How to Choose Microscope: 6 Tips

Written by Abby Hill
3 mins, 32 secs Read
Updated On December 6, 2023
Choose Microscope

A microscope is a vital asset for any biologist or science enthusiast as it helps magnify specimens that your naked eye cannot see. But while purchasing it, many get confused about which microscope to choose from all the available options they need. 

In most cases, it’s your work that determines which type of it you need. However, there are some other factors that also play a major role in picking an appropriate one, such as your budget, quality, and resolution. Therefore, knowing what to look for when choosing this instrument is necessary. 

Here, in this post, you are provided with a few tips that will assist you in choosing a microscope according to your needs in laboratory work. 

The Type of Microscope You’d Want

There are more than five different types of microscopes. Some are suitable for biological applications, while others are used in examining various other compounds. 

However, choosing the right type is necessary to match your preferences and its types vary with the number of microscope objective lenses

The objective lenses are the major parts of the machine as they dictate the quality of the image under observation. 

The most common types are stereo and compound microscopes. If you want to use it for biological examinations such as for the study of bacteria and viruses, it is possible with a compound type. This type is also suitable for viewing blood samples, water organisms, and more. 

On the other hand, if you need this instrument to view larger specimens, then a stereotype will suit your needs. This type of microscope is excellent for examining fossils and dissecting, among other uses. 

The other types include simple, compound, and scanning probe microscope that also plays a major role in scientific examinations. 

Look at the Microscope’s Quality

When purchasing a microscope from the online web, the material might look good in the image but later it becomes a matter of disappointment when it reaches us. So, it is better to thoroughly check it out. One should assess the quality of its build as it will significantly determine its durability. 

The best material for its long-lasting use is metal, and the optical lenses should be of professional grade. The higher the features of the optical lenses, the better the image quality of the specimen. 

Consider the Microscope’s Resolving Power

Although a microscope’s magnification is prime, the resolution plays a relevant role in enhancing the clarity of the specimen. The quality of objectives dictates its resolving power. 

For example, toy microscopes can magnify a specimen up to 1200 times more, but the image quality is below par. However, this instrument will have crisper visibility with a higher resolving power that allows you to distinguish the tiny details.

Do You Know?  The earliest microscopes were used to examine small insects and they were addressed with the name ‘Flea glasses’.  

The Illumination

The illuminator is based at the bottom part of most microscopes. Its use provides balanced and ample lighting at the field aperture to ensure you can view the specimen well. There are different types of illuminators for different microscopes. 

Tungsten lighting is mostly used on it designed for beginners. As an advanced user, fluorescent light illumination is convenient as it is used for biological research and as an addition to stereotypes. 

LED lights are another type suitable for viewing live specimens like insects. Lastly, there is halogen. Halogen illumination gives off a strong white light that you can adjust through the variable rheostat. 

Research About the Best Brands

However, the brand of the assets also plays a major role when you look at the microscope’s qualities and features. 

When researching the best microscopes in the market, there are a few names like Olympus, Leitz, Zeiss, Reichert, Asako, Swift, and American Optical that always come up first. 

Therefore, you should choose your laboratory assets from some of the mentioned brands as they produce the best quality in the market.  

The image is taken from the internet. 

This pie chart shows the percentages of microscope brands according to their preference and usage.  

What Do You Intend to Use the Microscope For?

Although a microscope has different uses, you should consider how frequently you can use yours. The stereo microscope will suit you if you’re working on larger samples. On the other hand, a compound type will suit you when working with environmental samples like water and soil.

However, if you need it for educational institutions such as schools and colleges, you can simply go for a simple microscope to teach basics to the students.

There is another type named dark field microscope, that can assist you if you are looking at blood samples and phase contrast or dealing with clinical or medical samples. 


A microscope is an excellent addition to your lab that assists you in grabbing information based on scientific research. Hopefully, these tips will help you choose the most suitable microscope for your work and will help you in your growth. 

Finally, remember that buying any expensive laboratory instruments does not definitely mean buying the best. In addition, opt for a microscope with a sturdy metal build, as it will serve you for a long time.

Author: Abby Hill