Shopping the types of microscopes for kids or a microscope for home use can be overwhelming. We’ll cover different microscopes types from stereo and compound and which one is the best microscope for kids, microscopes for homeschool, and top rated microscopes for students. And, we’ll also cover microscopes parts and functions and the microscopes resolution.
ULTIMATE GUIDE TO TYPES OF MICROSCOPES FOR KIDS
Best Types of Microscopes At Home
OK, so you are looking for the best microscope for kids and wondering what are the best types of microscopes for using at home or to use with a homeschool microscope curriculum?
Before you end up buying a piece of junk (or spending a ridiculous amount of money on something you won’t use), you’ll want to check out what we found out during our research for the “best” types of microscopes.
Affiliate links are used on this site. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please refer to our Disclosure.
✅What is the best microscope for home use? [Updated 2021]
The best home science tools microscope will depend on your needs and use of the microscope.
Here’s a list of the best microscopes for home use to get you started ASAP…
Student Microscope Reviews: Best Microscopes 2021
Of course, we have our favorite microscopes for education (we’re nerdy that way), but we’ll reserve our opinion for now so you can get an unbiased overview.
Instead, we’ll just tell you, what is the best microscope for students based on microscope reviews and parent recommendations.
Student Microscope Reviews:
►These were the TOP 5 student microscopes as the best options for science study at home.
And, we think they made some great choices for all different levels of needs! (We do love their #1 pick! SO COOL!)
On this page you can read all the reviews, compare prices, AND see which ones are on SALE TODAY!
OK, let’s jump in and get to the reviews of the best types of microscopes for kids to use at home, shall we?
If you’re in a hurry and want to get right to it:
This is an excellent choice for a microscope for kids to use at home and one of the best microscope for homeschool and best microscope for home use.
You’ll find that it is also one of the cheapest, high-quality microscopes you’ll find at this level.
This microscope is super sturdy (so it won’t easily tip over) and comes with 5 (!!) different magnification settings. It also has a lot of 5-star reviews.
If you can find it for under $100, then snatch it up ASAP because that’s a REALLY GOOD DEAL on a high-quality student microscope!
(Check the current price here and see customer reviews.)
What is the best microscope for home use for kids / best homeschool microscope?
Kids’ Microscope Reviews
When it comes to student microscopes with the best reviews to use at home (whether you’re looking for the best homeschool microscope or just one to have at home for your student), these are the top 5 best types of microscopes to choose from for your kid to use at home.
Any of them are great choices for your at-home learning. (compare these 5 microscopes here now)
Student Microscopes — Best Microscope For Home Use:
- TELMU Microscope 40X-1000X Magnification All-Metal Eyepiece (INFO PAGE)
- Swift SW380T 40X-2500X Magnification Trinocular Compound Lab Microscope (INFO PAGE)
- OMAX 40X-2500X Digital Lab Trinocular Compound LED Microscope with USB Digital Camera (INFO PAGE)
- 7x-45x Trinocular Stereo Zoom Microscope +3D Boom Stand (INFO PAGE)
- Amscope Microscope 40X-2000X LED Lab Siedentopf Trinocular Compound Microscope (INFO PAGE)
Student Microscope Reviews: Swift Sw380t Review
Let’s just take a minute and talk specifically about the Swift Sw380t microscope because it is common choice for student microscope and one that a lot of people search out.
(It’s #2 on our Student Microscopes — Best Microscope For Home Use list above.)
It might be the type of trinocular microscope that you remember if you took science classes in school.
Swift Sw380t Review:
- Five-star rated
- Medium range pricing
- 360-degree rotating head
- Wide magnification range (40X-2500X)
- Ultra-precise focusing
- Interchangeable wide-field 10X and 25X glass eyepieces
- Ability to add camera attachments (not included) for live streaming, recording, and magnification to a screen or computer monitor
If you are looking for a microscope that will last and grow with your child or a good home school microscope, the Swift Sw380t is a great option. It goes in my best microscope 2021 to grow with students category.
TYPES OF MICROSCOPES
Understanding Microscope Parts
If you’re new to the whole best microscope search, all of the information out there can be overwhelming.
One of the best starting points is to understand the different types of microscopes.
Once you understand the differences and can describe parts of a microscope for kids, it will help you better choose the best microscope to meet the needs of your child for learning at home.
What is a good microscope for beginners?
Best types of microscopes for kids to use at home and best microscope for beginners are:
- Compound Light Microscope
- Stereo Microscope
- Digital Microscope (or, USB Computer Microscope)
- Pocket Microscope
Compare Best Types of Microscopes for Kids
Where to Buy a Microscope
Compound Light Microscope
Compound microscope definition: A compound microscope is used to magnify images at high levels of magnification.
