How to Choose a Microscope

Microscopes are great tools, but when it comes to getting one, not everyone really knows the difference and end up buying the wrong scope! In this blog, we’ll show you how to buy the perfect microscope for yourself or your family!

Typically the first question we ask to determine the microscope recommendation is whether you want a stereo microscope or biological microscope?

  • A stereomicroscope has a lower magnification and is used to make objects we see every day larger. This would be for scientists observing Coins, Plants, Salt vs. Sugar, Hair, Insects, etc. Typically we recommend these microscopes for kids 5 and up.
  • A biological microscope has higher magnification and is used to view things (on a microscope slide) which cannot be seen without the help of a microscope – Bacteria, Plant and Animal cell parts, other microscopic specimens. We typically recommend this for scientist 9 and up.
  • DUO-SCOPE is a dual function microscope that can do a little of both, but does have some limitations to the stereo microscope.


Q – I saw another microscope with 1600X magnification. Is that one better because it has more magnification?
A – Bigger does not mean better in magnification. To clearly see objects at a high magnification such as 1000X or higher requires OIL between the objective and lens. We have chosen a magnification that will be easily viewed and not frustrating when you cannot see a higher magnification.

Q – What is the difference between monocular and binocular?
A- Monocular refers to the microscope having one eyepiece. Binocular means two eyepieces to view the specimen. Binocular are typically more expensive but are more comfortable since you do not have to squint when using for long periods of time.

Q – Should I consider a mechanical stage?
A- Mechanical stages are a great way to move the slide around smoothly but are not necessary. They are recommended if you want to view many specimens or look at different sections of the specimen (Not available on MFL Line)

Q – I saw a microscope for a lot less money. What makes this one different?
A- We only use glass optics. Buying a microscope with plastic optics is like comparing looking through a clean window and a dirty window. Even if you do not buy our microscope we recommend you buy a microscope with glass optics

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