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A headband magnifier can be the difference between perfect vision and, as Yossarian would say, seeing two of everything!
Headband magnifiers have a multitude of uses ranging from medical purposes, creating art, machining jewelry, repairing watches etc.
At its core, it’s a fairly simple apparatus comprising a band to be worn around the head with magnifying lenses attached to the front.
Headband magnifiers may be simple but the fiercely-competitive market is saturated with several great items. Moreover, key industry players have stepped their game up considerably.
With that in mind, we make choosing the best headband magnifiers easier for you by reviewing the best ones of 2020.
Best Headband Magnifiers
The latest offering by American company Carson, the CP-60 MagniVisor Deluxe is part of their PRO series and currently retails for 23 dollars on Amazon. Four levels of magnification (1.5x, 2x, 2.5x and 3x) allow you to work on the minutest details with pinpoint precision and the LED light means you don’t need to burn any oil to work through the night.
- Ergonomically designed head mounted LED lighted adjustable...
- Includes 4 precision cut interchangeable acrylic lenses with...
- Removable LED Lamp has a magnetic base that can be used as a...
- Lightweight and comfortable hands free head worn visor...
The well-made CP-60 makes light work of tasks demanding precision and finesse.
Starting with ergonomics, the CP-60 is comfortable to wear around the head and the presence of an adjustable strap means it can be adjusted to suit the contours of your head. It is slightly front-heavy as the batteries are mounted there but once you get used to it, it’s no bother.
Swapping the lenses is reasonably easy, but the procedure described in the instructions needs to be followed as the lenses are prone to breaking. They provide good magnification with minimal blurring.
The CP-60’s party piece, its LED light with three bulbs, is the icing on the cake. The light is bright but not excessively so, the spread is well-balanced and light is focused. It makes working in the dark quite easy.
The simply-named Headband Magnifier by MagnifyLabs is a slightly cheaper option for those looking for a no-frills magnifier. Its party piece is its glass lens plate (compared to the plastic ones of its competitors). It retails for 20 dollars on Amazon.
- REAL GLASS LENSES: Visor glasses are shaped, ground,...
- ADJUSTABLE HEAD MOUNT: Comfortable and form fitting...
- 4 LENS SIZES Included with your magnifying goggles...
- LEATHER BAND: Real leather and an orthopedic felt...
The MagnifyLabs Headband Magnifier is an effective no-frills magnifier, but enhanced abilities come at a price.
The Magnifier has a soft forehead piece which makes wearing it nobody’s business. Weighing in at 6.9 ounces, it is a relatively light piece and is best suited for bright environments. The adjustable visor and headband are a revelation in magnifier convenience.
The presence of a glass lens piece scores a lot of points for the Magnifier. The quality and clarity of a glass piece are unparalleled by any plastic piece. The increase in resolution will undoubtedly be appreciated when reading fine print or working on semiconductors.
While the brilliant ergonomics and crisp graphics tip the scales in its favor, the lack of lighting or adjustable magnification (you get just one 2.5x piece) balances them. Competitors like the CP-60 are providing them at a shade over the price.
Moreover, to get adjustable magnification for the Magnifier, you’ll have to buy lenses separately, driving price up to a whopping 40 dollars!
The MagniPros Optical Glass Magnifier is a top-of-the-line product by American company MagniPros.
It comes with four interchangeable lenses (of 1.8x, 2x, 2.5x, 3.5x magnification), an adjustable headband [no adjustable visor, though].
- 5 DISTORTION FREE INTERCHANGEABLE MAGNIFYING LENSES -...
- COMFORTABLE AND STYLISH: You can put this head mount...
- VERSATILE: The individual lenses /magnifying lenses can be...
- DUAL HEADBAND WEARING MODES & ADJUSTABLE LED LIGHTS:...
In our experience, the MagniPros Optical Glass Magnifier is a strong contender, even in the company of such heavy-hitters.
The ergonomics are some of the best we’ve experienced.
The headband portion has a comfort band which makes wearing it infinitely more comfortable compared to the rest of the field. Even though the visor is not really adjustable, the headband is, ensuring that it fits perfectly on your head.
Unlike the MagnifyLabs’ model, this one comes with four adjustable lenses and their magnification is very well-judged. The lenses are, disappointingly, acrylic, but their quality, clarity, crispness and resolution are anything but disappointing and on-par with glass lenses.
