The 10 Best Reading Magnifiers

Updated April 19, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

10 Best Reading Magnifiers
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We spent 42 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. You shouldn't feel too bad if you've started to have difficulty reading smaller print. It may be middle-aged presbyopia, and it happens to almost everyone. If your eye doctor confirms it's nothing more serious, just get one of these reading magnifiers and your problem will be solved. They're ideal for books, magazines, newspapers, menus, hobby work, and complex repairs. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best reading magnifier on Amazon.

10. MagniPros Jumbo Size

While there is nothing inherently fancy or unique about the MagniPros Jumbo Size, it is a reliable option that gets the job done and is sturdy enough to stand up to the periodic, unfortunate drops that are inevitable, despite its grooved, slip-resistant handle.
  • made with high-quality acrylic
  • weighs less than comparable models
  • doesn't have a light
Brand MagniPros See Things Di
Model pending
Weight 2.6 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

9. Carson MiniBrite

The Carson MiniBrite packs a lot of punch into a compact design. Although the distortion-free aspheric lens is a little on the small side, it allows you to see images with great clarity. Plus, the built-in LED comes in handy in low-light situations.
  • limited lifetime warranty
  • budget-friendly price
  • plastic cover is a bit flimsy
Brand Carson
Model PO-55
Weight 2.4 ounces
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

8. MagniPros 3X

The MagniPros 3X features an extra-wide viewing area made from optical-grade glass that is resistant to scratches and cracking. It's a good choice for the quick inspection of intricate details, but probably not for extended use, as it's heavier than many other models.
  • battery compartment is easy to open
  • capable of dimming
  • light is finicky
Brand MagniPros See Things Di
Model ED11
Weight 8 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

7. Carson Optical MJ-50

The Carson Optical MJ-50 is one of the best options for those constantly on the go, as it features a collapsible three-position handle that can fold completely flush when not in use. Also, the anti-slip rubber grip is contoured for maximum comfort.
  • convenient rectangular lens
  • thick protective rim
  • offers only 2x magnification
Brand Carson
Model MJ-50
Weight 0.8 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

6. CCV Lighted Stand

If you don't want to deal with the hassle of holding your magnifier while you read, or you require both of your hands for something like jewelry or watch repair, the CCV Lighted Stand can help. It features four fold-out legs and has a large 11.1" x 8.6" lens.
  • lanyard for hanging from the neck
  • rather lightweight for its size
  • plastic lens scratches easily
Brand CCV
Model pending
Weight 9.6 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

5. Basport Optical

If you are a lover of all things traditional or just want to feel like Sherlock Holmes inspecting a crime scene clue, rather than a person entering their golden years, the Basport Optical is for you. It features an elegant rosewood handle and a very durable glass lens.
  • includes a cleaning cloth
  • feels extremely well-made
  • not as powerful as advertised
Brand BASPORT
Model pending
Weight 5.6 ounces
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

4. iMagniphy LED Set

The iMagniphy LED Set is a great value that includes three different-sized premium lenses that are interchangeable depending on the task at hand. The company stands by its product with a lifetime warranty against defects for added peace of mind.
  • made of strong acrylic resin
  • does not distort images
  • nice texturized grip
Brand iMagniphy
Model 4332028522
Weight 5.6 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

3. ViSee LVM-480

The ViSee LVM-480 is a portable electronic solution with four adjustable levels spanning from 6x to 25x magnification. Its lithium-ion battery offers hours of continuous use, and can be recharged quickly with the included adapter.
  • several built-in display modes
  • screen lock feature
  • convenient tv out plug
Brand ViSee
Model LVM-480
Weight 1.4 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

2. RockDaMic Magnified Professional

If you need a little help with extra-small text, look no further than the RockDaMic Magnified Professional. This basic, yet versatile, option comes with two magnification lenses, plus a light function that can be turned on with a simple switch.
  • fits comfortably in the hand
  • doesn't produce any glare
  • great for reading maps
Brand RockDaMic
Model No Model
Weight 6.4 ounces
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

