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Best Microscope for Kids 2020 – Reviews & Top Picks

Last Updated on August 14, 2020

Kids using a microscope

If you want to encourage your young, budding scientist, then a microscope designed for kids is an excellent choice. Using a microscope supports the innovative educational field known as STEM, which stands for science, technology, education, and math. When your child operates a microscope, a whole new, once-invisible world is revealed to them, sparking discovery, imagination, and new knowledge.

With a recent increase in the popularity of STEM-based educational toys, the market is full of choices for microscopes for kids. How do you know which one is worth buying for your young scientist?

To help you make a more informed purchase, we’ve selected 10 microscopes for kids and provided detailed reviews for each one, along with quick-reference pros and cons lists. Be sure to also scroll down to our buyer’s guide for more to consider when choosing a microscope for your child.

Comparison (updated in 2020):

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
AmScope Kids Beginner Microscope AmScope Kids Beginner Microscope
  • 52-piece set
  • High-quality beginner compound microscope
  • Six magnification choices ranging up to 1200X
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Educational Insights GeoSafari Microscope Educational Insights GeoSafari Microscope
  • 95-piece set
  • Microscope has five power settings
  • 50X to 600X magnification range
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Omano JuniorScope Kids Microscope Omano JuniorScope Kids Microscope
  • High-quality lenses for exquisite clear detail
  • Three magnification levels: 40X, 100X, and 400X
  • Top and bottom built-in lighting
  • The Magic School Bus Kids’ Microscope The Magic School Bus Kids’ Microscope
  • Based on well-known educational series
  • Three magnification levels: 100X, 300X, and 600X
  • Built-in light
  • Play22 Microscope for Kids Play22 Microscope for Kids
  • High magnifications levels up to 1200X
  • Durable metal construction
  • Built-in color filter wheel
  • The 10 Best Microscopes for Kids:

    1. AmScope Kids Beginner Microscope – Best Overall

    AmScope M30-ABS-KT2-W Kids Beginner Microscope

    Our top pick belongs to the AmScope Kids beginner microscope. As the best overall product on our list in quality and value, this microscope for kids includes everything that your child will need to start making discoveries, from prepared slides to a lab shrimp experiment.

    This beginner compound microscope may be made for kids, but it’s the real deal. The microscope has a rotating turret with six choices of magnification, ranging up to an impressive 1200X magnification. It also has an easy-to-use monocular viewing head with LED and mirror illumination to brighten specimens, a built-in color filter wheel, and an effective rack-and-pinion focus mechanism.

    This 52-piece set comes in a convenient carrying and storage case that has a molded interior for easy organization and damage prevention. Additional accessories include reusable blank slides and covers, tweezers, an eyedropper, and a Petri dish.

    Keep in mind that properly using a high-quality microscope, even one designed for kids, requires time to learn about its correct method of operation.

    Pros
    • 52-piece set, including supplies, accessories, and an experiment
    • High-quality beginner compound microscope
    • Six magnification choices ranging up to 1200X
    • LED and mirror illumination
    • Built-in color filter wheel
    • Rack-and-pinion focus mechanism
    Cons
    • Must allow for learning time for proper operation of the microscope

    2. Educational Insights GeoSafari Microscope – Best Value

    Educational Insights 5301 GeoSafari Microscope

    Our selection for the best microscope for kids for the money goes to the Educational Insights GeoSafari microscope. You’ll spend less money but still receive a 95-piece set and a high-quality microscope with five power settings ranging from 50x to 600X magnification.

    Your child can easily peer through the glass eyepiece of this microscope and adjust the focus. It has a built-in light and a mirror for better visibility. However, batteries for the light are not included.

    This 95-piece set comes with a guide to explain tool usage, care tips, and eight hands-on microscopic activities. You’ll get three prepared slides and eight blank slides, as well as a wide variety of important accessories. You may be alarmed to notice that this set includes a scalpel, but don’t worry, it’s made from dull plastic.

    We found that this microscope is rather durable despite its primarily plastic construction. Keep in mind that you will need to provide your own storage for all the loose parts of this set.

