If you’re looking for a perfect gift for cyberpunks and other technologically advanced people, a powerful laser pointer should by high on the shopping list. There’s so much fun you can have with burning lasers.
A burning laser is basically any laser pointer that is more powerful than the usual boring office laser pointer that accountants use to carry out their presentations. You can’t cause any harm with a presentation laser, which means they are boring.
Before we go anywhere further, I have to mention that there are a few things that you should never do with a laser pointer. Not only this is morally wrong but this can also land you an actual jail sentence.
Don’t point a laser at people
Don’t point a laser at aeroplanes and other flying objects
Make sure your laser beam is not reflected by any surface like mirrors or shards of glass, otherwise you may cause damage without knowing
If you’re anticipate using laser pointer as part of a display at a party or disco, check the local laws of your country. It may be illegal to do so.
And of course, don’t look at a laser beam without protective goggles and don’t point lasers at anybody’s eyes. This is going to cause permanent and irreversible damage. Can lasers be used to deter birds and dangerous virus-spreading pests like seagulls? Erm… yes, however, there is a difference between trying to deter pests and kill pests. Use common sense, ok? And there is always the added risk of getting carried away trying to scare the birds and pointing the laser at an aeroplane.
Now with all small print out of the way, let’s look at how to choose the best burning laser.
What are Different Classes of Burning Lasers?
Initially the choice was easy. All commercially available lasers had a red beam and all you had to do was try to choose the most powerful one. Now there are various options – you get green, red, blue, yellow and violet lasers.
All lasers that are worth buying or worth giving as a gift, are Class IV lasers which means they are powerful with a visible beam and they can cause a lot of damage.
If you’re looking to buy cheap lasers, you probably won’t get a satisfactory result as the quality and breadth of application depends on its KTP crystal. You can’t cut corners there – you either make a laser with a good efficiency KTP crystal or you make a crap one and essential you get what you pay for. A general rule of thumb is that if you’re looking at lasers costing less than £100, you might as well not bother because the result will be more than disappointing. Might as well give the money to a charity or toss it out of the window to amuse the pedestrians.
Power output of lasers is measured in milliwatts (mW) which is a thousandth of a Watt. Now, the Class I laser will have a negligible power of less than 0.5 mW. That’s nowhere near enough to light a match or burn paper. Same with Class II lasers – power is less than 1mW and it’s just… meh… it’s a presentation laser and nothing more. Leave it on the shelf.
Going forward, the next class is Class IIA which can be five times the power of the previous class and Class III is a massive jump to 500mW, however, if you know the basics of physics, you will know that a Watt is not a particularly large amount of power. So really, if you want to have proper fun, the only class you’re interested is in Class IV lasers. There is no upper limit for what they can go up to but yeah, they’re all massively dangerous.
Which Colour Laser Pointers are the Best
The visibility of laser beams depend on their wavelength. Human eye can process wavelength between 400 and 700nm
The first laser built had a redbeam. They used to dominate the field, however, now there is plenty of better technology available so forget the red lasers. They’re pretty much crap, unless of course you specifically need a red beam for illumination purposes. With 640nm wavelenght the red ones are well within our visible spectrum, however, they’re not powerful enough to perform tasks.
The main problem in laser application is holding it still and focusing the beam. You’d need at least 100mW of red beam to light a match but you could get away with a 50mW of green beam and have a better success. If you use a makeshift tripod to be able to hold the laser pointer still, you can light a match even with a 35mW laser. And believe you me – you wouldn’t be able to do that by holding it in your hand.
Another outsider is the yellowlaser. They are expensive due to the complexity of its beam formation. if you’re just looking for a straightforward gift for a nerd, then don’t go for a yellow laser. Wavelength – 590nm – visible but too much hassle.
Greenlaser is a popular choice. They are visible for miles and miles with their 530nm wavelength. They are also really powerful.
Violetis the least visible with barely 410nm so you don’t get too many of those around.
In my opinion, the blueone is the best. Not only it’s bright and visible to human eye – 450nm, it is also a great commercial product where price and power is in a good balance. For example, you can get a Class IV hand-held laser with 30,000mW power for as little as £120.
That’s 30W of power. There is very little that you can’t do with this gadget. You can even carve wood with it. Have a look at the video to see the powerful blue laser in action
Another prominent manufacturer of blue laser is here. Their prices are MUCH higher but then, you can get a 3.5W laser, which is pretty amazing.
Can I get a white laser?
Yes. If you go for the Wicked Lasers option, you can buy the PhosForce addon to turn your blue laser into white. Pretty cool.
Can I get a 50W laser?
You are a dangerous animal. Why would you need one? Ok, ok, don’t tell me. Yes, you can get a super powerful 50,000mW laser here:
It costs more than £200 but I suppose it’s worth every penny. Now be careful and I mean it!
Can I buy a decent laser on Amazon?
Nope, unfortunately. The most powerful I’ve seen on Amazon USA was a 200mW green pointer but I can no longer find it there. The ones that are currently available are usually around 5mW and only useful as presentation laser pens.
Can I buy one on eBay?
Yes there are some but none I can personally vouch for so buy at your own risk. There’s this one: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Powerful-3-W-Blue-Laser-Pointer-High-Power-450nm-Blue-Burning-Lazer-Pen/133035688779?hash=item1ef98b834b:g:npoAAOSwumxcuEMM
and also this one: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/High-Power-Blue-Beam-Laser-Pointer-Pen-Burning-Light-Pen-450nm-Powerful-Lazer/253589114739?hash=item3b0b16cf73:g:rcMAAOSwjUVau7ue but none of them disclose their power rating so I’d probably give them a miss. There are plenty of low quality unbranded products sold on eBay by nondescript companies.