Best Laser Pointer of 2019: Complete Reviews With Comparisons
Laser pointers are small, hand-held devices that are designed to produce light beams. Today, consumer laser pointers are mostly used as presentation pointers, for astronomy and as toys for cats.
The most familiar application of the laser pointer for most people would be the presentation pointer. During the 1990s, it was common for professionals and college students alike to use large, bulky overhead projectors to present information. Overhead transparency slides typically had plenty of data crammed into a small space, so presenters found it necessary to highlight their main points. By then, laser pointers had become affordable and were sold at many stores. Therefore, they were a good fit as presentation pointers.
In the field of astronomy, laser pointers have become particularly useful tools. Green laser pointers are used to point out celestial objects, including stars and constellations. Those who are used to seeing presentation pointers may be surprised at how far light beams from green laser pointers could travel, into the night sky. There are a number of reasons why green laser beams can be easily seen at night. Firstly, our human eyes are especially sensitive to green light. Moreover, green laser pointers for astronomy usually have a relatively high-power output of 5 milliwatts (mW) or more. As green light travels through the air, it gets scattered away from the main beam direction by air and dust particles, allowing you to view it from the side. Take note that in many states and countries, the use of high-powered laser beams above 1 mW is highly regulated and restricted. You may be required to apply for a permit to own and operate one. If in doubt, check with your local authorities before making a purchase.
Laser pointers are also used as toys for cats. This is due to the feline creatures' never-ending obsession with the laser beam! Cats possess a natural predatory instinct, and will usually chase after anything that moves. When you shine a laser beam in the room, your cat will run after it and try to "catch" it. The only problem is that this builds frustration in your cat. There is nothing more futile than chasing after a laser light that cannot be caught! Veterinarians recommend that if you wish to use laser toys on your cat, hide some treats around the house, and occasionally, shine a beam on one of these treats. This will simulate the cat's behavior in the wild, where it can look forward to catching its prey. Having said that, it is still a good idea to buy tangible toys that your pet cat can lay its paws on.
Laser Pointer Reviews
Presentation Pointer: Logitech R500
- UNIVERSAL COMPATIBILITY: optimized to work with Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android, and leading...
- METER OPERATING RANGE: Move and present freely from as far as 20 meters (65 ft.) away. Perfect for...
- DUAL CONNECTIVITY: Connect to your computer via USB receiver or Bluetooth low energy technology. A...
Logitech is known to produce excellent computer peripheral devices, and the R500 is no exception. The Logitech R500 is a very versatile and advanced presentation remote. First released in May 2018, it has quickly become a popular model for professional presenters. It is highly compatible with various operating systems, computers and devices, and priced relatively affordably. It is also known to work well with projector screens and on walls. Previously, we did a review on three top Logitech presentation pointers, and the R500 was the winning choice.
The Logitech R500 Presentation Pointer is designed to work with most presentation software, including PowerPoint, Prezi, Google Slide, Keynote and PDF. It also works with Windows, Mac OS, Android and iOS operating systems. Connectivity is provided in two choices- you could either use its wireless USB receiver to connect with your computer, or connect using Bluetooth. The device has an app that lets you track battery life, customize the button functions, and set a timer for presentations.
What We like
The first thing that impressed us was the model’s compatibility with most presentation software and operating systems. This gives it a range of flexibility for use in different settings, and eliminates the need for customers to buy different pointers for different systems. We also like the presentation timer feature, which we think will be helpful to any seasoned or new presenter alike. The textured grip gives you a good feel of the pointer, and the controls are fairly easy to use. This model also has a good operating range of 65 feet (20 meters), which is adequate for meeting rooms and even lecture halls.
What We don’t like
Some customers commented that their R500’s controls started wearing out after a year of intensive use. We think this may be a concern for those who give presentations frequently, but otherwise, there was no other aspect of this product that we didn’t like.
For LCD/LED: Logitech Spotlight Presentation Remote
- Advanced Highlighting* - The Logitech Spotlight remote allows you to highlight or magnify on screen....
- Smart Time Management* - Manage your time perfectly from your first until your final slide. Set...
- Universal Compatibility - The Logitech Spotlight remote is optimized to work with Windows or macOS...
