The 10 Best Headband Magnifiers

Updated March 28, 2018 by Melissa Harr

10 Best Headband Magnifiers
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We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. Perfect for hobbyists, arts and crafts enthusiasts, watch and jewelry repairers, and anyone who works on today's tiny electronic devices, these headband magnifiers let you see what you are working on clearly while leaving your hands free to get on with the job. Whether you need something sturdy and durable or lightweight for all-day use, you'll find it here. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best headband magnifier on Amazon.

10. Rightwell Hands Free

The Rightwell Hands Free is unique in that it’s like an elastic band headlamp to which you can attach magnifying lenses. This helps it fit just about everyone and keeps it from pinching you behind the ears or at the bridge of the nose.
  • money-back guarantee
  • includes lens storage box
  • not as stable as other models
Brand Rightwell
Model pending
Weight 10.6 ounces
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

9. SE Illuminated

You'll be pleased with your new SE Illuminated thanks to its affordability and enhancement power. With a fixed plate as well as both flip-down lens and loupe, it provides several strengths between 1.9x and 8.3x. Its dual LEDs can be moved horizontally and vertically.
  • bright white lights
  • doubles as headlamp
  • two aaa batteries not included
Brand SE
Model MH1047L
Weight 10.4 ounces
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

8. Phyhoo-322

Although it takes a little more effort, some hobbyists prefer to screw in rather than snap or slip in lenses, which is where the Phyhoo-322 enters the picture. Since this set offers four different magnifications, you’ll be able to use it for many types of tasks.
  • simple no-frills product
  • handy for aestheticians
  • could be sturdier
Model PHYHOO-322
Weight 12.8 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

7. MagnifyLabs Optical Visor

The MagnifyLabs Optical Visor features a high-quality glass lens to help its wearer see objects clearly. Featherlight, at about 6.8 ounces, it's a 2.5x, 8-inch focal length product, and it can be worn over either prescription spectacles or safety goggles.
  • scratch resistant
  • one size fits all
  • headband dial sometimes unresponsive
Brand MagnifyLabs
Model MAG0003
Weight 6.9 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

6. Glam Hobby Head Mount

When you choose the Glam Hobby Head Mount, not only do you get five interchangeable lenses, but you also get versatility: this one can be worn in the fashion of both a headband and an eyeglasses frame. The rubber nose pads will keep you comfortable, too.
  • scratch-resistant acrylic
  • storage case included
  • heavier than some comparable items
Brand Glam Hobby
Model h6902B
Weight 12 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

5. Donegan DA-S1 Complete Kit

For those who rely on a range of high-quality magnification options, such as jewelers or artists, there is the Donegan DA-S1 Complete Kit, which includes the OptiVISOR, a variety of lenses, the optiloupe, a visor light, and a sturdy carrying case.
  • brilliant xenon bulb
  • built to be long-lasting
  • on the more expensive side
Brand Donegan Optical
Model DA S1
Weight 3.2 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. Housweety LED

The Housweety LED is a lightweight and adaptable option that may just fit over your regular glasses, if need be. It’s packaged with five lenses that run from 1x to 3.5x magnification as well as a bonus, practical pair of tweezers.
  • wear as glasses or headband
  • for those on a tight budget
  • lenses are a bit tricky to insert
Brand Housweety
Weight 9.1 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

3. Yoctosun Head Mount

You’ll get options with the Yoctosun Head Mount, since its interchangeable design gives you the choice of wearing it as an eyeglasses frame or as a headband, which will provide a tighter fit. The lighting and lens angles can be changed, as well.
  • adjustable nose bridge
  • lifetime warranty
  • comes with batteries
Brand Yoctosun
Weight 12 ounces
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

2. Carson Optical Pro Series MagniVisor

It's difficult to decide which is the best aspect of the Carson Optical Pro Series MagniVisor. Perhaps it's the model’s four precision-cut acrylic lenses and its carrying case, or maybe it’s the convenient quick-release button for ease of wear.
  • includes cleaning cloth
  • wide field of view
  • removable led lamp
Brand Carson Optical Pro Seri
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

1. Donegan OptiVISOR

If you require a specific power or focal length, the Donegan OptiVISOR could be the perfect choice. Instead of a multipack, you can select exactly the lens that will fit your purposes, from 1.5x to 3.5x. You can also purchase just the headband with no lens plate.
  • visor tilts out of the way
  • american-made product
  • size adjustment knobs on the side
Brand Donegan Optical
Model 633096000472
Weight 8 ounces
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

Two Crucial Concepts: Magnification and Focal Length

When you’re buying a headband magnifier, two prominent pieces of information you’ll see are magnification and focal length. The former refers to the strength of a lens, while the latter tells you at what distance you can view items. To get the most comfortable experience, you’ll want to not only pay attention to these numbers, but also consider what you’re working on and how you work. This means avoiding the tendency to assume that a bigger magnification is always better, a common error. To give you a better idea about how to choose, we’ll break down magnification and focal length separately.

