The best vanity mirror
Tweezing, shaving, makeup application -- there are a lot of reasons you might need a vanity mirror. They come in all shapes and sizes and sometimes with extra features like fog resistance and built-in LED lights. Take into account what you need the mirror for and where you'd like to use it before you make your final decision.
Our top pick, an eight-inch tabletop mirror by simplehuman, is rechargeable and only lights up when in use. With five times magnification, it improves visibility without distorting your image. You can also take a look at our guide to learn what to expect when choosing a vanity mirror.
Considerations when choosing vanity mirrors
Types of vanity mirrors
Wall-mounted vanity mirrors: These vanity mirrors include hardware that attaches the mirror to the wall. You get to pick the location, but these mirrors aren't portable. There are models that have an adjustable head so you can change the angle based on your needs.
Tabletop vanity mirrors: Tabletop mirrors are portable with a base or stand that's appropriate for most flat surfaces. These mirrors are typically smaller than the wall-mounted variety. Some of them are small enough to fit in luggage, allowing you to take them while traveling.
Single- or double-sided: Both wall-mounted and tabletop vanity mirrors can be single- or double-sided. One side is normal magnification while the other may be magnified by over 10x.
Plastic: Mirrors with plastic frames are inexpensive, easy to clean, and lightweight, making them a great choice if you want a mirror with which you can travel. However, they aren't built to last and are usually less durable than metal-framed mirrors.
Metal: Metal frames are stronger and heavier than plastic models. Their finishes vary from brushed nickel and brass to oiled bronze and polished chrome, giving you the option to match your bathroom hardware or make a statement with something bold and different.
Some vanity mirrors can be tilted to different angles. You may need a different angle to apply your lipstick than you do to pluck your eyebrows. Tabletop models are generally more adjustable than wall-mounted models, but some wall-mounted mirrors are adjustable with a retractable arm so you can change the mirror's distance from the wall.
Lightweight vanity mirrors with foldable plastic frames offer the best portability. However, portable models don't usually have sensors or built-in lights.
Magnifying vanity mirrors give you a closeup view of your brows, chin, or anywhere else you might need to tweeze or pluck. They're great for precise makeup applications like liquid eyeliner. In general, 10x magnification is as high as you want to go; more than that and the reflection tends to distort. Keep in mind that higher magnifications may cause your image to appear upside down because of the concave shape of the face. You may end up needing to be closer to the mirror than is comfortable if the magnification is too high.
Vanity mirrors may have a lighted panel that surrounds the mirror while others have individual bulbs built into the frame. There are even vanity mirrors with several lighting levels or a dimming switch for full lighting adjustability.
Sensor-activated lights: Some vanity mirrors have sensor-activated lights that turn on when they detect a person within a certain distance of the mirror. These models save money as they turn off the lights when you're done.
Fog resistance: Fog resistant mirrors have a heating pad that prevents steam from condensing on the mirror's surface.
Extra outlets: Electrical cords equipped with additional outlets make it easier to use your flat iron or blow dryer in front of the mirror.
Vanity mirror prices
A small tabletop mirror starts at around $15 to $25. Add lights and the price rises to $25 to $40. As mirrors get larger with more lights and extra magnification options, the price continues to go up. Basic wall-mounted models typically start between $75 and $200. Above that, in the $200 to $400 range, are large wall-mounted models with sensor-activated lights and high-definition mirrored surfaces.
Q. Is there a type of lighting that works better for applying makeup than others?
A. The lighting depends in part on your preference, but most people find that LED and fluorescent bulbs provide a more accurate picture of their features. The other option, incandescent bulbs, tend to yellow the skin.
Q. Are vanity mirrors with built-in lights and/or sensors battery-powered or electric?
A. You can find both. Mirrors with sensor-activated lights are often battery-powered, as are wall-mounted vanity mirrors. However, you also see models with an electrical cord. Battery-powered models declutter the area around your mirror, though you have to keep an eye on battery life and proximity to water if the mirror is in the bathroom.
Vanity mirrors we recommend
Best of the best: simplehuman Eight-Inch Sensor Mirror
Our take: This mirror provides a clear, distortion-free reflection with excellent lighting. It truly makes makeup application and any other activity easier and faster.
What we like: The lighting panel is exceptionally bright, plus we love that it can be bought in a tabletop or wall-mounted version. It has impressive battery life.
What we dislike: The sensor isn't as durable as the rest of the mirror, although the wall-mounted version tends to last longer.
Best bang for your buck: Miusco Tabletop Vanity Makeup Mirror
Our take: This mirror looks good while helping you look good. It's inexpensive and basic, but sometimes that's all you need.
What we like: It has a full 360° rotation and a sleek, contemporary design.
What we dislike: The swivel screws may need to be tightened as it can sometimes fall out of place.
Choice 3: Chende Hollywood Makeup Vanity Mirror
Our take: Professional and sleek, this mirror looks great for those who want luxurious lighting and a fantastic distortion-free image while applying makeup.
What we like: It's large with 12 bright lights that help you see every angle. However, it has a dimmer switch, so you can adjust the lighting to your preference. Finally, we love that it comes in white or black.
What we dislike: The cord and size make it tough to move around if you need something portable.
Stacey L. Nash is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.