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High School Microscope...Any Favorites?

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I want to buy my DD a microscope for Christmas. Since she will start high school next fall, I want to get something that will last for the rest of her science classes. I've look at Sonlight's Ultra Microscope and Rainbow Resources Able Microscope. Has anyone had experience with either of these? Or do you recommend something different?


Thanks for your help!

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Thank, Brenda! I was all set to order the one from SL when I noticed that the newer microscopes are using LED bulbs instead of fluorescent bulbs. I am trying to find out what difference that makes, if any.


Does anyone know the difference and why one bulb is better than the other?


LED's don't burn out and (depending on the model) LED's may be noticeably brighter than fluorescent, which can be important at high magnification. Both run cool, which is often important if you're observing live specimens.


Fluorescent bulbs generally last for years, even with heavy use, but if yours does burn out it may be difficult to find a replacement years after a model has been discontinued. Most vendors offer spare bulbs, either as a standard feature or an extra-cost option. If you go with a fluorescent model, I'd suggest buying a spare bulb and storing it somewhere safe where you'll remember where you put it.


Most fluorescent models are older models that were designed years ago. Newer models generally use LED instead. One big advantage of LED for some users is that some LED models are battery operated and therefore very portable. There are a few fluorescent models that use batteries, but not many.

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We also have had a Sonlight microscope for many years. My spare bulb is still stored next to our glass slides, but hasn't been needed yet.


I like that the SL one includes all the little helpful features (light, moveable stage, eyepiece that can move from person to person, etc.). The only feature I've thought would be nicer is a binocular eyepiece, with two, but we've done fine without it.



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Thanks, Robert! I know nothing about microscopes. Could you list those models and co-op you are referring to? I missed that previous post.


Found the thread. It's HSBC




Ah, sorry. Never mind. The group buy has expired. I'm not sure how often they run it.

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So has anyone purchased a microscope from AmScope.com? They almost look too good to be true.



I just bought one. It's still in the mail, so I can't review it yet. :)


But before I ordered, I googled reviews of AmScope, and they were pretty much universally positive, so I'm hopeful. At least from the pictures (and from descriptions in the reviews) they look sturdily built, very similar (well practically identical) to the pictures of the ones at Home School Tools I've seen recommended here - for more power and less $.

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Thanks, Julie! The SL one does look like a good one. I just keep seeing so much about the LED bulbs that I wanted to check them out too. I would love a binocular microscope but they are really expensive. Sigh!


FYI, before I ordered, I called AmScope and asked which one they'd recommend for high school student use. They recommended one of the B100 series, which are binocular, go up to 1000-2000x, and all priced under $200 (at over 50% off - they all retail for almost $400). Shipping is also free right now.


I bought one similar, but monocular with a digital camera - one of my dds does not have good binocular vision, making a binocular scope a bit of a waste. Also, I have three kids so this way they can all look at once. AmScope told me the camera comes off so I can use the scope optically as well. I hope the camera/software is good!


If you have any questions, I'd call - they are very helpful.

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