12 Best Microscopes for Kids in 2018
Is your child a little genius or interested in Science or Biology already? If so, a microscope can take things to a whole new level or kick start a new hobby that can turn into a career. They are not just for adults anymore either as we have compiled a best microscope for kids list.
As we are staying out of the adult range, we decided to focus strictly on LT or Light-based microscopes, which most folks will be familiar with. While all our picks are made for or can be used by children, you will certainly want to consider their age as some are easier to use than others.
Top 12 Microscopes for Kids Comparison Chart
|Design||Name||Type||Max. Magnification||Rating (1-5)|
|1. National Geographic Dual Microscope Science Lab||Stereo||50x||4.6|
|2. My First Lab Duo-Scope Microscope||Single||400x||4.4|
|3. 20X-60X LED Handheld Portable Microscope||60x||4.4|
|4. Science kits for kids microscope Beginner Microscope Kit||Single||1200x||4.3|
|5. Science kits Educational Insights Nancy B’s Science Club Microscope and Activity Journalfor kids microscope Beginner Microscope Kit||Single||400x||4.3|
|6. My First Lab Mini Duo-Scope||Stereo||400x||4.3|
|7. Carson MicroBrite Plus 60x-120x Power LED Lighted Pocket Microscope||120x||4.2|
|8. Microscope for Kids Science Kit Beginner’s Microscope Kit||Single||450x||4.1|
|9. AMSCOPE-KIDS M30-ABS-KT2-W Microscope Kit||Single||1200x||4.0|
|10. AMSCOPE-KIDS SE100ZZ-LED Portable LED Stereo Microscope||Stereo||50x||3.9|
|11. Carson X-Scope Child’s Microscope-Telescope-Magnifier||30x||3.9|
|12. Balance Living Microscope Set||Single||1200x||3.8|
You Don’t Have to Be a Scientist to Choose a Microscope
Even if you have never gazed through the lens of a microscope yourself, you don’t have to have an extreme amount of knowledge to choose the right one. Just keep these simple buying tips in mind.
If you are a certain age, you may only be aware of one type of microscope which you used in school. Most of us used “Light” microscopes with slides or possibly dissection microscopes. For our best microscope for kids list, you will need to decide between one of two kinds with Compound or Stereo microscopes.
- Compound – These microscopes have one eyepiece for viewing and are traditional when it comes to their style. While these are the most common and affordable, the images are in 2D.
- Stereo – Stereo microscopes aren’t new, but have recently become accessible for the younger crowd. These have a binocular-style setup and allow you to see images in 3D. The magnification levels are less than compound microscopes, however.
- Pocket – While not a real microscope, these are absolutely perfect for children that are too young for a big one. They provide a substantial degree of magnification despite their size and are ideal for backyard adventures.
The magnification level of your microscope shouldn’t be the only factor in your buying decision, but it is imperative. It also varies by class as you’re not going to get 1200x magnification on a pocket microscope. Those are actually good for around 60x, which isn’t bad but a step down from basic stereo models which can run around 200x.
Want to read the date clearly on an old penny or look for scratches in metal or other materials? A magnification of 50x will do the trick while 200x can make out those fine lines on a dollar bill. The higher the magnification options, the better in most cases, but it could be overkill depending on where your child’s interests lay.
Obviously, the type of microscope and its magnification are going to be important to any consumer. That said, the kit that comes with it is something you’ll want to consider carefully. The best kids’ microscope will have multiple optics, but some come with a few more extras than others.
Test tubes, Petri dishes, and slides are all things you may want for your child’s mini science lab. Forceps and droppers are common as well, but may not be included in some kits. Last but not least, pay close attention to the construction as an all-plastic microscope is not going to hold up nearly as well over time as one with a metal frame.
Top 5 Best Microscope for Kids Reviews
Kids and adults both enjoy watching the animals on National Geographic, so it is perfect they find themselves in the top spot on our best microscope for kids list. Their entry is dubbed the National Geographic Dual Microscope Science Lab kit, and as the name implies, it is a stereo-based microscope.
