A distance measure can be a very useful tool for a huge range of different applications. Whether you’re doing DIY woodwork and making your own chest of drawers, whether you’re measuring out the space in your front room to try and fit furniture, or whether you’re a professional landscaper, interior designer or surveyor… being able to measure exact distances is often a very useful ability and doing this with a small laser device really beats trying to do it with a tape measure and a pencil!

These are useful gadgets no doubt and Stanley is of course a well-respected and very well-recognized brand. So is this a match made in heaven? How does the Stanley STHT77138X Laser Distance Measurer TLM99 hold up?

Product Description: Low-End but Decent

In terms of the price and features, the Stanley STHT77138X Laser Distance Measurer TLM99 is very much a more budget option for your laser distance measurers. It’s possible to get all kinds of advanced features on these things, including cameras with ‘point finders’ for use outdoors. At the least, some distance measures will allow you to point your laser and draw a straight line from top to bottom using a lot of different sensors.

But this model lacks those kinds of additional features. And unfortunately, it also lacks a little common sense in terms of some of the design choices. Let’s rewind for a moment…

On the face of it, this is decent enough laser measure. It is a small hand-held unit which is straightforward without any real frills. It is yellow and black, which while not particularly attractive, is well suited to most worksites and will be easy to spot when you’re looking for it in a pile of tools and appliances.

The device has a single LCD screen and a few buttons beneath. But this is where things first start to get a little disappointing. Those buttons are rigid and quite wobbly for instance. In our testing, we found we had to apply a little pressure to get this to work. Seeing as the base isn’t terribly stable, this actually causes the device to move – thereby negatively influencing the readings!

There’s no backlight on the screen either, so it is hard to see in the dark. It also doesn’t have a way to fix it to a tripod and has no built-in level. The range is only 100 foot, which is quite short by most standards.

Pros and Cons: You Get What You Pay For

The pros of this device mainly revolve around the price, the compact design and the simple operation. If you’re a hobbyist looking to do some work around the house at the weekend, then it might just be a good choice. But for professionals or more serious DIY enthusiasts, this is a hard one to recommend owing to the lack of some basic functionality and the absence of several important features.

That’s because of the long list of downsides, including the lack of a proper fold out attachment, the lack of tripod attachment, the wobbly base, the rigid buttons without any tactile feedback, the short range and the dark screen! One more issue was that a few people found that it had some rather difficult-to-understand instructions.

Don’t get us wrong, this product does work and will take accurate measurements under the right conditions. In that scenario, it will provide you with readouts that are accurate down to 1/32 of an inch. If you’re willing to fiddle a bit and want something affordable, then it’s an okay pick. But there are better, even at this price point.

Conclusion: Not Our Top Pick

In conclusion then, the Stanley STHT77138X Laser Distance Measurer TLM99 is certainly not our top pick for laser measure tools! There are better out there, even at a budget price and this one just has too many unfortunate design choices to really recommend. Nevertheless, it’s still ‘fit for purpose’ and isn’t too expensive, so if you want a product by Stanley or if you can’t find one for less, then go ahead. Just don’t expect the best laser measure on the market and you should be relatively satisfied with what you get…