Strongest Magnifying Glasses for Reading

Humanware 7" electronic magnifier reading the news paperThe STRONGEST magnifying glasses for the visually impaired are digital magnifiers (also known as electronic magnifiers, video magnifiers and low vision cctvs). These are much stronger than the best quality magnifying glasses with light, and can have up to 70x magnification. In comparison, regular optical magnifying glasses usually range between 2-20x magnification.

Even better, the display on a digital magnifier is much bigger than a magnifying glass.

If you’ve ever had a strong magnifying glass before, you’ve probably been frustrated by the small size of the viewing area!

Digital magnifiers solve this! They use electronics to project the magnified writing onto a screen.

If you need magnification greater than 20x I would definitely recommend a digital magnifier. They are expensive, but all my clients love them and say they wouldn’t cope without them. They really help you to get your independence back and enable you to do tasks that you simply couldn’t do without one.

 

Which is the Strongest Magnifying Glass for Low Vision – A Comparison Table

ProductMagnification rangeOther featuresMore details

Eschenbach Mobilux magnifying glass with light

Strongest magnifying glass by Eschenbach
10x


For mild vision loss
Lightweight - 3 ounces
High quality
LED lights use AA batteries
Read more below or buy on Amazon.

AboveTEK handheld lighted magnifying glass

A low vision magnifying glass looking at small writing in a book
20x


For moderate vision loss
Durable acrylic lens
LED lights use AA batteries
Top rated magnifier
Read more below or buy on Amazon.

Pebble portable digital magnifier

Pebble hand held electronic magnifier used with handle extended to read medicine bottles
1.25x - 13.5x adjustable


For mild vision loss
Use with handle or on stand.
4.3" backlit screen
Increase contrast & change colors
Read more below or buy on Amazon.

ViSee 4/3" portable electronic magnifier

A video magnifier is more powerful than the strongest magnifying glasses
6x - 25x adjustable


For moderate vision loss
Rechargeable battery lasts 4 hours of useRead more below or buy on Amazon.

Humanware Explore 5 handheld electronic magnifier

Humanware handheld video magnifier looking at a label
2x - 22x adjustable


For mild to moderate vision loss
Large 5" screen
Use with handle or on stand for reading
18 enhancement modes for colors & contrast
Top rated magnifier
Read more below or buy on Amazon.

Humanware Explore 7

Humanware 7" electronic magnifier reading the news paper
2.3x - 19x adjustable


For mild to moderate vision loss
Very large 7" screen
Built in stand so you don't have to hold it.
Distance viewing mode
Rechargeable battery
Read more below or buy on Amazon.

Humanware SmartView 360 Video Magnifier

Humanware Smartview 360 digital magnifier connected to an iPad for large display
2.6x to 57x adjustable


For moderate to severe vision loss
19" LCD screen sits on your table
Can point camera down to read, or at self for grooming, or in the distance.
Built in handle for portability (weighs 8kg)
Read more below or buy on Amazon.

GoVision 24" LCD portable electronic magnifier

GoVision Focus portable video magnifier reading a magazine with small text
1.7x to 83x adjustable


For mild to severe vision loss
Largest 24" LCD screen
Largest range of magnification
Enhanced color and contrast modes
Distance viewing and self view modes
OCR mode - speech feature reads text aloud so you can listen and rest your eyes
Top rated magnifier
Read more below or buy on Amazon.

Why are the strongest magnifying glasses small?

Traditional (non-electronic/digital) magnifying glasses are made from glass or acrylic. They work by using a cut out, curved piece of glass, which bounces the light around in such as way that the image appears larger. The deeper the curve is cut in the glass, the stronger the magnification can be.

The strongest magnifying glasses need a really, steeply curved piece of glass. To get the angles required the glass itself needs to be quite small, otherwise the entire unit would be so big it would be too heavy and unmanageable.

This explains why as magnifying glasses go up in strength, they go down in lens size.

 

What to look for in a strong magnifying glass?

If digital magnifiers are out of you budget, or you only want a magnifying glass between 10-30x magnification, here are some tips on what to look for:

  • Get a magnifying glass with light, to maximize the visibility and contrast.
  • The higher the level of magnification the stronger it will be. However, not all magnifiers of the same strength are equal in quality. As a general rule you get what you pay for. The cheaper ones may be more likely to have distortion around the edges.
  • Strong but light-weight handle so that it’s easy to carry around.

 

My Recommendations

Top quality lighted magnifier pick for moderate vision loss   

Strongest magnifying glass by EschenbachBuy Eschenbach lighted magnifying glass from AmazonEschenbach Mobilux LED 38D 10x 35mm 151110

The Eschenbach Mobilux is a quality product that is simple to use. This model is suitable for people with moderate vision loss.

