Growing interest in microscopy has birthed the development of highly portable microscopes that boast of impressive features. They are ideal for students, nature explorers, and microphotography hobbyists who value convenience and move around a lot. The ideal portable microscope should be very compact, lightweight, and easy to operate.
Best Portable Microscopes
With a host of different brands and models on the market, finding the right portable microscope can be pretty tasking. We help you save some shopping effort and time as we take a look at our top five portable microscopes that span different niches.
The Carson MicroBrite is top on our list and is a very compact, lightweight microscope small enough to fit into a pocket. It comes with 60x to 120x magnification, great image quality, and features battery-powered LED illumination. Its rubberized armor enables for a comfortable, non-slip grip while outdoors.
- Exceptional portability, compact and lightweight design.
- Decent magnification and great image quality.
- Battery-powered LED illumination and ergonomic design.
In the realm of compound microscopes, the TELMU compound microscope stands as one of the most portable. It features a simple design, impressive 40x to 1000x magnification, and a monocular viewing head. It comes with two illumination modes, a solid chassis for great stability, and comes with a smartphone adapter for image and video capturing among other accessories.
- Decent magnification and portable design.
- Dual LED magnification and sturdy design.
- Comes with extra accessories and smartphone support.
This highly portable digital microscope from Skybasic comes with an impressive 50x to 1000x magnification range and a built-in WiFi that connects to Android and iOS devices. It comes with a 2 MP camera backed with LED illumination, and a USB port for charging and PC connection. It is very lightweight and comes with a stand for stationary viewing.
- High magnification and 2 MP camera.
- WiFi-enabled; compatible with Android and iOS.
- LED illumination and extra stand.
The Plugable Digital Microscope boasts of superb portability and comes with a 2.0MP camera and impressive 250x magnification. It is highly compatible with Windows, Mac, and Android, and can be mounted for superb stability. It supports photo and video recording, supports a USB 2.0 output, and comes with LED illumination for the brightest images.
- Very portable, 2.0 MP camera, and 250x maximum magnification.
- Great compatibility with a host of operating systems.
- LED illumination and USB 2.0 support.
The Mustcam Handheld LCD Digital Microscope boasts of a very powerful digitally controlled 300x to 1200x magnification packed into a smartphone-sized portable unit. It comes with an HD 5 MP camera, backed with micro SD storage, to enable image and video capture. It stands out with its unique design and exceptional ease of use.
- Impressive magnification and high image quality.
- Compact, lightweight, and pocket-sized.
- Powerful 5 MP camera with micro SD storage.
Portable Microscope Buying Guide
The modern technological trend of ‘the smaller the better’ has caught up to the microscopic world. With very portable microscopes, just about anyone can get started on microscopic viewing all with a unit that can fit into a backpack or pocket.
When on the market for a portable microscope, there are a number of factors you want to consider before you make a purchase.
Our buying guide reviews the best portable microscopes across the different microscope niches to give you a basis to compare them and find the right match that suits your needs.
Size and Portability
Portable microscopes are valued first, for their compactness and low weight. The ideal portable microscope must come very lightweight and small enough to fit into a pocket or backpack depending on the type. Always keep tabs on the product dimensions to have an estimate on the size and weight of whatever microscope you want to buy. Portability is necessary for outdoor exploration convenience. Portable microscopes are also the ideal choice for kids and the elderly for convenience.
The primary purpose of all microscopes is to magnify a specimen and reveal details normally unavailable to the naked eye. Depending on the intended purpose, the magnification ranges of portable microscopes stand anywhere between 20x to over 1200x in high power models. For kids and hobbyists who want to view large specimens like stones, leaves, insects, microscopes with lower magnifications (20x to 400x) are ideal. For professionals who view very tiny specimens like microorganisms, high power models (above 400x) are the preferred choice.
Microscope Type; Analog vs. Digital
As an extension of the points outlined above, another important consideration to make is the type of microscope you are getting. In general, microscopes come as either analog or digital models. Analog or traditional handheld microscopes offer the advantage of very high portability and will require you to look through the eyepiece to see the magnified image. They are relatively easy to construct and thus also very affordable.
Digital models, on the other hand, come with built-in cameras and a USB or WiFi connection to transfer the images to a PC or mobile device. They trump analog in viewing comfort and you don’t have to strain your eyes to see the image. They, however, require electric power to function and are generally more expensive than analog models