Last Updated on November 17, 2020
A high-quality pocket magnifier can help you read menus and labels on-the-go. The best models are lightweight and easy to use, with sturdy cases and plenty of magnification. They may even offer multiple magnification levels or bright LED lights. But with hundreds of models on the market, how do you find your ideal pocket magnifying glass?
We’re here to help you find a great tool. We bought and tested quite a few models and came up with this list of the eight best pocket magnifying glasses available in 2020. For each magnifier, we’ve written a comprehensive review, looking closely at price, size, magnification, clarity, overall design, materials, and warranties so you can feel confident in your choice. If you’re wondering about the merits of the various features, take a look at our detailed buyer’s guide. You’ll be magnifying before you know it!
|Best Overall||Fancii Folding Pocket Magnifier||
|Best Value||SE Folding Pocket Magnifier||
|Premium Choice||iLumen8 Pocket Magnifying Glass||
|Carson MiniBrite Slide-Out Magnifier||
|Mighty Bright Lighted Magnifier||
Our all-around favorite model is the Fancii FC-MP15X Folding Pocket Magnifier, which is a moderately-priced acrylic lens with a sturdy protective case, plenty of magnification, and a convenient LED light.
This model weighs a reasonable 2.08 ounces and offers an automatic LED light. This magnifier offers two acrylic lenses, a 60-millimeter reading lens with 3X magnification and a 20-millimeter jewelers loupe with 15X magnification. There’s a folding case to protect the lenses, along with a keychain attachment for easy carrying. The light works with two included CR1620 batteries, and there’s a soft storage pouch.
This pocket magnifier is somewhat bulky but light enough to carry in your purse or backpack. The loupe is very small and may not be particularly useful, and the magnifier tends to fall open, turning on the light and running out the battery. Fancii offers a great 100% money-back guarantee.
Are you shopping on a budget? You may want to look at the SE MH7015 Folding Pocket Magnifier, which we find to be the best pocket magnifying glass for the money.
This light 1.6-ounce pocket magnifier is very inexpensive and contains a 2-inch glass lens with 4X magnification. The compact three-inch by three-inch swinging case protects the lens and acts as a handle. Without a built-in light, this model doesn’t require batteries.
We found this lens fairly clear, with high-quality glass. The case has a cheaper feel, and there is some distortion around the edges, making the effective viewing area somewhat small. For the price, though, this could be a great pocket magnifier. There isn’t a warranty.
If you’re willing to spend a bit more, you may appreciate the additional features of our premium pick, the iLumen8 Pocket Magnifying Glass. This pricey model has a nice design, an automatic LED light, and a distortion-free acrylic lens.
This highly portable 1.8-ounce pocket magnifier has a convenient retracting design and an LED light that turns on when you pull out the lens. The scratch-resistant acrylic lens, which is 1.5” x 1.75”, offers 3X magnification. It’s an aspheric lens, specifically shaped to reduce distortion and increase the clear viewing space. The light works with included CR1220 batteries, and the LED bulbs come with a lifetime guarantee.
This model is easy to open and doesn’t have buttons, so it could be a good choice if you have arthritis. It’s not completely durable, and we found that the batteries fall out quite easily. iLumen8 offers a 90-day guarantee, which you can double if you register your magnifier.
The Carson PO-55 MiniBrite Slide-Out Aspheric Magnifier is inexpensive, lightweight, and comes with a great warranty. Unfortunately, it also has some distortion and a somewhat cheaper feel.
This 1.44-ounce magnifier has a sliding protective case and a built-in LED light. The aspheric acrylic lens offers 5X magnification, and the magnifier requires three AAA batteries, which aren’t included.
We found this case compact and portable, though it has a cheaper feel. The light burns out fairly quickly, and we did find some distortion around the edge of the lens, making the magnifier more difficult to use. Cason offers a great lifetime warranty.
This 3.04-ounce magnifier is the heaviest model we tested. It has a 2” x 2” lens with 2X magnification. The lens retracts into the protective case using two side buttons that you’ll have to push at the same time. The LED light, which is guaranteed for 100,000 hours, turns on with an extra push of the buttons.
We found this magnifier harder to use, with dual buttons and a very low magnification level. The case has a clunky, unappealing design, and the product as a whole doesn’t feel very sturdy. Mighty Bright doesn’t offer a warranty.
Another inexpensive option is the TECHSHARE Folding Handheld Lighted Magnifier, which is a folding keychain model with quite a bit of magnification. It also has a cheaper look and a somewhat distorted lens.