It is very light, portable and durable, so it is practical to keep in a handbag or pocket.

It is a lighted magnifying glass using LED lights, and powered with 2 AA batteries. The batteries can be hard to replace for seniors with poor vision and poor dexterity. They may need assistance to replace the batteries every few months.

Key points

  • 10x magnification
  • Dimensions: 6.5″ x 3″ x 1.5″
  • Very lightweight – 3 ounces
  • Bright LED illumination
  • High quality, German made magnifying glass. This is the brand recommended by optometrists.
  • Eschenbach costs more but is top of the line beyond going to a digital magnifier.
  • Able to buy online and have it delivered to you.

 

Top lighted magnifier pick for 20x magnification  

A low vision magnifying glass looking at small writing in a bookBuy AboveTEK illuminated magnifier from AmazonAboveTEK Handheld 4.2-Inch 20X Magnifying Loupe

This is the strongest magnifying glass I recommend to people who do not want (or can’t afford) an electronic magnifier. It is a decent size for a magnifying glass of this strength and simple to use. It is well lit with LED lights which provides good results for reading.

Any magnifying glass more than 20x in strength is physically too small to be practical. If you need magnification greater than 20x then you will need a digital magnifier.

Key points

  • 20x magnification
  • very bright with 12 LED lights
  • 4.2″ diameter lens
  • 8″ length
  • durable, scratch and shatter resistant acrylic lens
  • Requires 2 AA batteries
  • Able to buy online and have it delivered to you.

 

 

Best handheld electronic magnifiers

Top handheld electronic magnifier pick   

Pebble hand held electronic magnifier used with handle extended to read medicine bottlesBuy Pebble handheld electronic magnifier from AmazonPebble Rechargeable Hand-Held Digital Magnifier

This is a great choice for people with mild to moderate vision loss who can afford to spend a bit more and want to make their lives as easy as possible. Many people with vision loss get used to struggling with their vision, and when they see how easy it is to read again with the help of digital magnification they are thrilled.

The 4.3″ screen is very bright and can be made high contrast black writing on a white background, which many people find helpful. Alternatively, for people who don’t like glare, you can adjust if to white writing on a black background to minimize the brightness while maximizing the contrast.

Key points

  • 4.3″ HD screen
  • Lightweight – 7.2 ounces
  • Adjustable magnification from 1.25x to 13.5x
  • Handle allows you to easily hold up to view 3D objects
  • Handle folds under into its reading position. It then rests flat on the page you’re reading at the right height to focus clearly, so you don’t need to hold it up to read.
  • 28 color contrast modes
  • Able to buy online and have delivered to you

 

Top pick for low budget electronic magnifier  

A video magnifier is more powerful than the strongest magnifying glassesBuy ViSee portable digital magnifier from AmazonViSee 4.3″ LCD Portable Digital Magnifier

This is the most affordable of the digital magnifiers that I would recommend. There are some cheaper ones on the market but their quality isn’t great, so I would recommend spending a bit extra to get one that will work well. As a general rule, you do get what you pay for when it comes to electronic magnifiers. This one is a sound, adequate option, but isn’t quite as nice as some of the larger, better quality options.

Key points

  • 4.3″ LCD screen
  • Adjustable magnification from 6x to 25x (Note the lowest level of this may be too big for people who only need low levels of magnification).
  • Full color plus 6 other color modes
  • Cheapest digital magnifier
  • No handle
  • Rechargeable battery lasting 4 hours continuous use. Charger included
  • Dimensions: 6.2″ x 3.5″ x 1.1″
  • Weight: 8 ounces
  • Able to buy online and have delivered to you

Top pick for portable electronic magnifier

Humanware handheld video magnifier looking at a labelBuy Humanware Explore 5 video magnifier from AmazonHumanWare explore 5 Handheld Electronic Magnifier

This is my top pick for a portable electronic magnifier, because it is from a reputable brand that has made quality products for many years. It has a very large range of magnification (2x-22x) which means it is suitable for people with mild vision loss, and will see them through for a long time as their vision deteriorates. It is also perfectly suitable for people who already have moderate vision loss.

The Explore 5 has an inbuilt stand which makes it particularly good for reading. The stand allows you to rest the device on top of your reading material on a table, and puts the angle of the screen up at a 45 degree angle. This is a much better angle to read. It means you don’t have to lean right over the table to read a horizontal screen which tires your neck. This is a very good feature that the cheaper models don’t have.

Key points

  • Large 5″ screen
  • Handle to easily hold up to view 3D objects. Folds away when not required.
  • Inbuilt stand for table top reading mode, makes the magnifier sit at an angle so it’s more comfortable to read.
  • Large range of magnification: Adjustable magnification from 2X-22X
  • More than 18 enhancement modes, for better color contrast options.
  • Able to buy online and have delivered to you

Top pick for large screen portable electronic magnifier

Humanware 7" electronic magnifier reading the news paperBuy Humanware Explore 7 digital magnifier from AmazonHumanWare explore 7 Handheld Electronic Magnifier

Click here to read my detailed review of the Humanware Explore 7.

The very large 7″ screen means you fit more words on the screen when reading, but it is still a portable size. The 7″ screen is a very popular choice, for those who can afford it, as it makes reading much easier when you can see more words on the screen. At the same time, it is still a portable size that can comfortably fit in a bag. The Explore 7 is slightly smaller and lighter than other brands of digital magnifiers with a 7″ size screen.

Key points

  • 7″ LCD screen
  • Easy to use, large tactile buttons.
  • No handle. Built in stand so you don’t have to hold it up at the right height.
  • High Definition, anti-glare screen.
  • Distance viewing mode (to read street signs, or look for products on high shelves etc)
  • Rechargeable battery with charger included. It comes with a cleaning cloth and a sturdy case to protect it when you’re on the go.
  • Adjustable magnification from 2.3X-19X.
  • You can plug the Explore 7 into a TV or computer screen via a cable to see the video image taken from the Explore on the TV. This allows you to magnify what you’re reading even more as you can look at it on a much bigger screen.
  • Able to buy online and have delivered to you

 

Best portable electronic magnifier

Top pick for desk size portable electronic magnifier

Humanware Smartview 360 digital magnifier connected to an iPad for large displayBuy Humanware smartview 360 digital magnifier from AmazonHumanWare SmartView 360 Video Magnifier

For people who want to read a lot for pleasure, or for those with more severe vision loss, the greatest solution is to get an electronic magnifier that sits on your table or desk. The SmartView 360 has a 19″ LCD screen, which means you can fit a lot on the screen at once. Compare this to using a strong magnifying glass where you only see about one word at a time through the lens.

The controls are easy to use with practice, and are attached to the screen by a wire so they don’t get lost.

The large screen is also great for looking at photos or pictures, which you can’t really do properly with a powerful magnifying glass.

Key points

  • 19″ LCD screen
  • Camera can point any direction. Point down to read, write or do handiwork; point across the room for meetings or classes; and point at self for personal grooming.
  • Magnification levels for desktop – 2.6x to 57x; distance – 0.6x to 27x; self view – 1x to 4x
  • Portable unit with built in screen and handle
  • iPad connectivity. Plug your iPad in to see it displayed on the 19″ SmartView screen.
  • Weighs 8kg
  • Able to buy online and have delivered to you

 

Best large electronic magnifier with speech

Top pick for desk size electronic magnifier

GoVision Focus portable video magnifier reading a magazine with small textBuy GoVision Focus electronic desktop magnifier from AmazonGoVision – 24″ LCD Auto Focus Portable Electronic Magnifier

This is the ultimate option for someone who wants a strong magnifying glass. It has a price tag to match its top of the line status, but provides great value to those who can afford it.

The GoVision digital magnifier has the largest screen available at the time of writing – 24″, which is the size of a large computer screen.

It also has an exceptionally large range in its magnification abilities – it can magnify from 1.7x up to 83x. This means it can be helpful for people with mild vision loss right through to those with severe vision loss. As it is typical for people’s vision condition to worsen with time, it is great to know that you can keep using this product with larger magnification as you need it.

One particular benefit of this equipment is that it can read printed text aloud in speech. This is wonderful for people with severe vision loss, for those who tire quickly, and for people who prefer to listen rather than strain their eyes.

Key points

  • 24″ High Definition LCD monitor for quality large images
  • Approx 1.7x to 83x magnification
  • Magnify text to read, and look at pictures or photos in large size on a large screen.
  • Hands free – great for writing, crafts or crosswords.
  • Full color mode as well as enhanced contrast options in various colors
  • Self view mode for personal grooming, makeup, shaving, etc
  • Distance viewing available. This is great for students or people in the workforce who need to look at a presentation at the front of room.
  • OCR – Scan and Read Software – have printed material read aloud.
  • Plug Tablet or SmartPhone into monitor
  • USB compatible.
  • Able to buy online and have delivered to you

 

In summary, the strongest magnifying glasses for reading are digital magnifiers. I’ve listed my top picks above, but there are a few more options listed on the page on electronic magnification.

Save

Save