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The 10 Best Microscopes  May 2019

results are based on 71 reviews scanned

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Best Microscopes - Digital Microscope, ROTEK WiFi USB Microscope Camera 1000x Review ROTEK
9 . 8
Best Microscopes - TELMU Microscope for Kids and Students 40X-1000X Compound Review TELMU
9 . 6
Best Microscopes - KKmoon 600X 4.3" 3.6MP Microscope Digital LCD Display Review KKmoon
9 . 1
Best Microscopes - KKmoon 1000X 4.3" Microscope LCD Display 720P Portable Review KKmoon
9 . 0
Best Microscopes - National Geographic Microscope 300x - 1200x with accessories Review National Geographic
8 . 6
Best Microscopes - Discovery Channel 360 Degree Super HD Microscope Review Discovery Channel
8 . 2
Best Microscopes - National 300-1200x Geographic Microscope with Case Review National Geographic
8 . 0
Best Microscopes - 30 Piece 100-1200x Discovery Biological Microscope Advanced Science Review The Magic Toy Shop
7 . 7
Best Microscopes - AmScope M162C-2L-PB10 40X-1000X Dual Light Glass Lens Metal Review AmScope
7 . 3
Best Microscopes - The New Apex Learner Microscope Review Apex Microscopes
7 . 2

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Your Guide To Buying a Microscope

By Nicole Blanckenberg

    Whether you are looking for something professional when you take work home from the lab over the weekend, an entry level scope for homeschooling, or you are a student investing in your first microscope, choosing the right microscope can prove trickier than finding a molecule in a hay stack! To help you decide which is the right one for you, we have put together this microscope buying guide with everything you need to know and compare to make your choice.

    There are almost as many uses of microscopes as there are types, but making a clear decision can be done by answering one simple question: what do you need your new microscope for? Generally, they can be categorized as either high powered or low powered. High powered microscopes enable you to view cells, bacteria and other small organisms. Low powered microscopes view larger objects like pepper and sand grains. Less generally, microscopes differ in how images are generated and at what magnification. Here is an explanation of the many microscope types for you to compare:

    Stereo / Dissection Microscopes: Using reflected light, these microscopes have two eyepieces, a large depth of field and distance between the object under the microscope, and an objective lense. Stereo microscopes magnify up to 100x and display images three-dimensionally. They are used in industries like dissection, watch manufacturing, microelectronics, and jewelry, and are also suited for beginners.

    Compound Microscopes: Compound microscopes use more than one lens for increased magnification. They can either be monocular (one eyepiece) or binocular (two eyepieces). Binocular Compound Microscopes send one image to both eyepieces to provide more viewing comfort. These are suitable for observing smaller objects and can magnify up to 1000x.

    Digital Microscopes: These can either be added onto standard microscopes after the fact, or built into and combined with a standard microscope from the beginning. The image in a digital microscope is transmitted to a CCD (charge-coupled device) camera or tablet which converts the image to be viewed on screen in real time or recorded to view later. Digital microscopes are available in high and low power.

    Electron Microscopes: These are the most powerful microscopes, producing magnifications 1000x what other microscopes can produce - or capable of magnifying objects up to 2 million times. These are high-end units intended for professional use and can be divided into Transmission electron microscopy (TEM), Scanning electron microscopy (SEM), scanning probe microscopes, and scanning helium ion microscopes (SHIM/HeIM).

    Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopes: These clever microscopes are designed to be used by big research companies and are able to scan an object's depth and gather other data to render imaging that can then be assembled digitally in 3D.

    X-Ray Microscopes: Offering high image resolution, x-ray microscopes differ from electron microscopes in that with this microscope, you are able to observe living cells.

    Scanning Acoustic Microscopes: These microscopes, also called SAM, use sound waves to create imaging. They are used in biology and science fields to detect cracks, tensions, and elasticity inside materials.

    Based on all the consumers' reviews we've scanned, these are the top things they mentioned about their new stuff:

