wicked laser

By David Ponce

I gotta start this review with full disclosure: Wicked Lasers is a sponsor of this site. I think the banners here and there are hard to miss. But, since I didn’t want to give the impression that I’m trading editorial for money or review units, I’ve actually gone out of my way and made a dang video of what this laser can do, just so you don’t have to take my word for it. But, if you do ask me, let me tell you just one thing: that “wicked” is more than deserved.

Most laser pointers commercially available today top out at 5mW. The “Extreme Nexus” model that was sent to me rates at 95mW (they got some 300mW models, by the way). And let me tell you something, that’s a difference that’s really hard to miss. The laser is green, and is plainly visible without smoke, fog or dust, especially in dimmer settings. Not only that, but it actually burns. Yeah, the kind of burning that you can feel on your skin. And yes, it does light matches, it burns through dark plastic things and pretty much looks like a freaking light saber that extends for miles and miles into the sky.

The thing turns heads, no matter where you use it, and it rather makes you feel uncomfortable taking it for a spin in polite settings.

So, the verdict, out here: it’s a truly outstanding (though pricey) laser experience that you can’t buy anywhere else. Come inside for all the gory details and a longish video.

[Wicked Lasers]

Okay, so if you’re not the type to enjoy reading a wall of text, then perhaps you’d enjoy a low qual, grainy video of me talking (and showing the laser) for eight minutes. If that’s the case, enjoy this here video.

This particular model sells for $369, though they have a very basic 15mW model starting at $99, and also a 300mW supernova-on-a-stick model that goes for $2000. The Nexus comes in a nice wooden box, with space for two spare AAA batteries. Battery life does last the rated 2 hours, but since output is directly related to battery health, you get the most juice in the first 10 to 15 minutes. However, don’t think that this is a bad thing. Even after one hour, the laser is visible, and the dot it makes quite bright.

In fact, it’s this particular dot that initially speaks to the laser’s power. It’s very hard to look at the dot, especially if it’s on a white surface. If you look at it long enough, it’s like staring right at a 100W lightbulb.

Then, if you’re indoors and aren’t completely flooded with light, you immediately notice the laser beam itself. It’s bright green, and visible without smoke, dust, fog or whatever else. If you take it outside, at night, you get a very strange sensation using it… See, you basically have what looks like a really, really long “light stick” that comes out of your hand. And you can wave it around, into the sky, and it just extends further than the eye can see, and it just feels weird to be able to do that.

The unit itself feels quite solid. There are no rickety parts, and there’s a clip should you be the kind of guy that enjoys walking around with an insanely powerful laser tucked in your shirt pocket. The “on” button does not stay down: you have to constantly keep your finger on it. This is due to the recommended usage cycle. You should not keep the laser on for more than 100 seconds. After that period, just let it cool for 10 seconds, and you’re good to go again.

If you point it at your skin (yeah, it’s fun to do stupid stuff), after a second or two, you feel a sharp, quite painful prick.

So, does it light matches? Yes. But, make sure that the match is dark, or dark red. A white match will just reflect too much light, and not heat up enough. Also, steady your hand, and it’s better if you have fresh batteries, though even if you don’t it’ll still work.

Does it cut electrical tape? Yes. But slowly. Don’t expect to slice through it, like with a lightsaber or something.

Does it burn through garbage bag? Hell yeah, and quickly at that. But, you have to be relatively close. So, no, you can’t burn your neighbors bags from three miles away.

I didn’t pop any balloons, though I’ve no doubt that it would work, as long as they’re dark.

The specs on this unit say that it has a range of 38 miles. Honestly, I believe that without hesitation. The problem, though, is that you can’t actually see that far, unless you’re standing at the top of something really high, and more importantly, you have some binoculars. It’s recommended that if you want to try it out, and do a real range test, you place someone 38 miles away, and shine the laser at them… but at that distance, you better have a tripod, because even the slightest shake gets amplified tremendously 38 miles away.

I went to the top of a mountain, and shone it on a target 9 kilometers (about 5 miles) away, and it reached without a problem. The dot, even at that distance, seemed relatively small (though it was hard to accurately measure it). Not much more than a foot or so across, which means that the beam is well focused.

