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We have a huge amount of buying guides on the most diverse items on the market. You’re in the right place to get everything you need to know about buying the best laser pointer.
Laser pointers are small devices that emit a concentrated amount of light, and can be as small as a key ring or as large as a hand lamp. They are usually coloured green or red and work to pinpoint a specific point or location.
We are confident that by the time you finish reading this guide you will be ready to make the best buying decision and will have the tools to make the ideal laser pointer for you. Continue reading this valuable information we have compiled for you.
- 1 Summary
- 2 The Best Laser Pointer: Our Picks
- 3 Buying Guide
- 4 Buying criteria: factors that allow you to compare and rate laser pointer models
- Laser pointers are small devices that focus light on a small spot to aim and direct attention. Some are very powerful and travel amazing distances, while others have a range of just a few metres.
- There are different types of laser pointers that are mainly classified according to their intended use. Some work only for working presentations, while other more powerful ones work for hunting or astronomical observation.
- Some purchasing factors to consider before buying a laser pointer are safety features, laser rating or additional accessories that may be included. We will discuss all of these and more below.
The Best Laser Pointer: Our Picks
Anyone would think that all laser pointers do exactly the same thing, but there are some features that vary quite a bit from model to model. We want you to be clear about the differences between laser pointers, so here’s a helpful guide.
What is a laser pointer and what are its advantages?
Laser light beams are narrow and do not scatter as is the case with light from spotlights. It is thanks to this characteristic (called directionality) that laser pointers concentrate the light in a space as specific as the small spot we see when we activate it.
Laser pointer for presentations, astronomy or hunting – what should you pay attention to?
The colour of the pointer is also important depending on the intended use. The most common colours of laser pointers are red and green, but they are also available in blue, violet and yellow. Below is a brief description of the different types of laser pointers.
Presentations. These are the most sought-after type of pointer and have long been used to draw the viewer’s attention to a specific point on a slide. Many models include buttons to change slides and connect wirelessly via USB. The light beam is usually red in colour.
Astronomy. To use a pointer for astronomical observations it is essential that the colour of the laser is green. This is because the human eye is more sensitive to green light than to red light, and this allows us to see the beam as if it were literally reaching the star we are observing.
Hunting. These types of laser pointers include the entire mounting mechanism for attaching to a rifle or pistol, and are usually red or green in colour. They have an effective range of up to about 200 metres, depending on ambient light, and make aiming much easier.
|Colour||Red||Green||Red or green|
|Range||10 to 100 metres||Several kilometres (at night)||Up to 200 metres|
|Activation||Press and hold the button||Some models allow the beam to be left on||Can be attached to the trigger for fingertip activation|
Buying criteria: factors that allow you to compare and rate laser pointer models
In this section we want to help you consider the different criteria that will help you choose the best laser pointer for you. Once you are clear on these points you will be ready to make the most of your purchase.
- Laser rating
The laser beam is not visible to the human eye during the day, but at night the beam can have up to 10 kilometres of visible range depending on its power. These output powers range from 1 mW (one thousandth of a watt) in the harmless colour red, to 2 watts in the violent colour violet, with which we can burn almost any object.
It is important to mention again that the human eye is most sensitive to low levels in the spectrum of the green region and decreases towards the red or blue colours. Green has a wavelength ranging from 520 to 570 nanometres, while red ranges from 600 to 680 nanometres. This graph will help you understand how it works and how much power you need in your pointer.
There are different classes of lasers according to certain characteristics such as wavelength, energy content or laser beam pulse. This classification ranges from class 1 to 4, depending on their power. Below is a list of those that correspond to the particular spectrum of laser pointers.
Class 2. These are products that emit visible radiation with wavelengths from 400 to 700 nm (nanometres) with a maximum power of 1 mW (milliwatt). This power is so limited that they do not represent any danger to the eye, as the eyelid closes automatically when the light beam is detected, offering all the necessary protection.
Class 3A. This laser is still safe for the naked eye, but although it has the same wavelength as class 2 (400 to 700 nm), its maximum power is 5 mW. This means that if the laser beam is intensified by means of optical instruments such as magnifying glasses or binoculars, it can be hazardous to vision.
Class 3B. In this classification direct vision will always be dangerous. This is the classification of the most powerful laser pointers, and can reach up to 500 mW. If you decide to get a pointer with this classification you should take extreme caution.
According to international safety standards for objects using lasers, it is mandatory that these products contain some warning about not looking directly at the laser. As mentioned in the previous point, there are several classifications that help us to understand the potential danger of the product we are purchasing.
It is very important that you use your laser pointer responsibly, especially if it is a 3B rated laser pointer. Never point it directly at other people’s faces. It also goes without saying that you should not leave it within reach of children without supervision, as it may seem harmless, but it can cause irreparable damage to their eyesight.
In some countries, 3B-rated pointers are illegal. We recommend that you refrain from buying a laser pointer if it does not have a warning label identifying its rating. If in doubt or if it does not appear in the product description, please contact the manufacturer directly.
Although there is not a wide variety of accessories for laser pointers, there are some that help to better transport the laser pointer or provide some additional features. For example, some models come with a customised pouch or hard case for added protection and portability.
Some of the more sophisticated pointers have interchangeable caps that distribute the laser in interesting patterns for use at parties or small shows. If you are looking to expand the possibilities of your laser pointer, don’t hesitate to look for these types of fun accessories.
(Featured image photo: tigristiara / 123RF)