This one will be easy on your child’s eyes and allows them to view both 3D and 2D images through slides. It comes with 10 “prepared” slides out of the box to get your child started, but you will receive 10 blank ones as well to go along with a slide storage case. There is also a learning guide and a set of tools including tweezers and an eye dropper. Even if your child isn’t into animals or biology, they can turn to geology as this kit comes with a mini geode as well.
We saved the best for last with this particular kit. Remember sea monkeys? Well, your child will get to grow them on their own as the set comes with a brine shrimp hatching kit. The only weak point would be the magnification level as you’ll only get two lenses. They are glass but may be too low for some with a 20X and 50X magnification lens.
While our first choice is still in the “toy” range to a degree, this one is not. The My First Lab Duo-Scope Microscope is a compact microscope that can perform like the big boys. It is a 2-in-1 solution as well thanks to a special LED lighting system that can shine from above or below. This allows you to use it as a traditional compound scope or for dissection.
The company has used high-quality optical glass for their lenses which include 40x, 100x, and 400x magnification. The eyepiece itself is listed at 10x, so they will be able to view anything from simple cells, corrosion on a coin or the fine hairs on a spider leg. There is metal used in the build to give it a bit of heft, but there is still plenty of plastic, so you’ll want to be careful with the First Lab Duo-Scope when younger kids are around. The age rating is 9-years and up, and we wholeheartedly agree with that.
As for the extras, they include everything from blank slides and forceps to lens paper and teasing needles. Other exciting perks include Non-Toxic stains, a petri dish, and four prepared slides. If you want to go the extra mile, there is an add-on available that includes 72 specimen samples on 24 prepared slides.
Some kids would rather spend more time outdoors searching for creatures than looking at them indoors on a slide. If your child prefers the adventure, they can still do some field research with a pocket microscope. The X-Shop Handheld Portable Microscope is a fantastic choice for children 8-years and up and is incredibly simple to use with no parental supervision required.
This little jewel can fit into a pocket or backpack, but also has a lanyard in case they want to wear it around their neck for quick access. It has a magnification level ranging from 20x to 60x depending on how close you want to dial it in while a bright LED light provides illumination. There is a small built-in stand attached to the bottom for slides, and this one comes with two specimen slides and six clean ones.
Unlike some pocket scopes, the X-Shop Handheld Microscope lives up to its namesake as it is not a simple “magnifier” and is made to use with slides. While it is not going to be a good fit for children needing a full-fledged setup, it is a great tool for beginners and children too young for a larger microscope.
The Beginners Microscope kit from PBOX is a reliable solution for parents looking for an entry-level scope that isn’t quite in the toy grade. This one will not win any beauty contests, but it is one of the few kits to offer up a 1200x magnification lens. It is also more adjustable than some models due to the classic construction and has a price point that will put a smile on your face.
As mentioned, this kit comes with a 1200x lens, but you’ll also get more common ones at 100x, and 400x. ON the downside, there are no smaller lenses which limits what they can view to a degree. Like the rest of our picks, this one comes with several goodies out of the box including a couple of collection bottles, a label tray, tweezers and four blank slides.
There is a fine line between the toy and hobby class in the microscope world, and PBOX’s kit walks it well. It isn’t a kit you’ll want to consider for seasoned mini scientists who may want something more in the Pro class but is well worth a look for children just starting out.
Don’t let the name fool you. The Nancy B Microscope from Educational Insights is billed for the girls but will make the boys envious with its magnification power. It is another 2-in-1 scope, so it can handle dissection or slides with ease and is by far the best-looking microscope to make our list as well.
Looks aside, the Nancy B Microscope comes with everything your child will need to get rolling including a 22-page activity journal and a full array of tools. They include both blank and prepared slides, specimen vials, and even a scalpel, which is made from heavy duty plastic. This one can be used unattended by children 8 years and up as there are no sharp objects or chemicals to content with.
You will receive three magnification lenses with this kit, and they cover the right range at 30x, 100x, and 400x. Skin, feathers, hair, and cells will be easy to view as long as long as the scope is powered up. It runs off three AAA batteries, which can dwindle down rather quickly if the light is left on but should hold up for weeks or months depending on how often it is used.