Finally, the unit has a life expectancy of 3000 to 5000 hours. That’s a long time, and a lot of batteries. My money says you’ll get bored with it sooner, but hell, it’s nice to know it won’t just die in a couple of days, especially when you’ve spent some serious dough on it.

-Insanely powerful
-Laser beam visible without fog, smoke or dust
-Lights matches
-Burns through dark plastic
-Has a range of 38 miles
-Scares young children

-Peak output lasts about 10 minutes
-AAA batteries are more expensive

[Wicked Lasers]


  1. what is the use for cutting electrical tape and light matches with a laser? a hint: there are these recharable batteries on the market wich are, once purchased, close to free in use.

  2. hillbilly, re: rechargables – yes, but the best performance is with the alkaline batteries. the laser will work with NiMh, but won’t be as bright.

  3. I hate to say this. But these things should be illegal and/or regulated. Being able to shine a light in someone’s window from 5 miles away is insane. Not to mention the ability to blind a person from what range? A mile? Half a mile? Has this been tested? If pepper spray and jack knives are illegal in some or all places, this should be too.

  4. This is illegal technically. The backscatter from a non-reflective surface for the high-powered lasers can cause permanent eye damage. The reviewer is a very brave or stupid person.

  5. I will never understand why Wicked gives these lasers to the people they do, for reviews. No disrespect meant (honestly) but it is literally impossible for a person without an optics background (and who hasn’t been properly trained to handle lasers) to understand what a 15mw Green laser is/does/can do.

    For instance, there is no mention of _why_ a green laser looks so much brighter than a red laser of the same power. (It’s because the green color of these lasers is right at the sensitivity peak of the human eye, while the red of most laser pointers is way off on the ‘skirt’ of the bell-shaped curve, ie, the eye is very very insensitive to red by comparison to green.) That increased sensitivity is not just for seeing the beam/spot, it is for damaging your eyes, too. The reason the match needs to be dark red to burn with a 15mw green laser is that red objects reflect red and absorb green. (so a 15mw red laser would have little chance lighting the dark red match that this laser can.) The retina of your eye is red. That means that it absorbs the energy from a green laser much more readily than energy from a red laser.

    So what does this review actually say? Nothing that the verbiage and videos on the Wicked site say. It pops balloons, lights (red) match heads, and cuts electrician’s tape. All duplicate info. There approaches some information where the 5mile beam is around 1′ across. (You can calculate the miliradians of beam spread from this, which could be useful to compare to other lasers.) How much laser power is in a 1′ spot compared to the focused spot at 1′? Is it still eye-dangerous? Why? Why not? All missing.

    Any kind of real safety info is missing, as well. This laser is class3B. It’s illegal and dangerous in the hands of John Q Public, because it is not eye-safe and can’t be made eye-safe without protective lenses or light-blocks. The red pointers are lower powered, have less effect on eye tissues, and tend to cause the eye to blink (human aversion response), limiting exposure to a quarter-second. This laser, if you look into the cavity, can cause damage before you can blink. Additionally, reflections from even mildly diffuse objects (let alone mirror reflections) will hurt your eyes. In fact, staring at the spot when it reflects off a piece of white copier/printer paper (which all now brag that they are whiter than ever!!!) can damage your eye. This makes you one lucky feller, David, if you have managed to avoid getting hurt.

    Now, here’s an interesting sidelight: a laser like this, in the hands of an amateur or professional holographer, edges on the holy grail. Why? Because laser diodes now have the capacity to make a very coherent beam (absolutely needed for holography) without mode hopping, without a lot of heavy control (read expensive) electronics and cooling systems. Has one of these lasers been reviewed (anywhere, not just here) by someone who understands how useful it could be? Holography = Art, so it’s not just techy stuff I’m complaining about here: properly handled, a powerful diode laser can make holograms of large spaces possible, where the old HeNe’s couldn’t begin either to illuminate such spaces, nor was their coherence length long enough to get past the plate, let alone off the table! (We’re talking 2-3cm maximum coherence length, therefore depth of field, for HeNe lasers, on average, and 3-5meters for diodes.)

    You mention 10 minutes of peak output. You don’t mention the duty cycle. How long can you keep this laser on? I believe that it is around the 15mw lasers that Wicked gets real short on documentation about duty cycle…but then, at slightly higher powers, admits that you can’t keep them on longer than 10-20 seconds at a time without long cooling periods in between. (Not so useful for long exposures!)

