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Your Essential Guide to Choosing a Laser Pen

A laser pen, sometimes called a laser pointer, is a small, handheld electronic device that is often powered by a battery. Used to highlight points of interest with a concentrated beam of coloured light that can be projected over great distances, a laser pen is handy for training, teaching, or entertaining a pet. Whatever your budget might be, eBay has a wide range of laser pens available.

How does a laser pen work?

A laser pen contains a diode that emits a low-powered laser beam. In normal light conditions, this becomes visible when it hits an opaque surface. Red pointers are the simplest, using a laser-emitting diode at the lowest power. As well as red, laser pens are also available in a wide variety of colours, including yellow and green.

Are there any safety issues with laser pen pointers?

Laser pens and pointers can be harmful to the eyesight if misused and if used to distract people in a dangerous manner. Laser pens should never be pointed into anyone's eyes, or towards drivers or pilots. In the UK, Class 1 and Class 1M laser pens and pointers are considered safe for use by anyone and do not cause eye damage. Some laser pointers used by teachers and lecturers in conferences, and those used in barcode scanners, are Class 2 laser products.

Under what circumstances can a laser pen be used?

Laser pens have a number of practical uses. These include:

  • A small laser pen could be used to demonstrate light patterns through glass and water.
  • Some low-power laser pens are sold as pet toys. Cats, in particular, enjoy chasing the point of light.
  • Many types of laser pen can make interesting presentation gifts, for example, at a business conference.
  • Laser pens have been used by outdoor adventurers to signal distress in emergency situations.
  • Higher power laser pens, usually those with green lasers, can be used in astronomy for pointing out objects in the night sky.
  • Red laser pens in particular can be used to create interesting effects in long exposure photographs.
What features should you look for in a laser pen?

On eBay, you can chose from a variety of laser pens. Options might include a pocket-sized laser pen that comes on a keychain, or a pen that comes in a case so it can be transported and stored securely.