    1. Build: Microscopes are an investment, and owners who have bought durable, good quality units that offer stability and good working parts are a lot more satisfied with their purchases. Choosing a good quality, reputable brand with good online reviews will ensure you feel the same about your purchase.
    2. Portability: Consumers who bought microscopes for home and school use enjoy the portability of their units, noting that the smaller size of their microscopes made it much easier to transport. However, if, like many other commenters, portability is not a requirement for you, opt instead for a heavier, better quality model with more flexibility.
    3. Value for Money: Microscopes bought for home and school use shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg and even though it is an investment, reviewers seem to value better price more than higher function. A lot of microscope components are upgradable at a later stage, so if price is your deciding factor, choose a quality unit without all the bells and whistles that you can upgrade and gradually add onto to save on the initial purchase.
    • The quality of a microscope is dependent on its optics, housing, country of origin, and gear construction. The weight of the microscope you are considering will be a good indicator of its quality. The heavier it is when compared to other brands, the better.
    • Optical microscopes reflect light either from a light bulb or a mirror, while compound microscopes use either tungsten, LED, halogen or fluorescent bulbs.
      • Tungsten: The most cost effective option, tungsten is a steady light source.
      • Fluorescent: Fluorescents produces whiter light, making objects look more lifelike, and give off less heat.
      • LED: Consuming less power, microscopes with this kind of light source are often cordless.
      • Halogen: Providing a very white light, halogen bulb microscopes are normally used for medical and research activities. Scopes with this kind of light should include a dimmer for easy adjustment.

    • Optics are an important consideration! Glass optics are the best quality options and should be cleaned using cloths and cleaning fluid specifically designed for lens cleaning.
    • Most inexpensive microscopes are made in china but a few have parts made in either German or the USA. DIN (Deutshe Idustrie Norm) refers to an international standard for objective lenses and no matter which country your microscope was manufactured in, it should adhere to these standards.
    • Buying a microscope with a DIN Optical Lens ensures that if you need to replace your optical lens, it will be easily to do so.
    • An achromatic optic lens is better suited for school or hobby use, as these are normally color corrected and 60% of the field of view will seem flat.
    • When choosing the housing of your microscope, plastic housing is much better on your pocket and is suited for less professional use or for beginners. Metal housing is a much more durable option, making your microscope structurally stronger and therefore results in a longer lifespan.
    • Microscopes’ gear constructions will vary, and choosing between them should be based on your needs and budget:
      • Plastic gears are the most common type of gears for household microscopes and offer much better value for money.
      • Gears manufactured with metal last much longer and normally include copper.
      • Nylon gears are a good balance between quality, durability, and cost and most professional microscopes include these.

    • Ball bearings are important moving parts in ensuring your microscope operates well and is made to last. Not all microscopes include these, using just grease instead, but is worth considering in your purchase.
    • Your microscope should include coarse focus, which is the knob you use to adjust focus quickly to sharpen the image.
    • Some microscopes will include a fine focus that will give you a much more detailed view of smaller objects. This additional focus can not be added on, so the decision to go with this feature needs to be made at the time of purchase.
    • A slip clutch is a safety feature of the focus knobs which mean it will continue to turn even after max focus has been reached, preventing any damage to the focus gear system.
    • Choosing between monocular or binocular depends on what you will use them for and what your budget is. Binocular is a better option for frequent use as they tend to be more comfortable for older students and professionals. If you are buying the microscope for your children, they may find monocular microscopes more comfortable.
    • Microscopes normally come with one of two types of diaphragms (the small device between the light and the slide): a disk type diaphragm or an iris diaphragm. Disk types are inexpensive, have 6-8 settings, and are normally found in student scopes. An iris diaphragm has an even greater number of setting options, offering better viewing and making it a professional microscope investment.
    • Your binocular microscope should have a halogen or LED light source for optimum brightness.
    • The optics on compound microscopes include the eyepiece and the objective lenses. Their objective lenses can be interchangeable and therefore possible to upgrade or swap out with various magnification options, giving you much more power in one scope.
    • For larger viewing and more comfort, widefield eyepieces are a good upgrade option for your microscope! They are easier to position, offer wider field of views, and are easier for viewing, especially for kids! However, when changing eyepieces, do it quickly and keep the scope covered to prevent dust getting into the mechanisms.
    • When choosing your digital microscope, think about where you will place it and if you have space to connect directly to a laptop. If not, camera tablets are great space savers. For projection, look at units that include ports for your projector.
    • Digital microscopes come with built-in or detachable cameras. Built-in is a great user convenience with everything working together. Detachable will give you more options to upgrade or make changes to the camera.

    Amscope: Founded by a mechanical engineer, Amscope exclusively manufactures and distributes microscopes and accessories and offers over 500 models, ranging from beginner student models to top of the range professional units.

    My First Lab: My First Lab is part of the C & A Scientific Co., Inc. group and was designed to bridge the gap between high quality and low price. Using glass optics and lights instead of mirrors, they supply quality entry level microscopes at a great price.

    Celestron: Starting almost 50 years ago, Celestron is known for their quality telescopes, sport optics, and microscopes, and is committed to global growth.

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