The Logitech Spotlight Presentation Remote was released in 2017 and proved to be a hit. It is an advanced remote that lets you highlight or magnify data with a spotlight (hence the name). Its cursor can work like a mouse; you could use it to play and pause videos, click on web links and switch between different modes. This device is compatible with both Mac and Windows operating systems, and works with popular presentation software such as Google Slides, Prezi and PowerPoint. It is also designed to work with smart TV monitors. The Logitech Spotlight was our recommended presentation remote for TV screens when we did a comparison with a few other models.
Your overall experience with the product starts with its sleek, user-friendly design. We find the gold color option to be particularly appealing, and definitely makes the device stand out from other competitors. However, another area that stands out is its compatibility with LCD and LED TV screens. Not many presentation pointers work well with TV screens as the monitors are designed to absorb incoming light. Moreover, non-compatible laser pointers could damage your television screens. The Logitech Spotlight solved this problem and is our top recommendation of presentation pointers for TV screens.
What We like
The device has an excellent long range of 98 feet (30 meters), which easily wins most presentation pointers hands-down. This will be useful for those who have to present in large halls. It also allows you to connect to your computer using both Bluetooth and a wireless USB receiver. The quick charging capability is a bonus for professionals who are constantly on the go. Some customers claim that they are able to continue presenting for hours after just a minute of charging! Meanwhile, the timed alerts are very useful for keeping time for your presentation.
What We don’t like
The somewhat steep price of this remote makes it expensive for those who do not present frequently. Another shortcoming is that the Logitech Spotlight does not have magnifying and highlighting functions for iPhones. However, we think that regular presenters will find it a worthwhile investment due to its compatibility with most presentation software and operating systems, as well as LED screens.
Longest Range: Pinty Green Laser Pointer [Astronomy]
- DURABILITY, made of aerospace grade aluminum, our laser sight features 532 nm wavelength, works well...
- POWERFUL GREEN LASER, highly visible green laser in any environments with improved accuracy, reaches...
- CONVENIENCE & COMPATIBILITY, comes with a remote control to easily switch laser on and off;...
The Pinty Green Laser Scope is a highly recommended pointer for astronomy use. It was designed to work as a laser scope for hunting rifles, featuring an aerospace-grade aluminum housing; and figure-of-eight dual hole mount or 20mm weaver mount. Its upgraded optic results in a bright and sharp green laser light, although its power output is less than 5mW. The Pinty Green Laser Scope is quite easily the best laser pointer for astronomy, even when compared to other popular models.
From an astronomer’s point of view, the strong green laser is the standout feature as it aids in stargazing. Green lasers are known to be the best for astronomy as our eyes are very sensitive to green light. Furthermore, as green light travels through the air, the light gets scattered away from the main beam by dust and air particles, allowing you to see it from the side. Take note that this laser pointer’s battery is not rechargeable, meaning you would have to bring along replacements. Thankfully, the included Lithium ion battery can last for several hours.
What We like
We liked how durable this laser pointer is and how its mounting mechanism was designed to be simple. It’s easy to replace its battery while still mounted on a rifle, and it boasts an extremely high reaching distance of 980 to 1,000 feet (298 to 304 meters). The Pinty Green Laser Scope could even be controlled by remote.
What We don’t like
The laser scope is difficult to adjust to zero, which may be an issue for those who use it in hunting. The weaver mount was also a design flaw as users commented it fell off too easily. The lack of a child lock feature and a non-rechargeable battery are also drawbacks which we think could be improved upon in future models.
Safe For Pets: Dialeesi Laser Pointer
- LATEST IMPROVEMENTS & DESIGN --- We have made tons of enhancements to prevent poor battery contacts,...
- MULTIFUNCTION INTERACTIVE PET TOYS --- Red dot light encourages cats to stalk, chase, pounce, is a...
- MORE CONVENIENT & FAST CHARGING --- Charge quickly through the USB cord with various power source:...
The Dialeesi Laser Pointer is our choice of laser pointer toys that are safe for use with cats and dogs. Earlier on, we reviewed this device together with a few competitors, and found it to be the best option of laser pointer pet toys. Importantly, this pointer has a low power range of between 1-5 mW and is designed to be used at home, provided you do not shine it directly into your pets’ eyes. It is also an updated model, where the manufacturer claims it has addressed some issues with earlier versions, including button functions and battery connections.
