15 Best Microscopes for Kids in 2021: Review & Buying Guide


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Every child bursts with curiosity.

This insatiable craving to understand the world is what drives them to explore and only science can satisfy their demand for discovery.

If your kid exhibits this incredible fascination with the world, support their science learning with a microscope. Microscopes are easy-to-use, they’re fun and educational, plus they open a new door for exploration.

If you’re searching for a gift, then microscopes are a great option. We rounded up the best microscopes for kids you can get in the market right now, plus essential tips on how to choose one! 

 

RELATED: Microscope toy vs Real Microscope: Which is better for kids?

 

Best Microscopes for Kids of All Ages!

 

Pre-K to Elementary Age

Children Peeking Through One of the Best Microscopes for Kids

Rapid brain development occurs during the pre-K to elementary years. Maximizing this moment sets them up for optimum learning. Microscopes for these ages should be easy enough for children to use. The best microscopes for kids are the ones that let them see the world up-close minus the eye strain!

 

The STEMscope Portable Microscope

 

BEST FOR OUTDOOR EXPLORATION
TheSTEMscope Portable Microscope

A pocket microscope your kids can bring wherever their feet may take them. There is a world waiting to be explored no matter where they are!

 

Check the price here!

This pocket microscope is the number one companion for children on the go. Kids who love running in the backyard will enjoy using this device. It’s lightweight which means kids can carry it around whenever and wherever they want. The durable ABS plastic build ensures durability that even a hundred drops won't destroy. Don't worry, it has a dedicated non-slip grip for your children's small hands!

On the magnification side of things, it has 20-40x zoom. Powerful enough to see creepy crawlers and leaf veins up close with ease. Undoubtedly, one of the best microscopes for kids that love the outdoors!

Pros:

  • Made from durable ABS plastic

  • Lightweight and portable

  • 20-40x high-quality magnification

  • Has dedicated non-slip grip

  • Built-in LED lights (comes with free batteries!)

Cons:

  • Quality comes with a cost

 

Handheld microscopes are perfect for kids that are adventurous. You might be interested to see our ranked list of top pocket microscopes for your high-spirited children!

 

Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Talking Microscope

 

MOST FUN MICROSCOPE LEARNING EXPERIENCE

Microscopes are fun. But microscopes that talk? Extra fun! Experience countless facts and trivia with this talking microscope! 

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Microscopes for kids were made to get children interested in science and GeoSafari does a great job at it. This microscope lets kids view samples 5 times their normal size. On top of that, each sample comes with lessons that kids can listen to. 

Out of the box, you get 20 slides that house around 60 full-color images that kids can see up close. Plus around 100 facts and questions to supplement their learning. It is available in 4 languages: English, Spanish, German, and French. The GeoSafari Jr. is a cool science gadget to give toddler-aged children.

Pros:

  • Affordable

  • Comes in 4 languages

  • It can talk

Cons:

  • Some users claim that slides are hard to attach

  • 5x magnification only

 

Plugable USB Digital Microscope 

 

BEST DIGITAL MICROSCOPE ON A BUDGET

The kids' best digital microscope to help see small things on a big screen, without breaking the bank!

 

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This is the best digital microscope for people on a budget. It doubles as a camera where users can see the mounted sample on an external monitor. One of the best kids microscopes if you need an affordable digital gadget where several kids can benefit, like in a classroom. 

The device is easy to use, simply plug it in and you’re ready to go. It has a 4-foot long cable with a USB 2.0 at the tip. The webcam chipset is configured to work on any operating system. With a maximum magnification of 250x, it is powerful enough for children’s indoor usage.

Pros:

  • Lightweight

  • Easy-to-use

  • Reasonably priced

  • Adjustable LED light

  • Compatible with any OS

Cons:

  • Relatively low magnification

  • 2MP camera

 

National Geographic Dual-LED Microscope

 

DUAL OPTICAL LENS GOODNESS

Awesome dual-optic microscope to keep children's eyes from too much strain. Perfectly shaped to fit their faces!

 

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Advance science students typically use microscopes with two ocular lenses. NatGeo’s offering is the best kids microscope if you want to mimic that same vibe! This microscope for kids has a design architecture similar to that of a real microscope. What makes it better is the adjustable distance between the eyepiece to avoid eye strain.

The eyepiece is interchangeable between 10x and 25x while the objective remains as is at 20x. The kit that comes with the microscope features some tweezers, mounted samples, blank slides, and brine shrimp experiment to kickstart your kid’s microscopic journey.

