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Learn About Convex Mirrors

We all learned about Convex Mirrors in high school but if you are like most people, you primiarliy learned about them in the physics classroom.  I remember doing an expirement to see how light reflected off a convex lens and other than that, I really don't remember.

This article attempts to answer "What is a Convex Mirror?" in the context of security mirrors and how to use these mirrors in commercial applications.


Please feel free to read this page which offers a brief summary of what convex mirrors are and how they are used.  Unless you already know a lot about these mirrors, it can seem a little overwhelming.  At anytime, please do not hesitate to call us at 800-366-7235 or email us at and we would be happy to help you choose the best mirror for your needs or answer any other questions you may have.



round convex mirror for about usA convex mirror, so what in the heck is that? Let’s get technical at first about this type of mirror then delve into the aspects we recognize. You probably have seen a convex mirror multiple times in your travels and may not even know it! The science may sound complex but the functionality is quite simple.

A convex mirror is most often round in shape but can also be rectangular (also referred to as “roundtangular” especially from the safety mirror and security mirror perspective), and even dome shaped. Convex mirrors can be made of acrylic, glass or unbreakable materials (such a polycarbonate, PETG, or Duramir) where the surface is coated with a special reflective film. The reflective film reduces glare, provides scratch and shatter resistance, and prevents yellowing over a period of time form damaging ultra violet rays. By design, the center point of a convex mirror (or principal axis) is higher than the outside edges of the mirror. Convex mirrors produce virtual images and have wider fields of view than flat mirrors or concave mirrors. Although the image in a convex mirror is diminished in size, as stated previously it captures a wider scope of area than other mirror types. These properties are what make them ideal for use as a safety mirror and security mirror. Flat mirrors have a one to one reflection and a concave mirror will distort images in a way that they do not cover as much area as a convex mirror. Concave mirrors are never recommended for use as a safety mirror or security mirror. Convex mirrors can be used alone or in multiples in order to cover large areas or areas with many aisles, hallways, corridors, etc.

convex mirror for convenience storeIf you have patronized a convenience store or retail store you have probably noticed a mirror placed in locations throughout the store so clerks can keep an eye on activity and sensitive areas. Voila! This is a convex mirror. Convex mirrors are know by many different names such as safety mirrors, security mirrors, traffic mirrors, driveway mirrors, warehouse mirrors, blind spot mirrors, hospital mirrors and sometimes even dome mirrors although dome mirrors are really in a category of their own. We will cover the many alias’ of a convex mirror so it is easy to understand and relate them to a need you may have. It’s interesting to see that the convex mirror alias’ are named the way they are because of the manner in which they are used.

The most popular alias of a convex mirror is “safety mirror”. Just as the name implies, a safety convex mirror as traffic mirrormirror is a convex mirror used to prevent accidents and reduce blind spots. Safety mirrors are also the preferred convex mirror in daycare centers, nursing homes, hospitals, and public areas because the lens can be ordered in an acrylic shatterproof mirror lens or unbreakable mirror lens. In these applications, safety mirrors are often referred to as a hospital mirror. Safety mirrors are often used as a traffic mirror or driveway mirror. A traffic mirror is usually placed at or near dangerous intersections, parking lots, and garages in order to avoid collisions. Driveway mirrors are favored by homeowners who have the misfortune of navigating challenging roadways or highways where oncoming traffic is fast approaching. Driveway mirrors are most often placed directly across the drive and in many applications more than one mirror is needed to see both ways safely.

The second most notable convex mirror alias is “security mirror”. A security mirror is used to monitor sensitive locations and is a very successful theft detection and deterrent device. This is why you see security mirrors in almost every convenience store, retail store and warehouse. A security mirror can be installed in multiples so that clerks are able to keep an eye over large areas from a single location.

security mirror in a classroomSecurity mirrors have become very popular in schools because they allow teachers to monitor student activity. Computers are almost standard in every classroom from kindergarten to college. With use of a security mirror, teachers are able to look up from their desks and know exactly if a student is visiting a website or page that is different from what they should be viewing. Security mirrors also allow the tech to keep an eye on smart phone use, cheating or other forbidden activity.


Warehouse mirrors and industrial mirrors are simply convex mirrors used in their respective environments. A convex mirror used as a warehouse mirror can reduce forklift accidents, help pedestrians navigate plant floors and reduce theft. An industrial mirror can increase productivity on assembly lines and help managers keep an eye over workers. Industrial mirrors are typically placed behind production workers to monitor hoppers, buckets and bins so they may be replenished in a timely fashion to prevent the line from unnecessary stoppage.

As you can see, there are many different ways of referring to a convex mirror although the principal is the same – to assist with visibility. Convex mirrors are extremely low cost, easy to use and require no special skills to install or operate.