    Pros
    • Best value
    • 95-piece set including accessories, supplies, and a guidebook
    • Microscope has five power settings
    • 50X to 600X magnification range
    • Adjustable focus
    • Built-in light and mirror
    • Includes three prepared slides
    Cons
    • Batteries for light not included
    • Primarily plastic construction
    • No storage container provided for loose pieces of set

    3. Omano JuniorScope Kids Microscope – Premium Choice

    Omano JuniorScope Microscope

    For its high-quality glass objective lenses that allow kids to see in exquisite clear detail, we picked the Omano JuniorScope microscope as our premium choice. This model offers a rotating turret with a choice of three levels of magnification: 40x, 100x, and 400x.

    For better viewing of both larger and smaller objects, this microscope provides a top and a bottom light that are powered either by the included batteries or the AC power adapter. This microscope comes with an easy-to-use knob to adjust the focus. However, there isn’t a stop on the focus adjustment, which can cause cracked slides.

    The Amazing Microscope Adventure experiment cards are durable for repeated use and offer your young scientist inspiration, ideas, and important step-by-step instructions on proper usage of the microscope. It also comes with a variety of accessories, including five prepared slides.

    This microscope is a bit more expensive, doesn’t include a storage case, and doesn’t provide as high magnification as other microscopes on our list.

    Pros
    • High-quality lenses for exquisite clear detail
    • Three magnification levels: 40X, 100X, and 400X
    • Top and bottom built-in lighting
    • Batteries and AC power adapter included
    • Durable instructional experiment cards included
    • Variety of necessary accessories
    • Five prepared slides
    Cons
    • More expensive
    • No container for storage
    • Top magnification much lower than other microscopes

    4. The Magic School Bus Kids’ Microscope

    The Magic School Bus WH-925-1143 Microscope

    If your young scientists are fans of watching this educational series, they may be excited to get their hands on a “The Magic School Bus” microscope. In this set, the beloved characters of Ms. Frizzle and her class of students appear on detailed experiment cards and other supplies to make an enjoyable educational experience for your child.

    The microscope has three levels of magnification — 100x, 300x, and 600x — and a battery-powered light. We found that the lenses offer lower quality images and the light may not always function well. The microscope is made of plastic but does offer a reasonable level of durability.

    This kit has instructions, educational information, and experiments to do with your microscope. Along with prepared slides, the experiments allow your child to make their own slides and record their findings in an included research notebook. A variety of necessary accessories are in the school bus-shaped storage box.

    Pros
    • Based on well-known educational series
    • Three magnification levels: 100X, 300X, and 600X
    • Built-in light
    • Kit includes brightly illustrated instructions, experiments, and research notebook
    • A variety of accessories
    • School bus-shaped storage box
    Cons
    • Plastic construction
    • Low-quality lens clarity
    • Light may malfunction
    • Batteries not included

    5. Play22 Microscope for Kids

    Play22 Microscope

    Both affordable and high-powered, the Play22 Microscope includes a hard plastic storage case. Your young scientist can choose between three levels of magnification: 300X, 600X, and an impressive 1200X.

    This microscope is built with durable metal materials and comes with a sturdy nonslip rubber bottom. It has a built-in rotating color filter wheel, as well as LED lighting and mirror illumination for improved visibility. The LED lighting is powered by three AAA batteries, which are not included, and we learned that it may not be bright enough.

    This full and complete kit comes with a shrimp hatchery experiment, prepared and blank slides, specimen vials, and a variety of essential tools. An instruction book is included for the microscope operation. However, unfortunately, no information is provided for the shrimp hatchery.

    Pros
    • Affordable
    • High magnifications levels up to 1200X
    • Durable metal construction
    • Built-in color filter wheel
    • LED lights and mirror illumination
    • Included operational guide
    • Kit includes essential tools, supplies, and accessories
    Cons
    • Batteries for light not included
    • Light may not be bright enough
    • No instructions for included experiment

    6. Dicfeos DIC0299 Microscope

    Dicfeos DIC0299 Microscope

    Equipped with a high-grade optics glass lenses, the Dicfeos microscope offers your young scientist a purer and clearer image than lesser quality products on our list. Although on the expensive side, in addition to high-quality lenses, the microscope has a sturdy metal construction.

