Updated: May 9, 2015

Microscope Reviews:

Microscopes are a great way for kids and adults to become educated about tiny creatures under a high powered lense. Science is a wonderful topic to learn about and having a microscope to use in your house is a great idea. Although some are pricey ($1000+), others are very affordable and will get the job done in terms of teaching your kids about blood cells, amoebas and bacteria. Microscopes come in different types - digital microscopes, inclined microscopes, stereo and zoom microscopes, compound microscopes, beginner microscopes, portable microscopes, and advanced microscopes. When choosing what kind of microscope to buy, you want to consider the light you will be using, the type of specimens you will be viewing, and the appropriate experience or age level. A student compound microscope is designed for viewing the microscopic world. They have monocular heads and are high power microscopes with magnifications of 40x, 100x, 400x and 1000x. A compound microscope is used to view blood samples, prepared slides, cells and cell structures, bacteria, pond life, and microscopic organisms. Stereo Microscopes are low power microscopes used for inspection and "hands under" work usually involving non-microscopic activities like viewing insects and coins.

We found that Amazon.com carries a variety of microscopes at pretty competitive prices. The Celestron Dissecting Microscope ($209.99) has standard features like an Optical Head - 45 degree inclined Binocular Head; 360 degree Rotatable, Interpupillary distance - Adjustable from 55-75mm, Illuminator - Top/Bottom built-in electric illuminator; Incandescent Bulb, Nosepiece - Turret objective 2x/4x, Stage - 94.5mm glass stage and black/white stage plate. Owners like this microscope for its ease of use and ability to view specimens without a slide. The Celestron Research Microscope ($483.95) costs more, but you get an adjustable illuminator with an illuminator with an Abbe 1.25 condenser, iris diaphragm, filters, and holder, built-in mechanical stage is 123mm x 153mm and has a movement range of 70mm x 40mm, a binocular head 45-degree inclined, 360-degree rotatable, and interpupillary distance of 55mm-75mm, four supplied achromatic objectives 4x, 10x, 40, 100xr (oil), and 10x and 15x eyepieces. All reviews were positive saying that the 4x objective was something not found in the popular Meade microscope. Olympus has an excellent resource site at Olympusmicro.com with useful sections on research microscopes, clinical microsopes, confocal microscopes, and education microscopes. Their latest research microscopes are the SZX16 Zoom Stereo Microscope and the SZX10 Zoom Stereo Microscope. They complement the AX Series and the BX2 series nicely. The top Confocal microscopes by Olympus are the FluoView 1000 and the FluoView 300. The Fluoview 1000, with two laser scanners, is great for "ultra-thin sectioning". Nikon makes great cameras but also specializes in microscopes. The newest products are the Eclipse LV100D Upright Metallurgical Microscope, Eclipse LV100 POL Polarizing Microscope, and the Nikon - SMZ1500 zoom stereomicroscope. Microscopedealer.com carries all the latest models with specs, features and pictures of them. We found some excellent microscope reviews online at websites like Microscope.com, Epinions, Amazon, and Microscopeplanet.com. All feature in depth owner reviews with comments and feedback that should make your buying decision well informed. You can browse the top selling microscopes online here.

Best Beginner Microscopes:

There's nothing like getting a microscope kit for Christmas or a birthday when you are young (at least that is what I thought). Perhaps toys have changed a bit today with video games and interctive dolls, but the old fashioned microscope is something that will open up new doors in the minds of children (and adults) in so many ways. We prefer to do our microscope shopping at Scientificsonline.com, their selection is second to none and they have the perfect product - the Beginner Microscope Kit for $99.95. You get everything you would need to set up your own beginner's microscope lab. The kit includes a microscope, 1 polarizing kit, 3x and 6x magnifier, set of prepared slides, stains, basic dissection kit, experiment manual with background information, and foam-lined die-cut storage case. The microscope comes with an inclined head, large focusing knobs, glass coated optics, 10x Huygenian eyepiece, rotating nosepiece with 4x, 10x and 40x objectives and disc diaphragm that has blue filters. 2 AA batteries are required (not included) and a dust cover is also included. Even though the kit is basic, it can open your childs eyes to the wonder of science and experimenting around. It makes a great gift for boys or girls around 10-12 years of age. BEST - Most students just starting to use microscopes in classes like biology can benefit from having one at home to experiment with. You can buy slides and other items to view under the microscopes and further your childs education. We suggest viewing the most popular beginner microscopes online here.

Stereo Microscope:

RECOMMENDED - One of the top rated stereo microscopes per online reviews is the Celestron 44202 Advanced Stereo Microscope - features two 10x wide field eyepieces and 2x & 4x objective lenses. The stereo binocular microscope is perfect for the low power user and the inclined 45 degree binocular head makes for comfortable viewing and you can rotate it 360 degrees. The halogen illumination creates ideal lighting. Celestron offers versatility with their microscopes and they are well recognized for uses in education, research or just hobbyists.

Compound Microscopes

RECOMMENDED - In searching for a compound microscope that still fits into the reasonable price zone, we found the 40x-2000x Trinocular Biological Compound Microscope to be one to look at. Variscope is the manufacturer and owner reviews are positive for this one. The Variscope Series 8621 microscope allows for magnification ranges of 40x, 80x, 100x, 200x, 400x, 800x, 1000x, and 2000x. The microscope head sits at a 30 degree incline and is capable of swiveling 360 degrees. Carl Zeiss, Labo America, and Westover Scientific sell high end laboratory digital microscopes which will cost anywhere from $1000 to $15,000 - although most midrange users don't need the power that these compound microscopes offer. You can browse the top rated compound microscopes here.

How to use a microscope:

I recently bought my son a new microscope and watched him expand his world in the sciences and definitely recommend the student microscopes you will find at Microscope-depot.com. They carry sub $100 microscopes that get the job done and they also offer accessory kits and cordless microscopes too. Go to their "glossary" page on terms and a nice image that points out what each term refers to and how the microscope works. It's great for kids and a good refresher for experienced adults.