The Dialeesi is an interactive laser toy that possesses multiple light functions. The red laser light is meant to mimic hunting in the wild, so that your cat will stalk and chase after it. The white LED flashlight works as an ordinary flashlight to illuminate dark areas, while the UV detector is useful for finding pet stains and examining currency bills for counterfeits. Since the pointer is designed for indoor use, its optimal range is only 30-50 yards (27-45 meters).
What We like
The laser pointer is housed in a rather elegant unit that looks just like your regular flashlight. We liked that it offered a strong red laser beam despite having a low power rating, and is safe for human and animal use. The additional cat toys, including a screaming squeaky mouse and a lanyard, were also great bonuses. It is very convenient to recharge this device by a USB cord, and its light weight makes it easy to hold.
What We don’t like
The Dialeesi’s battery doesn't last long. Thankfully, it uses an AA battery that could be easily replaced. Some customers also claim that the battery may not hold a charge.
There are many factors determining the usefulness of a laser pointer. There are many ways to use a laser pointer, and so a good laser pointer should be well-suited to the purpose it was intended for. Key features that set apart one laser pointer from another include its power output, color of laser beam, range, adjustability, accessories, size and price.
Key features of a good laser pointer
Power output is a feature that varies greatly depending on what the pointer is meant to be used for. Presentation pointers require a fairly low power output of 5 mW or less; laser pointers for astronomy may require an output of more than 5 mW; while laser toys for cats should have a low wattage of only around 1 mW. Astronomy laser pointers are high-powered as they have to be projected far into the night sky and point out celestial objects. In contrast, toys for cats should have low-powered lasers in order to be safe for human and animal use. Presentation pointers use a fairly low output as they have to be safe for consumer and indoor use, and any accidental shining of the beam into human eyes could be hazardous for health.
Color of laser beam
The most common laser color people are familiar with is red. Red laser pointers are frequently used for presentations and as toys for cats and dogs. However, green pointers are common for astronomy as our eyes are more sensitive to green light. Green lasers also get dispersed by air and dust particles, allowing you to view it from the side. Some presentation pointers may also feature white spotlights for highlighting and magnifying. This makes it more relaxing to the eyes.
Range or adjustability
Range is yet another area where pointers vary a lot. While pointers for astronomy could reach up to a thousand feet (300 meters), laser pointers for cats may only reach up to 50 yards (45m). Presentation pointers could typically reach between 50 to 100 feet (15–30m), which is ideal for lecture halls and indoor spaces. A related feature is adjustability, especially for astronomy laser pointers. These devices have a focus that can be adjusted according to lighting conditions, which is helpful when looking at constellations at night.
While accessories may not be the first criteria you look at in a laser pointer, they could be a tie-breaker when comparing laser pointers of similar specifications. Professional presenters may value accessories such as a carrying case and fast-charging USB cable. On the other hand, cat owners would be more inclined towards accessories such as a rubber toy mouse for their pets to play with. Hunting hobbyists will prefer accessories such as mounts for their laser scope. Therefore, manufacturers need to be clear about their target customers and what accessories to include with each product.
Size is a feature in which most people would assume “smaller is better”. However, a high-powered laser scope such as those used with hunting rifles could be hefty and weigh up to 5 ounces (140 grams). The key is to avoid getting devices that are considered heavy for their power output and purpose. For instance, presentation pointers that weigh over 3 ounces (85 grams) would be considered cumbersome and tiring to hold for long periods.
How much should I spend?
In terms of cost, we have found that a handful of top-rated laser pointers would set you back by a significant amount. However, the vast majority of good laser pointers we reviewed on this site are affordably-priced. This means that if budget is a concern, you could still find high-quality laser pointers for your needs at prices below $50.
Different laser pointer colors
There are five common colors of lasers: red, orange, yellow, green, and blue. While other colors do exist, they aren’t usually found in laser pointers. This is because the color of the laser correlates to how high the wavelength is.
Thus, there’s a safety procedure when it comes to making laser pointers. We’ll discuss that under the “wavelength” section of this buyer’s guide.
Laser pointer safety guidelines
Lasers generally aren’t dangerous unless misused. You’ll find that there isn’t a “safe” range for laser pointers, but there are power levels that don’t inflict as much damage.
