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To work on anything small, from miniature models like Warhammer 40k to model trains, you have to be able to see the details clearly, and sometimes our eyesight just doesn’t cut it when we need to be precise with a paintbrush or scalpel!
A lamp that combines built-in magnification with good light can make your work less strenuous, and stop all that eye strain as well!
Optics and good light are two things you shouldn’t take for granted if you enjoy your hobby!
So let’s have a bit of a look into what you need to know if you’re considering buying a magnifying lamp for miniatures in the near future!
Glass or Plastic Lens Magnifying Lamps?
Glass lenses give better clarity. Glass offers better light transmission properties so all wavelengths pass through easily.
In addition, glass is very difficult to damage and scratch. All those bumps you end up making with your tools and brushes will be obscured in the glass.
In contrast, plastic is cheaper and weighs less. This means that magnifying lamps equipped with plastic lenses are easier to carry and smaller.
If you don’t plan on painting for long hours, a plastic lens magnifying lamp would do, however, if you’re deep into the hobby and paint for a long time, splurge and pick up a glass lens magnifying lamp instead. You’ll thank me in the long run!
Floor Lamp, Clamp-on Lamp, or Desktop Stand Lamp?
The best magnifying lamp is something that’s stable, secure and works for what your intended purpose is. So that could be that you’re just working away at your desk, or you’ve got multiple work-stations or you might even need to pack everything off the kitchen table when you’re done!
Desktop stand lamps are awesome if you’ve got a desk that you can leave set-up over a longer period of time. Since most of them are wired, it’s a bit of a pain if you’ve got to move them around a lot.
Clamp-on magnifying lamps are awesome because they tend to be a bit more versatile and powerful than your average desk magnifying lamp. They’re great if you’re working in a tight space or have to keep moving them around because they’re predominantly battery operated.
The only downside to these is that because they’re clamped to the edge of the table, you just need to make sure that the arm is long enough to reach where you need on the table.
A floor lamp with a magnifying glass would be the best choice if you work in different locations in a room. They’re big, powerful and since they’re not attached to the table, give you the most workspace possible.
What is Diopter Magnification Power?
Diopter units measure the magnification power of a lens, so the more
Try to get lamps with a diopter unit of 4-7, which gives about 2x to 2.5x magnification power. These provide enough focal length for your tools and brushes to work with without them looking blown out while you focus on your models.
Depending on the scale of your miniatures, you might want to even go up to a diopter unit of 8-16 which are 3x to 5x, which will really let you see those minute details!
What Type of Light Should I Look for?
Bright LEDs (anything over 800 lumens) offer better contrast and elevated visual details.
Daylight colour temperature lighting is ideal for true colour reproduction in model and miniature painting work.
Daylight lamps for painting accurately have a colour temperature that stays within the range of sunlight, which is between 5000-6500 kelvin.
The problem is if you get a light that is more on the yellow side, or even an LED that skews too blue, you’re going to find that the colours you’re picked afterwards are going to be a lot different once they’re out from behind the lamp!
Top 5 Best Magnifying Lamps for Miniatures and Model Trains
- HANDS FREE, FULL PAGE MAGNIFIER LENS FOR YOUR COMFORT & EASE OF USE - The flexible 24" gooseneck bends to point the magnifier and light where you need it. The extra wide rectangular lens bring a full page of a book into view, and the Lightview Pro being hands free allows you to use both hands to read, perform professional tasks or enjoy crafts and hobbies. This model features 2.25X magnification with things in focus at a distance of 8 inches.
- BOUGHT BY PROS & CRAFTERS: The Lightview Pro's reviews show it is used BY PROS: For doing facials, eyelash extensions, makeup and other esthetician / beautician tasks, tattoo artists, electronic design. BY HOBBYISTS: For puzzles; reading books, newspapers and crosswords; sewing, cross stitch, jewelry making, knitting, crocheting, quilting, beadwork, woodworking, repair of small electronics and soldering, painting, drawing and more.
- HELPFUL FOR MACULAR DEGENERATION & AGING EYES: Multiple testimonials from those with macular degeneration and from ageing customers show that older eyes need extra light, as well as magnification, to see details and full contrast. From reading fine print on pill bottles to seeing individual threads in a sewing project, small color nuances in a puzzle or fiddly jewelry clasps, countless activities require light and magnification. The Brightech Lightview Pro floor lamps provide this and more.
- REAL DIOPTER GLASS & 20 YEAR LIFE BRIGHT LED LIGHTS FOR MAX DURABILITY - AVOID REPLACEMENT HASSLES - The 6.5" x 4" lens is genuine diopter glass, so the lens doesn't warp with time or heat, and is also scratch resistant. So it lasts longer than cheap acrylic/plastic lenses that warp in heat and scratch easily, requiring replacements in little time. The 9W, 540 lumen LED lights are built in and last 20,000 hours - about 20 years if you use the Brightech Lightview Pro 3 hours every single day!