DoCooler, an American company, make their version of a basic headband magnifier. It comes with an adjustable headband, four interchangeable lenses (of 1.5x, 2x, 2.5x and 3.5x magnification) and retails for 27 dollars on Amazon.
- 4 Replaceable/interconvertible magnification lens plates to...
- Lens are ground and polished to precision ophthalmic...
- The shell frame is made of lightweight, durable and impact...
- Adjustable head band for more comfortable and tight head...
During our time with the DoCooler, we found it to be very similar to the MagniPros Optical Glass Magnifier.
That is no bad thing though, as the MagniPros model is an excellent magnifier in its own right and matching it is no mean feat.
However, they are not Siamese twins. Far from it, the GXG has its distinctive characteristics.
The frame is extremely lightweight and the magnifier weighs in at a mere 4.9 ounces. This makes the wearer feel as if he’s wearing nothing on his head at all, which is excellent news for those who find magnifiers too obtrusive.
However, the DoCooler has some flaws. The build quality leaves a lot to be desired and falls far below the bar set by the competition. The front piece does not stay in place and kept falling to my nose. Changing the lens is a hassle and you need a pair of tweezers to do so.
Donegan is an American company established in 1952 and specializes in optical equipment.
The Donegan DA-2 OptiVISOR makes it to the bottom of the list; however, there are compelling reasons for this.
- Headband binocular visor with snap-in 1.5X magnifying lens...
- Ground and polished glass prismatic lens for improved focus...
- Visor size-adjustment knob for customized fit
- Visor tilts out of way when not needed
The Donegan DA-2 makes it to the bottom of this list for obvious reasons, but it still has a lot to its credit.
The DA-2 has a glass lens, a rarity in an increasingly plastic world. Further, the adjustment range of the headband is the greatest we’ve seen so far and can accommodate heads of all shapes and sizes.
It has a retractable visor, a nifty feature when you want to quickly alternate between viewing through the lens and not.
I’m afraid we must discuss the Donegan’s flaws now. You get only one lens (no interchangeable lenses here), although you can choose its strength at the time of purchase. You also don’t get a light for night-time work.
However, the DA-2’s biggest drawback is its price. It is highly overpriced compared to the competition and cannot justify it, except for brand value.
Guide to Buying Headband Magnifiers
Here are some of the things to look out for while choosing the perfect magnifier:
Different magnifiers use different materials for their lenses. Some manufacturers use acrylic and other plastics for their lenses while some use glass.
As a thumb rule, glass lenses are better than plastic lenses as they provide better quality, clarity, sharpness and resolution.
However, there are exceptions to the rule and during our time, we found a few acrylic lenses whose clarity was on par with their glass counterparts.
Interchangeability of Lenses
Interchangeability of lenses, or lack of it, could be a deal breaker while choosing headband magnifiers.
While most manufacturers offer headband magnifiers with interchangeable lenses, some offer models with fixed lenses. In these models, even if there is a provision for changing lenses, they are usually sold separately and this drives the price up.
If you wish to use your headband magnifier for working during the night, opt for one which has an inbuilt light.
Most models do not offer a light which increases the marketability of the ones which do. Having a light is a boon for productive night owls.
Models like the Carson CP-60 are worth serious consideration. Try to look for a magnifier which has LED lights as they offer adequate brightness, balanced spread and minimal power consumption.
If you’re planning to buy a headband magnifier, chances are you’re going to be wearing it more often than not, which is why comfort is important.
It is recommended to approach your local vendor and try all these models once to see which one fits best.
Not all models are designed equally and their bands’ shape may vary, hence, it is important to pick the one which wraps around the contours of the head most snugly.
Band and Visor Adjustability
While adjustable headbands are the norm, there are bound to be some exceptions to this rule and we’d rather not see you end up with one of them!
An adjustable band is almost a non-negotiable feature these days. After all, how can you expect people to have the same sort of head shape and size?
While adjustable bands are common, adjustable visors are not. It is recommended to buy a magnifier with an adjustable visor as it improves clarity, depth and convenience.
Lastly, we get to the most important factor; price.
Throughout the course of our reviews, we found tons of value-for-money magnifiers which offered the most for your dollar.
Contrast these to some 30+ dollar items which didn’t even have adjustable headbands!
All these models are great picks and we’re sure you won’t regret your purchase if you buy any one of them. Some of the most important things to consider are things like interchangeability of lenses, comfort and fit and availability of a light.