Pros:

  • Adjustable eyepiece distance

  • Interchangeable eyepiece magnification

  • Abundant in accessories

  • Dual LED lights

  • Good enough magnification for their age

Cons:

  • Magnification lacks focus

  • Non-adjustable objectives

 

Omano JuniorScope Microscope for Kids

 

BEST JUNIOR MICROSCOPE

A kid-friendly microscope with fun investigative cards to make their microscope venture an extra enjoyable experience!

 

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Omano’s is one of the best kids microscopes in the tabletop category for elementary students. Although it captures the looks and feels of one, this microscope is not overwhelming to use. The brightly colored body is a gentle reminder that this is still a kid's microscope -- making it a great choice to develop your child's love for science at an early stage.

The objective lenses can be adjusted for 3 magnifications: 40x, 100x, and 400x which is acceptable enough for young audiences. What makes this a good contender for the best microscope for kids title are the accessories. From colorful investigation cards to peripherals like Petri dishes, it has them covered.

Pros:

  • Good enough magnification

  • Kid-friendly feel and design

  • Fun investigation cards

  • Premium lenses

  • Sturdy metallic build

Cons:

  • Low focus

  • A bit expensive

 

Middle School Age

 

 

Middle school is the time when kids finally embrace deeper concepts in science like chemistry and physics. Having a microscope for this age is important to maximize their learning at home. This time around, the best microscopes for kids are the ones that offer high magnification with good resolution for a clearer view of mounted samples.

 

AmScope Kids Beginner Microscope

 

BEST TABLETOP MICROSCOPE FOR YOUNG'UNS

All-in-one microscope kit complete with accessories so kids can imbibe the real scientist vibe!

 
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AmScope’s Beginner Kit is another great contender for the best microscopes for kids, especially in the tabletop category. The package comes in a gray plastic suitcase which makes the unboxing extra special. Within it sits the microscope and 49 other accessories like mounted samples, Petri dishes, and eyedropper.

This microscope for children has some of the greatest magnification on a toy. It can jump from 6 magnification settings: 120x, 240x, 300x, 400x, 480x, 600x, and 1200x. The color filter wheel makes samples less aggressive to view in certain environments. The built-in LED adds a light source for easier viewing.

Pros:

  • High magnification

  • LED lights

  • Has color filter wheel

  • Abundant in accessories

  • The case keeps all items intact

Cons:

  • Lacks focus at high magnifications 

 

Thames and Kosmos Biology TK2 Scope

 

INEXPENSIVELY GREAT OPTICS

Great optics don't need to be budget-blowing, the TK2 offers some of the greatest lenses for an affordable cost!

 

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The Tk2 is one of the best microscopes for students. It boasts a high-quality metal build and finish that ensures durability. The optical lenses used for the Tk2 scope are also premium and industry grade. This means that images come out with noticeable clarity for a smooth viewing experience.

Although despite the perks, magnification is yet to be desired. It only comes with three objectives being 4x, 10x, and 40x while the eyepiece sits at 10x. The highlight of the kit is the 48-page manual containing the setup and interesting experiments kids can try.

Pros:

  • Durable metallic build

  • Optical grade lenses

  • Dual LED light

  • Has a 48 page colored manual 

  • Topnotch lens quality

Cons:

  • Magnification is a bit low 

 

My First Lab Duo-Scope Microscope

 

VERSATILE MICROSCOPE

From middle school to college, this microscope is an awesome buy for its near-professional microscope feel!

  

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Some argue that this is one of the best microscopes for kids because of its usability. Many believe that middle schoolers can still use the device all the way through college. My First Lab’s rendition receives a positive microscope review for its professional scientific feel. It can act as both a compound or stereo microscope which makes it a versatile option.

Build-wise it is made of plastic which might not be the best in durability. Nonetheless, the optics are well optimized for professional usage. This microscope for kids can go from 40x up to 400x which is more than enough for middle school exploration but might come up short for students involved in advanced science. 

Pros:

  • Professional scientific feel

  • Versatile usage

  • Dual LED 

  • Abundant accessories

  • Good optics

Cons:

  • Magnification is good but might be low for advanced science

  • The plastic build is not as durable

 

Emarth Compound Microscope

 

AFFORDABLE FEATURE-DENSE MICROSCOPE

Premium specs for an affordable price, that is what Emarth brings with this gadget! The best kids microscope if you want an affordable feature-rich experience!

 

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If features are your criteria for the best microscopes for kids then this is a good choice. This compound microscope offers features that are often seen on premium microscopes. First off, they have 6 total magnifications. Users can switch the eyepiece of this microscope for kids from 10x to 25x. While the objectives vary from 4x, 10x, and 40x. 

