Magnifying Glasses vs. Loupes: Which is Better for Your Needs


When you really need to see something close up and personal, two of the most popular options are magnifying glasses and loupes. While both of these tools serve the same purpose, they have different features and benefits that makes each of them suitable for different tasks. So, which one is better for your needs? Let’s take a (ahem) closer look at magnifying glasses and loupes and find out.

Magnifying Glasses

Since humans learned to work with glass, we’ve had magnifying glasses and been able to see things we had never seen before (and remember the trouble Galileo got into for doing just that). They are a powerfully simple tool, consisting of a convex lens made of glass (or now plastic) that varies in magnification power. 

One of the primary advantages of magnifying glasses is that you can take them just about anywhere. They’re usually attached to a handle, sometimes a stand, and are relatively affordable, lightweight and easy to use. It makes them ideal magnifiers for everyday tasks such as reading small print or examining small objects.

However, there are some limitations. For one, they have a limited field of view, which means that you will only be able to see a small area at a time (basically what’s right in front of you). Additionally, the image quality may not be as sharp or clear as with other magnifiers.


Loupes, on the other hand, are specialised magnification tools that are commonly used in professions like dentistry, jewellery making and watch repair. They consist of a pair of magnifying lenses mounted in a casing which is then worn like a pair of glasses. Therefore you’ll see a magnified image wherever you look – you don’t need to move the lens because it moves with you.

Apart from being hands-free and easier to work with, loupes typically have a higher level of magnification than a hand-held magnifying glass. This makes them better for more refined work.

One of the primary benefits of loupes is that they provide a larger field of view compared to magnifying glasses. It means that you can see more of the object you are magnifying at once, making it easier to work with. Additionally, loupes are designed to provide a clear and sharp image, which is essential for precision work.

On the downside magnifiers like these tend to be more expensive and they require a bit of practice to use effectively. Additionally, loupes can be quite bulky and uncomfortable when used for extended periods.

Which One is Right for You?

Ultimately, the choice between glasses and loupes, like those available from RS, depends on your needs. If you’re only using magnifiers occasionally, a hand-held magnifying glass may be the best option. They’re inexpensive and easy to carry. However, if you require a higher level of magnification and a clear and sharp image for precision work, loupes would be a better choice. Both have their benefits and limitations so consider what you need magnifiers for so you can choose the right tool and achieve the best results.

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