    This microscope provides five increasingly stronger levels of magnification, ranging from 40X to 1000X. It also has a dual light design that allows your child to view flat specimens on slides, as well as larger three-dimensional objects.

    Although it doesn’t come with a storage container, this kit does have a wide variety of tools, supplies, and accessories, including blank slides, prepared slides, forceps, a test tube, a petri dish, a replacement bulb, and bottles of stain. However, it does not contain a clearly written user manual.

    Pros
    • High-grade optics glass lenses
    • Sturdy metal construction
    • Five strong levels of magnification from 40X to 1000X
    • Dual light design for flat specimens and 3D objects
    • Kit includes important tools, supplies, and accessories
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • No storage container
    • Poorly written user manual

    7. PBOX Kid Microscope

    PBOX 20170731002 Kid Microscope

    If you’re not looking to spend much, you may want to consider the PBOX kid microscope. Despite the lower price, this microscope provides three choices of high-powered magnification: 100X, 400x, and 1200x. However, the clarity may be lacking compared to more expensive models.

    This microscope comes with a battery-powered light for better viewing. However, the batteries are not included. Your young scientist will be able to adjust the focus using a handy side knob, and the main portion of the microscope can tilt on its base for easier access to the monocular viewing head.

    This microscope comes with helpful supplies such as specimen containers, bottles, labels, slides, tweezers, and an instructional manual. It does not include prepared slides or ready-to-use experiments.

    Pros
    • Much lower in price
    • Three high-powered magnification levels, up to 1200X
    • Light for better visibility
    • Focus and tilt adjustment
    • Includes helpful supplies
    Cons
    • Lenses have low-quality clarity
    • Batteries for the light are not included
    • Does not include prepared slides
    • No included experiments

    8. ECOOPRO Elecfly Microscope

    ECOOPRO MS-01 Elecfly Microscope

    A lightweight and durable choice, the ECOOPRO Elecfly microscope offers plenty of magnification choices and comes with a complete set of important supplies. This colorful and inviting microscope has an optical lens and six levels of magnification: 40x, 64x, 100x, 160x, 400x, and 640x.

    This microscope is easy to focus by adjusting the wheel located conveniently on the side. It also has a rotating wheel with three different color choices. The kit includes 25 specimen slides and other essential items, such as a petri dish, forceps, dropper, test tube, coverslip, and instruction manual. Do be aware for your child’s safety because this kit also includes a sharp razor.

    This affordable microscope works well for beginners and first-time users. The top level of magnification is lower than with other products on our list, and the clarity isn’t as high-quality. Also, it does not include an experiment.

    Pros
    • Lightweight and durable microscope
    • Six levels of magnification
    • Easy to focus with adjustment wheel
    • Color wheel filter with three color choices
    • 25 specimen slides
    • Includes important supplies and accessories
    Cons
    • Includes a sharp razor
    • Top magnification is lower
    • Clarity of lenses are not as high quality
    • No included experiment

    9. VANSTARRY Kids Beginner Microscope

    VANSTARRY 120X-1200X Kids Beginner Microscope

    The Vanstarry Kids beginner microscope comes in a handy storage box filled with essential supplies and accessories. For your child’s safety, the included slides are made of plastic rather than breakable glass.

    This microscope provides magnification ranging from 120X to 1200X, with a handy adjustment for better focusing. It also tilts on its base for easier viewing into its monocular lens. A LED light provides better visibility and a rotating color filter is included.

    We placed this microscope near the end of our list for its lack of performance and poor quality control issues. You and your child may encounter difficulty and frustration when attempting to get the specimen on the slide into the field of view. Additionally, other broken or damaged parts render the microscope unable to function well enough to see images through it.

    Pros
    • Handy storage box
    • Kit includes essential supplies and accessories
    • Safer plastic slides
    • Magnification range from 120X to 1200X
    • Focus adjustment, LED light, and rotating color wheel filter
    Cons
    • Lack of performance
    • Poor quality control issues
    • Difficult to place slide in viewing position
    • May not be able to view any images

    10. Celestron 44116 Microscope

    Celestron 44116 Microscope

    Our last pick is a unique approach to using a microscope. The Celestron microscope is so small, it can fit into your or your child’s pocket for exploring small specimens on the go. This little microscope allows your young scientist to make examinations anywhere and anytime.