Anything lower than 5 mW is safe for the human eye, as it gives the human enough time to blink and won’t damage any cones or rods found inside the eye. However, when that level gets higher than 5 mW, one flash into the eye can end up producing permanent eye damage, thus making it very dangerous if misused or by accident.
Trusted laser pointer brands
The laser pointer market is quite competitive these days, with many brands entering the market. Nevertheless, some brands have established themselves as the go-to product in specific laser pointer categories. When you think of presentation pointers, brands such as Logitech, Kensington, Targus, BEBONCOOL, DinoFire and Doosl are the main ones which come to mind. Logitech, Targus and Kensington have had decades of experience developing computer accessories, making them trusted brand names. Newer brands such as BEBONCOOL, DinoFire and Doosl have differentiated themselves by specializing in specific markets, such as video game controllers and presentation devices. Regardless of the years of experience, the brands above all have one strength in common – the production of professional quality presentation pointers that are safe for consumer use.
Laser pointers for astronomy are generally dominated by the Wickedlasers and Pinty brands. Wickedlasers specializes in powerful, handheld laser devices, which are specially designed to be visible in the night sky. Pinty, meanwhile, focuses its efforts on developing laser scopes for rifles. Although they are popular for military and hunting use, Pinty’s laser pointers are also highly-capable for stargazing, and have become a top choice among astronomers.
Laser pointer toys for cats tend to have many producers such as Dialeesi, Undercut Innovations, FYNIGO and Laifoo. Many Chinese manufacturers have entered the laser pointer market in recent years. As laser pointer toys for cats and dogs are required to have low wattage of around 1 mW, these companies are able to produce the devices at a relatively low cost and with economies of scale, thus offering consumers affordable prices. Some even throw in additional features such as a regular LED flashlight and a UV light, which may be used to look for pet stains.
A laser pointer is measured by the number of nanometers, known as nm. A laser ranges anywhere from 400 to 700 nanometers. Now, we all know that with increasing power comes a more powerful light.
Blue, purple, and green lights fall within the 400 nm range while red and yellow are in the 589 nm to 700 nm range. The best nm for the human eye is around 555 nm, which produces a bright green laser beam.
Various laser pointer applications
There are many things you could do with laser pointers. The most famous application that people know of is to use them for presenting! Presentation pointers have been covered by us extensively on this website, and it’s one of the main reasons why people read up about the topic of lasers. Presentation pointers are light, portable and quite affordable. They also have relatively low wattage and are safe indoors. Professionals use presentation pointers to highlight important information on the screen, helping the audience to focus on key points.
The next popular use of lasers is as toys for cats and other pets. Laser pointers can stimulate cats’ natural predatory instincts, as the light appears to move like a prey in the wild. Cats and dogs feel the need to chase after the laser light, giving them a good exercise. Just make sure that you do not overdo it as it could make them really frustrated!
In astronomy, laser pointers are very useful for pointing out celestial objects such as constellations. However, in order to be visible in the night sky, laser pointers for astronomy have to be high-powered and emit a green-colored beam. This may require regulatory approval in many states and countries, as the wattage for such laser pointers are typically above the maximum allowed for consumer use. Many jurisdictions also impose severe penalties for misuse of these laser pointers, which could include imprisonment.
Photography hobbyists and enthusiasts are another group of people who would appreciate laser pointers. Using a camera set to long exposure and a laser pointer, you could create many cool effects. When you move your laser pointer around and take pictures with a long exposure, you get a “light painting” which makes for beautiful graphics!
There are many other people for whom laser pointers are a practical tool. Those who go camping outdoors may use laser pointers to start fires. You could also use it temporarily as a flashlight if your surroundings are too dark to see. If you get lost in the wild, laser pointers could also be used to send a signal to others. The only concern is that your laser beam may not be strong enough to be seen.
Laser pointers are sometimes used in security systems. In a simple laser-based security system, you could place a safe or your valuables in the middle of a storeroom. This room would have laser beams shining across from various angles. When a burglar blocks a laser beam, your security alarm would be activated.
Scientists and researchers could use laser pointers to conduct experiments. One example is to point your laser beam through different liquids, and observe how the beam gets affected. You could also shine your laser beam through water droplets and examine microscopic organisms.
