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Best Microscopes for Kids of 2021

Updated
Looking for a kids microscope? Here is everything you need to know to make the right purchase.

Children are always hungry for information, and science is one of the best avenues to satisfy that craving. Science allows them to foster imagination and creativity, making it easy to understand the world they live in.

If you happen to be searching for a gift for your child, a microscope is a great option. It’s both fun and educational. Microscopes are easy-to-use instruments, and the right one will be both robust and intriguing.

This article is going to cover all the important aspects you need to consider and how to pick the best microscope for kids.

Our Top Picks

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Image
Model
Product Comparison Table
Features
Product Image of the USB Microscope,1000x Zoom Digital Mini Microscope Camera with OTG Adapter and...
Best USB Microscope
Digital Mini USB
  • Adjustable LED illumination
  • Intelligent focus function
  • Multiple operating systems
Product Image of the Plugable USB 2.0 Digital Microscope with Flexible Arm Observation Stand...
Best Digital Microscope
Plugable USB 2.0
  • Flexible stand
  • Long cable
  • Quick start guide included
Product Image of the AmScope 40X-1000X All-Metal Optical Glass Lenses Cordless LED Student Biological...
Best for Tweens
AmScope Cordless LED
  • Sturdy metallic frame
  • 360-degree monocular head
  • Works well with batteries
Product Image of the AmScope PS25 Prepared Microscope Slide Set for Basic Biological Science...
Best Microscope Slides
AmScope Glass Slides
  • Labeled
  • Already prepared with specimens
  • Storage case
Product Image of the Kidzlane Microscope Science Toy for Kids - Toddler Preschool Microscope with...
Best for Toddlers
Kidzlane Science Toy
  • Accessories included
  • Soft frame eyecups
  • Whimsical monkey design
Product Image of the OMAX - MD82ES10 40X-2000X Digital LED Compound Microscope with Built-in 1.3MP...
Best for Teens
Omax Digital Microscope
  • Fine and coaxial focus knobs
  • Offers full movement
  • High magnification of up to 2000x
Product Image of the My First Lab Duo Scope Microscope - Young Scientist Microscope Set, for Students
Best Beginner Microscope
My First Lab Duo-Scope
  • Dual scope
  • Award-winning
  • Lightweight and portable
Product Image of the Educational Insights Nancy B's Science Club Microscope and 22-Page Activity...
Best Budget Microscope
Educational Insights Nancy B’s
  • 2-in-1 light and dissecting microscope
  • Accessories included
  • Activity journal included
Product Image of the Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Talking Microscope Featuring Bindi Irwin:...
Best for Preschoolers
GeoSafari Jr. Talking
  • Multilingual audio
  • Operates with batteries
  • Comfortable eyepieces
Product Image of the Carson MicroBrite Plus 60x-120x LED Lighted Pocket Microscope
Best Pocket Microscope
Carson MicroBrite Plus
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Aspheric lens system
  • LED illumination

Types of Microscopes for Kids

Regardless of age, simplicity and durability are two important factors you should consider for a kids microscope. It should encourage exploration and motivate their imagination too. The features and accessories it comes with can make a world of difference.

Light microscopes have two key components, which are the eyepiece lens and the objective lens. When the power of the eyepiece lens is multiplied by the power of the objective lens, you receive the total magnification number.

Compound vs Stereo Microscopes

Microscopes fall into two categories, which are compound (high power microscopes), and stereo (low power or dissecting microscopes) (1).

Compound Microscopes

High power is more popular for professionals, hobbyists, and kids alike because they make it possible to view tiny details on specimens. This means bacteria, pond critters, water organisms, or even blood. This translates into an exciting experience for users (2).

Compound microscopes can be either monocular (one eyepiece), binocular (two eyepieces), or trinocular (two eyepieces and a trinocular port). Monocular microscopes usually come with a total of 1000x magnification. Any more than that and you need a binocular or trinocular (trinocular ports are essential for microphotography).

Binocular scopes are easier to use for most, though monocular scopes are preferred for young kids. Prices also overlap as monocular are least expensive with trinocular getting the large share. Monocular microscopes lack the mechanical stage needed for sophisticated applications, which you’ll get with binocular and trinocular.

Stereo Microscopes

Stereo microscopes are used to view larger substantial items, such as rocks, bugs, leaves, coins, etc. Typically, these microscopes are binocular and provide three-dimensional images of the specimens. They fall in two dimensions, which are dual power and zoom.

“Dual” means two magnification powers, for instance, 20x and 40x. “Zoom” means continuous from the lowest to the highest power, for instance, from 6.5x to 45x. Stereo microscopes could also feature trinocular ports for photographic purposes.

Digital Microscopes

Digital microscopes could be compound or stereo, but they can capture video images (3). You can use an external monitor to display the captured images for better observation. This could make a great option for group discussions among kids as the onscreen display provides an interactive experience.

How to Choose a Microscope for Kids

There are many features you should look for in a microscope. Some things like the focus wheel, magnification, and resolution are important.

