Topcon RL-H4C Rotary Laser Level Review

Topcon RL-H4C Rotary Laser Level Review
Updated: December 21, 2016

The Topcon RL-H4C is a heavy duty laser level designed for outdoor use on construction sites and municipal-scale leveling and excavating projects.  Best-in-class features with a strong warranty.

At a Glance: ​

Type

Price

Applications

Rotary Laser Level

$$$$ High Range

Construction
Industrial
Municipal

Read our full review below for full technical specifications, pros and cons, and recommended applications for this model. 

Image of Topcon RL-H4C Laser Level

Topcon RL-H4C Laser Level - Image via Amazon.com


Full Product Review

Topcon RL-H4C Review

​The Topcon RL-H4C rotary laser level is an industrial-grade product that combines versatility and reliability together into an IP 66-rated enclosure and is backed by Topcon's 5-year limited warranty.  For many commercial and municipal contractors, this is the only laser you'll ever need. 

The single diode is powered by 4 standard D batteries (rechargeable batter pack is available, see accessories below).  This means it is always easy to have backup power on hand, and the included hard carrying case includes room for 4 backup batteries.  But power isn't something you'll need to worry about very often, as the Topcon RL-H4C boasts a best-in-class operating time of 100 hours with 4 fully-charged D batteries.  

The laser rotates at 600 rpm, making it suitable for machine-mounted control applications within a diameter exceeding 2,600 feet.  The laser itself is class III, so everyone present on the job site needs to understand that the beam is not safe and can cause permanent damage to the eyes.  It emits light radiation at 2.4 mW at 635 nm, the standard visible red frequency for measuring and leveling applications. 

Pro Tip


If you need to plot custom slopes, this may or may not be a good solution for your application.  The Topcon RL-H4C can match a custom slope automatically, but it does not calculate the degree of the slope.  If you need to plot custom slopes over long distances, you might need to upgrade to the Topcon RL-SV2S, or another laser with better manual sloping capabilities.

​No worries about harsh job sites or tough weather.  The Topcon RL-H4C has an IP 66-rated enclosure so it's essentially dust-proof and water-proof (although not approved for submersion).  It is engineered to resist dropping and/or hard impacts, but of course you'll want to handle it with the same care you give any piece of expensive equipment with fragile electronic components.  Topcon has a great reputation for toughness and reliability, with many users reporting lifespans exceeding 10 years.  If you have any lingering concerns, they will likely be put to rest by Topcon's solid 5-year limited warranty (and by the impressive number of 5-star reviews on Amazon).

​The Topcon RL-H4C is simple and straight-forward with only 5 buttons and 5 LED indicator lights.  The unit includes a low battery indication, out-of-level indication, manual slope adjustment, and toggles for power and manual mode.  The receiver is also quite user-friendly.  You will likely want to get a little basic training to get started, but everything you need to know is covered in the included operation manual.  And if you have any questions or issues, you'll be able to get live support from the Topcon Totalcare website. 

While the laser does level itself up to 5°, a tripod is recommended for making adjustments quickly and conveniently.  The Topcon RL-H4C accepts a standard 5/8-inch thread mounting screw.  Topcon offers a range of tripods (see accessories below), and CST/Berger's tripods and measuring rods are also common choices. 

Special Features

  • Self-Leveling up to 5° for quick setup and easy operation - includes out-of-level indicator light and notification at receiver
  • Machine control compatible for large construction/municipal-scale leveling and grading
  • Automatically shuts off after 30 minutes of inactivity to conserve power 
  • Dual LCD displays on the LS-80L receiver - one front and one rear for quick and easy operation
  • Slope matching feature for extending custom grades across long distances
  • Access to the Topcon TotalCare website with live support and online training

Items Included in Package

  • Topcon RL-H4C Rotary Laser Level
  • Topcon LS-80L Laser Receiver / Sensor
  • Sensor Holder 
  • 4 D Batteries 
  • Hard Carrying Case

Available Accessories

Topcon offers a rechargeable battery pack (Topcon #BT-74Q) that is compatible with the Topcon RL-H4C rotary laser level.  The specs for the battery pack are Ni-MH 7000mAh.  With a full charge, the Ni-MH battery pack lasts up to 60 hours, and with the battery pack installed you can use an adapter to power the laser with AC 100V-240V power.  You can purchase the rechargeable battery pack directly from Topcon, or you can purchase the RL-H4C with the rechargeable battery on Amazon. 