    It’d be nice if people reviewing these things were in a position to get over the gee-whiz factor of lighting matches (hey, I don’t need a $300 laser to light a match, do I?) and talk about some of the real uses these units might have.

    Especially, before the folk who think burning their retinas out is ‘cool’ get the darn things so banned that no one who knows what to do with them can even get them anymore!

    PS: the red 100mw laser is a lot cooler than this stupid 15mw green one. It’s only $200 and is CW: you don’t have to turn it off at all. Tell your sponsors that I’d _love_ to review one of _those_ for them, especially if I can keep (or get a hefty discount) on the review model!

    I am, for reference, a Photonics student in college, after a 33year career as an electronics technician and designer. So this rant is not without basis.

  6. Wicked Lasers Video Review (Verdict: Scares Kids)…

    David over at OhGizmo did a detailed review of the WickedLasers Nexus, which one of our fair readers won not so long ago. The video’s pretty long, but it shows off all the coolness you can do with a……

  7. My goodness. Does this guy know how to have fun. For goodness sake at least try firing the laser through the goggles will ya? Then we’ll know if they’ll prtotect your eyes!

  8. […] OhGizmo released a video review of the Nexus Wicked Laser. Wicked Laser claims that this laser can cut electrical tape, light matches, burn garbage bags and has a range of 30 miles. The one that David Pounce is testing is a $369 one, they also come in 15mW for $99 and 300mW for $2000. Like he says ‘’its not a light saber’’ : ) Via OhGizmo VIDEO-> […]

  9. Onlyocelot… this laser is a 95mW unit not a 15mW. Wicked sells 15mW for under $100USD. Also, the duty cycle is 100 seconds on 10 seconds cool down period with the more expensive Spyder series having a 100% constant duty cycle.

    To be honest this video does not really show off just how impressive these things are. From first hand experiance with the 75mW model thse lasers are incredible especially at night!

    If you after a FAQs on these, as well as a few pics and a couple more videos check out the site I’ve put together…


    Also has info on how to get a discount if you’re interested in buying one.

  10. Vinsm, I know the review was on a 95mw laser. I also know how dangerous a 15mw laser is, and how much more so a 95mw laser is. Likewise, although I was going on old information, my comments about data on duty cycle going thin around the 15mw level at the wicked lasers site was not based on the power of the reviewed laser, but rather on the lack of information in the mid-power range on the wicked site when I was last there.

    Not one of my comments is based on which model was reviewed, nor does your site answer any of my questions. It is at best what it claims to be, for people who are new to lasers. It is also painfully short of honesty about safety. Class IIIb lasers are not safe if they flash across your eye, nor are they safe if you look into the cavity (ie shine the beam in your eye) for less than a second. The class system is simple:
    Class I: totally enclosed beam, no chance of exposure whatsoever.
    Class II: exposure of less than .25 seconds is not damaging (human aversion response, blinking, will block it before it can dump enough energy into your eye to damage it), but longer exposures have increasingly great chance to cause damage.
    Class IIIa (1 to 5mw red, may be lower for green because of the eye’s greater sensitivity): do not expose eyes to the beam, do not shine the beam into someone else’s eye, period. Mirror reflections (called specular, ie off anything shiny) will cause damage if they enter the eye.
    Class IIIb (5mw to 500mw red) _will_ cause damage even if viewed via diffuse reflection (ie, off a matte surface). These babies are _dangerous_ to eyes.

    So your claim on your site that you don’t need goggles outside with a Class IIIb laser is incorrect, misleading, and can lead to lawsuits from people who take your advice. Banging a 95mw laser off chrome on a nearby car can burn holes in not just your retina, but other people’s, for instance. (You may want to modify those claims.)

    What was I actually saying in my post?

    Here’s some insight: I have a laser I’ve been using for holography. It puts out 2.1mw at 650nm (red.) It needs to warm up for about 5 minutes to be stable enough to take an exposure. At that kind of power level, we’re talking about 3 minutes for an exposure, which means that the on part of the duty cycle has to be at least 8 minutes.