Compound microscope parts: A compound microscope has two sets of lenses: the ocular lens and the objective lens.
The ocular lens (or eyepiece lens) is the one at the top that you look into, while the objective lens is the lens near the sample (the image being magnified.
It is called a “compound microscope” because of the lens system.
The objective lens magnifies the object and then the ocular lens compounds, or multiplies, the magnified image.
A compound light microscope has a light source built in that helps with viewing.
A compound light microscope is what most people are familiar with and think about when they discuss microscopes.
(It’s probably the one you used in science class!)
This is what most people consider a traditional microscope. These are the microscopes used in classrooms and labs.
They can be binocular, or have two eyepieces to look into, or monocular, or one eyepiece to look into.
GOOD FOR: Viewing microscopic and other images that are hard to see with the naked eye or any other things that you want to see under high magnification.
Stereo microscope is also known as a “dissection microscope” or “low power” microscope.
Stereo microscopes are used for lower magnification.
Images can be seen as 3D (instead of flat).
This type of microscope is often used to examine opaque items, or items that do not allow light to pass through them.
GOOD FOR: Viewing bugs, flowers, rocks, crystals, plants, or anything that you can look at on low power magnification.
Stereo Microscope vs Compound Microscope
(Dissecting Microscope vs Compound Microscope)
The answer depends a lot on your child’s age and how interested they are in science.
A stereo microscope is an optical microscope and is considered a little more basic and allows kids to closer explore their favorite things (like rocks and bugs) in a three-dimensional (3D) magnified image.
A stereo microscope is also called stereo, stereoscopic or dissecting microscope.
Stereo microscopes uses reflected illumination for images and not transmitted (or “diascopic”) illumination. This allows us to see samples that would otherwise be too opaque to see through if you used a compound microscope.
Younger children (think: kindergarten and under) may find stereo microscopes easier to understand.
Stereo microscopes are good for dissections or working with circuit boards or other close work.
With a compound microscope, or a compound light microscope, kids will be viewing more detailed things like the cells in a piece of skin.
Compound microscopes have a binoviewer, or the ability of both eyes to see one image even though you’re looking through double eyepieces.
So, those concepts might be a little more difficult for younger kids.
Compound microscopes are great choices if you want your microscope to “grow” with your child and have the ability to magnify and view a wide range of items.
A digital microscope, sometimes called USB Computer Microscope, uses optics and a digital camera to project objects onto a screen, monitor, or a computer.
You can even use them to project images onto your phone!
A digital microscope can also use computer software to resize and manipulate the specimen (on the screen) for different views and angles.
Many digital microscopes for home use are handheld and portable, making them great options if you need to pack and go.
They can also be relatively inexpensive—but those may not meet your needs for serious microscope study (so don’t make a decision based solely on discounted price).
They have low power magnification, so you won’t be able to see the same things as you would with a compound microscope.
There are digital microscopes on stands, just like compound and stereo microscopes, that are more expensive than the portable ones, but still reasonably priced for an at-home microscopes. [see prices for digital microscopes on stands here]
GOOD FOR: Displaying a specimen to a group or allowing images to be observed on a larger screen and—for the portable ones—taking along with you to easily observe things on the go or at classes, meet-ups. or co-ops outside the home.
A pocket microscope is exactly what it sounds like—a portable microscope that fits into your pocket to take along anywhere you go!
They generally take a battery (like a AA) to power the LED light source.
And, they are small enough to fit into your child’s hand!
Pocket microscopes are inexpensive, but not built to be super durable, long-lasting microscopes.
If you’re looking for a home microscope to use for a few years of home learning, then this shouldn’t be your only choice for a microscope.
However, they are inexpensive enough that they can be an additional microscope to your at-home student microscope or microscope homeschool use.
GOOD FOR: Child’s Microscope (Amazon). Introducing young children (like preschoolers) to microscope studies during nature hikes and outdoor play, take-along for on-the-go studies, and as an additional portable microscope option to go with your main microscope for home use.
Popular Microscope Brands
There are many, many brands of microscopes to choose from made by different manufacturers.
You may have heard of some popular brands like Amscope microscope or the Omax microscope.
Some of the best (and most popular) microscope brands to compare are:
Of course, this isn’t a complete list of microscope brands, but it’s enough to get you started to compare microscopes before you buy!
Best Microscope Buying Tips | What To Look For In A Microscope?
