If you’re struggling with reading small print, reading in dimly lit places and/or spending a lot of time working on small-scale projects (we’re talking to you, fans of model planes and Warhammer), magnifying glasses could be the simple solution to leave your visual struggles behind.
Sure, reading glasses are great, but they’re not always easy to keep around and won’t help at all with dimly lit places or situations where you need closer magnification. That’s where magnifying glasses can help. They come in all shapes and sizes and different degrees of magnification, serving a wide variety of needs and situations along the way.
If you’re regularly working at a desk, you might go for a paperweight-style magnifying glass that can be easily slid over text to magnify the words beneath. Painting small figurines, soldering a circuit board and even sewing can be a lot more precise with a pair of magnifying glasses for your face or a mounted LED magnifying glass. There are also travel-friendly magnifying glass cards with built-in lights for close-up reading in any dark place. And if you’ve got some small kids who are just starting to learn about the natural world, good old Sherlock Holmes-style magnifying glasses are fun for stone imprints of fossils and bugs.
Whatever your magnification needs are, magnifying glasses are generally cheap, reliable, easy to find and easy enough to store and carry around. That’s why we rounded up a few great magnifying glasses below. Check them out and get the visual precision you need to do what you want with ease.
1. MagniPros 4X Magnifying Glass
The MagniPros 4X Magnifying Glass is a premium magnifying glass if ever there was one. The four-times magnification, LED lights and rectangular frames will make reading any small print a breeze. It’s also one of the few magnifying glasses that charges via Micro USB. Two hours of charge gets you 12 hours of life on medium brightness, which is controlled by a convenient dial-style dimmer switch. It’s also lightweight and thin, if a little big, so it won’t tire your arm but it might not fit well into a pants pocket. It’s definitely pricey, but it’s packed full of features and reviewers on Amazon swear by it.
2. Tobegiga Folding Magnifying Glass
FOLDING MAGNIFYING GLASS
The Tobegiga Folding Magnifying Glass has portability and more going for it. The handle folds next to the lens, making it way easier to slip into a pocket. But it’s also got five LED lights with two brightness settings and a three-times magnification lens. Wherever you encounter small print, you’ll be good to go with this magnifying glass.
3. MagniPros Large LED Page Magnifier
BEST FOR READING
The MagniPros Large LED Page Magnifier is perfect for at-home reading. It’s flat and about the size of a small picture frame (4.5” by 7”), offers three-times magnification and easily lights up any text with 12 dimmable LED lights. Permission to read in bed at night granted.
4. JUOIFIP Head Magnifier Glasses
The JUOIFIP Head Magnifier Glasses are perfect for tasks that require both hands and magnification. Two LEDs light the way and four interchangeable lenses offer increasing magnification — 1.5x, 2.5x, 3.5x, 5x — for whatever level of precision you need.
5. Dylviw Gooseneck Magnifier Lamp
BEST MOUNTED MAGNIFYING GLASS
The Dylviw Gooseneck Magnifier Lamp can be a great option for desk work. It clamps on to the side, offers two-times magnification, LED lights with two brightness levels and a gooseneck for easy maneuvering and focusing.
6. Deconoor Handheld Magnifying Glass
COOL ANTIQUE OPTION
The Deconoor Handheld Magnifying Glass looks like something out of an old-timey mystery. Made from golden brass, it would look cool on any desk and be useful in any detail-oriented hobby, like map reading and stamp and coin collecting, thanks to its 10-times magnification. Buy it for yourself or give it as a gift to someone who will appreciate and use it.
7. Satechi Readmate LED Desktop Magnifier
BEST MAGNIFYING GLASS PAPERWEIGHT
There are plenty of great dome-style paperweight magnifying glasses out there, but we like the cool design and features of the Satechi Readmate LED Desktop Magnifier. It’s sleek, modern and offers five-times magnification and LED lighting for any text. You’ll actually be glad to have the carrying case and microfiber cloth for this one.
8. Mighty Bright Lighted Pendant Magnifier
Most things hanging from a necklace are convenient, but none more so than the Mighty Bright Lighted Pendant Magnifier. With three-times magnification and an LED light, it’s perfect for quick magnifying needs and always with you wherever you go without taking up a pocket.
9. Jarlink Jewelers Eye Loupe Magnifier
BEST FOR TIGHT CLOSE-UPS
If you really need to see fine details for things like gems, stamps or clockwork, the Jarlink Jewelers Eye Loupe Magnifier will more than get the job done. It has two lenses that offer 30-times and 60-times magnification as well as two LED lights that point toward the close-up subject for optimal illumination. It’s fairly cheap too, so it’s not the end of the world if you misplace it.
- Handheld: These are the magnifying glasses you see small children or Sherlock Holmes using. A handheld magnifying glass usually has a large round lens and a plastic handle and it’s usually fairly cheap.
- Paperweight: These magnifying glasses are essentially one hefty piece of glass meant to stay in one place, typically a desk. They can hold down papers and easily be slid over text for ongoing reading.
- Mounted: Mounted magnifying glasses are just that, a magnifying glass in some kind of stand. They’re really useful when you’re doing work that requires both hands and magnification or if you need a more stable image than a shaky hand could provide.
- Loupe: These are the magnifying glasses you see jewelers use. They’re meant for up-close examinations more akin to a handheld microscope that you only intend to use for a highly detailed look.
That’s the degree of magnification through a given lens. If a lens claims 3x magnification, that means any image seen through the lens will appear three times bigger. It’s the answer to the question “How zoomed in am I?”
Some magnifying glasses will have multiple lenses depending on how much magnification you need.
Anything that requires up-close precision! They’re really useful for reading fine print or examining anything up close, whether that’s a fossil, insect, circuit board or small piece of art.