Which magnifying lamp is best?

Magnifying lamps are useful for many reasons, such as having poor eyesight or needing to be up close for painting miniatures. Or maybe you just like them. But there are several kinds of magnifying lamps and several price ranges, not to mention varying levels of brightness and magnification.

The best magnifying lamp is the Brightech LightView Pro Magnifying Floor Lamp. Its height is adjustable so you can use it seated or standing, and the handles around the lens make it easy to tweak the position till it’s just right.

What to know before you buy a magnifying lamp

Magnifying lamp types

There are two main types of magnifying lamps.

  • Desk lamps are more common. They’re small and better for hunching over a desk.
  • Floor lamps are less common and better for more general tasks. For example, they’re great for use in a reading nook.

Base type

There are two types of bases.

  • Weighted bases are just that, weighted. They’re better for those who like to easily reposition their lamp, both on the desk or around the home.
  • Clamp bases are screwed in tight on the edge of your desk or table. Some desks and tables are designed in a way that makes using a clamp difficult or even impossible, so think carefully before buying a clamp base.

What to look for in a quality magnifying lamp

Lens

There are four aspects of the lens to consider.

  • Magnification: This is how much bigger the object you’re looking at will be. The smallest is usually 1.5 times magnification and the largest can be up to 10 times magnification.
  • Focal length: This determines how far from the lens your object needs to be for you to see it clearly. Most focal lengths are 12 to 15 inches.
  • Material: This determines how durable and clear a lens is. Glass is always the best, in terms of both durability and clarity. Acrylic and plastic are the other options and should only be considered if you don’t often need your magnifying lamp.
  • Size: This determines how much you can see. For example, a larger lens means you can see an entire page as opposed to a few lines.

Battery

Most magnifying lamps are powered by a cord, but some include a battery backup or run only on batteries. The battery could be replaceable or rechargeable.

Light

There are two aspects of the light to consider.

  • Type: There are three common types of lights. LEDs are the most common as they last the longest, don’t use much power and stay cool, but they can be dim. Fluorescent bulbs aren’t as durable but their light is a little more natural. Halogen bulbs are uncommon as they heat up quickly and their light is warmer.
  • Brightness: This is measured in lumens, with more lumens being brighter. The best magnifying lamps have adjustable levels of  brightness.

Lens cover

Some magnifying lamps include a lens cover so the lens can last as long as possible. You can also purchase covers after the fact, though finding a good fit may be tricky.

How much you can expect to spend on a magnifying lamp

Small, dim lamps typically cost no more than $30, with better lamps costing a little more, up to $50. The best lamps for those who need them daily start at around $50 and can cost more than $100.

Magnifying lamp FAQ

Can the lights and the lens be replaced?

A. It’s possible, but, in nearly all cases, more trouble than it’s worth. Most magnifying lamps use special built-in lights that are not only hard to find replacements for but are difficult to access to perform the replacement. The lens is in a similar predicament. All told, it’s far easier and likely more affordable to simply buy a new lamp.

Do magnifying lamps require any assembly?

A. They usually require some, such as piecing together neck segments or needing to be attached to the base. Other than this they typically come fully assembled, so there’s no need to worry about doing any wiring.

What’s the best magnifying lamp to buy?

Top magnifying lamp

Best Brightech LightView Pro Magnifying Floor Lamp

Brightech LightView Pro Magnifying Floor Lamp

What you need to know: Multiple avenues of adjustability make this lamp perfect for the widest range of tasks.

What you’ll love: The height can be adjusted up to 3.7 feet and the neck is 17 inches long and fully adjustable. There are two magnification options: 1.75 and 2.25 times magnification. The lights have a brightness of 540 lumens and they can last for up to 20 years.

What you should consider: A few reviewers did not receive all of the parts. Others said the base wasn’t as secure as it should be.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Home Depot and Kohl’s

Top magnifying lamp for the money

Best Brightech LightView Flex Magnifying Desk Lamp

Brightech LightView Flex Magnifying Desk Lamp

What you need to know: This is an excellent budget lamp for the odd project.

What you’ll love: The lights have a brightness of 570 lumens and they can last for up to 20 years. It has a 1.75 times magnification and comes in white and black.

What you should consider: A few customers found both the power cable and the adjustable neck too short, making it hard to find a comfortable position.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Wayfair

Worth checking out

Best Lancosc Two-In-One Magnifying Glass With Light And Stand

Lancosc Two-In-One Magnifying Glass With Light and Stand

What you need to know: This is among the most adjustable lamps.

What you’ll love: It comes with both a weighted and a clamp base, plus there are three points of adjustment along the neck. The brightness is adjustable with a maximum lumen count of 960 and there are three colors of light. Magnification is 2.25 times.

What you should consider: Some purchasers noted that the weighted base isn’t heavy enough and needs some extra weight to fully extend the arm.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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