Microscope Buying Tips #1: Age
The first thing you want to consider is your child’s age or learning level.
For younger kids (like preschool and kindergarten), you want less complicated microscope parts and easier microscopes to understand and work.
Best Inexpensive Microscope
For older kids, you want a more complex microscope that will grow with your child’s learning.
Microscope Buying Tips #2: Price
How much do microscopes cost? is probably one of the most common questions when researching microscope options.
Like anything, prices of microscopes will vary based on quality and options.
Of course, you want to get a good deal, but purchasing the cheapest option available may not result in the best microscope for your student.
CHEAP is NOT the best option for microscopes, especially if you want one that will last a few years for your kids.
You don’t want to be buying a new microscope every few months because they break or wear out or you can’t see what you need with the microscope power you have.
(You’ll just end up spending more than you would’ve initially spent on a good microscope.)
You do want to get the best microscope for the money!
There are high-end microscopes that can cost into the thousands (and even hundreds of thousands) of dollars.
Those are professional level microscopes and clearly are not necessary microscopes for students and learning at home and for homeschool microscopes.
The best microscopes for students at home will average in the range of around $79-$399.
Microscope Buying Tips #3: Use
What will be your uses of microscope?
If you’re looking for a portable microscope to take along on nature hikes and explore things that you find more closely, try a pocket microscope.
If you need a microscope where your child can look at specimens, and samples, and other items at high magnification, you’ll want to check into compound microscopes (these are the ones that you might’ve used in high school science).
Once you pick out the best microscope for kids, you can’t forget about all the important things that go along with a microscope!
(Picking cool homeschool science microscopes and then not having the microscope accessories would be a total bummer!)
- Microscope dust cover
- Prepared microscope slides
- Blank microscope slides
- Slide sealant
- Storage case for slides
Let’s explain each one to help you better understand…
Microscope Dust Cover
If your microscope doesn’t come with a dust cover, you’ll definitely want to pick one up.
A dust cover will protect your microscope when it’s not in use and they are inexpensive.
Just be sure that you get one that is big enough to fit the microscope you choose!
Prepared Microscope Slides
Prepared microscope slides are microscope slides with specimens.
They are called prepared slides because they already come with the specimens on the slides and are ready for you to view under the microscopes.
One of the best things about adding prepared slides to microscope studies is that your kids will get to view things that they might not otherwise have the opportunity to see!
Prepared slides comes with specimens of organs, microscopic parts of bugs and flowers, animal parts, cells, and more!
So, you’ll definitely want to add prepared slides to your microscope purchase.
Blank Microscope Slides
Whatever you do, make sure that you have blank microscope slides!
These are the slides that come with nothing prepared on them.
Once your child gets comfortable with the microscope, they’ll be ready to prepare their own slides with things they find!
Make sure that you get blank microscope slides and coverslips. The coverslips are the small plastic (or sometimes glass) portions that go on top of the specimen to hold it in place on the slide.
Microscope Slide Kits
Microscope kits are kits that often come with both prepared and blank slides and are a great option for homeschool microscope slides for STEM learning.
These kits allow your kids to prepare and view their own slide specimens, as well as see some specimens that come with the kit!
Kits usually also come with an awesome storage case.
Some also come with sealants or stains—the liquids that you use when preparing slides and will help enhance viewing of certain types of samples.
There are some kits that come with only prepared slides or only blank slides, so be sure that you read the reviews carefully before buying!
There’s one last area that I want to cover on this topic…
What about a used homeschool microscope?
Homeschool Microscope Rental
You may be wondering if there is a place for homeschool microscope rental.
There are companies that rent microscopes, but (in my opinion), you would be better spending the rental fee on buying a starter microscope and then upgrading to a more advanced microscope as needed.
However, if you’re set on renting a microscope, just search the internet for rent a microscope near me.
If you are part of a homeschool co op, you may be able to get student microscope rental for bulk discounts from these companies. Don’t be afraid to ask!
Where can I borrow a microscope?
If your budget is tight, you may be able to borrow a microscope or find one for super cheap.
Here are some ideas:
- Check with your local schools
- Put a call out to your friends on Facebook
- Watch Facebook Marketplace for cheap listings of learning tools like student microscopes
- Scour garage and yard sales
- Keep your eye out for library and school sales, where they often sell their old supplies when they’re upgrading (search: school microscopes for sale)
We hope that our ultimate guide for buying microscopes helps you make a great decision for your kids!
If you follow our suggestions, you’ll have a lot of science study fun for years to come!
CHECK OUT OUR OTHER BEST OF GUIDES: