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Help picking out my first laser pointer

Schmooj

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I just started looking into getting a laser pointer today. I want something that will be able plainly visible but won't be a safety hazard. Is it possible to get something like that for under $20? And if so, where should I buy it from. Maybe someone can give me a crash course on laser pointers? I know next to nothing so if you could make it as simple as possible that would be great. :yh:
 

Sta

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Welcome to the forum!
You'll have to be a bit more clear on what you mean by "plainly visible", but I'll assume you want a visible beam at night. If that's what you're going for, a laserbtb pointer would be a good choice. Here's a link to their green pointers: LP 520nm 532nm 1-50
All of them are slightly more than $20, but for the quality they are absolutely worth it. I recommend getting one of the 532nm green pointers rather than 520nm (most people can't notice the difference and for the price difference it's not worth it.) If you choose to get the 20mW or 50mW, don't use it in a room with mirrors. But all of the pointers available on that page are relatively safe, as long as you don't look into the beam. Some of the paranoid people here will demand that you get safety goggles for anything above 5mW, but usually up to 50mW is safe, unless as mentioned before you're in a room with mirrors. If you choose one of those you'll want to select "IR filter installed" too.
 
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Razako

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Depends on how strict your definition of 'safe' is. If you want something that won't even hurt you in the case of a direct reflection or to play with pets, you'll want a guaranteed <5mw pointer like the laserglow lyra series. If you're less worried you should go with something like what Sta recommended. Just don't use it around mirrors and you should be fine for the most part.
 

Schmooj

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I should have been more specific. By visible I mean how well you can see the beam. What will be the visibility difference between the 10mW and the 20mW? What will be the difference in terms of safety. As I stated earlier, I know next to nothing about lasers so I'm a little concerned about my safety. Am I being paranoid?
 

Sta

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I should have been more specific. By visible I mean how well you can see the beam. What will be the visibility difference between the 10mW and the 20mW? What will be the difference in terms of safety. As I stated earlier, I know next to nothing about lasers so I'm a little concerned about my safety. Am I being paranoid?
In terms of safety, there's no real difference between 10 and 20mW. As long as you stay away from mirrors and don't stare into the beam you won't go blind. Neither one will have a visible beam inside during the day (while 50mW will). At night, the 20mW will probably be a little brighter than the 10mW but not spectacular.

Honestly I would recommend you get the 50mW and avoid mirrors. You won't regret it, 50mW is a much nicer beam than 10/20mW.
 

GSS

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Will I need to get safety glasses with the 50mW? I have a pretty low budget.
They are always good to have. At 50mw which I agree should be fine you can get by with what we call the "better than nothing" pair. HDE red glasses are about $10 tops or cheaper and are actually pretty decent. By red I mean the lens color of the glasses which are mostly for the green laser you want. 50 mw of green will be a little tiring on the eyes if used indoors if you stare at the dot but not if your looking at the beam from the side. Outside there really is no issue if used safe.
 
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Schmooj

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Are the glasses to protect you from the beam reflecting of of something or just from plain exposure? I'm sorry for all the questions :)
 

Sta

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Are the glasses to protect you from the beam reflecting of of something or just from plain exposure? I'm sorry for all the questions :)
Both. If you stare at the dot for too long (several minutes at a time), you won't be blinded, but there's a small chance it'll damage your vision. Goggles will stop this. They'll also save you from any accident in which the beam bounces off of an object into your eye.
 
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