The Brightech LightView Pro LED Magnifying Lamp bears a resemblance to the XL version equipped with a rolling base. But instead of wheels, this one is weighted at the base to prevent the lamp from toppling over. A flexible arm is used in the palace of a swing-arm system. The height of the vertical stand can be altered between 24” to 44”. As the lamp comes with a floor stand, it saves space on your desk.
Emitting about 540 lumens, the LEDs are decent. The color temperature leans toward the cooler side, which is perfect for capturing the true colors of the object. It’s a shame that the lights cannot be dimmed or the color cannot be changed.
- Good magnification power
- 6″ diameter rectangular glass lens
- Weighted anti-tip base
- Great value
- Hard to store
- Not very portable
- Non-adjustable brightness and color
- 10X Ultimate Magnifier: Provide your project with a high-definition magnifying vision without any distortion, which is very suitable for your hobbies.
- 2200 Lumens High-Brightness Natural Light: We simulate natural light; the LED uses white light technology to emit more than 2,200 lumens of high brightness. The lamp head adopts a rotary switch, which is convenient for you to adjust any brightness level of the light.
- Flexible and firm arm: Our table lamp with strong metal clip, which can support a desk thickness of 2.1-inchThe clamp light is also equipped with a silicone pad to avoid scratching the desk. The metal swing arm can be 180° adjusted and extended to 40.5 inches of height to provide multi-directional lighting.
The KIRKAS 10x Magnifying Glass is a really affordable beast of a magnifying lamp; it has 5x and 10x can go up to 2200 lumens.
Do you find it difficult to read fine text, scrutinize minute details, or just appreciate your pastimes precisely? Look nowhere else! The Kirkas 2-in-1 10x magnifying glass will change the way you perceive the world.
The two strong magnification settings available with this multipurpose magnifying glass are 5x and 10x. You can quickly switch between them to suit your needs, whether you need to read small print or examine jewellery, and stamps, or even conduct scientific experiments.
The Kirkas 2-in-110x Magnifying Glass is your go-to buddy whether you’re a collector, a hobbyist, or simply need help with daily duties. Ideal for reading, collecting coins and stamps, inspecting jewelry, reading maps, and more
- Dual Magnification: The 2-in-1 design offers both 5x and 10x magnification options, making it versatile for various tasks.
- Crystal-Clear Optics: Enjoy distortion-free and exceptionally clear optics for detailed viewing.
- Versatile Applications: Suitable for a wide range of tasks, from reading fine print to examining collectibles and hobbies
- Limited Field of View: As with most high-magnification lenses, the field of view is narrower compared to lower magnification options, which may require more movement to explore larger objects.
- Requires Some Learning: Users unfamiliar with high-magnification lenses may take some time to adjust and find the optimal distance for clear viewing.
The Kirkas 2-in-1 10x Magnifying Glass offers numerous advantages, including dual magnification, excellent optics, LED lighting, and portability. However, it may require a short learning curve for those new to high-magnification magnifying glasses. Despite these minor drawbacks, it remains a valuable tool for various tasks, providing clarity and precision in your everyday life and hobbies.
- 5-inch magnifying lamp with light. The desk lamp with magnifying glass and light has a wide field of vision, super clear without distortion and haze. Can magnify objects 2.25x bigger than their original size.
- Adjustable metal swivel arm adopts plastic spraying technology: more eco-friendly and durable for a longer time - rust prevented, stain resistant, and isn’t easy to fade.
- 6000K High contrast white daylight. 60 LEDs are evenly distributed around the magnifier lamp. 4 dimming levels can meet your basic needs.
- Bemelux Magnifying Lamp will help elderly friends with macular degeneration and visual impairment to regain the joy of life: reading books, newspapers, medicine bottles, sewing, embroidery, knitting, needlework, cross stitch, puzzle etc.
The Bemelux LED Magnifying Lamp is a handy and useful lighting option created to improve your daily hobby tasks; Those small, intricate paint jobs, or tiny model details that are starting to strain your eyes. In addition to offering sufficient illumination, LED technology also uses less energy, making it economical and environmentally friendly. At 1200 Lumens, its definitely bright enough to help you work on anything you need with a nice cool light, plus the extended arm means you can position it nearly anywhere you need to without it being a hassle.
- High-Quality LED Lighting: The Bemelux lamp features energy-efficient LED lights, providing bright and consistent illumination for various tasks.
- General 2.25x Magnification: Equipped with a 5-diopter glass lens, it offers 2.25x magnification, making it ideal for tasks that require precision, such as painting or model making. It’s a good all-purpose magnification size.
- Adjustable Arms and Swivel: The lamp’s flexible arms and swivel head allow you to position the light and magnifier exactly where you need it, reducing eye strain and increasing comfort.
- Fixed Magnification: This lamp has a fixed 2.25x magnification, which may not be suitable for tasks requiring higher levels of magnification, like those super intricate model details.
- Limited Color Temperature Control: Some users may prefer lamps with adjustable color temperature settings for different lighting scenarios, which this lamp lacks.
