Best Microscope Reviews 2018

Buying a microscope is a tricky business. Naturally, it all boils down to the lenses and optics. We know that the terminologies, features, and options may overwhelm you, and that’s why we’ve invested significant time to research some of the five best microscope brands, and are featuring a product from each that you’ll enjoy using.
Overview
PROS
CONS
SPECS
Type
Magnification
Head
Viewing head
Weight
Our Top Choice
Omax 40X-2000X Binocular Microscope
Omax is built on a strong philosophy that technology in microscopes can help provide workable solutions.
LED illumination. Good level of magnifications. Solid metal construction. Offers 8 levels of magnifications.
Requires use of immersion oil that most new models don’t use.
Compound
40X-2000X
Binocular
45° inclined 360° swiveling
11 lbs
Best Value
AmScope 40X-1000X Microscope
AmScope prides itself in providing huge selection of quality products at unbeatable prices. The AmScope 40X-1000X Microscope comes with 5 levels of magnification.
Good quality for the price. High-power microscope. LED illumination. High resolution.
Lighting is not very bright.
Compound
40X-1000X
Monocular
45° inclined 360° swiveling
4.8 lbs
National Optical Corded Halogen Microscope
National Optical is among the largest distributors of microscopes in the U.S. The Corded Halogen Microscope delivers high magnification for educational and biological use.
Good magnification. Ideal for industrial use as well. Improved focus.
An expensive model because of the high end features.
Compound
40X-1000X
Trinocular
30° inclines 360° swiveling
23.8 lbs
Celestron Advanced Stereo Microscope
For decades, Celestron has been a leader in the world of optics. The Celestron Advanced Stereo Microscope creates amazing true-life 3D images and is easy to use.
Can view details on 3D objects. Sturdy metal construction. Comfortable use. Affordable.
Less powerful
Stereo
20X-40X
Binocular
360° swiveling
7.9 lbs
Carson MM-840 EFLEX Microscope
Carson has over 2 decades of experience in the optics game. The MM-840 EFLEX Microscope is a digital model with a USB cable to connect to a computer.
Affordable. Digital model. Unique design. LED lighting.
Can connect to computers but not tablets.
Digital
75X-300X
Monocular
360° swiveling
0.4 lbs

(Updated )

How Do I Choose the Best Microscope?

Getting curious about science? If this is the case, you’re probably considering purchasing a microscope, or maybe a telescope if you want to get astronomical. It will provide a window to another world that can’t be seen with your naked eyes – yes, even with glasses you’re still not able to step into this new universe.

The good news is, the price of microscopes have dropped tremendously over the years, making it an even better investment for teachers, parents, and science enthusiasts. They’ll let you explore the world of microorganisms, see the smallest parts you can identify on an insect or plant, and go a step further in studying the structure of cells.

The first step you should take when choosing the best microscope for you is deciding on the kind you want. The three main types that are available to you are: Compound, Stereo, and Digital.

Here’s a quick comparison of what each of these microscopes has to offer:
  • Compound microscope – It provides you with a greater magnification as it allows you to examine small specimens such as insect parts and bacteria much clearer. It combines the power of light and lenses to enlarge the subject you’re viewing.
  • Stereo microscope – It doesn’t have the as much of a magnification level as the compound model does. However, it’s an appropriate option if you want to look closely at large items that can be difficult to see with your naked eye.
  • Digital microscope – Let’s step into the 21st century and enter a world filled with amazing detail. This type of model uses the power of a laptop to view objects that aren’t otherwise visible.
Other than the types of microscopes that are available to you, something else to keep in mind is the microscope head. There three main types that you’ll come across.
  • The monocular heads – you only use one eye for viewing.
  • Binocular head – a more comfortable option if you’re viewing a specimen for a long period.
  • Trinocular head – designed with a third tube allowing you to attach a camera.
Before we jump to our reviews, let’s look at some of the consideration factors you should keep in mind when shopping for a microscope.
Price
Generally, a good microscope isn’t cheap. However, depending on the brand you choose and the features you hope for the microscope to have, the prices will differ. As models range anywhere from $46 to $2,000, it’s one of those items that gives you exactly what you pay for. If you wish to get an affordable microscope, the good news is there are plenty out there below $100, and with fairly good quality.

