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Best Microscope for Kids: AmScope Review
When researching microscopes for elementary or middle school aged students, you'll see a lot that range from $20 to $40. However, you need to be wary of buying cheap products. If the optics on the microscope are low quality and your child can't see much, they may lose interest quickly. But you don't have to pay too much either to get a good quality product. There are some great microscopes that range from $60 to $90. AmScope is one brand that has some quality student microscopes in that price range.
AmScope has a cheap introductory microscope called the AmScope-Kids M30-ABS-KT. For about $30-$40 you get a kit that consists of LED and mirror illumination, 6 magnifications from 120x - 1200x, and a metal frame and base. This is a 48 piece accessory set and case. The thing that's great about this particular microscope is that everything comes in a case, which helps to keep all the pieces together. None of the more expensive sets come with cases. But to get higher quality, it's better to spend more.
For double the cost of the M30-ABS-KT, you can get the AmScope M162C-2L-PB10. It's costs about $64. This is the one I have and the quality of the optics at 40x, 100x, and 250x, is very high. And this is what we've been using up until this point. Even at 400x things have been harder to see. But below 400x magnification the quality has been amazing. It was higher than I expected for the price I paid. This is a great starter microscope for homeschoolers or parents who want to instill a love of science in their children.
You have a couple of options with the M162C. You can get the microscope with five blank and five prepared slides. Or you can get a kit, which costs $84. The AmScope Student Microscope kit comes with a book called The World of the Microscope and with a slide preparation kit to make your own slides.
Here's the list of what you get if you buy the full kit:
- 1 Monocular Microscope with Three Objectives and Top & Bottom Lights
- 1 Widefield 10X Eyepiece
- 1 Widefield 25X Eyepiece
- 1 Dust Cover
- 1 User's Manual
- 2 Clips
- 1 AC Power Adapter
- 3 AA Batteries
Slide Prep includes:
- 1 10pc Slide Kit with 5 Specimen Slides and 5 Blank Slides
- 1 5pc Specimen Slide Kit
- 1 5pc Blank Slide Kit
- 1 50pc Pack of Blank Slides
- 1 100pc Pack of Cover Slips
- 1 Bottle of Eosin
- 1 Bottle of Methylene Blue
- 1 Tweezers
- 1 Swab
- 1 Set of ID Stickers
- 1 Petri Dish
- 1 Pick
- 1 Stirring Rod
- 1 Vial
- 1 Set of Lens Tissues
- 1 Book: The World of the Microscope
I bought the full kit because the preparation kit alone costs $20 and the book is $12. So this is a better deal than getting everything separately. The book The World of the Microscope has instructions on how to make slides. While this microscope doesn't come with a storage container, it does have a cover. It's important to keep all the lenses and the microscope clean.
You can also buy pre-made slides. Here's a mouthful but the AMSCOPE-KIDS 48pcs Kids Plastic Prepared Microscope Slides of Animals Insects Plants Flowers Sample Specimens for Stereo Microscopes is a good deal at about $17.50. The AmScope PS25 Prepared Microscope Slide Set for Basic Biological Science Education, 25 Slides, Includes Fitted Wooden Case is great because all the slides come in a wooden box, which is a great way to safely store everything.
The AmScope M150C-PS25 is about $90. It's the next step up from the M162C. If you want a microscope that you can connect to a computer or laptop, check out the AmScope M160C-2L-PB10-E2, which costs about $140.
If you're looking for a quality microscope but you don't want to spend too much the M162C is an excellent choice. It's easy to use after you play around with it a little, and the quality of the optics up to 250x is very high. It's simple enough, once you know what to do, that a 9 or 10 year old child could be taught how to use it. The full kit is a great choice if you want to make you're own slides. If you want something similar to the M162C but with higher quality the M150C-PS25 costs just about $6 more than the full M162C student kit.