Technical Magnifiers: Finding a Commercial or Industrial Magnifier

Man fixing trainFinding a technical magnifier can be somewhat tricky, but as long as you know what task you’ll be performing with it, the pointers below will help in your search for the perfect magnification device for your needs.

Different magnification devices are needed to accomplish various goals such as increasing the speed of assembly, improving inspections, enhancing quality control, facilitating the manufacture of small parts, observing lesions, implanting a tooth, or just investigating and observing very small objects.


Once you know the task, you’ll need to determine the following four factors:

  1. Task distance
  2. Task duration
  3. Magnification
  4. Illumination

1. Task Distance

Magnification DeviceTask distance refers to the space between the viewer and the object being viewed. This distance bears dramatically on the type of magnifier design required. The distance of the task can be categorized as follows:

  • Near tasks - usually engaged in at a "reading" distance (usually 16" or closer), these tasks include reading, writing, inspecting, etc.
  • Intermediate tasks - usually engaged in at about arm's length (17" - to 40") these tasks can include viewing a computer monitor and working with hobbies and handicrafts.
  • Distance tasks - any visual task that is not near or intermediate (approximately 5' or more). These tasks are usually activities such as watching television, reading indoor and outdoor signs, observing objects at a distance for forestry or security purposes, etc.

2. Task Duration

This term refers to the time period for which you will be using the magnification device to accomplish a given task. It is easier to think of task durations as follows:

  • Short-term spotting tasks – these are activities that are engaged in for a maximum of only a few minutes at a time
  • Extended viewing tasks – these tasks would engage the individual for a longer period of time

The grid below graphically depicts the relationship between the Distance and Duration of the visual task desired and the category of magnifying devices that are best suited to comfortably accomplish these tasks.

To use the chart below, identify the task distance and duration and find the square where the two factors line up. For example: if you wanted to inspect a piece of jewelry, that would be considered a Near Extended Task and you could choose between a stand magnifier, a spectacle magnifier, a telescope, or a video magnifier to accomplish this task.

3. Magnification

The next factor to consider is magnification. There is a wide range of magnification options to choose from and the correct option depends on the size of the object being viewed and the type of task you are trying to accomplish.

To view different magnification devices, check out our searchable Product Catalog.

4. Illumination

Man with lampThe final factor to consider is Illumination. Depending on the ambient lighting of the room in which you are trying to accomplish your task, you may or may not need additional illumination. If you do need additional illumination, there are a number of options to choose from including LED, halogen, incandescent and fluorescent lighting.

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For more information about our commercial / technical magnifiers or our other products, see our product catalog.

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