However, don’t settle on cheap ones, as they might not offer you all the features you’ll require to study a microorganism. If you’re looking for a microscope that will give you the best clarity and the option to use your laptop to upload or save the image, be ready to pay a premium.
Features
So what exactly should you be looking for in a microscope? All this depends on your budget - if it’s flexible, then pretty much everything. We’re talking about the extra features the item has, that make it more functional and useful.

Here are the import features to look for:
  • Type - There are three main types of microscopes you’ll come across. The Compound microscope provides a greater magnification than the stereo option. The Stereo microscope’s magnification isn’t as powerful, but an appropriate option if you’re looking at large objects at a closer range. If you wish to use your laptop to view and save the image, consider the Digital microscope; it allows you to connect to your laptop using a USB cable. More on this later.
  • Magnification - When it comes to magnification, you’ll need to keep in mind what type of viewing you’ll use the microscope for. The lens closest to the specimen, referred to as an objective lens, is the one that provides the image you view. Thus, the strength determines how clear it will be. If you’re viewing a large specimen, the 40x objective lens is a good option; for smaller specimens consider an objective lens of more than that.
  • Microscope Head - It all depends on how you want to use the microscope. With the Monocular head, you’ll only use one eye for viewing. If you spend long periods viewing a specimen, the Binocular could be a more comfortable option. If you would like to attach a camera to the microscope, consider the Trinocular, as the extra tube accommodates this.
  • Viewing Head - The latest microscope designs are adjustable on the viewing head, some offering you a tilt range of between 25 and 40 degrees. Additionally, some have a telescoping adjustment that allows you to increase or decrease the height of the eyepiece tube. Regardless of your height, you’re guaranteed to peer into the eyepiece without tilting your head.
  • Weight - The weight of the microscope depends on the head that was chosen. The Binocular heads are slightly heavier as they offer you two eyepieces, as compared to the Monocular head.
Construction and Design
As a teacher, parent, or science enthusiast, we’re sure you’re looking to get the ultimate experience while using your microscope.

Therefore, keep an eye on the following types that are available:
  • Compound microscope – A Compound microscope is also referred to as high-power. From the name, you can clearly see it’s one that will allow you to explore the world of the smallest cell you can find, much easier – such as the sperm, which is considered the smallest cell in the human body in terms of volume. It provides you with a greater magnification than lower-power microscopes. You’re able to view the cell much clearer as it combines the power of light and lenses to enlarge the subject that you’re viewing. The pricier high-power microscope has two eyepieces and the cheaper option has one.
  • Stereo microscope – This type of microscope is also referred to as a low-power. If you’re spending time examining large specimens that are difficult to see with your naked eye, then this is a microscope to consider. It’s designed with two optical paths at different angles, allowing you to view the image in three dimensions under the lenses.
  • Digital microscope – You can find this particular model with or without two eyepieces that you can use. The microscope connects to your laptop through a USB cable, displaying the magnified specimen, which you can save and view later.
Other than the types of microscope available, there are still more features that come into play.

The lens magnification of the microscope will all depend on what kind of viewing you plan on doing. To get a clear image of the sperm cell, go for a magnification that’s 40x or above; for a large specimen, a magnification of 40x will do.

Depending on how you’ll be using the microscope, it’s important to keep the microscope head in mind. As a science enthusiast, it’s advisable to get a binocular head, as we’re sure you’ll be spending long hours viewing and trying to understand a specimen. But a monocular head will also be sufficient.

Additionally, this will affect the weight of the microscope, as the binocular will be heavier than the monocular head. If you’re looking for a stable microscope, consider one with a rigid base as it provides sufficient weight and eliminates any blurs in images that could be caused by floor vibrations.

With technological advancement, adjusting the viewing head has been made easy for you, as it allows you to increase or decrease the height of the eyepiece. You can either choose a microscope with a 45-degree incline and 360-degree swivel, or simply a 360-degree swivel.
Performance and Ease of Use
The performance of a microscope is an important factor as you’re looking to explore the world of microorganisms. For example, a microscope with a rigid base will eliminate blurred images, especially if you would like to upload the image to your laptop and blow it up.

The microscope might be a bit heavy, especially if you choose the binocular viewing head, but all this is worth the comfort and clarity it’ll provide. If weight is a significant factor for you, the monocular head is also a good alternative to consider.

Having an easy-to-use microscope should be at the top of the list, as you don’t want to spend hours struggling to view the specimen. The good news is, with the advancements made on microscopes, you don’t have to worry about tilting your head to reach the eyepiece. They’ve been designed with a simple adjustable viewing head. The incline and swivel degree all depend on what you prefer.