Magnification refers to how much bigger the lens will make an item appear. If a lens has a magnification of 1.5x, that means it’ll cause the item to look 1 1/2 times as large; a magnification of 2x will make the item twice as large, and so on. You’ll also see the term diopter used from time to time. Lenses with a higher diopter will also have a higher magnification. You can calculate the power (i.e., magnification) of a lens if you know the diopter: the diopter divided by 4 plus 1 equals power. So, a lens with a diopter of 12 would have a magnification power of 4x (12/4 + 1).

Focal length tells you how far away an object should be from the lens for optimal focus. If a lens has a focal length of 20 inches, you’ll need the object you’re looking at to be 20 inches away from the lens for it to be in focus. Focal length and magnification are inversely correlated, meaning that as one gets bigger, the other gets smaller. For example, one of the most popular headband magnifiers comes with lenses that range from a 20-inch focal length lens with 1.5x magnification to a 4-inch focal length lens with 3.5x magnification.

As mentioned, a common error people make is to assume they need the most powerful magnification they can get. But if you’re painting model cars, will you really be holding them 4 inches from your headband magnifier? Or if you’re knitting or working crossword puzzles, will you want to hold these items so close to your face? Or would it be more comfortable to hold them in your lap? Thinking about what you do and how you do it will ensure that you choose a product with the most comfortable focal length and magnification power.

Other Important Features

Luckily, many headband magnifiers come with several lenses, or allow you to purchase additional lenses as your needs change, which makes these products versatile. Perhaps one day you’re painting tiny artwork on pennies and the next you’re reading a book; a visor with a range of lenses will let you tackle each task in comfort. But interchangeable lenses aren’t the only feature you should seek. Headband magnifiers are available with a wide range of features that will make various tasks much easier.

To begin with, most headband magnifiers offer extras that make wearing them more comfortable. Most, if not all, are adjustable, and the majority have some type of padding to keep your forehead from feeling pinched. Some even let you switch between wearing them like a headband and wearing them as a pair of glasses, thanks to a removable headband strap.

Next, some headband magnifiers let you flip the lens portion up so that you don’t have to keep putting the headband on and taking it off as you switch between normal and magnified work. These also commonly let you adjust the angle of the lenses.

Then, you’ll find headband magnifiers that feature a bright light to help illuminate the item you’re magnifying. These are especially useful for hobbyists who work with small details. Many lights are fixed in place, but a few models offer lights that are moveable.

Last, but certainly not least, is how well the headband works with your own prescription glasses. Some headband magnifiers are designed so that the wearer can keep his or her own glasses on, while others have a tighter fit and don’t offer enough room. There are even headband magnifiers that let you wear safety goggles at the same time.

A Historical Perspective

With all of these great features, it’s pretty obvious just how many uses a headband magnifier has: electronic work, jewelry repair, painting, needle crafts, and just plain old reading. But imagine that archaeologists 3,000 years from now dug up one of these items. Would they immediately understand why it was so useful and how people actually used it? Or might they speculate on the range of uses of such an item?

This is a problem that archaeologists have faced before with optical devices, perhaps most notably with the Nimrud Lens. This piece dates back to around 750 B.C.E. and is also called the Layard lens after its discoverer, the English anthropologist Sir Austen Layard. He found the item in what is now Iraq and immediately identified the piece as a lens. Examination of the piece confirmed that it could, indeed, have been used for magnifying; it has a focal length of about 4 inches and provides 3x magnification. This is equivalent to the lenses of many headband magnifiers available today.

Many optical experts and scientists oppose the idea that the Nimrud lens is a magnifying device, however, since there is no other evidence to support the idea that the Assyrians who fashioned it knew about or used these devices. Some experts have suggested that the lens could have been used for starting fires, and a few have suggested that it was part of an astronomical device. If the latter were true, then this device would predate what is accepted to be the first telescope, Hans Lippershey's model from the early 1600s.

Although these are exciting hypotheses, the truth is probably much more pedestrian. According to the British Museum, the piece is most likely a decorative inlay from a piece of furniture. No future scientists will mistake a headband magnifier for a piece of a chair or sofa, especially since we now leave overly ample written records, but who knows? Your humble headband magnifier could end up in a museum someday.

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Last updated on March 28, 2018 by Melissa Harr

Melissa is a writer, editor, and EFL educator from the U.S. She's worked in the field since earning her B.A. in 2012, during which time she's judged fiction contests, taught English in Asia, and authored e-courses about arts and crafts. In her free time, she likes to make stuff out of sticks and string.

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