For optimum viewing, they have included six color filters which help in reducing the effort of staining slides. There are also some accessories out of the box which kids might find enjoyable to use. The only compromise is the plastic body.

Pros:

  • Magnification is pretty high

  • Interchangeable optical lenses

  • Color filters

  • Abundant accessories

  • Dual LED

Cons:

  • The body is mostly made out of plastic

 

AmScope All-Metal Compound Microscope

 

EXTREME DURABILITY ON A BUDGET

Who says you need to shell out more than a hundred for a premium gadget? This all-metal microscope screams superior for a very desirable price!

 

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This microscope for kids from AmScope is unlike any other. They don’t lure you to buy them for the extra out-of-the-box perks you can get. Rather their whole marketing is one solid piece of equipment with premium knobs and lenses.

The all-metal microscope is true to its word that's why the body is a bit heavier than others. High-quality lenses are packed in this device, with all magnification levels similar to that of Emarth’s.

If you prefer teaching your kids at home, with a great mix of quality and durability, this compound microscope might be something you need when homeschooling

AmScope included fine and coarse knobs in this rendition, helping users refine the magnified object. The only downside of this machine is the lack of dual-LED (but has one from under the stage) and accessories. Nevertheless, one of the best microscopes for kids out there! 

Pros:

  • All-metal durable finish

  • High-quality optical lenses

  • Strong and clear magnification

  • Knobs to refine magnified specimen

  • Option for plug-in or battery use

Cons:

  • No accessories

  • No dual-LED

 

High school to College Age

The field of STEM is vast and there is a huge plane of exploration to discover. If your kids develop their knack for science early, they may carry it over through college. Check out which are the best microscopes for kids in high school or college! Buying the best microscopes for kids now means that you save more money from future purchases!

 

AmScope M158C-E Compound Monocular Microscope

 

HIGH-END DEVICE FOR A LOW PRICE

If you want kids to venture towards major fields of science, then they'd need a tool to help them get there. The AmScope M158C-E can do that for them!

 

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This might be the best microscope for students in college given the low price tag. If kids are deep into scientific exploration, they may find the most benefit from this tool. For people searching for an affordable digital machine then this is the best digital microscope. It can go up to 1000x magnification and see the specimen from an external screen, perfect for classes. Truly one of the best microscopes for kids and teachers, alike!

It operates via a simple plug-and-play manner using USB 2.0 and is compatible with Windows OS. A pretty good digital offering for a relatively cheaper price.

Pros:

  • 1000x magnification is good

  • A perfect option for teachers 

  • Simple plug-and-play usage

  • Cordless and rechargeable

  • Has LED illumination with condenser

Cons:

  • Only works on Windows Vista, 7, 8, 10

  • 0.3 MP camera

 

OMAX 40X-2000X LED Binocular Compound Lab Microscope

 

EXTREMELY POWERFUL MAGNIFYER

Viewing comfort + Extreme magnification power

That is what OMAX Binocular Lab Microscope boasts of. A powerful device for your scientists-to-be! 

 

Check the price here!

Among the best microscopes for kids, this offering from OMAX beats them in magnifying power. The magnification can go as high as 2000x which is double (or 5 times) most magnifications mentioned previously. The binocular microscope is premium with its full metal build. The dual eyepiece makes viewing come naturally, plus the swivel feature helps adjust the viewing angles.

It comes with standard microscope features like coaxial coarse and fine knobs. The LED light’s intensity can be adjusted to the user’s liking. But the unique feature of this device is the 4 objectives used: 4x, 10x, 40x, 100x that is paired by 2 eyepiece magnifications at 10x and 20x. The cherry on top is the 100 slides and slide covers that come with it.

Pros:

  • Top of the line 2000x magnification

  • Durable all-metal construct

  • Binocular with 360-degree swivel feature

  • Coarse and fine knobs

  • Abundant accessories

  • Adjustable LED light intensity

Cons:

  • Very expensive

  • Only plug-in use

 

AmScope Compound Microscope Kit

 

BEST PREMIUM ALL-AROUNDER

The kit with additional extras that make it extra desirable! This packs awesome features that make it one of the best microscopes for kids out there!

 

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The premium offering from AmScope is the culmination of their all-metal microscope, the one from Emarth, and the Tk2. This microscope is as premium as premium goes with additional extras that make it extra desirable. 

