Lighting is one of those subjects that should be near and dear to every embroiderer’s heart.
I needed a little light – something I could use inside the house in the evenings that wouldn’t bother the rest of the family, something I could use in the car, and something that would work well in hotel rooms, without having to tote a larger light around with me. (Have you ever noticed that hotel room light is never adequate for needlework?!)
Enter a little light that’s bright, bright, bright – the Beam N Read light. It makes a great little traveling companion for the needleworker. If you want a portable light that’s usable in the car, that’s easy to take to needlework classes, that doesn’t take up room in your living room, and that’s affordable, you might take a look at this one.
Here’s my review of the Beam N Read light as used while embroidering, with pros and cons.
The Beam N Read is an LED light. The light hangs around the neck and shines down on your needlework, so you aren’t faced with your eyes being irritated by very bright LEDs.
Here’s the light, right out of the box. It comes with a neck strap and it comes with a magnifier, but more on the latter, later.
The light runs on batteries (4 AA batteries), which are not included.
When you flip the head of the light into its upward, working position, it turns on automatically. There’s a switch to choose between using all six LEDs for maximum brightness, or just three, for a slightly dimmer light.
When all six LEDs are on, the battery life is listed as 50 hours. When only three are in use, the battery life is listed as 100 hours.
Here, you can see the light shining in a semi-dark room (only window light), with all six LEDs lit.
The light also comes with two plastic, snap-on filters, a red one and an orange one. When in place, these change the color of the light, which may be useful for different tasks.
For example, if you’re doing needlework, you probably won’t want a filter – you’ll want the lights to be as bright as possible. But if you’re reading in a dark room, the orange filter sheds a yellowish light that’s apparently a bit more relaxing and easy on the eyes for reading.
I haven’t really tested the filters myself for any extended period of time. I’ve used the light just for stitching. But you can see that the light is definitely a different color when the filter is attached.
There’s a little flip-up section on the light that’s meant to hold the enclosed magnifier.
The magnifier is a plastic rectangle that’s kept in a sleeve enclosed with the light.
On the box, they do make it clear that the magnifier is not intended as a low vision aid.
And indeed, it’s not a low vision aid.
The magnifier slips into the flip-up holder, and is situated just above the light.
I find the magnifier superfluous. It does not really magnify, and in fact, I think it impedes vision.
If nothing else, it has these little swirl lines in it that are distracting and that make whatever you’re looking at fuzzy.
But – it’s not about the magnifier, in my opinion…
It’s about the light itself. It rests easily on your front, it doesn’t get in the way, it’s light enough not to be bothersome (though admittedly, it isn’t super light, because of the batteries), and it shines a Very Bright Light, perfect for needlework.
I think the Beam N Read is an excellent little portable light, perfect for those situations when you don’t want a larger overhead light on that will bother others, perfect for travel, for classroom use, and for myriad other uses that I’m sure you can come up with, too!
It provides a good, bright light for needlework.
It’s convenient to tote around and easily portable.
Compared to other portable lights, it’s affordable.
The magnifier is pretty pointless.
Some folks might find the illuminated area small and restricting. Since I don’t move around a lot when embroidering, I thought the lighted area was fine.
The neck strap requires adjusting for anyone who is average height. It’s too long. It adjusts easily, but I found that a clip or a safety pin in the strap held it in place a little more securely.
Where to Find the Bean N Read
In case you’re looking for an affordable, portable light – it would make a great little gift for Christmas! – you can find it here through Amazon.*
*That’s an affiliate link, which means I get a small kickback that helps support Needle ‘n Thread.