Best Pocket Microscopes 2019 – Top Picks & Reviews

Last Updated: by: Robert Sparks

a pocket microscope

Pocket microscopes are portable microscopes that can be taken anywhere with you. Their maneuverability has made them popular in the field of science, and many companies have picked up on the trend and started to make them.

There are so many different pocket microscopes that it can be confusing to even think about shopping for one. We have reviewed a wide variety of them for you and would like to share our top five picks with you. To ensure that you get the full picture of a particular product, we will be sharing both the pros and the cons with you.

Comparison of Our Favorite Products

ModelPriceWeightEditor Rating
Celestron 5 MP Handheld Digital Microscope Pro
Celestron 5 MP Handheld Digital Microscope Pro(Top Pick)

Check Price
1 lb4.7/5
ROTEK 50x and 1000x Pocket Microscope
ROTEK 50x and 1000x Pocket Microscope

Check Price
1 lb4.5/5
Carson MicroBrite Plus 60x-120x LED Pocket Microscope
Carson MicroBrite Plus 60x-120x LED Pocket Microscope(Best for the Money)

Check Price
1 lb4.4/5
Carson MicroBrite 20x-40x Pocket Microscope
Carson MicroBrite 20x-40x Pocket Microscope

Check Price
1 lb4.2/5
KINGMAS Mini 60x Microscope
KINGMAS Mini 60x Microscope

Check Price
1 lb3.9/5

5 Best Pocket Microscopes – Reviews 2019

1. Celestron 5 MP Handheld Digital Microscope Pro – Top Pick

Celestron 5 MP Handheld Digital Microscope Pro

The Celestron 5 MP Handheld Digital Microscope Pro is our favorite of all the microscopes we reviewed because it has the most to offer. You’ll want something sturdy, and the wide base on this one gives you the stability you need. It has an effective focal length (EFL) of 15.8mm and an apparent field of view (AFOV) of 13°.

The Celestron features a five-element IR cut glass lens system that will give you clear and sharp images. It has a wide range of magnification powers, from 20x to 200x, to help ensure the best view possible of your object. This scope has all the high tech to give you the best vision, but the focal adjuster is challenging to use, making it hard to get it focused.

Once you get the scope set to what you want to get an image of, this microscope uses a 5MP CMOS sensor that will capture and save high-resolution images and videos of the items you’re inspecting. The shutter speed ranges from one second to 1/1000-second, so the camera’s eye won’t stay open too long and let in too much light.

This microscope has eight adjustable LED lights, but they don’t adjust dimly enough for all instances. LEDs are only needed for high magnifications. They are too bright for lower magnifications.

It can be frustrating to get everything set up the way you want. The bad news is that the calibration doesn’t hold from one use to another. It has to be recalibrated every time you use it.

Probably the biggest issue with the Celestron 5 MP is the outdated software. Though it can be used with both Windows and Mac, it doesn’t appear to have been updated since 2013. Technology changes so quickly that something written that long ago won’t be very useful with current operating systems.

Pros
  • 5MP CMOS Sensor
  • 5-Element IR Cut Glass Lens
  • Shutter speed of one second to 1/1000-second
  • 20x to 200x magnification powers
  • Adjustable LED lights
  • EFL: 15.8mm / AFOV: 13°
  • Wide base
Cons
  • Has to be recalibrated every time it’s used
  • Lighting too bright
  • Hard to focus
  • Outdated software

2. ROTEK 50x and 1000x Pocket Microscope – The Runner-Up

ROTEK 50x and 1000x Pocket Microscope

The ROTEK 50x and 1000x Pocket Microscope is a great runner-up to the Celestron. It works off WIFI. We have found that this WIFI is great when you’re working on a computer, but it’s pretty sketchy when using it with your phone.

This microscope features an HD camera with a 2.0 megapixel and 1080p resolution, which gives you a clear view of your object and takes high-quality pictures or videos of it. It’s difficult to get things into focus when using the higher resolutions, and though the magnification is still useful, it doesn’t appear to be as good as what is advertised.

It has some pretty great things going for it, like eight adjustable LED lights to give you ample light to see what you’re looking at. You can also use it for up to three hours before having to recharge. However, be aware that it is made out of cheap plastic.

Pros
  • Works off WIFI
  • HD camera with 2.0 megapixel/1080p resolution
  • Best focal distance is three to 60mm/0.11 to 2.36 in.
  • Eight adjustable LED lights
  • Works for three hours on one charge
Cons
  • WIFI doesn’t work well with phone
  • Difficult to focus at higher resolutions
  • Magnification doesn’t appear to be what is advertised
  • Cheap plastic construction

3. Carson MicroBrite Plus 60x-120x LED Pocket Microscope – Best for the Money

Carson MicroBrite Plus 60x-120x LED Pocket Microscope

The Carson MicroBrite Plus LED Microscope is the one that we think is the best for the money you spend. It comes in a multi-pack with four units in it. They are compact and lightweight, making them easy to take anywhere with you. They also have LED lighting to help you see things more clearly.

