Continuing from part 1 of our Magnifier Buyer’s Guide:
What Magnifier Should I Choose?
The answer to this, as you may expect, depends on your needs. There are several categories of ‘standard needs’. You may fall into one of these categories but you might not. Either way, you should use them as a guideline to the magnifier best suited for your needs:
If you don’t know the purpose for your magnifier, it is best to stick with medium sized hand magnifiers for your needs. 2x-3x is more than enough power for most folks to examine things closely or read fine print.
Menu Reading/Fine Print Reading/Maps
If you don’t want to wear reading glasses, or find they are not powerful enough for reading smaller text, a standard hand magnifier should serve your needs, but you might also want to consider a dome magnifier (shown on right). Especially if you plan to do a lot of document reading or close examination of maps. You may find that a small hand-held magnifier is also useful for reading when you are away from home – a small magnifier can be kept in a purse or pocket.
Medical Eye Issues
This is a tough one – the simple fact is there is nothing available that will give you your sight back if you have serious conditions like Macular degeneration or similar conditions. Medical conditions are one of the few cases where you want to have as high power as you can get in as large a lens as possible. Double lens magnifiers or Aspherics the best choices here, but everyone’s needs will be different. This is one place where you might want to go to a store that sells magnifiers and try before you buy.
If you are doing fine needlework, soldering electronics, painting models, or any of hundreds of hobbies where close-up examination of points of work may be required, you may need other types of magnifiers to fill your needs: desk top magnifiers might be excellent for your work, or maybe a soldering system known as ‘Helping hands’, or perhaps a magnifier you wear on your head. All of these can be quite useful but only you will know your needs and how to fill them.
Jewelry and Geology
The special needs of jewelers and geologists mean they need magnifiers that have very high power (7x+) and as good an image as possible. When you are examining the cuts on a stone the last thing you want is insufficient magnification or an image where the edges of the gem’s cuts bend up near the edge of the lens. Geologists often require high-power and accurate magnification to spot critical details on samples.
As you can see, there are many different needs and designs when it comes to magnifiers. Be sure to know you needs and how best to solve them when buying a magnifier. And remember: sometimes magnifier makers don’t always tell the truth about their product’s magnification. So be wary, but don’t let that inhibit your choosing a fine product!