    Lasers optimized for power tend to overheat quickly. That’s why the cooling time is necessary. But that extra current also makes them more susceptible to mode hopping. Mode hopping is the enemy of holography. So while the greater power output at 95mw might seem to be the solution to the long exposure time (especially if the film or plate emulsion is sensitive more to green than red), the dangers of over-drive instabilities make the usefulness of these lasers a big question. A big question, I might add, that no one has seen fit to answer. Something that might have made a review of this laser something more than another gee-whiz-bang repetition of Wicked’s own copy about lighting matches and cutting black tape.

    Also, not to be rude or anything, but wouldn’t you be more credible if you admitted to people the reasib they can get a discount through your ‘FAQ’ site?

  11. OK, correction: I see where, at the end, I said the 100mw red laser was cooler than the 15mw green one, and I meant the 95mw green one. After all, it’s CW. It’s only $199 instead of $395. It may just save holography from the discontinuation of all red-sensitive emulsions (well on its way), and there are a lot of coated optics intended for 635-650nm region. So I see how Vinsm took me to believe the review was for a 15mw laser.

  12. […] I’ve written about Wicked lasers before.? These are some very high powered lasers that you can get to have around the house.? By high powered, I mean something able to cut through a garbage bag or electrical tape.? So if you’re trying to decide whether a $1000 blue laser is worth your money, read the review at OhGizmo.Tags: Lasers, laser pointers, geek tech […]

  13. This is the worst video I’ve ever seen. I learned more by reading the non descriptive text then by watching this poorly made unclear poorly edited video. How can you jerk the camera around during the first burn of the electrical tape? We want to see up close whats happening etc. This video simply sucks.

  14. I’m only disappointed this jerkoff didn’t damage the camera.
    You just pointed an ILLEGAL class3B laser at a highway and
    a scyscraper. Hopefully this video will make it to a prosecutor’s
    desk soon.

  15. I think these sound fantastic. I was so amazed, I have started a “Death Ray Charity Case” fund so that friends could underwrite the essential tool of any wouldbe evil genius: the laser.

  16. Hey these Laser are BAD!!! I have two of them and If you guys buy one use the add to basket button and put this promo code in: 4433
    or Click here: [URL=http://wickedlasers.com/index.php?promo=4433]Wicked Lasers[/URL] and then the code should already be added, this will save you 5% off on your laser.

  17. I’ve owned a 5mW, 15mW, 25mW, 55mW, 75mW, and 90mW green and a >100mW red. All are way over expectations. Definitely recommended.

    ***********************************IF YOU ARE GOING TO ORDER A WICKED LASER, on the order page click ‘add to cart’ and enter the promo code 4129 for a 5% discount.************

  18. OK I see where a laser is fun. I see where someone who ‘collects’ lasers wants the most powerful; no different than muscle car owners. But beyond the ‘oh wow’ effect and ‘oh look I can light a match’ what good are they? And the fact that a laser, in the hands of a moron, can cause some serious damage to the eyes of an innocent person; I question the wisdom of owning one. And really question a company that sells them. But hey, thats capitolism.

    Lets see, people have been stupid enough to lase an airliner…and got busted. And if some moron blinded my kid with a laser…well lets say bodybag is a word that comes to mind.

    So beyone the infintile ‘gee whiz’ factor (which is reminds me of the famous last words, “Hold my beer and watch this!” There is not scientific or practical applicability given to owning one of these. Unless one is considering using the laser as part of a weapons system. And that opens up a whole other venue.

    Can they do laser etching of objects? Can they do laser engraving of steel or any other material. So whats the purpose of owning one. Like I said beyond the ‘gee whiz’ factor. They are cool, so what. So is an ice cube.

    I have to agree with the other writer about the saftey factors as well as the questionable legality of importing or owning. And like I said, blind my kid with one. Someone will be sent home in a body bag. I don’t really think anyone has considered the misuse of such an item. It can be a tool for art and science. But it can be destructive in the hands of some idiot that thinks its ‘cute’ to shine a laser at people or buildings.

    BE CAREFUL OUT THERE! THESE AREN’T TOYS. Just keep the concept ‘body bag’ in mind if you misuse it.

  19. There are always going to be cry babies out there when there is somthing just to powerfull no matter what it is. Ive been told my car stereo is way to loud, so now i can get a ticket for that. Then i put train horns under my truck and of course now there is a law that says you cant have more then a single horn on a vehicle and it can only be so loud. Next cell phones will be outlawed while walking down the street because someone was to busy talking on the cell phone and didnt look when crossing the street. Thanks to all the asshole cry babies out there! But thats ok because there just wasting there time with lasers, what are you going to do make things illegal down the component level? good luck! So when lasers are outlawed only outlaws will have them!!!!!