1. Carson DeskBrite 200

Featuring two bright LEDs and a flexible neck to adjust its durable acrylic lens to any angle effortlessly, the Carson DeskBrite 200 is ready to go to work for you when your eyes need help focusing on small needlework or instruction labels.
  • two power options
  • four-inch viewing diameter
  • stable and well balanced
Brand Carson
Model LM-20
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

Why Reading Magnifiers Can Be Better Than Glasses

Reading magnifiers are an incredibly useful tool for people suffering from conditions like macular degeneration, cataracts, or glaucoma. Some might wonder why a person would use a reading magnifier when, in essence, reading glasses simply are two small magnifiers that can be worn on one's head. But reading magnifiers can do things that glasses cannot. For example, not every text is created in the same size, and advanced reading magnifiers allow you to adjust the magnification to match everything you read. Some can magnify a text up to 25 times its original size.

People who suffer from glaucoma often also struggle with color vision deficiency and the dull black font set against the gray paper of newspapers can be a difficult color scheme for those with vision impairment to detect. Some reading magnifiers reproduce the text on a small LCD screen in a color scheme that's easier to read. Many models act as small reading lamps, too, with a bright LED light shining out of the magnifying glass, illuminating the text.

These types generally have a base so they can stand on a surface, and they usually have a flexible neck so the reader can bring them closer or further from their text. These lamp-style magnifiers are ideal for hobbyists who need their hands to work on detailed tasks, like assembling model ships.

As for the concern that reading magnifiers are bulkier than reading glasses, most are designed to fit in the palm of one's hand or pocket. Of course, you have the option of getting one with an extra wide screen, so that you can magnify nearly an entire page of text at once, and not need to move your hand much while reading.

Important Additional Uses For Reading Magnifiers

Reading magnifiers aren't just important for helping seeing impaired individuals read books and periodicals; they can help them navigate the world in many other ways. People who use special phones for the hearing and seeing impaired might need extra help seeing the name of the caller on their receiver, or reading the callback number for someone with whom they need to get in touch.

It can also be very important for them to read their prescription medication instructions when they do not have a nurse or aid to help them do so. Prescription medications typically have various font sizes between the general directions, special warnings and side effects, so the ability to adjust the magnification on these is critical.

The chances of vision loss increase after the age of 65, and this generation's seniors are not as well-versed with technology as the youth is, so many elderly individuals still use paper maps. Maps, like prescriptions, also have varying font sizes between the names of counties, towns, bodies of water and longitude and latitude readings. So a reading magnifier can help someone with vision troubles navigate their way around a new city.

Digital television guides are also something that mostly the younger generation knows how to work, leaving most seniors to read physical television guides. These typically have a tiny font for the channel names, an even smaller font for the program names, and a minuscule one for the show's description. So, again, the option to adjust the magnification is very useful here.

The History Of The Magnifying Glass

Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans were at the forefront of many inventions, and the magnifying glass is no exception. Thousands of years ago, Egyptians would look through pieces of crystal and other shiny stones in order to magnify items.

From 30 to 60 CE, the Roman Emperor Nero would look through gemstones to get a better look at theater productions. He was also one of the first people to wear gemstone sunglasses. The famous Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder would also use magnifying glasses to burn the flesh off of wounds between 23 CE and 79 CE.

There are also some jokes in the Ancient Greek play "The Clouds," (424 BCE) that mention magnifying glasses being used to start fires. The joke refers to magnifying glasses being sold in pharmacies, so they may have been a common household product at the time. It wasn't until the 1200s that the first magnifying glass was created for scientific use. Historians give credit to an English philosopher named Roger Bacon for this invention.

Around the time Bacon invented his version of the magnifying glass, the Arab mathematician, and scientist, Ibn al-Haytham spoke of a convex lens with which he magnified images in his book "Book of Optics." This book would go on to be an important part of the development of seeing eyeglasses, which were developed in Italy in the 13th century.


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Last updated on April 19, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.


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