Pointer
100 feet (250 feet with receiver)
± 1/16 inch at 17 feet
Laser Diode Specifications
Class IIIa (IEC Class 3R)
3 AA Batteries
14° F / -10° C ~ 113° F / 45° C
Plastic composite with over-molded rubber
(Shipping Pkg) 9.4 x 6.9 x 5.4 inches
1.1 pounds (unit) - 3 pounds (package)
2 Year Instant Over-the-Counter Exchange