The Topcon 60810 elevating tripod is compatible with the Topcon RL-H4C rotary laser level.  It has a built in bubble for quick setup and a flat aluminum mounting plate with standard 5/8" treads.  The Topcon tripod is great for heavy duty applications, but it is pricey.  For a cheaper alternative, check out Topcon's Total Station series, or opt for the CST/Berger tripod which is a popular companion for the Topcon RL-H4C.  CST/Berger's telescoping 8-foot measuring rod is also a popular accessory. 

The Topcon RL-H4C rotary laser level ships with one LS-80L receiver (sensor) and an accompanying holder.  Additional LS-80L receivers can be purchased separately through Amazon.  Topcon does offer a nice range of receiver upgrades, including several products with varying features, all the way up to the LS-B100 which is a machine-mountable receiver with a 360-degree reception angle. 

Tripod

Tripod

Laser Receiver

Laser Receiver

The Topcon RL-H4C is engineered for outdoor use on large sites.  It is ideal for grading, excavating, general construction, and commercial plumbing applications.  With a machine-mountable receiver, it is useful for large-scale excavation and grading, and the 600 rpm rotational speed guarantees an accurate reading at all times.  The RL-H4C can match a custom slope, but it does not calculate or display that slope, so you'll need to select a different tool for pipeline work or other projects that require a precise custom slope over long distances. 

There is no reason that the Topcon RL-H4C can't be used on smaller applications or even indoors.  You will be somewhat limited by the one horizontal line, but the superior line will easily cover any indoor contracting application.  Keep in mind that this is a class III laser, and all workers will need to be mindful to keep their eyes protected and diverted from the laser. 

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Longest battery life in its class, with up to 100 hours of operation for 4 standard D cell batteries
  • IP 66-rated enclosure has proven to prevent ingress of dust down to 0.075 mm and water from powerful water jets from all directions
  • Exceptional range beyond 2,600 feet (diameter) with the included receiver
  • Rapid 600 rpm rotational speed enables use for mobile machine control applications
Cons
  • No degree of slope indication in manual slope-matching mode
  • Requires rechargeable Ni-MH battery pack in order to use standard AC power

Our Rating

The Topcon RL-H4C is a serious tool for serious contractors.  The investment might seem high if you're looking for a laser level for home use, and to be honest, this laser is probably overkill for most private homeowners.  The Topcon RL-H4C is engineered for outdoor use on construction sites and for municipal-scale applications.  If that's the type of work you do, this is the perfect tool for you.

The range, speed, and power of this laser are best-in-class, and Topcon backs their product up with a relatively strong 5-year limited warranty and access to the TotalCare website where you'll have access to online training, product documentation, and even live support from Topcon-trained representatives. 

The Topcon RL-H4C has the range and speed for machine-mounted control.  The interface is simple and intuitive.  And it has a good reputation for reliability and lifespan. 

We give the Topcon RL-H4C 4 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Product Specifications - Topcon RL-H4C

Type

Rotary Laser (1 Line)

Range

2,620 foot diameter (with receiver)
800 meter diameter (with receiver)

Accuracy

± 1/16 inch at 100 feet
± 1.5 mm at 30 meters

Laser Diode Specifications

Class IIIa (IEC Class 3R)
635 nm, 2.4 mW
Red

Rotary Speed

600 rpm

Power Source

4 D Batteries

Operating Temperature

-4° F / -20° C ~ 122° F / 50° C

Enclosure Construction

Various / composite

Enclosure Ratings

IP 66

Mounting Threads

5/8-inch

Dimensions

7.0 x 7.7 x 8.5 inches

Weight

5.3 pounds (including 4 D batteries) - 13.1 pounds (package)

Warranty

Limited 5 Year Warranty

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