We’ve all seen different types of lasers in Hollywood TV and films. Whether attached to a weapon in an action movie, a threat from a supervillain in a comic book movie, or different science fiction scenario, there is a common theme. Lasers are a powerful technology that can do a lot. But the reality is far more practical and useful than TV and film would have us believe. So, who uses lasers? What do people use laser pointers for in the real world?
Understanding what Handheld Lasers Can Do
A solid beam of laser light is helpful for many different things, including military applications and scientific research. But “laser pointers,” which are handheld, serve some specific purposes only a portable device can do.
- Arborist & Landscaping – pointing out specific limbs on trees that must be removed, pointing out areas of a property that will be mulched, or some other daytime activity landscapers require. A visible green laser at 200mW is the most commonly used for arborists and landscaping crews. If you need to point out trees at a distance over 500 feet away, you’ll need to go higher than 200mW for use in sunlight.
- Construction Crews & Painters – working on a job site or up on scaffolding has challenges. Laser pointers are used on construction sites to pinpoint areas the crew will focus on. For example, if windows must get installed on a building, the supervisor can point out which floors to begin on, which to skip, etc. This is useful as it helps with day-to-day construction & painting site logistics.
- Warehouses & Factories – large warehouses that store thousands of goods often have significant “shelves” from the ground to the ceiling, sometimes 30+ feet in the air. Pointing out where a crew member will find the goods they’re looking for without wasting time checking the top row in the wrong spot is a way large warehouses and distribution centers are using laser pointers today.
Personal Use Laser Applications
Let’s look outside of businesses and other sort of laser applications for work.
- Astronomy & Star Gazing – one of the most practical and traditional uses of a laser pointer is pointing out stars and other celestial bodies in the night sky. Be careful of aircraft, but even a green laser at 532nm outputting just 50mW has a beam clearly visible at night, making it ideal for star gazing.
- Presentations (Classrooms & Auditoriums): Another everyday use of a lower-power laser is as a visual aid for exhibitions and other classroom-related activities. They’re great additions to your public speaking toolkit. They can add value and push audience engagement bringing focus to the areas you want on your PowerPoint or projector screen.
High Power Laser Applications
We’ve seen uses for lower power units, but what about big lasers with strong outputs?
- Goose Control & other Avian Pests: no one likes to see a mess left by 50 Canada geese on their lawn. It’s impossible to clean, but harming these peaceful animals is illegal and cruel. Using a high-power green laser to scare away geese is your non-lethal way to protect your property from a fecal mess left by grazing geese. Just be sure you’re going with a minimum of 500mW for daytime use up to 300 feet. If your distance is longer, go higher in strength.
- Aquarium & Fishtank Cleaning: using a high-power blue laser will allow you to kill unwanted bacteria and algae in a home aquarium or fish tank. Reach those hard-to-get-at places and don’t harm your fish or the aquatic plants, as the blue light kills the unwanted bacteria you’re trying to eliminate.
- Military Training Exercises: using lasers for military training is common practice. Most suitable is Infrared (IR) for nighttime training using night vision equipment. Signal to aircraft, point out a target, etc. Lasers are common tools for military applications.
These are not toys, and there are plenty of real-world applications for a portable handheld laser; this is just a short list. Anytime you need to point out something at a longer distance than your arm’s length, using a laser is a great tool to have in hand. You’ll likely find other valuable reasons to bring out your laser. Just be sure to keep laser safety in mind.
Choosing the Best Laser Pointer for Your Purposes
Not sure which laser to go with? Ask questions if you have them. What are you specifically trying to do with your pointer? Do you have an idea, or are you curious to see what they can do? Determining which model is best for you will be based on what you’re trying to do. Need visible daytime use over 200 feet? Go with a 500mW green laser or more. Want to light matches and pop balloons? Blue lasers over 1,000mW are your best bet.
Depending on what you’re trying to do, one laser will be a better choice over another. If you need help choosing the right model for your application, don’t hesitate to call or shoot us an email, and we’ll work with you to select the most suitable pointer.