How to Choose Microscope: 6 Tips


A microscope is an essential asset for any biologist or science enthusiast as it helps magnify specimens that your naked eye cannot see. In most cases, your work determines the type of microscope you get. However, other factors, such as your budget, quality, and resolution, also come into play. Therefore, knowing what to look for when choosing a microscope is essential. That said, here are tips you should follow when choosing a microscope. 

The Type of Microscope You’d Want

There are more than five different types of microscopes. Choosing the right type is essential in matching your preferences. The types of microscopes vary with the number of microscope objective lenses. The objective lenses are the most critical parts of the machine as they dictate the quality of the image under observation. 

The most common types of microscopes are stereo and compound microscopes. If you want a microscope for biological uses, a compound one will suit you. The compound microscope is suitable for viewing blood samples, water organisms, bacteria, and more. 

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

Look at the Microscope’s Quality

When purchasing a microscope, it’s important to assess the quality of its build as it will significantly determine its durability. The best material for a long-lasting microscope is metal, and the optical lenses should be of professional grade. The higher the quality of the optical lenses, the better the image quality of the specimen. 

Consider the Microscope’s Resolving Power

Although a microscope’s magnification is crucial, the resolution plays an important role in enhancing the clarity of the specimen. The quality of objectives dictates the microscope’s resolving power. For example, toy microscopes can magnify a specimen up to 1200 times more, but the image quality is below par. However, a microscope with a higher resolving power will have crisper visibility that allows you to distinguish the tiny details.

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 microscopes designed for beginners. As an advanced user, fluorescent light illumination is convenient as it is used for biological research and as an addition to stereo microscopes. 

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

When researching the best microscopes in the market, names like Olympus, Leitz, Zeiss, Reichert, Asako, Swift, and American Optical always come up first. Therefore, you should choose your microscope from some of the mentioned brands as they produce the best quality microscopes in the market.  

What Do You Intend to Use the Microscope For?

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

Go for a dark field microscope if you’re looking at blood samples and a phase-contrast microscope if you’re dealing with clinical or medical samples. 


A microscope is an excellent addition to your lab. Hopefully, these tips will help you choose the most suitable microscope for your work. Remember that buying an expensive microscope does not necessarily mean buying the best. In addition, opt for a microscope with a sturdy metal build, as it will serve you for a long time.

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