Lasers are used with sniper rifles for precise aiming at targets. Since laser beams have a low divergence rate, they will appear focused as a small dot even if the target is far away. Besides military-grade rifles, laser sights are also used in everyday weapons such as nerf guns and BB guns.
Laser engraving is a specialized skill which results in exquisite artwork. You may have noticed artists demonstrating this at carnivals. Using a laser pointer, you could engrave your name or well-wishes on a hard surface such as wood. One safety precaution is that any engraving should take place on a hard metal or wood surface to prevent injury.
Laser pointers could be modified to become burning devices. In a nutshell, if you have the right equipment and experience, you could change the laser’s focal point to be more powerful and larger, so that it would burn objects.
Laser pointer FAQs
A laser pointer can be made as long as you have the right equipment and tools. If you’d like to create one, here’s a DIY solution;
Step 1 – Gather the materials. For this, you will need to find a laser diode, casing, and a power source.
Step 2 – Brush up on the law. Look at both your state and federal laser pointer laws, as some areas do not always allow the use of laser pointers nor does it permit carrying it around.
Step 3 – Start by drilling holes. Once you’ve found an exterior casing, you’ll want to drill two separate holes. One hole on the top of the case and the other hole on the other side. The one located on the top is for the switch, and the other one will be used for the laser.
Step 4 – Insert a diode. Put the diode into the casing on the one end you want the laser to point out. Make sure that the laser is pointing in the correct direction.
Step 5 – Power. Next, add a power source on your laser. Any battery pack will work as long it can produce enough power.
Step 6 – Attach the power source to the diode. This can be done by soldering on the pins to the laser diode to ensure that the two connect.
Step 7 – Add the switch. Next, place the switch into the other side of the casing, ensuring that they all connect.
Step 8 – Lastly, test it out. Check to see whether the laser pointer works. If not, then you may need to try out another power source or see if the components are attached to one another.
How does a laser pointer work?
Laser pointers work by projecting a small but powerful beam of light onto a surface. The first end of the laser features a mirror, and on the opposite end, is a semi see-through mirror rests. A flash tube will then use a light source, such as a laser beam, and shoot it to one end of the rod.
After this, when you press the power button, the tube will send atoms inside the rod and force it to point at the mirror. This results in it pointing towards the semi see-through mirror and exits the laser onto a surface. We have written a quite long article about how a laser pointer works here.
How to fix a laser pointer?
When it comes to fixing a laser pointer, there may be a few ways to do it without having to bring it into a repair shop or replacing the whole unit. Here’s a list of a few fixes you can try at home:
- Try and replace the batteries. Sometimes, one fix to a unit that just suddenly stopped working is just a simple change of batteries. Choose fresh batteries.
- Disassemble the laser. Another way is to unscrew the unit and check to see if there is an issue with the circuit. You may be able to find replacement parts and order them online, though it may be cheaper to replace the whole unit.
- Remove the internal circuit board. Take out all parts and see if you can get the circuit board off. After this, you can replace it or see if there were any connectivity issues.
- Test all components of the laser – check to see if there are cut wires, if the circuit isn’t connecting, or see if there is a smaller issue.
- Trim the pot. Turn the potentiometer to the highest setting and power it with batteries. See if the laser has a continuous beam or if it’s clicking. If the pen shows any sign of weakness, then it’s likely that the unit will not work anymore.
How far can a laser pointer travel?
Laser pointers have an exceptional range compared to older models. When you think of a laser pointer, you may imagine the ones they used back in school. However, with modern advancements in technology, lasers can now reach a bit farther while still retaining an intense beam of light.
The range of a laser pointer can be anywhere from 30 feet all the way to over 300 feet. You’ll find that a majority fall into the 30-foot category, as this ones are good for small presentations or meetings. However, the most common one is the ones with a 100-foot range. These lasers are excellent for high school or college classes and feature a bright red laser that will show up on most backdrops.
Laser pointers come in various colors and can be used for multiple applications. Whether you’re using it for fun or plan to use it at your next presentation, laser pointers will enhance your ability to keep your audience’s or pet’s attention. Hopefully, this article has helped you find at least one laser pointer that you liked.