At 2.4 ounces, this magnifier is reasonably light. The 45-millimeter glass lens folds into the case and offers 5X magnification. There’s a keychain attachment, and the handle has a non-slip coating. The LED light turns on automatically when you open the lens at least 150 degrees. This magnifier requires two CR1620 batteries, which are included.
We found this case cheap-feeling, with a poorly-made keychain. It some arrives scratched or dented, and the lens has some distortion around the edges. TECHSHARE doesn’t offer a warranty.
The Bausch & Lomb 812354 Folded Pocket Magnifier is reasonably-priced and lightweight but offers a very small viewing area and is fairly cheap-feeling.
This light 1.44-ounce magnifier has a 36-millimeter glass lens with 4X magnification. The protective round case comes with a soft carrying bag. There isn’t a light, and the magnifier doesn’t require batteries.
When we tested this product, we found that it felt fairly cheap. The lens, though made of glass, can be hard to focus and has quite a bit of distortion around the edges. The clear viewing area is very small, making this magnifier harder to use. This model doesn’t come with a warranty and can’t be returned.
Our least favorite model is the Donegan V341-T Triple Folding Pocket Magnifier, a lightweight but expensive magnifier with three stackable lenses. This magnifier is bulky, not very sturdy, and can be hard to use.
This very light .32-ounce magnifier offers three 1.25-inch glass lenses, each with 5X magnification. You can stack the lenses to produce 10X or 15X magnification, and all fold into the oval case. There isn’t a light, and you won’t need any batteries.
We found the plastic case unappealing and less sturdy than anticipated. The high distortion means the lenses have small workable viewing areas, making these lenses difficult to use for reading. The magnifier is also somewhat bulky and doesn’t come with a warranty.
Now that you’ve seen our list of the best pocket magnifying glasses, you’re ready to start shopping. But which should you choose? To help you find your best option, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to all of the available features.
The more important piece of a pocket magnifying glass is its lens. The quality of this glass or plastic will determine how well you can magnify. You may want to consider your eyesight and what you’d like to magnify. If you need quite a bit of magnification, you’ll want to look for lenses with at least 4X magnification. If you don’t need as much, you may be fine with minimal 2X-3X magnifications.
Glass lenses are somewhat heavier and have a higher-quality feel. They may be less distorted but may also scratch easily. On the other hand, plastic lenses, typically made of optical-grade acrylic, are lighter, less expensive, and harder to scratch. They can range in quality quite a bit, but the least distorted plastic lenses have an aspheric shape that widens the clear viewing area.
What kind of case are you looking for? Most pocket magnifiers fold or retract into protective plastic cases. These cases can be many different shapes and sizes, from bulky rectangles to compact ovals. If you’d like to put your magnifier in smaller pockets, you’ll want to pay attention to the case dimensions and choose a compact model. If you’re willing to carry a larger case, you may prefer the wider viewing area of a larger lens.
If you have arthritis or difficulty pushing small buttons, you may prefer a model that works without buttons. These can be sliding or folding magnifiers.
Would you like to use your magnifier at night or in dim restaurants? You may prefer a model with a built-in LED light. These lights are typically automatic, meaning they’ll come on when you bring the lens out. Some models will allow you to bring the lens most of the way out without activating the light, meaning you’ll be able to decide if you need a light. Some magnifiers offer button-operated lights, which can be convenient if you don’t want to use the light all of the time but can be more difficult if you have arthritis.
Keep in mind that models with lights will require batteries. Many of the magnifiers we reviewed here include the necessary batteries, so you’ll be able to start using them right away. These products typically require readily available commercial batteries, so they won’t be difficult to replace when the power runs out.
Pocket magnifiers aren’t huge investments, so you may be less interested in the available warranties. However, if you receive a defective model or have an LED light burn out quickly, you may appreciate the security of a good warranty. Not all of the models we reviewed come with warranties, but some include great lifetime guarantees or three- to six-month warranties.
Our top pick is the Fancii FC-MP15X Folding Pocket Magnifier, a well-designed folding option with two magnification levels, an automatic LED light, and a great warranty. If you’re shopping for value, you may appreciate the SE MH7015 Folding Pocket Magnifier, which is a compact, inexpensive model with plenty of magnification and minimal distortion. If you’d prefer a high-end magnifier, you may be interested in the iLumen8 Pocket Magnifying Glass, a button-free retracting model with an aspheric lens and an effective LED light.
A great pocket magnifier can help you read small text no matter where you are. These compact, affordable products are small enough to put in your pocket, purse, or on a keychain, and convenient enough for everyday use. We hope this list of the eight best pocket magnifying glasses available in 2020, complete with in-depth reviews and a handy buyer’s guide, helps you quickly find a great model. No need to struggle when there are so many portable, affordable magnifiers out there!
Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.
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