Photo by Tudor Van Hampton/ENR
In case of accidental bumps and falls, thick rubber handles, a shock-absorbing case and an internal damping system protect the Hilti PR 30-HVS from damage.

Expensive precision instruments don't always hold up to the extreme use that construction work places on them, but Hilti's new PR 30-HVS rotating laser tries to solve that problem.

Designed for leveling formwork, setting slopes and performing layouts, the 5.5-lb PR 30-HVS claims to be accurate to 1/8 in. at 100 ft, with auto-leveling and an operating range of 7 ft to 1,640 ft. Last fall, Hilti sent ENR a unit to test out.

Right out of Hilti's signature red-plastic case, the PR 30-HVS sets up quickly. The unit's lithium-ion battery, which can run up to 25 hours on a charge, slides into the laser's impact-resistant case. A charger with a charge indicator is included.

The laser receiver, which includes two AA batteries, comes with a handy rubber case. From there, the unit can be mounted on a flat surface, such as a tripod, or on its side, and shooting can begin.

Our test kit came with a crank tripod, leveling staff and receiver holder. The receiver case snaps into the holder using magnets, so if you accidentally drop the staff, the receiver just falls away.

I enlisted a former contractor to help me take slope measurements of a driveway culvert, and he almost had a heart attack when I pushed the PR 30-HVS and let it fall to the pavement.

After one bounce, the unit's thick rubber handles and internal damping allowed us to pick it up, undamaged, and resume shooting. A basic kit retails for $2,659.