That question is kind of tricky, mainly because there are many assumptions here. So, let’s try to reframe that by making some precisions about your laser beam itself and the conditions in which measurements are performed.
It’s not uncommon to hear about “relative” and “absolute” measurements when talking about laser power measurements. Those are simply two different ways to approach and define the meaning of your readings. So, let’s sort this out.
Average power density is a good metric to understand Continuous Wave (CW) lasers, but it is not enough to understand what to expect from pulsed lasers. For pulsed lasers, you need to utilize peak power (and peak density).
Choosing a high damage threshold laser power detector becomes more crucial as the need for laser output power and energy levels increases and beam and pulse shapes become more sophisticated in the laser-based industry.