Topcon RL-H4C – Rotating Laser

Jan 23, 2016
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Topcon RLH 4C

Topcon RL-H4C

The Topcon RL-H4C rotating laser is one of the most popular lasers levels of its type sold around the world, why?

Well, first and foremost Topcon as a brand has had a reputation over many years for reliability and durability.  This was largely built on the back of the RL-H4C’s predecessor the RL-H3C.  The 3C was built predominantly in Japan and was simple to use and pretty much bulletproof.  When opening it up it never looked particularly durable but it was engineered very well and so did prove to be tough in the field.  It was so well regarded that it is still produced to this day as the Taurus 2L and a good buy for those just requiring general levelling and durability, concreter’s ideal laser.

Taurus 2LS Topcon inside

But back to the 4C, it is about 5 years (at time of publishing) old now and originally produced in japan these days they are manufactured in China, which is not necessarily a bad thing and bearing in mind the vast majority of laser levels by nearly all brands are made in China.  Again on opening up it still does not look that durable but as with the RL-H3C, it is well-engineered and has proved to be very reliable and durable.

Topcon RL-H4C Features

Features wise the RL-H4C is electronic auto levelling, works in the horizontal plane only, has single grade slope setting (see note below) and operates on Standard cell batteries (again see note below)  Accuracy is similar to competitors, although they use arc seconds.  This means nothing to the average builder, most manufacturers use a tolerance of mm over 20 or 30m.  The range is also similar to competitors, maybe a little greater and comes with a reasonably standard receiver. Core specs below.

  • Accuracy – 10 arc Seconds (approx 1mm over 20m)
  • Range – 800m diam (up to)
  • Laser Type – Class 3r (class 3a)

The Topcon RL-H4C does have a few things that bug me a little.  Firstly it is mainly advertised WITHOUT rechargeable batteries and charger and you have to fork out a fair amount to get them as an optional extra.  This is a marketing tactic to appear price competitive with other offerings on the market.  These competitors include Rechargeable batteries and charger in the starting price.

The other thing that bugs me is the inclusion of a grading feature.  Now again on a marketing feature list comparing against competitors without a grade feature, it looks great.  However, the reality is that to set a grade is not easy and requires two people.  If you want a laser to set grade on a day in and day out bases then this laser is probably not for you.  If you generally just set level and only very occasionally could do with grade setting capability then go for it.

Conclusions

So, in Conclusion, the Topcon RL-H4C is a great basic self-levelling rotating laser.  However, it’s not the only great laser out on the market others worth checking out are the Leica Rugby range, Hilti, some of the Geo Fennel and RedBack Laser models,  Spectra, plus more.

If you have any observations or alternate models to look at, please add a comment below.

UPDATE

As of 2019, the RL-H4C has been replaced by the RL-H5A and RL-H5B models.  There will be a review at a later date.  However, these models are extremely similar to its predecessor (4C) one model with rechargeable batteries and the other without.

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Affiliate Disclosure: In the spirit of full disclosure, the above are affiliate links, which means that I may get a commissions if you decide to purchase anything from one of the companies after following one of the links.
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