What is the Best Microscope?

While the lenses and optics should be your top priority, we suggest that you look beyond these two factors – after all, they are only part of the package! Look at the materials used to make the unit – is it metal, hard plastic, or cheap plastic? If you get one made of metal, you’re safe; if you get a model with hardened plastic, you’re also good; but if you find a model made from cheap plastic, run and run fast!

This review is for folks looking to learn more about microscopes, to help them make the right purchase. Now that you know what to look for when purchasing a microscope, let’s get straight to our top five choices.
Our Top Choice
The Omax 40X-2000X Binocular Microscope is a good quality unit, offering 8 magnifications to help those who want to view their slides with clear images. Love this model but would prefer one with a built-in camera instead? We recommend that you check out the Digital Lab LED Binocular Compound Microscope with Built-in 1.3MP USB Camera.
Omax 10X-2000X Binocular Compound Microscope with Double Layer Mechanical Stage

Omax Microscope CS-M82ES-SC100-LP50


Features
Omax brings to the market a suite of software and other products meant to provide a connected learning environment, inspiring students and empowering teachers and scientists. Its microscopes boast super precision optics to do the job thoroughly.

The Omax 40X-2000X Binocular Microscope offers a total of 8 level magnifications to help you focus on your specimen for clear views. It comes with a double layer mechanical stage, plus 100 glass blank slides. To make the deal even better, the unit features a USB port that allows you to connect it to your laptop and record your findings either as a video clip or a picture.

Retailing at around $199.99, the Omax 40X-2000X Binocular Microscope is best suited for veterinary clinics, educational lab environments, medical labs, and teaching demonstrations. Here are some of the features that it has in store for you:
  • 8 magnifications, with wide field WF20X and WF10X eyepieces
  • Achromatic DIN 100X(S, Oil), 40X(S), 10X and 4X objectives
  • 45-degree inclined, 360-degree swiveling binocular viewing head
  • A sliding interpupillary distance that can be adjusted (2-3/16-inch – 2-15/16-inch)
  • Ocular diopter that’s adjustable on both eye tubes
  • Revolving quadruple nosepiece
  • A stage upward-moving lock that helps protect slides and objectives
  • Transmitted LED light for illumination
  • Full solid metal construction with a stain-resistant finish
  • 5-year manufacturer’s warranty against defects
Best Value
The AmScope 40X-1000X Microscope introduces 5 levels of magnification and high resolution to allow for sharp images. Love this model but thinking of getting a stereo type instead? Take a sneak peak at the AmScope SE400-Z Professional Binocular Stereo Microscope and you might just love it!
AmScope All Metal Biological Compound Microscope Optical Glass Lenses Cordless LED

Amscope Microscope M150C-I


Features
Since it entered the market, AmScope has always had one mission – to make high-quality microscopes more accessible to everyone. Judging from its product selection, we can comfortably say that it has remained true to its word. With a wide range of pricing and models, you can get a microscope to suit your needs.

The AmScope 40X-1000X Microscope is designed for students who love to learn about science. The unit features full optical glass elements, a 360-degree monocular head that can be rotated, and a quality metal frame for durability. Better yet, it comes with LED illumination to provide lighting to your workstation.

To get this microscope, you only need to spend about $85, which is a good price for a unit of this caliber. Some of the features it comes with include:
  • Fine and coarse focusing
  • Solid metal construction with a finish made of stain resistant enamel
  • 45-degree inclined, 360-degree swiveling head with a locked-in eyepiece
  • Focusing control knobs strategically placed on both sides
  • Plain stage with a stain-resistant finish and clips
  • 5 levels of magnification
  • An optical system that’s fully coated
  • 5-year manufacturer warranty
The Corded Halogen Microscope is made to suit both educational and biological applications. It features trinocular viewing configuration and a sliding binocular head for great focusing. If you love this microscope but feel that the price is too high for you, then you can get the 161-ASC Dual-View Monocular Compound Microscope.
National Optical Trinocular Microscope Halogen Illumination 40x-1000x Magnification Iris Diaphragm

National Optical Microscope 163-PH


Features
National Optical specializes in educational microscopes, distributing to every corner in the U.S. Its comprehensive line of specialty, stereoscopic and compound microscopes are meant to advance science training, both in-class as well as for industrial use.

