I love anything that helps me maximize space in my house especially in those areas where space is somewhat limited, as is the situation in my garage. We essentially have a 2-1/2 car garage but with a full-size sedan and a mini-van plus my tools, kids’ toys and other miscellaneous items space can become sparse rather quickly.
Well the biggest variation in most garages is the placement of vehicles. In the past many inventions have been implemented to help ensure that vehicles are parked safe and consistently. Tennis balls suspended from a string to rubber floor bumps are in countless garages around the country. Let’s test the Garage Laser Parking System sent by Convenient Gadgets to see how it stacks up.
Dimension: 4-3/4″ x 4″
Powered by 9V battery (not included) or AC/DC adapter
Red laser beam
Activates via motion detection
Weight: 2 lbs
Model Number: JB3800
Installation requires no wiring
110v AC adapter
Hook and loop tape
Laser parking unit
The device is rather small and light, essentially fitting in my hand. The package is adequate and simplistic but nothing that would draw you to it if the device was on a shelf with other products.
Instructions, which are included, are denoted on a single sheet of paper, which drives home the point of simplicity of the product.
First decision you have to make is whether you want to utilize a 9V battery or AC adapter for power. I guess you could use both, utilizing the battery as a back-up. A critical factor in determining this decision might be the proximity between your location of installation and a power outlet. The adapter’s cord from end-to-end is approximately 5-feet in length, which really is not that long considering the device is going to be installed on your ceiling.
I am fortunate that I have two power outlets within reach of my desired install position but I decided to start the review with the unit powered by the 9V battery. The laser is motion activated and I am curious to see if the device will drain batteries quickly.
Installation is fairly simple. I picked a location on my garage’s ceiling, roughly centered on my van’s parking spot, marked the three spots for the screws and drilled pilot holes. Once the pilot holes were completed, I screwed the device’s back to the garage’s ceiling then completed the installation by sliding the device onto its back. You can use the hook and loop tape instead of the screws but I did not think it seemed very robust. The device in place, I targeted the laser to rest on the dash of my van. Installation was easy but did require a power tool and a ladder.
Using the Garage Laser Parking System for a few weeks, I noticed the laser is highly susceptible to variation because it is very difficult to park a vehicle exactly the same each time. Now the deviation, from right to left, is probably 12 inches, max but that definitely affected the ability to place the laser in a consistent position.
The laser also chewed through batteries like few gadgets I have ever seen before. In three weeks of use I went through two 9V batteries. I believe the laser’s motion activation is responsible for the extreme battery use. Each time I went into the garage to get a tool, put the trash out or pull our other vehicle in/out, the laser was activated.
Now I understand the manufacturer provides an alternative power source via the AC adapter but to drain two 9V batteries in three weeks is unacceptable. I did eventually plug in the adapter and noticed no difference in terms of performance.
Another negative that I attribute to the system’s motion sensitive power switch is regarding safety. When our van was not in the garage and our young children were in the garage, they were instantly drawn to the red laser on the floor. Watching them let the beam hit their hands while looking up to locate the point of origin, I realize that it is too easy for them to look towards the ceiling and get the dangerous laser straight in their eyes.
In conclusion, I like the concept of using an inexpensive and cool gadget to replace primitive mechanism (tennis ball hung from the ceiling). The fairly easy installation requirements and multiple power options, plus the under $20 price tag make the Garage Laser Parking System an attractive option.
That said the negatives are pretty strong against this device. Dispersion in parking your vehicle makes the laser fairly susceptible to inconsistency. Plus the fact that the system rapidly goes through batteries and the serious concern of safety, especially to children, makes me unable to recommend this device.
Great concept but too many strong negatives.