This microscope does what it’s meant to do, but isn’t the easiest to use. It is very short, so getting to the adjustment knobs can be tricky. It has a tiny viewing area, so you can’t really see a lot. You also have to make sure it’s sitting completely stationary when you’re looking through it. It there is even the slightest vibration, the view gets blurry.

Pros
  • Multi-pack including four units
  • LED lighting
  • Compact and lightweight
Cons
  • Small viewing area
  • Must be completely stationary to see clearly
  • Not user-friendly

4. Carson MicroBrite 20x-40x Pocket Microscope

Carson MicroBrite 20x-40x Pocket Microscope

The Carson MicroBrite 20x-40x is a lightweight and compact microscope that fits in your pocket. It comes complete with a broad base, two specimen slides and the batteries that run the LED lighting.

This microscope is hard for children to use. It is hard for adults who try to use it one-handed too. The most challenging part of operating this microscope is that the light button has to be pressed continually to keep the light on. It doesn’t have an on/off switch. This is an excellent tool for kids who love to explore; just know that it will be nearly impossible for younger children to use.

Once you find your specimen, it’s hard to get things focused clearly, especially when zooming all the way in. When zoom is all the way out or in the middle somewhere, it does okay, but when all the way in it is blurry.

This microscope does what it’s supposed to do, but it’s counterproductive for viewing certain items. The image that you see is upside down and backward. It can make adjusting things confusing when you see your object one way with one eye, and completely differently with the other eye.

Pros
  • LED lighting
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Base, two specimen slides and batteries included
Cons
  • Difficult to use one-handed
  • Light button must be held to remain on
  • Images not crisp, especially with 40x magnification
  • Can be confusing

5. KINGMAS Mini 60x Microscope

KINGMAS Mini 60x Microscope

The KINGMAS Mini 60x is useful if you want a pocket-sized microscope to take on the go with you. This one comes with a carrying case and the batteries to operate the LED lighting.

The advertising for this microscope indicates that although it is small, it is still a decent size. It also looks to be made of some sort of metal. When we saw the actual product, we found that neither is true. It is incredibly small and nearly impossible to use if you don’t have small, almost child-sized, hands. It’s also made out of cheap plastic, not metal.

It takes two hands to get this scope into focus. That doesn’t leave you anything to hold or adjust your specimen with. Part of the reason it is so tricky is that the adjustment slide is very loose and tends to move when you don’t want it to.

The lens is very narrow, so to see anything, your eye has to be in that one perfect spot. Even if you find that spot, you only see what is in the middle, as this microscope has a lot of distortion on the edge of the image.

Pros
  • LED lighting
  • Pocket-sized
  • Carrying case and batteries included
Cons
  • Distorted edges
  • Adjustment slide too loose
  • Takes two hands to focus
  • Extremely small – requires small hands to use
  • Cheap plastic construction

Buyer’s Guide

We have listed a few different features below that you may want to pay close attention to when shopping for your pocket microscope.

Available Features:

1. Lighting:
Many pocket microscopes have LED lights that are much brighter than the older microscopes. The brighter light helps you to see what you are looking at more clearly.
2. Magnification:
Portable microscopes come in a wide variety of magnification ranges. You can get them anywhere from 20x all the way up to 100x. Before you go shopping for your microscope, consider how it will be used. If you’re buying it for a young, adventurous child, you will only need low magnification. If you’re buying for someone who will be using it for their profession, you’ll want a high magnification.
3. Zoom:
Zoom allows you to see things closer up and much more clearly than you can with the naked eye. Any telescope that you purchase should be able to zoom in and out according to your sight.
4. Quality:
Make sure that the microscope you purchase is durable enough to withstand the way the user will be using it.

Related: Which USB microscope (not pocket), do we prefer?

Conclusion

Now that you have an idea of what to look for in a pocket-sized microscope, let’s quickly review our top five picks to see if one of them would be a good fit for you.

1. Celestron 5 MP Handheld Digital Microscope Pro – Top Pick
2. ROTEK 50x and 1000x Pocket Microscope – The Runner-Up
3. Carson MicroBrite Plus 60x-120x LED Pocket Microscope – Best for the Money
4. Carson MicroBrite 20x-40x Pocket Microscope
5. KINGMAS Mini 60x Microscope

We have now given you a pretty good picture of what you should look for when you are shopping. We are sure you will find the microscope that is best for you.

Still, haven’t decided on which microscope will be right for you? Don’t worry, this guide should be able to help you.