The Laser is one of the most popular single-handed dinghies in the world. As of 2012, there are more than 200,000 boats worldwide. A commonly cited reason for its popularity is that it is robust, and simple to rig and sail. The Laser also provides very competitive racing due to the very tight class association controls which eliminate differences in hull, sails and equipment.
The term "Laser" is often used to refer to the Laser Standard (the largest of the sail plan rigs available for the Laser hull). However there are two other sail plan rigs available for the Laser Standard hull and a series of other "Laser"-branded boats which are of a completely different hull designs. Examples include the Laser 2 and Laser Pico. The Laser Standard, Laser Radial and Laser 4.7 are three types of 'Laser' administered by the International Laser Class Association.