What We Like
- A versatile outdoor and indoor level
- Horizontal and vertical leveling capability
- Variable rotary speed for versatility
- Battery-saving locking pendulum
- Lightweight and compact 3-pound unit
- Pocket-friendly for levels in its class
What We Don’t Like
- Relatively short 800-foot range
- The average 20-hour battery
A good balance of performance and operating convenience make this pocket-friendly rotary laser level ideal for supporting outdoor and indoor home construction projects.
If you’re looking for a pocket-friendly but reliable rotary laser level that will support both outdoor and indoor construction projects around the home, you can’t go wrong with the Johnson Level & Tool 99-006K.
It is a solid unit with the capacity of both horizontal and vertical leveling and variable rotation speeds to support different applications. A lightweight build and simplified controls also guarantee hassle-free day-long operation.
Johnson Level & Tool 99-006K Review
Photo: Johnson Level & Tool
Application: Versatile for Outdoor and Indoor Projects
When it comes to rotary laser levels, the Johnson Level & Tool 99-006K positions itself between light-duty and commercial tools, making it a great all-rounder for everyday outdoor construction, especially around the home.
The level manages an exterior range of 800 feet (with receiver). It certainly not the highest, but will deliver well in projects such as setting fence post height and alignment, leveling outbuildings, checking and confirming drainage slopes, leveling forms and footing, planting beds, and many more.
It excels at supporting interior construction thanks to the 200-foot interior range the level delivers when lighting conditions are optimal. The vertical level capability proves valuable when laying out the wall, floor, and installation of metal drywall.
And horizontally, the level excels in supporting wainscoting installation, cabinet leveling, and installation of drop ceilings.
This level’s versatility is further enhanced by the variable rotation speed, which helps to enhance leveling accuracy and precision. It supports three speeds, 200, 400, and 600 RPM. You can switch between these three speeds depending on the application at hand.
Varying rotation speed offers other benefits, such as enhancing beam visibility. You can conserver some battery power by lowering this speed. At lower 200-RPM speed, for instance, the red laser beam is clearer. For outdoor operations, the higher-RPM speeds come in handy.
Most of the level’s operations are supported by a solid-built aluminum tripod, which is more than sufficient to accommodate the unit’s low weight. Its legs lock manually, allowing adjustment based on the most ideal conditions.
Finally, a heavy-duty 13-foot extendable grade rod has supported the leveling process by pairing well with the laser receiver. Its length is sufficient for all the leveling tasks you will execute with the level.
Design & Construction: Solid, Durable Build
The 99-006K’s rugged plastic enclosure is IP54-certified and is able to protect the level from excessive dust intake, and splashing water.
Because typical worksites, especially outdoor ones, are expected to be dirty, the housing does a good job of protecting the level’s delicate components from the same.
That said, the IP54 rating does not make the unit waterproof, so it’s wise to accord it the same degree of care you give other electronic devices, especially given the delicate nature of laser units.
When it comes to size, the unit is impressively compact, measuring only 6.7 x 5 x 6.6 inches. Complementing this small size is a low 3.3-pound weight. Combined, the two make it incredibly easy to use this level.
If you’ll be shifting it around your construction sites, or even transporting it to do some offsite work, you will find this process near-effortless.
Battery Life: Enough for A Day’s Work
Your 99-006K is powered by 4 AA batteries, which are already included with your unit. They are not rechargeable, unfortunately, so you miss out on the convenience of getting an extra pack you can easily switch out when the juice runs out.
But the AA batteries are relatively convenient, especially considering the fact that this model draws considerably lower power than the premium ones with higher specs.
They manage a 20-hour battery life, which is average at best, but acceptable given the light-duty tasks this level is built to support. You may find it cheaper to replace the AA batteries compared to the more premium rechargeable ones.
The laser receiver is battery-powered and uses 2 AA batteries. They will push the unit further, in terms of battery life, but will need occasional checking to ensure they are still guaranteeing optimal performance.
Ease of Use: Simple and Fast Setup
Usability is a key principle that 99-006K embraces well in its control panel’s layout and easy operation. It offers a simplified user interface that will not intimidate you especially if you’re a rotary laser level beginner.
The control panel has a few buttons for you to toggle. They are marked clearly and shouldn’t take more than a few seconds to get familiar with. When the unit is upright, in its horizontal position, the pendulum levels itself hence requiring minimal input from you.
And if you’re concerned about occasionally getting out of range, this issue has been addressed by the level’s out-of-level indicator which includes both an audible sound, and lights that intuitively alter you when the laser goes beyond its self-leveling range.
When it comes to vertical leveling, the process manual, and will require you to take over control by laying the unit on its side and relying on the well-positioned illuminated spirit vial included on the control to simplify the exercise.
There’s a receiver that comes with a unit, to intercept the laser beam during leveling. The receiver is straightforward and has an LED at the front to guide you on the alignment and reception of the laser signal. It does, however, miss out on a back LED, but it’s a minor inconvenience.
Price: Best in Its Class
Rotary laser levels are not cheap, but the 99-006K does an excellent job in offering professional-grade performance at a very modest price, making it a popular rotary laser level among homeowners and DIYers who just want a reliable and easy-to-use tool.
For less than $400, you are getting a tool that self-levels horizontally, and supports vertical leveling as well, allowing you to use it both outdoor and indoor. It has a solid build with protection against dust and water splashes, for durability enhancement.
Johnson Level & Tool has some other models that compete well against the 99-006K. One such rotary laser level is the Johnson Level & Tool 99-027K. This one offers a higher 2000-foot range and a better IP66 protection against dust and water.
But in actual performance, there’s no significant difference between the two. On the downside, the 99-027K is heavier at 37 pounds, has a lower 15-hour battery life, and costs significantly more than the 99-006 K.
The cheaper Johnson Level & Tool 40-6502 is also available, but its features have been scaled down significantly, perhaps to keep the price at the minimum, so you’re better off sticking with the 99-006 K for long-term reliability.
An all-round home laser level with well-balanced performance and handling to support a variety of light-duty construction projects.
The entry-level Johnson Level & Tool 99-006K packs enough power to deliver on all your home construction works at a modest price, in a lightweight unit, and with easy-to-use controls for convenient all-day operation.
- Product Name: Johnson Level & Tool 99-006K
- Product Brand: Johnson Level & Tool
- Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 5 x 6.6 inches
- Accuracy: +/- 1/8 inches at 50 feet
- Range w/ Receiver (diameter): 800 feet
- Interior Visibility Range: 200 feet
- Electronic Self-Leveling: Yes
- Scan/Variable Speed: Yes (200, 400 and 600 RPM)
- Laser Beam: Red
- Laser Class: 3a (635 nm ± 10nm, < 5mW)
- IP Rating: 1P54
- Power Source: 4 AA batteries
- Battery Life: 20 hours
- Product Weight: 3.3 pounds
- Product Warranty: 3 Years (Limited)
- A reliable 800-foot exterior range for supporting light-duty leveling tasks
- Horizontal and vertical leveling capability for multiple application support
- The self-leveling capacity of up to 3 degrees in a horizontal plane for fast and easy setups
- The 90-degree split laser for checking floor heights and alignment during construction
- A variable rotation speed of 200, 400 and 600 RPM for operational versatility
- An automatically locking pendulum helps extend tool accuracy and lifespan
- IP54 dust and splash protection to protect the tool in typical operating environments
- A light-weight 3-pound unit support ease of use and handling