- CLARITY & QUALITY: GENUINE GLASS MAGNIFIER THAT MAGNIFIES 225%.: Review: "The magnafine [sic] glass is so much clearer than what I was using and it feels very heavy duty." That's because the 3" lens is made of genuine diopter glass, unlike cheap lenses made of plastic/acrylic that fog up. Things are in focus about 8" away.
- BEST FOR COMFORT: GET THE LENS & LIGHT WHERE YOU NEED, WORK HANDS FREE, AVOID UNCOMFORTABLE MAG GLASSES - The Brightech LightView Pro Flex 2 in 1 has a 13.5" adjustable, flexible gooseneck, so you can point the glass and light where you want and free both your hands. The heavy base or strong clamp ensure the light doesn't tip so you can enjoy comfort with close work. Review: "Solid and heavy, this base is more than enough to keep the lamp stable in any position it is set to."
- LOVED BY CRAFTERS & HOBBYISTS: Reviewers have used it for painting, sewing, jewelry making, jigsaw puzzles, cross stitch, repairing electronics etc. Here's what they say: "Perfect for threading needles with ease." "Lights allow me to see true colors." (That's thanks to 6000K daylight-color cool white light - not yellow light.) "A life saver when stitches have dropped." "Enough room under the glass to solder." "A true helper for older eyes and very small electronics." Read the reviews!
- 21 YEAR LIFE BRIGHT LED LIGHTS & REAL DIOPTER GLASS FOR MAX DURABILITY - The 6W & 570 lumen LED lights are built in and last 20,000 hours - about 20 years if you use the Brightech Lightview Pro 3 hours every single day! The genuine diopter glass means the lens doesn't warp with time or heat, and is also scratch resistant. So it lasts longer than cheap acrylic/plastic lenses that warp in heat and scratch easily, requiring replacements in little time.
The Brightech LightView Pro Flex Magnifying Lamp features a glass lens in a desktop lens. The 2.25x magnification power is perfect for painting on smaller details on miniatures. The LED comes in a daylight color temperature with a lower Lumen of 570.
This is as much brightness as you would get from an average 40 to 60 watt incandescent bulb – something we find a major drawback.
However, thanks to the flexible swing arm, the lens can be moved anywhere needed. The overall dimensions of this product are decent, allowing it a small footprint while letting you maneuver the light as needed.
- Glass lens
- Flexible lamp system
- Small lens
- Dim light
- 5X Magnifying Lamp - This magnifier lamp has 7" lens, with a 4.9" wide real glass, provides a 18" rang clear view. It was designed for anyone who focus close work, seeing small details easier, even with vision problems(eg:aging eyes, macular degeneration), reduce eyes strain and avoid dizziness. The magnification up to 5X/500%.
- Adjustable Floor & Clamp Lamp - Best rolling base has 5 wheels as it rolls easily across carpeting, floors, has the best stability. You also can attach it to your workbench as a clamp lamp, as long as your desktop have a plain exposed flat edge. You can place the glass lens where you need it by adjust the swivel arm, doesn't need a hand to hold it, free your both hands to work.
- 1500 Lumens Dimmable Lamp - This lamp includes a built-in dimming power-saving LED fixture, it has 24 watts, 1,500 Lumens and a color temperature of a clear, 6500 Kelvin, provides enough brightness to make your small project very bright in the dark. The lamp lasts about 15-20 years so you will never have to replace it.
- Multiple-Use at Home & Work Station - You won't feel dizzy when you see details long time through this 8-diopter real glass lens. This standing light can be used as a work light for estheticians, beauticians to do facials, eyelash extensions, tattoo. Artists, jewelers, repairman also use it to do other professional tasks. It also can be used as a family floor lamp for reading, sewing, cross stitching, knitting, puzzles, crochet, embroidery, diamond painting or other fine projects.
With a massive 7” lens and 4.9” wide real glass, the Lancosc Magnifying Floor Lamp offers a 18” range clear view. It was designed to decrease eye strain and dizziness. The magnification can be done up to 5X.
There are five wheels on the base which allows the lamp to easily move over carpets and floors while maintaining stability. You can also secure it to a workbench as long as there is a plain flat edge on the desktop. Due to the swivel arm, you can place the lens where you need it.
What we really like is the built-in dimming LED fixture. Made to save power, the LED fixture will last for a really long time while providing adequate brightness.
- Big magnification
- Power saving
- 3-years after sales service from company
- The base is quite big
The best-magnifying lamps for miniatures and model trains are the ones that meet your needs while keeping them comfortable. There are tons of choices in the market so stick to the guide we provided above to get the best.
Ultimately, you get what you pay for. Think about all the hours you plan on spending to paint models and miniatures. Why cause yourself pain with poor light?
Peter has been building model trains for longer than he can remember. An avid fan of HO and O scale this blog is a creative outlet to allow him to dive further into other scales and aspects of the model train community and hobby.