The Cheapest & Best Magnifying Glasses

Written by bryony rowling
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The Cheapest & Best Magnifying Glasses
Magnifying glasses have certainly come a long way since the days of Sherlock Holmes. (magnifying glass 3 image by Psycience from Fotolia.com)

"Elementary, my dear Watson," evokes visions of Sherlock Holmes and his ever-present magnifying glass. Today, magnifying glasses come in all shapes and sizes and include types such as hand-held, hands-free, lighted, and loupes, as well as full-page magnifiers. Available magnification levels range from 1.5-times magnification up to 20-times magnification. However, the normal range for optimal viewing is between a two- or five-times magnification level. The Magnifier Buyers Guide suggests the following models to be the best and most inexpensive in each category.

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Hand-Held Magnifying Glasses

According to the Magnifier Buyers Guide, one of the best and most inexpensive choices in the hand-held category is the Bausch & Lomb Rectangular Magnifier. The magnifying glass features an ErgoTouch grip, a two-inch by four-inch rectangular lens, and a two-times magnification level. It is also angled for relaxed reading, hobbies, and close-up work. As of November 2010, the magnifier is listed at £11.0 on BrandNameMagnifiers.com.

Hands-Free Magnifying Glasses

A top pick in the hands-free category is the Bausch & Lomb Sight Savers Hands-Free Magnifier. This over-the-neck model is a great choice for hobbies such a s model-making and needlepoint. Slip-free pads hold the viewer in place, and an adjustable neck cord is also included. This hands-free magnifier provides a two-times magnification level, and is priced at £20.10, as of November 2010.

Lighted Magnifying Glasses

With a November 2010 price of £8.70, the Magnifier Buyers Guide recommends the Carson Lighted RimFree Magnifier. This handy little rimless magnifier features an LED light, provides two-times magnification, and can be conveniently transported due to its compact size. Appropriate for reading newspapers and maps, the unit has an ergonomically designed soft-grip rubber handle for comfortable viewing. Button cell batteries are included.

Loupes

Prices on loupes range from approximately £6.50 to more than £65.00 for professional models, as of November 2010. The more expensive loupes will obviously produce better clarity and less distortion, but an excellent inexpensive starter loupe is the Konus Contafili 20x Loupe. Perfect for checking hallmarks on jewellery, the loupe carries a 20-times magnification level, is compact in size, and features durable metal construction. The price for the Konus Contafili 20x Loupe is £7.70, as of November 2010.

Full-Page Magnifiers

Full-page magnifiers are usually about 8 to 10 inches in size, and are designed to magnify an entire page of text at a time. Keep in mind that full-page magnifiers need to be held about three to four inches above the page in order to magnify the page, as they will not provide any magnification when laid directly on a page. The Magnifier Buyers Guide recommends the Carson Rigid Frame Full-Page Magnifier, a deluxe rigid-frame magnifier with two-times magnification and a shatterproof lens. The November 2010 cost for the magnifier is £5.70.

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