Nowadays, there are eyeglasses and magnifying glasses for almost any visual need. They are objects that everyone uses in their daily life: for reading, craftsmanship or watching TV and live events.

Introduction to magnifiers

Magnifiers are instruments that are used to change the zoom level of an image or an object. In ancient Egypt, people used different crystals and gems to view small objects or to ignite paper. However, in the 13th century, Roger Bacon described the principles of magnifying glasses and later that century the first eyeglasses were invented in Italy.

Over the years the technology has evolved, and various types of magnifiers, telescopic and microscopic devices, and digital units were developed. One of the most popular types of magnifiers are handheld, stand, magnifying mirrors and glasses.

How to choose a Magnifier

Magnifiers are highly used by scientists, historians, collectors, teachers and people with vision problems. When choosing a magnifier, one has to consider three major factors:


  • Requirements

  • Specification

  • Costs


Requirements: The distance of use and the duration are one of the most important criteria when purchasing a magnifier. Handheld magnifiers are suitable for a short-term task, like reading the menu at a restaurant, while stand or head-mounted magnifiers are perfect for long-term use by craftsmen, for example. The distance of use refers to the space between the object and the user. The distance can be divided in three parts: near tasks, intermediate and long-distance. Near tasks are categorized as those at a distance of 50cm or less; intermediate is using a computer and long-distance can be watching TV or live events.

Design and portability are also an important factor when choosing a magnifier. There are pocket magnifiers, which are perfect for checking price tags, or telescopes, that are widely used for astrophotography.


Specifications: Magnification power is the most important specification when purchasing a magnifier. It is defined by a number followed by the letter “X”, which stands for “times”. If a magnifier has a power of 2X, then the glass will magnify the object to twice its actual size. The normal power of magnifiers varies between 2X and 20X. However, electronic magnifiers can have a magnification up to 70X. People that do not have visual problems, a device with magnification range of 2X will be enough for tasks such as reading. It is important to note that age is individual characteristic and it is best to check with a specialist when purchasing a magnifying glass.


Cost: The price of a magnifier varies between product and vendors. Usually, the higher the magnifying power the higher the price. In addition, quality and design types also affect the cost of a unit. There can also be additional features, like built-in lighting and stands, which also increase the price of a magnifier. For example, a pocket magnifier is much cheaper than a device with big lenses that has a mounting system.

Ultimately, electronic magnifiers are more expensive than the regular magnifiers.


Types of magnifiers

  1. Handheld magnifiers: Handheld magnifiers are one of the most popular types of magnifiers. Their practicality and lightweight makes them the perfect device for short-term tasks, such as reading a menu.
  2. Stand magnifiers: Another popular type of magnifier is the stand magnifier, which stands directly on the page and no focus is needed. Those magnifiers come with a build-in light and pre-focused lenses. They are perfect for tasks that requite longer time.
  3. Magnifying lamps: An essential tool for crafts, soldering, watchmaking, or any activity that requires the use of both hands, is a magnifying lamp. There are different models, which can be powered by batteries and/or can be illuminated.

  4. Pocket magnifiers: Pocket magnifiers are small, compact and versatile. They are mainly used for quick task such as reading the menu at a restaurant or check prices. They are perfect for people with an active lifestyle. The options are unlimited – illuminated, non-illuminated, with or without protective case.
  5. Magnifying mirror: Almost every household has one of these. Magnifying mirrors are essential tool for artist, celebrities and anyone who wants to look perfect. Magnifying mirrors are small, can be mounted on a wall or table, or can be portable. There are models with an LED light, that resembles daylight to improve usability.


How to take care of your magnifier

It is essential to take care of a magnifying glass. The lenses should be kept safely, due to that reason many handheld and pocket magnifiers come with protective cases. In addition, one should clean the lenses with soft material like cloth or wipes to ensure that the image is perfect. Avoid directly touching the magnifying glass with finders or any dirt to ensure the long-life of your device. It is important to handle your magnifier with care to prevent accidents, such as scratching the glass.