wicked laser spyder review picture

By David Ponce

[Let me start by letting you know that Wicked Lasers is a sponsor of this site. I have gone out of my way, however, to be impartial in this review, and have included a video for your enjoyment/amusement/ridiculing-of-the-author.]

Let me be quite clear: the Spyder is about as scary, as potentially dangerous, as insane a laser as your money will probably ever be able to purchase you. You’ll never be able to get as many stares, finger points, old-lady yelps and crying children as you will when you wield it and it will be hard resisting the temptation of getting yourself in heaps of trouble by pointing it in all the wrong places.

The company claims it is shock proof, water proof up to 5 meters, with a 100% continuous duty cycle and a 90 mile range. They claim that “The Spyder Series? are the most powerful green lasers in the known universe”, and after playing with this beast for a few weeks, I have few doubts about the truth of that statement.

Come inside for all the details.

The Hardware

Unlike last time, I should preface this review with a strong warning. This particular laser is far too powerful to be considered a toy. Matter of fact, if you don’t wear protective goggles, there’s a very good chance the back of your eyes will be replaced by a smoking hole. Don’t be stupid, and be careful.

wicked laser spyder review picture

The model that was sent to me rates at 200mW, a little over twice the power of the previous one. The first thing that you notice, is its weight. The entire laser assembly seems to have been enclosed in a machined steel billet. It must weigh a pound, perhaps a pound and a half. Its dimensions are around seven inches long and an inch across. It is truly massive, and feels very heavy in the hand. Its potential to serve as a percussive weapon (read: hitting someone on the head with it), simply due to its weight is undeniable.

wicked laser spyder review picture

The battery compartment comes separately, and fits inside the battery enclosure in the main laser shaft. It uses two lithium CR123A batteries, which sell for anywhere between $4 to $10 each. On the shaft, you’ll find a rather odd dome shaped power button. You have to compress the rubber to actuate the switch underneath. I believe this design is meant to preserve the watertightness of the laser. The business end of the laser is covered by a piece of glass that seems to have been forcibly embedded in the metal.

wicked laser spyder review picture

When in your hands, nothing shakes, nothing rattles. It is one solid, monolithic piece of metal with a rubber button on the side. You can hit it, drop it, dunk it under water: nothing comes loose, and everything keeps working.

wicked laser spyder review picture

The batteries last for about three hours, and the drop in intensity as the battery depletes is much less noticeable than with alkalines. Of course, this is due to the way Lithium batteries discharge. Sadly, the CR123A types you’ll need are a little pricey, but if you can afford this laser, you can probably afford a few batteries.

The Performance
With 200mW to play with, I was looking forward to seeing just what sort of damage I could do. Well, as soon as you turn it on, you realize this is no toy. Your first instinct will be to reach out for your safety goggles. The simple backscatter from the laser (the dot on walls, or furniture, or whatever) is so bright that even glancing at it is painful to the eye. Like staring at the sun, really.

The beam is clearly visible, and is thick and powerful. In the dark, the laser can serve as a flashlight, as the backscatter really is that bright. The company claims a range of 90 miles with this particular model, and I have no doubt at all that this is true. On the only outdoor experiment I performed, I pointed the laser straight up at the sky at night. I then called a friend two miles away and asked if he could see the beam. Sure enough, he did.

Another interesting point is that this laser has a 100% continuous duty cycle. This means you technically never have to turn it off: once on, you can leave it on until the battery runs out. This is possible due to an improved heatsink and has implications for holography enthusiasts, I believe. Mind you, we have no specialized equipment, so we were unable to test for purity of signal (ie, we don’t know if the laser keeps to a specific wavelength, without jumping up and down and otherwise polluting the light beam).

So, what can you do with it? Of course, the most fun is burning stuff. Unlike the previous model we tested, this one will light a match in under two seconds and under six second even if you’re six feet away. It’ll burn holes through paper within three to five seconds. It’ll cut through electrical tape like butter and give you a nasty sting if shined on your skin (yes, we are that stupid!). It’ll even light matches and cigars (though it takes a little longer for the cigar), making this the world’s most expensive lighter.

Other uses? Well, this can have definite applications in law enforcement. Shining it in the eyes of someone, even from miles away, will immediately blind them, probably for good. Even just as intimidation, its effect would be powerful.

I was a little reluctant to take it outside, to be honest. I live in the middle of a city, and it’s hard not to attract attention with this sort of power. It’s quite difficult to describe the feeling you get, waving this laser around. And it’s even harder to tell you just the sort of reaction you’ll get from your friends and neighbors: anything from drooly amazement, to hostile aversion (“Hey you dumbwad, don’t shine that around here!” was one gem I heard).

