Best Microscopes for Kids and Beginners

A microscope is an incredibly useful device that helps enlarge the specimen in the tray so that you can see it much more clearly. Suppose your kid is interested in science and other STEM subjects. In that case, having a microscope will allow them to satisfy their curiosity and see otherwise unreachable environments. 

There are many different kinds of microscopes available on the market, and choosing one can be difficult. Suppose you are planning to purchase one for kids or beginners. In that case, you need to be extra careful, as the microscope you purchase should not be too complex while still being durable and easy to use. 

The Main Types of Microscopes

modern microscope on a white background. 

When choosing a microscope, you must know all the different kinds so that you can choose one that suits your needs best. You can find simpler microscopes and ones that are a little more complex. If you are aiming to purchase one for kids or are a beginner, simpler microscopes will be the best choice. 

Compound Microscope

Compound microscopes are high-powered microscopes that allow you to look at specimens on a cellular level. This means that they enable you to see things you would not have been able to with your naked eye. This is an excellent option for children as it helps develop an interest in exploring cellular structures. Additionally, these kinds of microscopes are commonly used in schools and research, meaning they are perfect for children and beginners.

These kinds of microscopes are generally more expensive and come in various types. These include student compound microscopes, laboratory compound microscopes, and research compound microscopes. Student compound microscopes are the ones that you should consider for beginners. They are usually portable and use rechargeable batteries, making them versatile and convenient. Laboratory compound microscopes have a binocular head and are a bit bulkier. One advantage of these is that they offer more power in terms of magnification and light.

The last kind is a research compound microscope. These are heavy-duty microscopes that are advanced and high-powered. You should not purchase these for children and beginners. 

Stereo Microscope

A stereo microscope is a low-powered microscope that you can use to examine close-up details of larger items. They are designed to offer 10x to 80x magnification using a dual binocular lens. Using it, you have a dual optical path to view objects at various angles. There are various different kinds of stereo microscopes available on the market. These include fixed or standard stereo microscopes, stereo zoom microscopes, and digital zoom microscopes.

Fixed or standard microscopes are excellent for beginners as they are simple and allow the nosepiece to be adjusted for magnification. However, you cannot zoom it for more than 30x the original magnification. 

Stereo zoom microscopes are usually used by advanced users who adjust the magnification using an adjustable zoom knob. The digital stereo microscope is a digital version where the microscope can be connected to a laptop so you can view the object on your tray digitally. This is an excellent option for beginners as they can see the specimen on a large screen.

Handheld Microscopes

A handheld microscope is a compact device you can fit into your pocket and travel with. These microscopes have a light source, an eyepiece, a mirror, a stage for the specimen, a battery, and a battery holder. 

There are various different kinds of handheld microscopes available on the market. These include a 30x pocket microscope, an LED pocket microscope, and a pocket microscope 100x. A 30x pocket microscope has 30x magnification power and is the most common type of pocket microscope. It is affordable and primarily battery-powered, making it easy to illuminate the details of the specimen. You can also take it anywhere with you. Many people like to carry their microscope outdoors to the park or on camping trips.

An LED pocket microscope has a built-in LED light that provides a bright clear image. A pocket microscope 100x is a high-magnifying microscope that allows you to see the object’s minute details.

How To Choose the Perfect Student Microscope

woman operating a microscope. 

When choosing a microscope for a student or a beginner, you must ensure that you purchase the best one. You must not buy one that is too expensive or too complex, or else you or your child may have trouble using it. Here are some factors that you need to keep in mind when purchasing a student microscope. 


A microscope has many different parts and features that make it an intimidating tool to use. If you are a student or a beginner, you must purchase an easy-to-use and simple microscope. It means you should buy a microscope with limited features to get the hang of using it before you move on to more complex ones. 

Ideally, you should purchase a microscope with a limited number of lenses, light adjusters, and light sources. Additionally, it should have one eyepiece and one objective lens instead of multiple. You can even choose one with a mirror instead of a light.

Purpose and Age

When purchasing a microscope, it is essential that you keep in mind who will be using it and its purpose. Suppose you are purchasing a microscope to look at smaller items. In that case, you should ideally buy a high-magnification microscope. On the other hand, if you only want to look at things in detail and not see cell structures, you can do so with a low-magnification microscope.

It is also essential to consider the age of the person you are purchasing it for. Suppose it is meant for children or beginners. In that case, you should ensure that it is made using heavy-duty materials that can withstand rough use. Furthermore, you may also want to invest in microscopes that can be connected to an external screen or an iPad so that the child can easily view the specimen close up. 

Quality of Construction

The quality of the construction of the microscope is also an important consideration. An expensive microscope does not always equal quality, so you should go beyond the price if you want a durable instrument. You should ensure that it is made using quality material. Metal is a much more durable material than plastic, so you should always pick a microscope with metal parts. 

High-quality microscopes are usually made using solid metal alloys and have high-quality prisms instead of mirrors. Iris diaphragms are also a sign of high-quality microscopes. 

Optical Quality

To determine the optical quality of your microscope, you should check the quality of the objective lenses and the quality of the eyepieces attached to them. Good quality objective lenses are achromatic lenses, which correct for different colors as they tend to refract at different angles through a curved glass lens. Microscopes with these lenses tend to produce a significantly enhanced and flatter image that is much clearer and easier to view. 

In terms of the eyepieces, it is essential that they are wider as they allow for easier viewing. When purchasing a microscope, ask for either the widefield or super widefield eyepieces. They are also referred to as WF and SWF, respectively. However, you should know that the width of the lens will decrease relative to the magnification power. This means that the smaller the eye-port, the higher the power eyepiece. 


There are many different types of lights that are attached to microscopes that enable you to see the specimen clearly. The four most commonly used light sources include LED, Tungsten, Halogen, and Fluorescent. 

Type of Light Features
LED LED lights are standard in microscopes, and they are powered by rechargeable batteries and allow the microscope to be portable.
Tungsten Tungsten light provides basic illumination and is found in entry-level microscopes. This light tends to be warm and white, and it also heats up pretty quickly.
Halogen Halogen light often comes with a dimmer or a variable rheostat that allows you to adjust the intensity. This light is strong and white, and it also has a tendency to heat up.
Fluorescent Fluorescent light is a typical light source that produces a white light with less heat. 

Focus and Magnification

When purchasing a microscope, it is essential that you choose one with the right magnification. If the microscope is meant for young children, then you may want to choose one that has magnification between 5x and 400x. Ensure that you do not select one that has very powerful optics, as it may be difficult for them to focus it on one spot. 


How do you introduce microscopes to students?

When introducing microscopes to students, you should teach them how to place the specimen on the stage and how the image will change if they move the stage. Ensure that you start with lower magnification so they can get a hand on the device.

What is the proper way to pick up a microscope?

When carrying a microscope, you must grab onto it with both hands. Always place one hand under the base for support and use the other to grasp the microscope’s arm.

What should you not do when handling a microscope?

You should never touch the lens with your finger when handling the microscope. Your body produces oil that can get onto the glass and smudge it. The oil can even smudge the glass if you leave it on for too long. If you accidentally touch it, only use lens paper to clean it.


Many people are curious to see items up close, and a microscope is perfect for that. Although a microscope may seem like a complex instrument, there are plenty of simple ones that you can purchase on the market. Whether you are a beginner or a student, you must purchase the right microscope to use it to its full potential. When purchasing a microscope, you must pay attention to its simplicity, quality, and illumination in order to choose the perfect one.