I love high power illegal green lasers. The more powerful the better. There is a legal limit for green laser pointers in most countries. That limit is 5 milliwatts or 5mw for laser pointers. Green laser pointers are really not more powerful than red ones, it is just that green laser beam is easier to see with the naked eye in darkness. There are plenty of lasers out there that are sold on sites like eBay that put out far more power than 5mw, and some that put out far less than the 5mw claimed. Some are junk that will literally fall apart in your hand and some are truly military grade green lasers.
What Lasers Are Legal To Own?
Laser pointers are regulated by both the ANSI and the FDA. Class one laser pointers are rated to less than 1mw of power. Class 2 laser pointers, red and green, are rated up to 5mw of power. In the United States any laser higher than 5mw cannot be classified as a laser pointer. Class 3 lasers put out up to 500mw, and class 4 lasers, which put out more than 500 mw cannot be sold legally as laser pointers. The gray area is that it is not illegal to own high power green lasers or red ones, they just cannot be sold as laser pointers and if the law comes after you you must show that you have some kind of legitimate use for them, especially now in these security conscious post 911 times.
Some that cost over $50 and claim to be 5mw lasers really have much higher outputs and most buyers recognize this since the identical product is for sale on China wholesale websites advertised to be 200 milliwatts. eBay sellers get around liability charges by pleading ignorance when selling illegal green laser pointers and claiming that they were misinformed if they are caught.
Below, illegal green laser from China with 200mw of power. This type of laser will cause permanent eye damage or blindness if shone into the eyes.
How Are Green Laser Pointers Made?
There really is no such thing as a green laser diode. Laser makers stack different crystals to get the color green. Since the stacking of delicate optical crystals is yes, a delicate process, green lasers are much more subject to damage from dropping. The technology used is called DPSSFD, or diode pumped solid state frequency-doubled.
For that reason I keep my very high power green laser pointer in a case when not in use.
The one I have is similar to ones sold by a company called Wicked Lasers. I bought it a few months ago when there were dozens on sale on eBay. The listed output power is listed at 200mw. I don’t have a meter to verify it, but placed next to a cheap green laser pointer it will strike a match at twenty feet and can be seen in midair clear across a long valley at night. I am very careful to use it only in rural areas and away from people. I know that it is dangerous in the same way that a rifle or handgun is dangerous and treat it with the same respect. I keep it in a locked box in my closet when not experimenting with it.
Night Photography and High Power Green and Red Lasers
One of the uses I use a high power green and also high power red laser pointer for is creative night photography. On a dark, moonless night I set up my camera on a tripod and set the shutter to the open position for up to a minute. During that time I use the different color lasers to illuminate my subject, such as a cliff face, cactus, tree, building, etc, for some very dramatic night photos.
I just love ultra high power green lasers. Before customs started cracking down on consumer green lasers I purchased on on eBay that would light a kitchen match from across the room and kill mosquitoes on the wall. These are awesome but unfortunately since they can cause permanent eye damage and even be used by terrorists to blind commercial airline pilots, they are being cracked down on. Actual industrial users of ultra high power green lasers can purchase them with a business tax ID number and commercial mailing list.
If you are interested in buying a very high power laser there are ones that are legal. Laser flares, which, 0. These have legitimate search and rescue laser applications and are approved for sale in the United States. For all other ultra high power green lasers buy at your own risk. There are tons for sale on import sites, Craigslist and others.
Don’t ever give a super high power laser as a gift to a child. These can cause permanent eye damage and a lawsuit that could cost you everything you have. Very high power laser pointers should only be used by professionals or serious hobbyists who know their dangers. Be careful.
If you are interested in green laser flares for emergency use see: Which is Best, Red Of Green Laser Flares?
Here is a high power green laser that puts out fifty milliwatts.Click on the image for more info: