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Microscope for Middle School and High School grades

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DD is taking a 6th grade Science course (Distance Learning) from TTUISD.. She just ran into an experiment that requires a “stereomicroscope†or a “hand lensâ€. We knew that we would eventually need to buy a microscope for her, and that time may have arrived…


I seem to recall seeing 1 or 2 threads on WTM, about Microscopes, in the past. If someone can give me a link, to a recent thread about Microscopes, that will be much appreciated!


Also, I seem to recall people here saying they purchased something (in the USA), for about $100 that was OK. Is that price range OK or too low?


Also, any comments, on the pros and cons of the different types of Microscopes, Stereo and other, will be greatly appreciated! Recommendations? TIA!

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Stereo microscope is different. It has a large area underneath to put objects. Alternatives are handheld lenses or a Brock Magiscope. At that age, I'd just get her a good handheld magnifier and take your time to watch for a good microscope for junior high and high school. Yes the SL microscope is fine. I got an AMAZING microscope on ebay that was basically new in box of a super brand, a college backroom sell-off. So if you watch a while, you never know what you'll find. What I got is a version of the brand the Happy Scientist/Illustrated Guide guy recommends.

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@OhElizabeth Thank you very much for replying and for what you wrote. I read your reply to DD and then went to the other end of the house and told my wife about what you'd written. Probably your recommendation is the best: Buy what the Science textbook calls a "hand lens" and then investigate what is the best microscope we can buy for her, here in Colombia. Hopefully something with a warranty, parts and service available here. If we order something from the USA and it arrives here, damaged, we cannot return it. Thanks again! Lanny



I spent 2 or 3 hours looking into Microscopes today and I did find a WTM thread, from October 2012, that I actually participated in, and I wrote then that this was something I was interested in and probably a microscope purchase was in our future...

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Lanny, if you have success with people shipping you things (as in they get there without the box ruined), then probably the microscope will get through fine. Ours came in super thick molded styrofoam, much like a computer. So the packaging itself is good. The trick is to get one you know has been checked, so it's starting off ok. Home Science Tools does that, so I would feel very confident buying from them. They package their things exceptionally well.


Btw, why don't you just try a place local to you? Is it primitive where you are? A lab castoff, something from a college there, anything would do. Ours was being tossed by a cc, presumably because the megapixels of the camera in it were outdated. You just never know what might be around.

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Lanny - You may be reffering to the Amscope brand. I've been researching them as there's one seeler on Ebay that seems to sell thme and the prices are really good. From what I've learned they aren't top quality microscopes but for home use they're very good and the value for the money you pay is excelent. Possible issues are the digital microscopes wjich may not have cameras with a suitable resolution and limited choices regarding after-purchase add-ons.


Unless I see screaming deal on a high quality used microscope I'll probably be purchasing an Amscope in the future.

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Wishbone- the one I linked to above is an Amscope. If you're looking for a good deal, it's still on sale on Amazon. I thought the price was very reasonable for what we got, esp. when I compare it to the microscope we spend $90 on last year which was a piece of junk.

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Thank you, to everyone who replied to my thread. Much appreciated!


I found a WTM thread that I had seen, and expressed interest in, during October 2012. Someone posted a link to this informative web page, with a lot of information incredibly helpful to someone who doesn’t know anything about Microscopes, like myself:



Possibly the information on the above URL will help others who are interested in purchasing a microscope…


Two days ago, so DD can do the experiment she needs to do, I looked for a “Hand Loop†on a Colombian web site that is something like eBay. I found this item, which DD and I thought looked better than a “Hand Loopâ€, so we ordered it and it arrived yesterday. That should allow DD to do her experiment. The information on this web page is all in Spanish, but you can see from the photos what it looks like. We were the 9th to purchase this item from this seller. Total cost was approximately $11 USD, including shipping.



When we can, we will probably purchase a Celestron 44104. Why this model? (1) We bought a Celestron Dobsonian telescope for my wife in 1997 or 1998 (2)They have an authorized dealer in Colombia (with astronomical prices…) (3) I read the 59 Reviews on Amazon.com The earliest models of the 44104 had Tungsten lighting and people complained about the heat, and possibly a fire hazard, and in January (?) 2009 Celestron changed to LED. It has a Mechanical Stage, which I now know is something wonderful to have. Celestron is the only brand I know of that has authorized sales in Colombia. This model is 500X and can be upgraded in various ways, if one has the money.


Possibly, we will end up ordering from an Amazon Seller, have it shipped to our Forwarder in Miami, and pay them for Shipping it to our house and clearing it through Colombian Customs. If we do that, there is no warranty in Colombia, and if it arrives damaged, or missing anything, we are out the money, but there would be a huge cost savings, if it arrives OK.


FlyingMOm linked to an Amazon page of an AmScope microscope they’d purchased. Very nice. I read reviews of that model and several other AmScope microscopes on Amazon and they seem to get excellent reviews. I contacted AmScope, to see if they have a dealer here in Colombia, but their reply was the only place they sell from is their California HQ.


@Wishbone Dawn The reviews I read of several AMScope microscopes were mostly very positive. As I recall, the manuals seem to be of very little help. Also, I seem to recall they have a 5 year warranty in the USA and the warranty is always a big plus to me. If we lived in the USA, I would certainly consider an AMScope. AMScope is sold on Amazon also. My belief at this time (based on reviews I’ve read on Amazon) is that the quality of AMScope microscopes is slightly lower than that of Celestron microscopes. That probably depends upon the model and that may or may not be true. From the article I linked to near the top of this post, I would probably not purchase a Used microscope, since I know nothing about how to check it out.


@FlyingMOm About the $90 microscope you bought last year that was junk… When we were looking for information about buying a telescope for my wife, in 1997 or 1998, the man who helped us (Physics teacher in a university) told us about someone here in Cali who bought a very expensive telescope (thousands of U.S. Dollars as I recall) and after he got it, he learned that it could not be used here, or, could only be used with great difficulty here, because we are so close (we are 3 degrees North) to the Equator… I don’t know what he ended up doing with that telescope… The Celestron Dobsonian we bought for my wife isn’t elegant like that, but she can look into the Northern Sky (we are in the Northern Hemisphere) or the Southern Sky with it. :-)

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