This kit contains an all-metal finish microscope, extra mounting slides and covers, and a colored 48-page manual. The microscope has 6 magnification levels that go from 40x to 1000x. The six-color filters aid with viewing specimens. Dual LED lights for extra illumination plus coarse and fine knobs for extra refinement. The best kids microscope when it comes to all-around features at a bit of a pricey cost.

Pros:

  • High magnification

  • Durable all-metal build

  • Abundant with accessories

  • Has 6 magnification levels with interchangeable eyepieces

  • Dual LED plus refinement knobs

Cons:

  • Pricey

SkyBasic LCD Digital Microscope

 

BEST WITH BUILT-IN SCREEN

Buying another external monitor for your digital microscope is an extra burden. The same cannot be said of SkyBasic's rendition, the built-in LCD is more than enough for kids' on-screen explorations!

 

Check the price here!

SkyBasic LCD microscope is perhaps one of the most revolutionary on the list. If you’re looking for a digital gadget that has a built-in screen then this might be the best microscope for kids and even adults. 

It comes with an included and dedicated 4.3 inch LCD panel to view the specimen in question. The rotating head makes viewing easier. The device can magnify from 50x to 1000x which is fairly abundant, plus the coarse/fine knobs refine the image further. The camera sits at 2MP which is good enough for the price and the pack comes with a 32GB micro SD card.

This digital microscope feels more like a high-quality magnifying glass given the ergonomics but the metal built screams premium, nonetheless. The device is powered by a rechargeable 2600 mAh li-ion battery. A very good candidate on the list of best microscopes for kids!

Pros:

  • Dedicated LCD screen

  • Magnification is pretty good

  • Free Micro SD card

  • Fine and coarse knobs for refinement

  • Rechargeable 2600 mAh battery

Cons:

  • No authentic microscope feel

  • 2MP might be a bit low

 

Swift SW380B 40X-2500X Magnification

 

MAGNIFICATION EXEMPLAR

The microscope that needs no introduction. This magnification exemplar sits on top of the microscope league at a very handsome price point!

 

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This device packs the best magnification in the entire list. Perhaps, even possibly the best microscopes for students and scientific professionals. Like every other device at the sub-300 bucks price point, it comes with a premium all-metal built. 

The optics are great, with 6 magnification levels ranging from 40x all the way up to 2500x. Students can view bacteria and nematodes that other microscopes rated at 1000x might struggle with. The 4 objectives are rated at 4x, 10x, 40x, and 100x, respectively. While the eyepiece can interchange from 10x to 25x depending on the user. On the refinement side of things, you get both coarse and fine knobs plus an X-Y stage adjuster.

It boasts a LED light with Abbe Condenser and iris diaphragm that can regulate the light to your liking. Overall the device is ergonomic to use and durable to withstand the test of time. Clearly, one of the best microscopes for kids you can get for the price.

Pros:

  • Extremely high magnification

  • Great refinement features

  • X-Y stage adjuster

  • Abbe condenser and iris diaphragm

  • Ergonomic design architecture

  • Durable all-metal build quality

Cons:

  • Plug-in use only

  • Very expensive 

 

How We Chose the Best Microscopes for Kids 

Looking for a microscope for kids can be extremely daunting. There is a long list of choices, yet with little knowledge, you might end buying the wrong thing. Selecting the best microscopes for kids is not easy. We have carefully covered 4 general characteristics to define which is best and suited for each category. Here are our parameters in doing this review of microscopes:

 

Magnification and Resolution

Magnification is the banner feature of a microscope. One might assume the best kids' microscope should be those with high zoom capacities. While that’s true, the resolution should not be compromised. In this review of the best microscopes for kids, we chose gadgets that perfectly balances magnification and resolution. After all, what good is a powerful zoom if you can no longer describe what is being magnified?

 

Suitability for the Audience

Some microscopes for kids were made specifically for children. While other microscopes in the list may hover from childhood to professional use. The personalities of each age bracket were the driving forces in selecting which microscope suited the list.

Since children love to explore, pocket microscopes like the STEMscope and talking microscopes like the GeoSafari are the best microscopes for kids in that category. While increasing the build quality and magnification were prioritized for middle schoolers. On the other hand, premium and digital microscopes captured the list for high school and beyond. 

 

Design Architecture

The design is the most prominent feature when you see a microscope. Normally, young children are more akin to brightly colored devices that resonate with their “fun” nature. These microscopes for kids also feature colored manuals or toy accessories to mimic laboratory-grade microscope activities.

While older audiences prefer more professional-looking microscopes. Accessories are not prioritized in premium microscopes because the devices, themselves, pack commendable specifications.

