What To Know
- Blue laser pointers are the strongest and can ignite materials, but are not the brightest.
- Green laser pointers are the brightest due to their high visibility to the human eye.
- Red laser pointers are milder and are ideal for indoor and casual use.
This guide aims to shed light on the ongoing debate about the strongest laser color, blue or green, by delving into the scientific principles that define their intensity and brightness.
What Laser Color is the Strongest?
Laser pointers come in three primary colors: red, green, and blue. The wavelength of the light beam determines the color.
On the electromagnetic spectrum, visible light and other electromagnetic waves have different wavelengths. However, you’ll notice that the higher the photon energy of visible light, the shorter the wavelength.
The colors to the far right have the shortest wavelengths and the most energy; they are considered the strongest in terms of intensity, and blue light belongs in this category.
At 400-500nm, blue light has a shorter wavelength than red and green. It also has the least visibility at 3%.
As a result, blue lasers are designed with high power output to lend them visibility and brightness. The majority of the blue laser pointers available today are between 1000-5000mW.
The short wavelength of blue lasers causes them to have stronger focus and resolution. These qualities, coupled with high power output, increase their igniting ability.
It would be best to use a blue laser pointer with caution; it can quickly burn materials like paper, pop balloons, and melt plastic.
Blue lasers are the strongest in intensity and igniting power. However, they are not the brightest.
The Brightest Laser Color
The lights on both ends of the light spectrum are the least visible. Infrared (10,000nm) and UV (337-193) lights are entirely invisible to the human eye, only perceiving them as heat.
On the spectrum, visibility increases inwards, towards the middle. Nestled somewhere in the middle of the visible light spectrum is the green light.
The green light has a wavelength of 532-555nm. It is powerful and focused but not as intense as blue light.
Green laser pointers appear brighter than other pointer colors at the same power. This perceived brightness is because, at 88-100%, green light has the highest visibility on the spectrum.
The human eyes are most sensitive to the wavelength of green light. Hence, if you compare green vs. red laser pointers of 5mW, green will appear 5-7 times brighter than red.
The Mildest Laser Color
Red light is on the far left of the visible light spectrum. At 650-700nm, it has the longest wavelengths and the lowest photon energy.
Red light has 24% visibility, which means it is not as visible to the human eye as green light, but it is far more visible than blue light.
Red laser pointers have been in circulation longer than others; they are less expensive and readily available.
The most significant advantage of red laser pointers is that they are the least focused and intense.
Hence, red laser pointers are widely accepted for indoor and casual use.
Can Laser Pointers Burn Objects?
Laser pointers fall into five different classes of lasers. Each class is decidedly different in terms of power output and burning ability.
Some classes only pose a danger to the eyes, while others can cause bodily harm, ignite objects, and start fires.
- Class 1: This class includes laser pointers with less than 0.5mW power output. They are safe for the eyes and cause no damage even when you stare at them for a while.
- Class 2: Laser pointers in this category output between 0.5-0.99mW. In an accidental or momentary exposure, they are harmless to the eyes but can cause a temporary visual disturbance.
- Class 3A: These are laser pointers with a power output of 1-4.99mW. The majority of presentation pointers fall into this category.
They are intense enough to cause damage to the retina, but if the exposure is momentary, you can avoid permanent damage.
- Class 3B: This laser class output is between 5-499mW. They are considered dangerous and are illegal in certain parts of the world.
People are advised to use these laser pointers with safety goggles. Given enough time, they can ignite paper, melt plastic, and even scorch wood.
- Class 4: These include laser pointers at 500mW and above. They are highly dangerous and can cause severe burns and fires, even from a distance.
Typically, you would require a permit to use these laser pointers outside a building. Professionals use them in laser light shows and ensure that they protect the audience against exposure.
Are you in the market for a laser pointer, and you can’t decide what color to buy? We wrote this article to help you find the right one.
Usually, laser pointer beams are invisible in a clear atmosphere, so this is no cause for concern. They are more visible at night or in darkened rooms.
Gabriella ‘Diogo is a technical writer with a vested interest in tech hardware and equipment. She shares her knowledge and processes in an easy-to-grasp, lighthearted style. When she’s not testing or researching device performance, you’ll find her writing short stories or rewatching episodes of her favorite sitcoms.