A guide to magnifiers & loupes

Our Guide to high-quality magnifiers, loupes, and eyeglasses for a broad range of industrial and vision enhancing applications.

Available in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and price points, with magnification ranging from 3x to 30x, and with many models produced for very specific application purposes, our website offers an extensive choice.

We hope this simple guide to magnifiers & loupes offered by PeplerOptics will help pave the way to a purchase that will fit both your functional requirements and your budget.

How to choose a magnifier:

Step 1 – Select Magnifier type:

  1. Do you need a hand-held magnifier or hands-free? Most magnifiers are designed for one or the other but a few types of Loupe magnifiers can be used either way.
  2. For general reading purposes a larger lens size is more convenient to use which means low magnification, usually between 2x and 4x. It is not optically possible to provide a high magnification in a large lens, see further advice on select magnification below.
  3. Do you need to repair or rework with your hands or tools whilst using the magnifier? If you do, select either a Stand Magnifier with an open base or consider Bench Magnifiers, Watchmaker Loupes or Headband MagnifiersTip: check the working distance of the magnifier to be sure there is enough space to use your tools whilst viewing the object.
  4. Do you need to measure the object being inspected? Measuring Magnifiers (also known as scale loupes) come with a built-in scale for quick and easy measurement purposes making them suitable for applications where both magnification and measurement are key requirements.  Scales offering metric, inch and special angles are available for many models. Tip: most scale loupes have graduations on the scale in increments of 0.1mm but some have smaller. If you need a finer scale then you should also consider our range of Portable Microscopes.
  5. Do you require special optical qualities from the lens? Some applications require special lens types; for example, checking images is best handled with a lens which is distortion-free and colour-corrected. For that purpose, we would recommend an Achromatic lens. Lens types is a significant topic in itself which we have written a separate blog about - A Guide to Lens Types
  6. Illumination – sometimes the ambient lighting where the magnifier will be used is not sufficient for a clear image. In this case, choose an illuminated magnifiers which has a built-in light.

Ready to select a magnifier? View all

Guide to Magnifiers & loupes

Step 2 –Select Magnification

The object size that you need to inspect will determine the magnification power, field of view and working distance that you need.

First a bit of terminology to help :

  • Field of View” is the area seen through the magnifier.
  • Working Distance” is the distance between the object being inspected and the magnifier.
  • Magnification Power”, is mostly referred to as X and is related to the focal length of a lens. It is generally assumed that the closest a human eye can comfortably focus is 10”. An object that is 1” from your eye would be 10x larger but out of focus, so a magnifier can help the eye to focus closer. A magnifier with a 1” focal length is usually referred to as 10x.

As magnification power increases, the lens diameter, field of view and working distance all decrease, making the magnifier less convenient to use. Usually, it is best to choose low power for reading or viewing larger surfaces and high power for inspecting small areas.

Tip: for reading documents with smaller letters magnifiers of 2x or 3x are most suitable. Those with 5x to 7x are adequate for daily desk use.  For inspection of very fine details 10x to 20x is recommended, but if you tried to read a newspaper with a 10x you would need to move the magnifier along each word because of the small field of view. 

magnification illustrated

Step 3 – Refine your choice with our filters

You can use the filters provided in the Shop By column on the left to further narrow down your search.  The following filters are provided:-

  • Field of View :    0.84mm up to 100mm
  • Magnification:   2x up to 30x
  • Brands:               Peak, Eschenbach, Coil, Specwell & Beta, F+C Optic, Waldmann
  • Lens type:          Achromatic, Ashperic, Aplanatic, Anastigmatic, Bi-Convex, Telecentric


The perfect magnifier would be lightweight, have a large diameter, provide a wide viewing area, and offer high, distortion-free magnification, and of course be low in cost. However, incorporating all of these features into one unit is optically impossible. We hope the advice above will guide you to the perfect magnifier.
For further information, please browse the relevant sections of our website or contact us for advice.

Ready to select a magnifier? View all magnifiers & loupes

Further reading:  An Overview of Magnifier Categories  and A Guide to Lens Types

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