 

Build Quality

Build-quality is a great factor. But like any other trait, it is also based on the intended users. A good metal build might be more durable but it also adds weight to the device, making them hard for kids to carry. That said, the best microscopes for kids in most pre-K to middle school categories contain plastic elements. While premium adult microscopes are mostly made of metal and glass, coated with an enamel finish.

 

Buyer’s Guide in Selecting the Best Microscopes for Kids

 

 

Some microscopes beat all else in magnification, but how appropriate are they for your child? In this portion, we showed the factors to consider when selecting the best microscopes for kids. 

 

Magnification and Focus

High magnification is good, but how well can your kid use a microscope? 

If your child is young then a device with premium lenses might not suit their age. High magnification can be difficult to operate, especially for children. Plus, the magnification might cause some unwanted eye strain. That said, a device that allows children to see visible objects up-close is good enough. While adults require more magnifying power to view microscopic objects.

 

Construction and Frame

Everyone loves durable metal or aircraft-grade aluminum. But these features are not for everybody, especially for children. Kids have small hands and relatively weaker arms which limit the weight they can carry. The plastic build is more suited in a microscope for kids since it is significantly lighter. For adults, a mix of plastic and metal or pure metal would be ideal. This adds heft and premium-ness to the overall feel of the gadget.

 

Illumination Capabilities

Oftentimes, ambient lighting in the surroundings might not cut it for microscopes. The best microscopes for kids are those that offer extra illumination to the user. LED lights are common in microscopes these days. Some offer dual LEDs which illuminate the top and bottom of the specimen. While a certain few expensive microscopes have condensers to regulate the light’s brightness.

 

Accessories

Accessories are not necessarily part of the microscope, but they add value to the overall feel of the device. Most kids wouldn’t be using the Petri dish included, but it’s good to know they're there. The most essential accessories observed in the best microscopes for kids are the colored manuals. These are helpful to reinforce their use of the microscope and ultimately, make them fall in love with science

 

Other Desirable Perks

The STEMscope portable microscope is apart from all the rest as it is meant to be used outdoors. This is a feature that 93% of the best microscopes for kids on this list don’t have. Despite its low resolution, it’s the only device kids can use to explore the great outdoors. Another desirable perk is that of SkyBasic LCD that comes with a dedicated LCD panel for easier viewing. No other in this list of best microscopes for kids offers the same benefit. While the desirable perk of the AmScope beginner’s microscope is the suitcase to carry the kit easily.

 

Different Microscope Classifications

 

Monocular vs Binocular Microscopes

Monocular microscopes have one eyepiece that can magnify up to 1000x. This is a perfect choice for enthusiasts and kids who want to see things up close. While for professionals, binocular microscopes are typically more suited. They come with more powerful magnification to scrutinize objects further. Binoculars also have two eyepieces which reduce eye strain when used. 

 

Traditional vs Digital Microscopes

A traditional microscope focuses on using the eyes to view an image. A digital microscope, on the other hand, views the specimen through a camera and projects the image on an external screen. This makes the latter more classroom-friendly because there is no hassle in peeking through the lenses. 

Although depending on the camera and resolution of the screen, traditional microscopes can sometimes be better. Human eyes are identified as 576 megapixels, compare that to an inferior 2-megapixel camera.

 

Compound vs Stereo Microscope

The compound is the best kids microscope in the classroom. They are used to view tiny objects mounted on slides at varying magnifications. They are meant to have higher clarity to view small objects up close clearly. 

Stereo microscopes on the other hand are not magnification-centered. They are microscopes used to view larger images in 3D. Essentially they are not the best microscopes for kids because they don’t let you see stuff microscopically. Although if you want to see the surface of a pebble closely, a stereo microscope will do!

 

The truth is, microscopes are more complicated than they look. Selecting the best gift for your child might be a hassle if you don’t know which to select. We hope our guide helped you make a well-informed decision.

 

The Final Peek!

 

Microscopes are great, but some simply suit kids better than others. If your child has a knack for exploration then don’t nail them down with a tabletop microscope. The best microscopes for kids are the ones that let them explore and go on fun scientific adventures.

Embrace their dynamism!

The STEMscope portable microscope is an affordable and easy-to-operate pocket microscope. Kids can bring this device anywhere they go and pull it whenever they see anything interesting. Support their desire for discovery with this tool.

Partner this device with our complementary microscope slide kits and give your kids an experience of a lifetime.  

Visit our complete catalog of science toys to pick the next STEM gift for a child that you love! 

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