Are Wicked Lasers too wicked?

Wicked Lasers is a company that sells a wide variety of handheld lasers. Prices for these lasers range from $60 all the way up to an incredible $4000! We have all seen laser pointers before, but these devices from Wicked Lasers are NOT to be used as pointers and are NOT toys. They are so different from toys, that it’s not funny. These small pen sized devices are powerful enough to burn plastic, wood and flesh…

wicked lasers

They sent me one of their Elite series Green lasers (model #EL81033). I knew this wouldn’t be a ordinary laser like I’ve reviewed in the past, because they also included a pair of Red goggles along with the laser.

wicked lasers

The Elite laser is about 6 inches long, with a body made of chrome finished Brass. It runs on 2 AAA batteries (not included) and has a momentary on/off button on the barrel.

wicked lasers

The first time I loaded in some batteries, pointed it on the opposite wall of my office and pressed the power button, I was like WHOA! The dot that this laser produces is big and freakishly bright. I immediately put on the goggles for subsequent testing.

I decided to see just how powerful this little handheld light saber really was and pointed it about an inch away from a wooden ruler on my desk. I held it there for about 15 seconds before I started smelling smoke. When I turned off the laser and pulled off the goggles, I saw a tiny burned dot on the ruler. Very cool and also very scary!

If you’re in the market for professional quality powerful lasers, Wicked Lasers is definitely the place to go. But my question to all of you out there, is this: besides getting into dangerous mischief, what other uses are these types of powerful lasers good for? Do you think they should be sold to Joe Public?

{ 18 comments… add one }

  • Tyler Puckett August 11, 2008, 10:34 pm

    I’m not responsible enough to own one, since I always shine the flea market $5 ones in my eyes just to make sure they aren’t lying about it. I have to wear glasses now.

    I don’t really see the need in owning one of these lasers. They’re mostly used to cut aluminum and other metals in nanometer precision. I doubt Joe Public needs to do that kind of work.

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  • andi August 11, 2008, 10:53 pm

    anything that can harm another animal or human (in that order) should be issued upon successful completion / verification of psychologic test AND criminal record, respectively.
    my two cents.

    [Edited at August 11, 2008 22:55:27 PM.]

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  • Doug Forrester August 11, 2008, 11:51 pm

    Finally a company that will need a larger legal department than Psystar.

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  • Michael Murray August 12, 2008, 6:02 am

    No good for us the green ones are all illegal imports in Australia now — unless you have some justification. People keep trying to shine them at planes and police helicopters. I have once had a use for a green laser when giving a seminar where the data projector was back projected from behind the screen. For these screens red lasers just shine straight through without reflecting enough to be visible.

    I would have enjoyed this as a kid. Beats focusing sunlight onto paper and ants with a magnifying glass!

    Michael

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  • Julie August 12, 2008, 7:15 am

    Anyone know (I’m too lazy to go to wiki right now), what the primary difference is between Green, Red and Blue lasers? I was hoping that Wicked Lasers would send me a Blue one to try since I’ve never had that color… They appear to be significantly more expensive.

    One of the lasers that they sell the Photonic Disruptor is actually marketed as a non-lethal weapon. By ‘non-lethal’, I wonder if that just means it won’t kill you… but will cause permanent eye damage?

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  • Marc August 12, 2008, 8:51 am

    Green lasers have several useful and legal uses. Because they can be seen very well in daylight they are used by arborists and tree workers to point out locations in trees from the ground.
    The beam is visible at night, I understand stargazers use them to point out constellations.

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  • Jake Tongue August 12, 2008, 1:20 pm

    man i think the swissbit victorinox is cool since it has a lazer there was also an incident in the u.k where one man was jailed for shining a lazer at a police helicopter

    [Edited at August 12, 2008 13:23:10 PM.]

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  • Chris McNeil August 13, 2008, 8:26 am

    I wonder if you could use them for drying/curing glue very accurately? Model making? or fighting the Sith?

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  • Julie August 13, 2008, 10:25 am

    Chris:

    You made me choke on my diet coke with the Sith reference ;o)

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  • Darrin August 13, 2008, 11:09 am

    wicked lasers dont blind and burn people, people with wicked lasers blind and burn people…..

    i’m too lazy to look it up also, but i think the difference between red, green and blue comes down to wave length????

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  • mondoz August 13, 2008, 3:06 pm

    There’s a few pieces of info that might have been good to include in your review.
    What is the class and output power of the laser you were given?

    The difference between the three colors of lasers available on the market is the wavelength of the light and the process involved in generating the beam.