Magnification and Resolution

Higher does not necessarily mean better. The quality might decrease the more you zoom in, which will leave you with a blurred image that’s not much help. The lens should increase detail, quality, and resolution as you zoom in.

Fine Focus

A fine focus is especially important for students as it allows them to change the depth of vision within their specimens.

Build Quality

Microscope frames come in either plastic or metal. Regardless of age, you want something durable so metal with minimal plastic is always better.

Adjustability

Adjustable pieces make viewing in different dimensions more exciting. However, pieces that need to be removed and adjusted manually can be downright annoying if nothing else. Younger kids should also not use these because the pieces are easy to lose.

Light Source

A microscope could either feature a built-in light source or a mirror that outsources light from the surroundings. The importance of light is to provide detailed, clear, and high-quality images. You could either get LED, halogen or fluorescent light.

Age, Interest, and Ease of Use

Before you spend too much on a microscope, consider the likelihood of the child using it. For a child under the age of 10, a compound microscope may be too complex for them to use unsupervised. It’s still suitable, but they’ll occasionally need help with glass slides and all.

Young kids like toddlers and preschoolers are more likely to be interested in large objects than in microbiology. This makes a stereo microscope better in that regard. Middle school kids, on the other hand, are mature enough to prepare their own specimens and glass slides.

This makes compound microscopes a better option. At this age, they already have an interest in better understanding the intricate makings of large specimens. Besides that, they’ll have exciting science projects to explore and it’s easier for them to have fun on their own.

Accessories

Different products will come with various accessories such as slides, tools, replacement bulbs, specimen storage, and even activity or instruction books.

For younger kids, most accessories won’t be necessary. For older children though, the more options for exploring, the better.


The Best Microscopes for Kids of 2021

Here are our favorite microscopes for kids on the market.

1. Digital Mini USB Microscope

Best USB Microscope for Kids

This digital microscope has a powerful 0x to 1000x magnification. This offers your child the chance to explore a fascinating microworld. It features eight high-quality LED lights that offer adjustable illumination, which is awesome.

The USB is a type-C compatible with multiple devices such as smartphones, PC, laptops, and multiple operating systems. The frame is metallic with some plastic parts, which make it durable enough for clumsy kids.

What you might like about it is the key focus function, which can take photographs with just a touch of a button. The 30MP camera is also a great addition and for the price, this might be really worth it.

Pros

  • Adjustable LED illumination.
  • Intelligent focus function.
  • Multiple operating systems and devices.
  • Tripod included.

Cons

  • No storage case.

2. Plugable USB 2.0 Microscope

Best Digital Microscope for Kids

Digital microscopes are some of the best inventions yet, and for some good reasons. They’re incredibly efficient and downright useful. This digital USB microscope is a good option for kids for their classroom explorations and fun experiments.

The frame is a rugged durable plastic that features a 4-foot cable and a 2.0 USB interface. The magnification range goes from 0x to 250x. One of the best parts about it is that it features a flexible stand for lower magnifications.

It can be held by hand for point-and-click inspection and can be placed directly on subjects for high-resolution magnifications. It comes with four LED dimmable lights, a CMOS sensor, and an easy-to-use controller.

Pros

  • Flexible stand.
  • Compatible with multiple operating systems.
  • Long cable.
  • Quick start guide included.

Cons

  • Maximum resolution not that high.

3. AmScope Cordless LED Compound Microscope

Best Microscope for Tweens

Students who are already familiar with science projects will have a field day with this one. With a durable metallic frame, you can be sure that they’ll be using it for a long time. It features a 360-degree rotatable monocular head that’ll make viewing in different magnifications a lot easier.

With five different magnification settings that go from 40x to 1000x, it’s ideal for tweens that want questions answered. The optical glass elements feature a single lens condenser that has a disc diaphragm.

It comes with an LED illumination system that could either use three AA batteries or an outlet (adaptor included).

Pros

  • Sturdy metallic frame.
  • 360-degree monocular head.
  • LED illumination.
  • Works well with batteries.

Cons

  • Some mention poor customer service.

4. AmScope Assorted Prepared Glass Slides

Best Microscope Slides

This slide set comes with 25 pieces of prepared glass slides of variable specimens including animals, plants, and insect tissues. These samples are well preserved in cedar wood oil then sealed to prevent contamination.

All the slides are labeled for easy identification. They come with optical glass to make viewing easy, and they come with a storage case for safe keeping.

Kids will discover so many things they may not be able to find at home with these clear slides. They may want to show them off to friends, which will encourage group learning and interaction.

Pros

  • Labeled.
  • Already prepared with specimens.
  • Storage case.

Cons

  • Slides may be contaminated, disrupting focus.

5. Kidzlane Microscope Science Toy

Best Microscope for Toddlers

This small but epic microscope is the ultimate toy for your toddler. It comes with several accessories that include a petri dish, tweezers, pretend lizard and spider specimens, and more.

