For many of us, it’s inevitable. We hit 40, and our eyesight changes. And for those of us who love needlework, this can be problematic.
I’ve written about magnification options for needlework many times here on Needle ‘n Thread. Today, I’m going to review a magnifier I recently purchased solely in order to answer your questions about it.
As an embroiderer who has had Really Bad Eyesight all my life, this is a topic that’s near and dear to me – having the right tools that allow us to pursue the things we love to do.
The magnifier I’m going to show you today is this Brightech gooseneck floor stand magnifier & light combo with a 5 diopter glass lens, providing 2.25x magnification.
When I need magnification, I can work with 1.75x magnification. I purchased the 2.25 so that I could make some comparisons and see how much of a difference that extra .5x makes.
If you’re just noticing that you might need a little boost with a magnifier to be able to see your needlework, chances are, you can get away with 1.75x magnification. The 2.25x might be overkill. Brightech makes this magnifier in both strengths.
There are a few things I wanted to find out about the Brightech magnifiers. I receive many questions about them, but until now, I had never tried one. Trying one would allow me to answer people’s questions better.
These are the questions I had in my head when I ordered the thing:
1. Does the lens provide a large enough magnified space, and is it clear and easy to see through?
2. How’s the light?
3. Is the whole apparatus well made and sturdy?
4. Is the whole apparatus easy to manipulate and move, so that it can be positioned comfortably for use in different situations?
5. Is it transportable?
6. Is it a good value for the price?
Lens Size, Clarity, and Light
When looking at photos of this particular magnifier, you might notice that the glass is green. At first, I thought this was a photographic enhancement, just to focus attention on the lens.
In fact, the glass is green. But it’s not a green that you notice when you’re using the magnifier.
The lens is glass, so it isn’t prone as much to the scratches that develop with plastic lens magnifiers – and that’s a good thing.
However, glass has other drawbacks. For one thing, it is heavy! For another, the higher the magnification, the thicker the glass is and the more “warp” you get on the edges of the lens.
This lens is a fairly good size, though, and it provides good coverage of a decent area to work. The light is excellent – bright and vivid, so that colors are clear.
If your head is positioned above the lens, you get a good magnified view. If you start to slide your head to the sides, the distortion from the sides of the lens becomes more evident. This is typical in most similar magnifiers.
With the gooseneck, you can adjust the position of the magnifier in myriad ways. You can also rotate the magnifier and light head forward away from you and back towards you on the axis where the magnifier connects to the gooseneck. This is a nice feature, as it allows you to move the magnifier to a vertical position and back to a horizontal position (or anywhere in between) quite easily. It also puts less wear on the gooseneck.
Construction & Portability
Good golly, the whole apparatus is a tank.
The gooseneck is strangely industrial. It is Hefty. I don’t know if that means it will last longer as a gooseneck (because sometimes, goosenecks lose their goose-neckiness very easily), but it seems like it should last longer! It feels like a factory-industrial-mega-strong-gooseneck.
And while that’s nice – while it seems to indicate a certain guaranteed longevity – it has its downside. It is heavy and tight. Manipulating the gooseneck requires a bit of elbow grease. But then, once it’s in position, it’s in position – it doesn’t shift much, that’s for sure!
I think the magnifier’s stand weighs sixteen million tons. Ok, this might be a slight exaggeration, but the base is heavy. It needs to be heavy, to support the gooseneck and the weight of the magnifier (remember: the lens is glass, so it is also heavy).
The base is oval. As long as the gooseneck is either upright or, if bent, is situated over the long direction of the oval base, the whole thing stands up fine. If the gooseneck is bent and you swing the gooseneck away from you (for example, if you’re getting up from a chair or sofa, and you want to move it from in front of you) and it rotates off the oval center, the whole thing gets a bit tippy and off balance. Even though the base is super heavy, the weight of the top of the thing (the uber-industrial gooseneck + the glass lens) makes it important to keep the head aligned correctly with the base if you want the thing to remain steady and upright.
The height of the whole apparatus is adjustable. There’s a twisty neck ring on the pole, and the pole is spring loaded. When you loosen the ring, the pole moves up by virtue of the spring. To stop the upward movement, you tighten the ring at the height you want.
I would not call this thing transportable by a long shot. You can move it, sure, from room to room or chair to sofa. But it is certainly not transportable for travel.
In Short, Pros & Cons
The light is good and bright.
The lens provides a crystal clear view when looking through it directly at your work.
The size of the magnified work space is decent. It isn’t huge, but it’s decent. There is warping off to the sides of the lens, but that’s fairly normal with this size glass lens.
The magnifier and light head can be turned forward and backward to adjust from a horizontal to vertical position easily, without involving the gooseneck.
The gooseneck seems made to last. It is strong and heavy.
The pole is height-adjustable and easy to manipulate in height, thanks to the spring action.
The base is heavy and supports the rest of the apparatus, as long as things are lined up correctly.
The whole thing is easy to assemble. It comes with the allen wrench required, which is in a little case that you can clip to the cord so you don’t lose it.
It’s affordable, at less than $70 for this particular magnifier (2.25x). The 1.75x magnifier is less than $90. I suppose this is because the 1.75x is more popular.
The thing is heavy. I was surprised at the weight of the whole stand. If you have a specific work area, this might not be a problem. It might be an advantage. If you move from place to place to stitch, you might find the whole thing cumbersome.
Some folks might consider the warp factor on the sids of the lens problematic. If you move your head a lot from side to side, without moving your work, it could perhaps make you a little sea sick. This is something you normally get used to, though.
The gooseneck is very strong and tight, requiring quite a bit of effort to manipulate it. Once you have it where you want it, it’s fine, but it takes some work to get it there!
There’s no battery option for this. It is a cord-only magnifier and light combo. But you would not be toting it to class, anyway, as it isn’t exactly portable!
Yes or No?
The selling points for me on the Brightech would be the affordability, the availability, and the stability (if I plan to keep it at a specific stitching spot). For the price, I find this magnifier / light combo to be a decent option. Is it the best out there? Perhaps not, but I like it! The price difference between this magnifier and other magnifier / light combos makes it a good option for those who want magnification but don’t like the higher price tags on other brands.
Where to Find It
You can find this particular magnifier and light combination available in the US through Amazon. You’ll find it listed here at the top of my Amazon Recommendations page. You can choose the strength of magnification on the individual product listing.
You can find more information and reviews of different lighting and magnification options on Needle ‘n Thread by exploring the articles in this list.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below!
This article contains an affiliate link to my Amazon Recommendations page, which means that Needle ‘n Thread receives a small commission for any purchases made through that link at no extra expense to you. Every little bit helps keep the website going! Thanks!