    Red lasers are simply a laser emitting diode. They emit a higher wavelength of light than the other color of laser pointers and don’t usually appear very bright.

    Small portable laser emitting diodes aren’t usually capable of emitting light in the wavelength of green and blue light, so they have to be a bit more complex than the cheap red ones.
    These operate by pumping the laser light through specially coated crystals that change the laser’s wavelength to a lower one, producing the green or blue light.

    The reason that green laser pointers appear so much brighter than other colored pointers are because the human eye is much more sensitive to the green laser’s color wavelength than other colors. For the same power output, a green laser would appear brighter than a blue one.

    As far as the actual power of the laser, Class II lasers (less than 1 mW) are fairly safe for entertainment and hobbyist usage. They’re not typically powerful enough to damage your vision unless you stared into one for a significant period of time.

    Class IIIa lasers (1-5 mW) can be more dangerous, but not if handled with care. Eye damage can occur after about 10 seconds of continuous exposure. So, if you blink when someone accidentally shines it in your eyes, you should be fine. Stare into one for several minutes, and you can seriously damage your eyes.
    Class IIIa lasers aren’t typically powerful enough to burn paper. I’ve tried with one of my 5mW. ;)

    Class IIIb lasers (5 – 500mW) are the ones to be really careful with. These aren’t toys. These will mess up your eyes in a hurry. These aren’t the kind of lasers you want to use to play with your cat. News stories involving airplanes are about class IIIb lasers.
    These aren’t commonly referred to as ‘pointers’ by a lot of people because they haven’t been readily commercially available in the small, pen-like form factor until recently.
    There are very few safe uses for a class IIIb portable laser.
    Most IIIb lasers are the ones they use in light shows and in commercial applications.

    Class IV lasers aren’t usually even portable. They’re used in surgeries and industrial cutting tools. Definitely not toys.

    But yeah, adding the classification and power of the laser to your review would be pretty helpful. I imagine it’s a class IIIb laser, but I can’t imagine what people would do with one that isn’t moderately unsafe… Pointing at stars, perhaps, but you never know when there’s a plane flying around that you don’t see.

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  • Julie August 13, 2008, 3:57 pm

    My post wasn’t a true review… It was more of just a “thought” piece as I didn’t do a lot of testing before writing it.

    The laser that I was sent has a sticker on it that says the power is < 140 mW.

    I’m also wondering if looking at a laser dot that is shining on an object (wall, floor, etc.) can damage your vision, or if the laser has to be shined directly into your eye.

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  • Matthew Z Stout August 13, 2008, 5:05 pm

    There where several mentions of being careful with your eyes and these lasers. It should also be mentioned that while Wicked Lazers should be ok, there are other manufactures of higher powered lasers (some chinese companies and the like) that build and sell high power lasers but DO NOT include a UV filter and these lasers put out alot of UV light when not filtered. and they don’t do it in a straight line. So just be aware, if you want to tinker with making your own holograms or whatever…. and you buy a cheaper chinese laser in the high power range, get laser goggles that are UV resistant also.

    Just FYI.

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  • DStaal August 13, 2008, 8:11 pm

    I’m generally of the opinion that people should be responsible for themselves, and not have some government nanny always looking over their shoulders. Let people buy them, and figure out what uses they can come up with. If they misuse them, deal with that then.

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  • JoAnn August 14, 2008, 8:10 am

    Re: light colors – Red, green and blue light have different wavelengths and energy content per photon. Red is the longest wavelength and lowest energy content of the three, while blue has the shortest wavelength and highest energy per photon. (The reason UV light is so nasty is because it has an even shorter wavelength and higher energy than anything in the visible spectrum). How many photons you get will depend on how powerful the laser is, though.

    (Sorry, I didn’t mean to post this as a reply to the previous comment – it was for Julie)

    [Edited at August 14, 2008 08:12:45 AM.]

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  • Julie August 14, 2008, 12:32 pm

    mondoz and JoAnn:

    Thanks to both of you for the color explanation :o)

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  • Robert H. August 21, 2008, 2:35 pm

    I love lasers.. I have had several class about them and even worked on them at the hospital some years back.. You disrespect them and that can be very bad..

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  • Buffy&Eliot August 24, 2008, 6:27 pm

    We use it for pointing at stars (not at planes!). Here is a project we did mounting the Wicked Laser onto a Celestron C8 telescope:

    http://www.rainydaymagazine.com/RDMWorkshops/RDWScience2007.htm#LaserTest

    It is amazing that it actually works as it does make it easier to point the scope and it:-)

    [Edited at August 25, 2008 07:22:41 AM.]

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