Featuring an 8x magnification, it’s intriguing enough for small minds without overwhelming them. It’ll develop their motor skills and hand-eye coordination as they familiarize themselves with the world of science.

The fake specimens take things up a few notches, but your child will definitely find other objects around to observe. The focus wheel is easy to turn, and the large soft frame eyecups make viewing comfortable for kids this age. An illuminating flashlight is included for help in viewing.

The frame is made of durable and sturdy plastic, and it comes in a funny monkey design. Included is a guide and activity book that’ll stimulate activities. It’s listed for 3 years and above, but it’s easy for toddlers to use with some adult assistance.

Pros

  • Accessories included.
  • Guide book included.
  • Soft frame eyecups.
  • Whimsical monkey design.

Cons

  • Toddlers may soon outgrow it.

6. Omax Digital LED Compound Microscope

Best Microscopes for Teens

With up to 2000x magnification, teenagers can use this for years to come, so it’s a good investment. It actually features eight levels that go from 40x to 2000x, with 5x, 10x, 40x, and 100x objectives.

It comes with fine and coaxial coarse focus knobs and an ergonomic design for ease of use. The LED illumination light is variable as the intensity can be adjusted depending on the specimen.

The mechanical stage is double layered to offer students full movement during the scanning process. It also makes centering easier because they don’t need to keep moving the clips. It features a 1.3MP camera and is compatible with Mac and Windows.

Pros

  • Fine and coaxial focus knobs.
  • High magnification of up to 2000x.
  • Variable illumination.
  • Offers full movement.

Cons

  • Not budget-friendly.

7. My First Lab Duo-Scope

Best Beginner Microscope

If you’re just introducing your child to the invisible world of wonder, this might make a perfect STEM activity microscope. It’s the kind of tool your budding scientist needs to unravel all the things that intrigue their minds. Suitable starting from 9 years of age.

With dual lenses, it’s a two-in-one compound and stereo microscope that allows them to view both slides and large items. The frame construction is metallic and it features a stage and clips. It comes with built-in dual cool LED illumination.

Featuring 50 accessories that go from prepared slides to a test tube and petri dish, experiments will be endless. It comes with an instruction manual that includes an experiment guide to encourage exploration and easy usage. Even better, with three AA batteries (not included), you can use it anywhere.

Pros

  • Dual scope.
  • A wide array of accessories.
  • Award-winning.
  • Lightweight and portable.

Cons

  • Kids may still need assistance.

8. Educational Insights Nancy B’s Microscope

Best Budget Microscope for Kids

This is just the instrument to zoom in on if you’re on a budget. It’s a two-in-one light and dissecting microscope that offers up-close views of 30x, 100x, and 400x resolutions.

Designed for children over the age of 8 years, this tool comes with 26 pieces that go from tweezers to specimen collectors. It features two LED lights. The child can examine cells, view critters in water, and even observe bugs using the same microscope.

It comes with a keepsake journal, which features 22 pages of science experiments and activities. They can indulge themselves as soon as they receive it. They’ll be introduced to an actual science tool, and not just a toy.

Pros

  • Dual scope.
  • Accessories included.
  • Activity journal included.

Cons

  • Higher magnifications might be blurry.

9. Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Talking Microscope

Best Microscope for Preschoolers

Packed with photo-quality images and indulgent fun-filled audio, this toy might make an incredible gift for a preschooler. With 5x magnification and focus-free dual eyepieces, it’ll easily introduce your 4-year-old child to a whole new world.

The image slides are quite realistic and kids can slide them in just like real specimens. They’ll look while listening to get a better understanding. Once they’re done observing, they can switch it to quiz mode for a recall session.

It makes a good educational tool as they develop academic skills and prepare for school. Included are 20 slides with more than 100 facts and interactive questions. The microscope incorporates a storage unit for these slides, making clean-up a breeze.

Pros

  • Multilingual audio (four different languages).
  • Two modes: fact and quiz.
  • Operates with batteries.
  • Comfortable eyepieces.

Cons

  • Operates more like a viewer.

10. Carson MicroBrite Plus Microscope

Best Pocket Microscope for Kids

This microscope is a marvel. Tiny, yet powerful enough for kids to explore to their heart’s content. It’s lightweight, compact, and definitely portable.

It features LED illumination and features an internal aspheric lens system. The light rays that go through it converge at one single focal point. This makes the images clearer and distortion-free.

With 60x to 120x magnification, the focal distance is quite short. This means that the specimen needs to be placed directly beneath the lens for optimal viewing.

Pros

  • Lightweight and portable.
  • Aspheric lens system.
  • LED illumination.

Cons

  • The maximum resolution is low.

Headshot of Katelyn Holt RN, BSN, BC

Reviewed by

Katelyn Holt RN, BSN, BC

Katelyn Holt RN, BSN, BC is a cardiology nurse and freelance medical writer. Katelyn has 8 years of nursing experience inpatient and outpatient, primarily medical-surgical and cardiac. After having two children she has a passion for Women’s Health and Lactation teaching and support.

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