The Corded Halogen Microscope is the most expensive model in our list, retailing at around $1,865. But unlike other models, this unit comes with some high-end features that justify the price. Firstly, it comes with a unique design to guarantee superb optical clarity. When it comes to performance, the achromatic lenses deliver excellent clarity and good field flatness.

To give you a clearer picture of the Corded Halogen Microscope, here’s what you get:
  • Widefield 10x/18mm eyepiece
  • A trinocular viewing head offering 30-degree inclined binocular pieces equipped with interpupillary adjustment and dual diopters
  • Mechanical stage that locks the slide into place, providing precise manipulation
  • Fine focus knobs and coaxial nested coarse to speed the focusing
  • A reverse-mounted nosepiece
  • Parcentered objectives provides improved focus and keeps the images focused and centered every time you change the magnification
The Celestron Advanced Stereo Microscope is made for hobbyists, students and professionals alike. It comes with strong metal construction and a binocular head that can be adjusted 360 degrees for better image focus. Want a cheaper model with a digital camera included? We bet you will love the Celestron 5 MP Handheld Digital Microscope Pro.
Celestron Advanced Stereo Halogen Microscope

Celestron Microscope 44202


Features
Since the founder of Celestron, Tom Johnson, unveiled the C8, which was a game changing telescope, the brand has worked tirelessly to continue the legacy by developing products with exciting, revolutionary technologies. With the many microscopes in the market today by Celestron, we can surely say that the brand has indeed redefined technology!

Celestron Advanced Stereo Microscope might be a low power, affordable microscope, but it comes with some sophisticated features to make it a great fit for students and professionals. It is made with halogen illuminators, both upper and lower, as well as fully coated optics for the utmost in performance. Retailing at just $185, this microscope has a magnification range of 20x – 40x, making it ideal for viewing details on objects like documents, insects, minerals and coins.

The Celestron Advanced Stereo Microscope is certainly a hard to beat device for those on a budget. Here are some of the features you will get:
  • Utilizes 2 eyepieces and 2 light paths to create 3-D image
  • 20x – 40x power stereo
  • Sturdy metal construction
  • Rubber eye cups to provide extra comfort
  • Binocular head that rotates 360 degrees
  • Halogen illumination with a working distance of 4.33”
  • Fully-coated glass optics
  • Comes with 2x and 4x lenses, and 10x Widefield pieces
The MM-840 EFLEX Microscope allows you to view images and videos of your slide on your computer. It features 75x/300x magnification levels so that you can capture every little detail of your specimen. Want an even more affordable model that’s easily portable? We think you will love the MicroBrite Plus 60x-120x Power LED Lighted Pocket Micros cope.
Carson EFLEX Digital Microscope 75x or 300x Power LED USB

Carson Microscope MM-840


Features
Carson Optical was officially launched in 1990 by its founder Richard Cameron, but it started operating optics one year later, when he came across a very unique electronic binocular in Japan. Over the years, Cameron has employed dedicated engineers with a sole mission to offer state-of-the-art optics. Today, Carson has grown exponentially, encompassing a wide range of products as well as accessories.

The MM-840 EFLEX Microscope is a unique type with an interesting design. It displays the magnified image on the computer via the USB cable, with magnification levels of 75x/300x. With a click of a button, it’s even possible to capture close-up video and save it on your laptop!

This microscope is the most affordable on our list, retailing at just $46.98. Some of the features that make it a good deal include:
  • Powerful digital microscope with magnification levels of 75x or 300x
  • USB cable to connect to the computer
  • Adjustable knob with LED lighting
  • A flexible neck stand and a suction adapter to make it easy to attach to any surface
  • Compatible with Windows and Mac OSX 10.4.9 and later
  • No batteries required
  • 1-year manufacturer warranty

Get the Best Microscope of 2018!

As you can see from our review, our experts have done a thorough job researching all you need to know about microscopes. And yes, we feature flexible price ranges as well to ensure no one is left out. We hope that you’ve found a model that strikes your fancy and promises to do the job without any hitches. However, if the products we selected don’t fit what you hoped to get, these reputable brands have more to offer you. Just click the links and look around.

Our Top Choice
Omax 40X-2000X Binocular Microscope
Best Value
AmScope 40X-1000X Microscope
National Optical Corded Halogen Microscope
Celestron Advanced Stereo Microscope
Carson MM-840 EFLEX Microscope