The Spyder series come in three flavours: 200mW, 250mW and 300mW average output, with peak occurring at 450mW. Very impressive. Of course, prices are impressive too: $1,000, $1,500 and $2,000 respectively.

– Strong, sturdy construction
– 100% continuous duty cycle
– Shock and water proof

– Expensive batteries
– Awkward to use in polite settings
– Expensive to purchase
– Will really scare neighbours

Also, please watch this lovely video.

[Wicked Lasers]


  1. DAMN!! That thing is bright!
    It might be worth mentioning though that the little toy laser you get from the drug/pet/liquor store is about .5mW or about 1/4 of 1% of this thing.
    I really am surprised you can get your hands on one without being in the military or law enforcement etc…

  2. Why the hell would someone pay $1000 so they can light a match in 20 seconds from 3 feet away?

    Plus, a little Google indicated these things are actuall illegal. I found a link that says customs is automatically confiscating these things at the border and another that goes to a warning letter speficially declaring the company produces illegal products and threatenting fines.

    Warning Letter: http://www.fda.gov/foi/warning_letters/g5694d.htm

    Import Ban: http://www.fda.gov/ora/fiars/ora_import_ia9504.html

  3. We operate a 527nm, 120mW laser for research purposes, and have had to jump through hoops with the FAA in order not to blind pilots. In other words, we operate at 60% of the power that you shot up, and we’re worried. Worried enough to spend several thousand dollars on prevention mechanisms.

    These aren’t toys, as you state, and should only be operated by trained personnel. They ESPECIALLY shouldn’t be pointed skywards. Or anywhere except at a beam stop, for that matter.

    And you might want to watch that spot on your skin for cancer later on. (Not joking – that amount of collimated light is bad news for EVERY part of your body.)

  4. reminds me of the flashlight lasers in Larry Niven’s sci fi novels, the known space universe, with the ringworld and the kzinti. All you need to do to make it like the one in the novel is to add a controllable lens to change between “kill” and illuminate (that would be a diverging lens, changing the laser beam into a cone). And also, you need to ramp up the power to make it as lethal as a gun.

  5. David, i just got the laser, it is totaly sick, tonight we are promoting a Sound Tribe Sector Nine concert at the House of Blues in Orlando this toy ought to be a whole lot of FUN. thanks again bruce g

  6. God listen to all you cry babies, oh you’ll burn your eye out, it’s to much power for any person on the street to have. you’ll get skin cancer!
    This is the problem with the U.S. all these Fing
    liberals taking all are toys away, like where a bunch of little children misbehaving…what ever happened to personal responsibility? I own this laser, and several others from Wicked, and a little common sence…not much just a little, will tell you that these, or any other IIIa or IIIb lasers are not kiddy toys to just point willy-nilly at what ever you please! I am just gonna say in simple terms… If you don’t like the song, turn the station. Don’t bitch to me about how bad it sounds. It’s my life not yours!

  7. Yay Sean! I agree with you – it’s all about personal responsibility. But liberal whiners and cry babies don’t know what that is because they’ve never had to exercise any. They want their government to step in and tell them and everyone else what they should and shouldn’t do. Bah!
    I’m going to wickedlasers.com right now and buying one for myself! And yes, Crybaby Wallis, I will be responsible with it and not shine it where it’s not supposed to be shined. I don’t need anyone to tell me that. But later I’m gonna run with scissors! Haw!

  8. *shakes head at the whining over a laser*
    People should be allowed to own dangerous things if they want to, as long as they treat it with respect. The only time that it should be “taken away” is if they are proved to be unable to handle it.
    …Reminds me of BG2:Soa, you need to buy the right to use magic ^_^

  9. I own a 75mw laser from that sight and photograph it alot and for those who watched that movie if you were realy there you would nearly die of a HEART ATTACK!!! That is so powerful you could swear that the beam was actualy solid and you could touch it and when you thied your skin would char black and you would also go blind. Now for anybody who think there bad well they are and thats why we like playing with them so go die in a hole!!! = )…

  10. i dont no y u all r saying that people shouldnt have them. how many people r stupid enuff to blind people with them. and skin cancer? the wavelengths and light that cause cancer have nothing to do with lasers. depending on the makeup of this fine piece of equiptment it may use things like neon, helium or a suped lightbulb. if those caused cancer then there would be alot less of the things that openly use them around.

  11. Personal responsibility? All of you have said that phrase have included some kind of implication that you bought these lasers to play with them. You spent 2000 U.S. dollars to play with an extremely powerful laser, and you refer to personal responsibility. Congratulations, I hope you get first place if the Darwin awards come around again.