Bosch Digital Laser Rangefinder DLR165K Review

Bosch Digital Laser Rangefinder DLR165K Review

Chris   August 13, 2008  
0   0  
bosch dlr165k

Up until a few years ago, it was almost impossible for the average person to afford a digital laser rangefinder of any kind; the fact that they were also unreliable didn’t help either. Now with the advancements of newer technologies, and cheaper costs, DLR's have come down quite a bit in price over the past few years. The Bosch DLR165K is also a lot cheaper then most other DLR's because it is capable of about half the distance range. This for most people is a great thing, because who really needs to measure more then 165 feet? If you do need more distance, you are looking to pay about double the price, for double the distance.

  • Pocket-Sized Only 4" tall
  • Four Measuring Reference Points - Back, front, swing out extension pin for measuring from inside corners or channels, or center of optional tripod
  • Three Measurement Systems — Feet and inches, decimal feet, and metric
  • Length, Area and Volume Measuring Capability —
  • Continuous Measurement Mode — Measurement automatically adjusts when walking-off distances
  • Continuous Laser Mode — Reduces the number of key strokes when making rapid sequence of measurements
  • Indirect Length Measurement Mode — Calculates inaccessible distances that cannot be measured directly due to obstruction or lack of reflecting surface using Pythagorean theorem (a2 + b2= c2)
  • Ergonomic Soft-Grip Area — For sure grip and comfort
  • AAA Batteries (4)
  • Hand strap - 1 609 203 R97
  • Case with Belt Loop - 1 609 203 U10
  • Battery Life: Approximately 30,000 Individual Measurements
  • Country of Origin: Switzerland or Romania
  • Dimensions: 4? x 2-15/16? x 1-1/4? (100 mm x 68 mm x 32 mm)
  • Laser Class: 2
  • Laser Diode: 635 nm, < 1mW
  • Measuring Accuracy, Typ: +/- 1/16" (1.5 mm)
  • Measuring Range: 2? - 165'
  • Measuring Time, Max: 4 sec.
  • Measuring Time, Typ: < 0.5 sec
  • Power: 4 AAA Batteries
The Box:

As you can see, the box is nothing special, and it really doesn’t need to be. If you are buying this from a store, they most likely either have the boxes locked up, or in the back of the store, and they will have a display model available. The display model has much more information then the back of the box, and in some cases a demo unit. My local store had a full demo unit with a simple instruction guide on the basics of the Bosch Digital Laser Rangefinder.

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You can see that your precious new toy is safely packed in its case inside the box, and also includes 4 AAA batteries, and wrist strap. The case also features a hook & loop belt loop, so you can carry around with you. You can also see a good size comparison with the batteries. Inside the box below the DLR are the instructions, and registration card.

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A Closer Look:

The controls on the DLR165K are so simple you don’t really even need to read the instructions. I have had this unit of a few weeks now, and I haven’t read them yet. Basically just looking at the icons and pushing the buttons, you can figure out everything.
The Big Red button is for turning the unit on, and for capturing a measurement. From left to right, the first button is for measuring area, or volume. Next is for measuring length, or continuous measuring. Meaning, the DLR will update the measurement while the length is changing. This would be handy if you need to position yourself at a certain point. Think of the movie The Italian Job, where they are trying to position themselves X amount of feet from the walls to end up exactly below the safe. The top right button is for change the point from which the unit measures from; either from the front edge, the back edge, the point of the extension pin, or the tripod hole. The next line is for adding and subtracting measurements. The Bottom left button is for clearing measurement. The middle is used to turn the unit on and off. The last bottom right key is used to change the measuring unit to Meters, Foot decimals, or Foot inches. Sadly there is no Inch only option.

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Looking at the back of the unit you will find a red switch to release the extension pin. The extension pin is needed when measuring from within a corner, or other tight spot. You will then need to set the unit to measure from the pin. 

On the front of the unit you can see where the DLR emits the laser, and reads the distance. Don’t try to measure the distance to your co-workers eyes. It also has a flat area on the front, so when you measure from the front, you have a nice flat surface to measure from.

The Test:

When I first brought the DLR165K home, I took it all around the house and tested it against my tape measurer. It was spot on every time. For the real test I took it to work and used it to measure pre-finished Oak baseboard I was going to install around a custom Oak TV cabinet. There was absolutely zero room for error. It had 6 outside corners, and 4 inside corners, and varying sizes. Again it was spot on every time, I only had to re-cut one piece, and that was because of human error. I accidentally wrote down 3/16” when the cut was 13/16”.  All throughout this job, I have been putting it to the test, and it has come through every time. The only thing I haven’t tested it on is really log distances. I don’t even know how I would test it. I figure this has to be more accurate then counting paces or using a wheel.
What I dislike about this unit is the fact that it doesn’t measure in running inches it only does foot inches. This is not a huge thing, but something that is annoying to someone like a finish carpenter that measures in only inches. Another thing is the shape of the unit. I would have preferred if the unit consisted of entirely square edges, and corners. It is designed for ergonomics, but makes it a tad harder measure against certain objects.


So easy to use, you don’t need the instructions. Very accurate.


Doesn’t measure in running inches. Non-square sides and corners.


So is it worth the price? In my opinion yes. I would buy this again. It is very simple to use, just be sure to remember where the unit is measuring. You don’t want to measure from the back, thinking you are measuring from the front. It is a great price to foot ratio, and a good investment.
Bosch, take note. The on your next version add running inches, and squarer edges. I think what would be ideal is square edges, with slightly clipped corners.

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