    Providing between 60x to 120x magnification, this handheld microscope resembles binoculars, but with a single eyepiece. To use, your child can place this mini microscope over a prepared slide or an object, look into the monocular eyepiece, and view what they’re interested in seeing close up. A light is built-in for better visibility. The single battery to power the light is not included, however.

    We placed this microscope last because it doesn’t come with a full kit of supplies nor the high-quality optics of our previous reviews. Additionally, we found the viewing quality to be only moderately clear. Considering the lower price, however, it may be worth buying, as your child may enjoy taking this microscope on a nature walk.

    Pros
    • Pocket size for easy portability
    • Handheld design
    • 60X to 120X magnification range
    • Built-in light
    • Low in price
    Cons
    • Clarity could be improved
    • Battery to power light not included
    • Does not include supplies or accessories
    • No instructional guide
    • No included experiments

    Buyer’s Guide

    After reading through our reviews, you may have questions about selecting the best microscope for your child. In this buyer’s guide, we’ll go over a few key factors to consider. From magnification levels to what supplies are most needed in kits, we’ll quickly break down what you need to know.

    Read the Instruction Manual

    Hopefully, your new microscope comes with clearly written and illustrated instructions for proper use. Younger children may encounter difficulties looking through the monocular eyepiece with one eye and then focusing on the specimen, so it’s important to go over all the parts and the operations of the microscope with your child. Be sure to take the time to ensure that your child understands how it works.

    Magnification

    You probably want a microscope that offers a new perspective and potentially, the “wow” factor. The greater the choices for varied and higher magnification levels, the more enriching the educational experience will be for your young scientist.

    High-Quality Lens Clarity

    Being able to clearly see details is perhaps the most important factor for a positive experience when using a microscope. You may have to pay more for well-made lenses, but in our opinion, the benefits outweigh the cost.

    Avoid Breaking a Slide During Focus Adjustment

    Next in importance for proper operation of the microscope occurs when adjusting the focus. Your microscope will hopefully have a stop mechanism. Otherwise, the lens may impact the slide, thus breaking it. Be extra careful to avoid sharp edges if the included slides are made of glass.

    A kid using a microscope with his mother

    Lighting and Color Filters

    Assisting your ability to see details is proper lighting that’s bright enough to easily view the slide. A mirror located beneath the viewing area can help provide extra illumination. A rotating color filter can help your child notice details that they may have missed in the white light.

    Essential Supplies for Kits

    Finally, many of our top-rated microscopes come with extensive kits. Look for ones that include prepared and unprepared slides. Also, we found that many young scientists enjoy having a ready-to-go experiment. Lastly, you may want a handy storage container to store all the loose pieces and allow your child to take their microscope with them on trips.


    Conclusion:

    Our top pick for the best microscope for kids goes to the AmScope M30-ABS-KT2-W Kids Beginner Microscope. This 52-piece set includes all essential supplies and accessories, in addition to an experiment. The high-quality beginner compound microscope provides six magnification choices ranging up to 1200X, LED and mirror illumination, a built-in color filter wheel, and a rack-and-pinion focus mechanism.

    Our selection for the best value is the Educational Insights 5301 GeoSafari Microscope. This set includes an amazing 95 pieces, including important accessories and supplies, as well as a guidebook and three prepared slides. The microscope has five power settings, with a 50X to 600X magnification range and a built-in light and mirror.

    The Omano SG_B00669JMKS_US JuniorScope Microscope is our premium choice due to its high-quality lenses that provide exquisite clear detail. This microscope has three magnification levels — 40X, 100X,  and 400X — with dual top and bottom built-in lighting. As an extra benefit, this microscope comes ready to use, with the batteries and AC power adapter included. Plus, the kit contains a variety of necessary accessories, five prepared slides, and several durable instructional experiment cards.

    We hope that our thorough reviews, pros and cons lists, and informational buyer’s guide have helped you find an inspiring and fun microscope for your child. The right microscope can be a wonderful STEM-based learning tool for your young scientist, providing them with new, exciting experiences and hours of educational entertainment.

    About the Author Robert Sparks

    Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.