Spark Plug Magnifying Glasses - Tool Review
After putting up the Autolite Spark Plug Charts I decided to do a follow up for those that are critical of inspecting their spark plugs. Let me get this out of the way, I'm not one on those people! I do look at them but I can't think of a situation where I would have the patience to need one of these, that is unless I'm running a 24hrs race and it's night time and I need to inspect the plugs for the win... Guess not.
In any case here is a small collection of Magnifiers that I have, a couple I picked up specifically for the review. You won't find details specs, but I'll put links to one that I can find so you can check them out. One is a clear winner on both price and functionality. Some of the hot shot guys like the expensive one but as I'll tell it's not really the best other then it's also useful to check out your kids ear drums. This does have an added bonus if you wife won't let you buy tools you can cover the expense with the notion that it's going to save us money on taking the kids to the doctors when they complain about their ears hurting... Well maybe not, but give it a shot.
Below are links to the products (or similar but better)
If you want to know how to read your spark plug color, here is a guide with some common images of plugs Reading Spark Plug Color.
Collection Of Possible Spark Plug Magnifying Glasses
Here are a collection of possible magnifiers that can be used. They range from about $6 to about $45. It's not hard to tell which cost a little and the general quality.
Through the Looking Glass with El-Cheapo
This is an easy picture to see not much going on here. These have very minimal magnification that they are not so good. They do not distort much but that's since they don't magnify much.
Rectangular Multi-Lens Spark Plug Magnifier
This one is a bit better then the El-Cheapo magnifier, but only because it has a couple of extra lenses that have high magnificaton. The main lens is only slighty better then the El-Cheapo, however id does have extra lenses, one in the lower right corner of the main lense, and one in the handle. Both do an OK job at getting a close view of the spark plug tip. This also has a built in stand for reading or something. One downside of this magnifier is that it's a bit bulky and oddly shaped for storage.
Closer View of the 2 Lenses
You can just see the lens in the lower right of the main lens, it adds a little more magnification, but it's awkward to use. The lens in the handle had good power and is very good to see close up but again a bit awkward to look at. While these make it useable it has no lighting and is a pain to tote around as none of the lenses are protected.
This is bottom of the barrel. This has limited use even as a Magnifying glass. I have picked up a box of these and stash them all over. These give maybe a little magnification and about the only things going for it is that they are cheap and somewhat durable.
Lighted Pocket Magnifier
Now things are looking up. This little magnifier has a light, runs off of 2 AAA batteries and has a switch blade like action. The lens is not too bad, but it has a couple of nice features. One is that it's well protected, the second is that it has a light that usually works and lastly it's compact. I had picked this up a few years ago at a hardware store, but their are better ones not that are LED based, this one uses a miniature incandescent light bulb old school style. The size and shape make this a nice portable Spark Plug Magnifier.
Lighted Pocket Magnifier - Opened View
This has a reasonable lens, the light is just OK. Newer models with LED lighting likely will be better, some have multiple LED's and I would expect that would be pretty good. The light goes on when you hit the release button (Just visible under the '12').
Lighted Pocket Magnifier - Viewing
Lighted Pocket Magnifier Viewing. While not super magnified it's better then the EL-Cheapo and Main lens of the Rectangular magnifier. Overall it's OK, good one to have in the tool box even as a general purpose magnifier.