How do I Choose the Best Microscope Set?

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth
A compound microscope.
A compound microscope.

Although there is nothing in the name to tell you so, the term microscope set tends to be used to indicate a child’s or beginner’s microscope that is sold with a variety of accompanying accessories. As you consider which is the best microscope set for you, consider that the microscopes offered in a microscope set are of various types and qualities, and the accessories vary in type, number, and usefulness. Depending on your purposes, this may be fine, or you may wish to consider purchasing a stand-alone microscope to get the quality or features you need, and purchase accessory items separately.

A light microscope.
A light microscope.

The cost of a microscope set ranges from $10.95 US Dollars (USD) to close to $300 USD. The cheapest one is 6 inches (15.24 cm) tall and appears to be made of plastic. In fact, a number of the less expensive microscopes sold in sets are made of plastic made to look like metal, and the material is not indicated in the advertising. ones with “student” or “classroom” in the name tend to be more expensive and seem to be made of more durable materials, e.g., metal.

A basic microscope.
A basic microscope.

The items that are included in a microscope besides the microscope itself vary. Many sets have an instruction manual of some sort and/or an activity guide. Some sets include a microscope dust cover or a microscope case. The purpose of this accessory is to keep dust off of the microscope when it is not in use, and/or to keep it safe. Besides built-in features, which vary with the price, other accessories that relate to the microscope itself include mirrors to reflect light towards the stage, accessory illumination and/or a spare bulb, and alternate eyepieces to change the magnification. Microscope accessories are more likely to be found with the more expensive kits.

A woman using a microscope.
A woman using a microscope.

Other accessories often included in a microscope set include blank slides and slide covers. More expensive microscope sets may also come with prepared slides and/or specimens for you to place on slides. Some may include a concavity slide or slide labels, and those with slides may include a slide box to hold them.

Other equipment that may be sold in a microscope set include a stir rod, a tweezers, scalpel, forceps, a dropper pipette, a spatula, a magnifying glass, a measuring graduate, a test tube with a cap, a Petri dish, and lens paper for cleaning the lenses. One product offers a USB computer-connectable eyepiece. Another offers a microtome for making thin tissue slices for microscopic viewing.

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth is passionate about reading, writing, and research, and has a penchant for correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to contributing articles to about art, literature, and music, Mary Elizabeth is a teacher, composer, and author. She has a B.A. from the University of Chicago’s writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont, and she has written books, study guides, and teacher materials on language and literature, as well as music composition content for Sibelius Software.

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth is passionate about reading, writing, and research, and has a penchant for correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to contributing articles to about art, literature, and music, Mary Elizabeth is a teacher, composer, and author. She has a B.A. from the University of Chicago’s writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont, and she has written books, study guides, and teacher materials on language and literature, as well as music composition content for Sibelius Software.

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    • A compound microscope.
      By: Klaus Rademaker
      A compound microscope.
    • A light microscope.
      By: anyaivanova
      A light microscope.
    • A basic microscope.
      By: Les Cunliffe
      A basic microscope.
    • A woman using a microscope.
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      A woman using a microscope.
    • Microscope sets may include additional equipment, such as a scalpel.
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      Microscope sets may include additional equipment, such as a scalpel.
    • Petri dishes may be included in a microscope set.
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      Petri dishes may be included in a microscope set.
    • Tweezers can be helpful for arranging samples for viewing.
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      Tweezers can be helpful for arranging samples for viewing.