    Here is the deal when lasers are outlawed then only outlaws will have them!

  20. OnlyOcelot, you must be flunking your classes as a “photonics student.”

    You said:

    Class IIIb (5mw to 500mw red) _will_ cause damage even if viewed via diffuse reflection (ie, off a matte surface). These babies are _dangerous_ to eyes.

    But that is FALSE. Neither the older class IIIb nor the current class IIIB category produce dangerous reflections of a diffusing surface.

    You are welcome to post supporting evidence that says otherwise, mine comes from wikipedia’s laser entry and the first handful of laser faq’s found with google.

  21. Wow, these sure are powerful! Safety should be a concern, though assuming most these comments come from people in the US, one would think forks have been banned there with so many nuts, let alone guns: “…keep the concept ?body bag? in mind…”
    By the way, for all those who complain that the problem with this is that it’s ‘useless’, safety apart, don’t you get the concept of fun? Don’t you have Playstations, Cable TV, anything that resembles a game or that might be entertaining, just because it doesn’t benefit humanity? C’mon, the Internet is the best place to stop being hypocritical!

  22. Anyone else order a dragon laser? Its been more than a month since I ordered before christmas, i got a letter from customs saying that a package from shenzhen (where is that?) got seized. I called dragon lasers, and there was a chinese girl talking chinese to me, I didn’t understand so i hung up. None of my emails are getting replied to, plz help

  23. Have to be very careful with these lasers – definately very dangerous in the wrong hands! Always wear goggles indoors and be very, very careful where you point these things outside.

    Still I find it amusing that there is such a big fuss in the US over a laser and yet no one questions the ownership of semi-automatic weapons capable of killing 10s of people a minute!

  24. Hey Schoolsux, in November 2006 you said that http://www.dragonlasers.com were great then in January 2007 you carry on about problems with Dragonlasers.

    Sounds like youi are a wickedlasers fanboy with an attitude problem. A quick browse of http://www.dragonlasers.com and a chat with the members of http://www.laserpointerforums.com will show that you are lying. A search of google will show that Dragonlasers phone number IS NOT a Shen Zhen phone number. As many people know (apart from you), the contact people for Dragonlasers have all been men fluent in English (so far).

    Not only do your lies and deception reflect badly on yourself, they also reflect badly on wickedlasers who most likely have no affiliation with you and are a reputable seller in their own right..

  25. Screw you assholes who are dissing on lasers…
    To each his own, if some people like lasers and you happen to loooove having sex with your dad but hate lasers, I’m not going to go bashing on you for being a faggot. Leave the f***ing laser enthusiasts alone!

  26. I understand the concerns being raised by a number of readers, but some fears are not really such a threat.

    Of course almost anything can be dangerous in the hands of an idiot. For instance, a car. An idiot might just plow into a huge group of people. He could kill and hurt a huge bunch of people. But we shouldn’t ban cars for that because the practical value of a car is significant, as opposed to a high power laser.

    Most, if not all people, who get high power lasers are laser enthusiasts. They know what these lasers can do, they know how they work, and are for the most part, responsible. There are always going to be idiots, but they are actually not a big concern. First of all, most malicious idiots don’t even know about high power lasers. Second, they wouldn’t use a high power laser simply because such items are too expensive. It’s much cheaper to resort to other tactics. Third, blinding people at a long distance is actually quite difficult with these lasers. Try holding a laser pointer dot still on a reflective sign 10 feet away. Then try 50. Then 100. If you’re lucky, you will be able to maintain steady aim at 100 feet. I can be fairly sure it will be nearly impossible to maintain aim at a mile’s distance.

    The burning power of a IIIb laser significantly declines as distance increases. There is a reason why no videos exist of people burning stuff dozens of feet away with IIIb lasers. Also, I am yet to year of a case of a madman going amok blinding people and causing mayhem with a powerful laser pointer. I have heard of a couple people pointing weaker lasers at police and their helicopters, but come on, if you’re doing that, the idiocy in that act alone makes you worthy of being shot at. Nevertheless, such incidents are relatively rare.

