How to choose a laser pointer

Laser pointers serve several purposes. You can use them at office meetings to highlight important parts of presentations or at home as a high-tech toy for feline companions. Their powerful lights reach distant targets, pointing out objects for discussion without requiring any physical reach.

These tools clarify topics in lecture halls, too. Both students and professors use laser pointers for educational purposes. They help just as much on hikes and tours; guides no longer need to use physical extensions to point out nearby plants or significant historical points. Laser pointers highlight the same information without any extra effort.

Laser Pointers: What to Look For

Depending on the situation, some laser pointers work better than others. When you need to point out constellations, a more powerful beam should be used to point toward the spot in the sky. Only a high power laser pointer creates this type of beam. When you want to distract a pet, you need far less power. Other factors, like the laser's color and the availability of accessories will also affect your decision.

Power Output
Laser pointers vary in many ways, but power output remains the most important to consider. High power levels, which you can measure in milliwatts (mW), create more vibrant looking beams. They reach further than their low-power counterparts and can sometimes ignite matches when pointed directly at them. These high-power laser pointers do not make safe choices for most simple tasks.

Lower power outputs still generate enough energy to shine a laser point across the room. They require less bulk to function, and they generate fewer milliwatts than more powerful laser pointers.

Laser Color
While red lasers remain the most common for use in homes, blue and green laser pointers are growing in popularity. These alternate laser colors come with higher power levels, and you can use them for long-range tasks. Green laser pointers work most effectively for astronomy classes, while red pointers handle many everyday tasks.

Home laser pointers require a far shorter range than those needed for more intense activities. Long-range uses require a few additional features. For example, blue laser pointers usually collimate at a greater rate than red lasers. This ensures a focused point at further distances, which allows you to stand a greater distance from your target without losing precision.

Home laser pointers sometimes come with alternate heads to alter the beam. These caps project lines, dots and simple images instead of the traditional pinpoint of a standard laser. Other laser pointer accessories include lanyards for better control and cases for protection during transport.

The right laser pointer depends on the task you are using it for. Long range jobs require lasers with higher levels of collimation. Tasks that require visible beams may require green laser pointers for night viewing, and everyday home tasks need lower power levels to ensure safety. Find out everything you need to know before choosing your next laser pointer.