Beam N Read Hands Free Light – Overview
It’s happened to all of us; we want to perform a task but can’t find the “perfect” tool to complete the job. Searching through the available options leads to nothing but frustration and we sometimes have to settle for something that is just “good enough” and move on. Arthur Friedman faced this dilemma over 25 years ago when he began his search for a hands-free task light. However, unlike most of us, he was not willing to lower his expectations and set out to design his own hands-free light.
Dubbed the “Beam N Read” by his wife, Cynthia, the latest version of Arthur’s patented invention is a simple and efficient hands-free task light that is suitable for reading and a variety of other uses.
The Beam N Read product line has expanded to include several different versions:
- BNR LED 6-3 (Deluxe Hands Free Light – $29.95) Features 6 LED’s, two output levels, magnifier lens, and two clip-on colored filters.
- BNR LED 3 (Hands Free Travel Reading Light – $19.95) Includes white LED’s and clip-on red filter.
- BNR LED 103M (Hands Free Crafts Light – $31.95) Uses 3 LED’s and includes three magnifiers of different strengths
- BNR LED 6 w4F (Hands Free Night Vision Light – $22.95) Includes 6 white LED’s as well as red, green, blue, and orange clip-on filters.
- BNR LED 6 Pilot (Hands Free Pilots Night Vision Light – $19.95) Features 6 long life red LED’s to help preserve night adapted vision
This review will be based mainly upon the $29.95 Deluxe version (BNR LED 6-3) of the Beam N Read.
Beam N Read Hands Free Light – First Impressions
The Beam N Read Deluxe package includes the 6 LED version of the task light, two clip-on colored filters, and a 4″ x 5″ magnifier with adjustable holder.
An adjustable elastic neck strap is included for hands-free use.
The design of the Beam N Read also allows it to be placed on any flat surface for emergency or area illumination.
The Beam N Read can be powered by 4 AA batteries (not included) or optional AC or DC power adapters. A front-mounted switch allows a choice between full output with all 6 LED’s or lower output with only 3 LED’s. A single set of alkaline batteries will provide 50 hours of continuous illumination with full output or 100 hours in the lower output mode.
The provided amber and red colored filters snap onto the LED head allowing the user to select different beam tints based upon the task.
The 4″ x 5″ magnifier can be attached by slipping its adjustable holder onto the rear edge of the Beam N Read.
The Beam N Read remains off as long as the head/reflector assembly is positioned in-line with the body. Simply pivot the adjustable head into the desired position and the light will turn on automatically.
Beam N Read Hands Free Light – Performance
The Beam N Read casts an oval-shaped beam that illuminates a broad area in front of the light. The beam has a slightly cool tint but does a good job of rendering colors correctly. The Beam N Read produces quite a bit of light in both the high and low modes and is more than adequate for reading or use as a task light.
The included magnifier lens is a handy addition for reading or performing detailed tasks.
The Beam N Read is a sort of “Jack of all trades” light and it does many of them well. I am accustomed to wearing a more conventional (round) flashlight on a neck lanyard which is not the best solution for task lighting as most of the output is directed toward my feet. In contrast, whether it is worn around the neck or stationary on a flat surface, the adjustable head of the Beam N Read allows the beam to be cast directly on the task being performed.
There is plenty of output for general tasks and reading, even when used in the lower output mode. The beam is wide enough to cover most work areas eliminating the need to constantly re-position the light. In fact, there were some cases where even the output with only three LED’s was more than I needed and I added the red filter to further attenuate the output.
Operation of the Beam N Read couldn’t be simpler and the use of the automatic built-in switch means that very little manual dexterity is needed to turn the light on and off. This is particularly useful for users who are wearing gloves or have impaired grip. This could also be a disadvantage if packing the Beam N Read in a travel bag as it could easily turn itself on in transit. The only way to prevent accidental activation is to remove the batteries and/or replace the Beam N Read into its original packaging.
The Beam N Read is constructed almost entirely of ABS plastic yet still feels fairly durable. The pivot mechanism for the adjustable head adjusts easily and there are positive detents for each position.
- Simple operation. Easy for anyone to use.
- Long run time on readily available AA batteries
- Two output levels with low mode providing extended run time
- Wide beam suitable for just about any household task
- Allows hands-free use when worn around the neck or can be placed on a flat surface
- There is no dedicated “On/Off” switch. The batteries must be removed if accidental activation is a concern.
- Colored filters are a little finicky when snapping into place.
- Output is higher than needed for some tasks, such as reading without disturbing someone, even when in low mode. This can be alleviated somewhat through the use of the colored lenses but some people prefer white light.
Sample products were provided by ASF Lightware Solutions for use during this review.
Additional information about the Beam N Read family of products can be found at ReadingLight.com.