    Class IIIb laser light show projectors require a license. However, very little is said about other class IIIb lasers. Class IIIb lasers cannot be marketed as laser “pointers” in the US, and they must come with 5 safety features, such as a key switch and emission delay. As far as I know, you are allowed to posses a class IIIb handheld laser, so long as you are responsible with it. That probably means not pointing it outside, though I guess if you were even-minded and responsible, you could point it outside without any problems.


    People can responsibily use class IIIb lasers. People can use them irresponsibly as well. However, I do not think the actions of the few warrant banning the possesions of such items.

  27. hey i think your site is wonderful and am all about safty i have been working in laser,telemetry for 32 years and i find that as you all say they can be great fun just rember to be safe and be smart , i hope thet no bull shit restrictions do come from misuse considering that is the only thing that chuold ever cause the regulation and permitting of sales and use of lasers, like the old poster in my work shop says “do not look into laser apature with remainging eye ” lol hahaha. seriously foks i burned my right corniea and have permanate damge so do be care full, mind you it was from a pulse YLF rod cavity laser but that is very high power stuff i was burned takeing a output reading by refaction,but like i said tht was on a class5 ,i also had a co workier in bonn sever his left pointing finger,instantly with a ND rod laser , sorry for my poor english im german,

  28. Here is the InTheWild update of the green Wicked Laser:

    Here are the links from the past mentions:

    Click on the image for a larger version. Definitely let us know when you have other items you think would be of interest to our readers.

    ?We Entertain When It Rains?

  29. Here is the InTheWild update of the green Wicked Laser:

    Here are the links from the past mentions:

    Click on the image for a larger version. Definitely let us know when you have other items you think would be of interest to our readers.

    ?We Entertain When It Rains?

  30. Mr. Onlyocelet,
    Your desire to protect the safety of your fellow citizens is admirable, but pointless, shortsighted and biased.
    I understand that as a photonics student you are in a unique position to criticize the idiocy of your fellow man when it comes to lasers. However you might note that many people do understand the dangers of lasers and that the product itself comes with a long list of hazards and precautions and the laser itself is tagged with a marker indicating how dangerous it is.
    Also, assuming you're American, your fellow citizens have the right to own weapons capable of filling you with a thousand holes in the span of a few seconds, so I really think a product advertised as an adult's toy is going to make it far on the road to illegality.
    You should also note that there are several safety restrictions on the use of lasers, if a laser hits or comes anywhere near an aircraft, it is a felony with quite a long jail sentence.

    As you plainly stated, there are many uses for these lasers outside of the whimsical fancies propagated by Wicked Lasers, however they are not marketing the product for those purposes. You are welcome to explore those uses on your own and I'm sure you will. However everyone is not a photonics student and therefore not everyone has the expertise required to develop functioning holography units or really do much more than light a match.

    And your rant may have some strange basis, but you honestly sound like some religious zealot intent upon killing the infidels who dare stray from your strange perverted ideal.

    By the by, you had your facts a little mixed up there, WL doesn't sell a 15 mW laser for 300, it would be a 95 mW which is considerably more powerful, and a little more cost effective than your earlier statements.

    And as entertaining as it is to refute the ill conceived, biased, and pretentious arguments of an individual who took 33 years longer than everyone else to get to college. I have better things to be doing.
    Have a wonderful day, and perhaps next time you will consider more even-handed arguments, or work on your rhetoric (if, as I am sure you are, unsure of the true meaning of rhetoric, I suggest you break out that wonderful tool called a dictionary and educate yourself).

  31. Wait wait wait,
    The food and drug administration…
    I'm sorry, but last time I checked the FDA holds no jurisdiction on that subject as a laser is neither a food nor a drug. And if the base company is in the U.S. then the FDA cannot fine them for importation in the first place because the company would have already obtained permission for the product's manufacture in a foreign country.

  32. oh amazing concept, there are dangerous objects out there in the world.
    Last time I checked, the U.S. allows morons to own sub-automatic guns as long as they aren't a felon. So sorry buster, deal with it.

  33. These is dangerous for kids because it can damage an eye if pointed straight to it. But I have to say that for professional use it is OK the only down side is it's not rechargeable you need to buy another set of batteries for it to run on its fullest.