With the right microscope, you can access the micro world in all its mystery as a hobbyist or foster your research as a scientist. Depending on their applications, microscopes come in a very wide variety based on their specified features. The ideal microscope should yield excellent optics, have enough magnification, and should be easy to operate.
Below, we take a look at our top five microscopes on the market that cover most niches and user needs.
1. OMAX 40X-2000X Lab LED Binocular Microscope
The OMAX Lab microscope yields binocular vision and comes with exceptional 40x to 2000x magnification, adjustable interpupillary distance, and diopters to adapt to different eye strengths. It comes with excellent controls for great viewing flexibility, a mechanical stage, and an adjustable LED intensity for the brightest images. It also features USB support to capture the images seen and comes with a lightweight sturdy frame for ensured durability.
- Impressive 40x-2000x magnification and great user compatibility.
- Excellent controls and handleability.
- USB support, adjustable LED intensity, and durable housing.
2. Swift SW350T Research-Grade Trinocular Compound Microscope
The Swift SW350T packs a punch with powerful 40x to 2500x magnification and is ideal for research laboratories and hobbyists. It comes with a trinocular configuration for camera support, bright LED illumination, and a large mechanical stage. It is very easy to operate and comes with adjustable inter-pupillary distance and dioptres, that all emphasize great user compatibility.
- Very high magnification.
- Trinocular configuration and LED illumination.
- Excellent controls and great user compatibility.
3. Plugable USB 2.0 Digital Microscope
The Plugable Digital Microscope packs high magnification and exceptional image quality into a compact, lightweight unit. It connects seamlessly with Windows, Mac, and Android devices to show magnified images in real-time and is very easy to handle. It also comes with a variable LED light and a flexible stand for a superb degree of freedom.
- Compact and lightweight.
- 0x-250x magnification and great image quality.
- Great compatibility with different operating systems.
4. AmScope M150C-I 40X-1000X
The M150C is a great compound microscope from AmScope specially designed for student laboratories. It comes with a 360º rotating head and 40x to 1000x magnification in five steps. Its metallic frame is lightweight and sturdy for maximum durability and is embedded with excellent controls for great viewing flexibility. It also features a LED lighting that runs on either mains supply or AA batteries.
- 40x-1000x magnification.
- Durable, ergonomic design.
- 2-way power LED with exceptional image quality.
5. My First Lab Duo-Scope Microscope
This outstanding gadget is an award-winning STEM education microscope and comes with all the accessories to get your kids started right away. It is very easy to operate, packs an impressive 400x maximum magnification, and comes with a very sleek design. Its LED illumination backs its multicoated optics to yield the brightest images.
- Compact and lightweight.
- STEM education support and very easy to operate.
- 40x-400x magnification with LED illumination.
Microscopes Buying Guide
Microscopes reveal a whole new world normally unavailable to our eyes, thanks to their extreme magnifying power. They find applications in different niches like micro-soldering, research, or just as gadgets for the hobbyist. With so many brands on the market, choosing the right microscope can be quite challenging.
Our buying guide reviews the best microscopes based on their specified features and outlines important qualities to look out for when buying one.
The primary function of any microscope is to magnify tiny particles, surfaces, or objects. Used interchangeably with ‘power,’ the magnification of your microscope is an important consideration to make and measures how large the magnified object appears through the eyepiece. If you’ll be working with objects like tiny insects, food particles, or want to do some micro-soldering, then low-power microscopes with magnifications in the order of a few tens (between 20x to 100x) are ideal. These will likely be stereo microscopes that feature lower power, and a wide field of view.
For much smaller objects on the microscopic scale like bacteria, fungi, and other organisms, then high-power microscopes with magnifications in the order of a few hundreds to thousands are the preferred choice. These are usually compound microscopes with several lenses arranged sequentially to achieve very high power.
If you’ll be working on different projects, however, then it’s a good idea to go for a unit with variable magnification.
Type; Stereo vs. Compound Microscope
As stated above, microscopes generally come in two forms; stereo microscopes and compound microscopes. Compound microscopes are designed to achieve very high magnification and a narrow field of view. They also yield a two-dimensional image of the object in focus.
Stereo microscopes yield smaller magnification but a very wide field of view, making them great for real-time activities like soldering. Their objective lenses are also usually orientated to yield a more realistic, three-dimensional image of objects.
External Connection Support
Modern microscopes offer great connection features for microphotography, digital display, etc. If you are into taking pictures on a microscopic scale, then a monocular or trinocular microscope is the ideal choice for you. The trinocular microscope comes with two regular eyepieces and an extra one to mount a camera or digital device.
Some microscopes also function via USB to connect to an external device like a tablet or PC to capture and show real-time images while viewing. Some come with SD card ports to store captured images and videos for later access.