After a particularly engaging science class at school, your 10-year-old son or daughter has asked for their own microscope. You’d like to oblige and get them one, but you’re not sure what the best models are. How do you find the right microscope for a 10-year-old?
We recommend the Omano JuniorScope microscope for a 10-year-old looking to get into the fascinating world of microscopes. This scope lets kids magnify to 400x for super-close views of specimens. The impressive precision glass optics and premium-grade lenses allow for a spectacular experience each time.
In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about selecting a microscope for your children. From must-have features to reviews and everything in between, by the time you’re done reading, you’ll know exactly which microscope suits your child best.
- AmScope 120x-1200x Kids Beginner Microscope
- Educational Insights Nancy B’s Science Club Microscope
- National Geographic Dual LED Student Microscope
- AmScope 40x-1000x Dual LED Light Student Microscope
Which Microscope Is Best for Your Kids?
If you’re looking to get a microscope for your kids, you’ll most likely want a light microscope. These contain their own built-in light source. There are other kinds of microscopes such as ultraviolet or electron scopes, but these are typically only used in scientific or commercial settings and are much more expensive.
Microscopes are built for different purposes. You want to make sure you buy the microscope best-suited for whatever application your kids will be using it for. When trying to decide what type of scope to buy, there are three main things you need to consider.
The most important quality of a microscope is its magnification. Don’t let yourself be fooled into thinking higher magnification is better, though. The overwhelming majority of light microscope applications only require magnification levels of 60x or under.
Eyepiece and Objective Lenses
Light microscopes have two sources of magnification. The scope’s objective lens is the primary source. Its eyepiece lens acts as the secondary source. The magnification total is determined by multiplying the power of the objective lens by the power of the eyepiece lens.
Finally, you need to figure out the type of microscope you need. Microscopes are grouped into two main categories: stereo microscopes and compound microscopes. These are also referred to as low-power and high-power microscopes respectively.
Stereo Microscopes vs. Compound Microscopes
Stereo microscopes are a great choice for viewing larger specimens such as gems, leaves, or insects. In most cases, these specimens only require you to use magnification levels of 6.5x to 45x. That’s why they’re also referred to as low-power microscopes.
A stereo microscope by definition has at least two eyepieces which give the observer a 3D image of whatever specimen they’re viewing. They come in two different configurations, zoom or dual power. Zoom microscopes offer a continuous zoom range from the lowest to highest power. Dual power has two magnification options, such as 30x to 60x.
While stereo microscopes are used for larger specimens, compound microscopes are needed to view smaller specimens. These can be water organisms, blood samples, or forms of bacteria. Higher magnification levels are necessary in order to see the detail of such tiny specimens.
Compound or high-power microscopes often have between three and five objective lenses with a wide magnification range. These can go from as low as 4x to as high as 100x in some cases. These microscopes are also considered integrated systems since the base and body form a single unit. By comparison, some stereo microscopes are modular and need assembly.
Monocular, Binocular, or Trinocular?
When you’re considering either a stereo or compound microscope, you need to decide on what type of ocular set-up you want. You can get a microscope with a single eyepiece, two eyepieces, or two eyepieces and an additional trinocular port. Compound microscopes are available in all three configurations, while stereo microscopes by nature do not have a monocular option.
There are four factors to look at when deciding which configuration is right for your kids. They are application, comfort, cost, and magnification.
Let’s talk about these more now.
Many monocular microscopes don’t include a mechanical stage, making them useful for more sophisticated tasks. Binocular microscopes more often than not do have a mechanical stage. Trinocular microscopes are most commonly used when the third port is needed for microphotography.
Most people find binocular microscopes easier to use and more comfortable than other options. Young children may prefer a monocular microscope when starting out though.
Microscope price ranges tend to overlap each other. Typically, monocular microscopes are the most economic and trinocular microscopes the most expensive.
Monocular microscopes provide efficient total magnification up to 1,000x. To get higher levels, you’ll need to look at a binocular scope.
Quality and Illumination
By this point, you’ve looked at all the different factors and considered your microscope options. You know what kind of microscope you need to give your kids the best experience. However, before you buy a scope, you should consider both the quality of the microscope and the illumination.
When looking at quality, you need to look at both the quality of construction and the quality of the optics involved. The last thing you want to do is spend your hard-earned money on a microscope that will fall apart. Stick with microscopes made of solid metal rather than plastic.
In terms of optical quality, achromatic lenses are the standard for quality objective lenses. Achromatic lenses correct different colors refracting through a curved glass lens at an angle. In doing so, the scope produces an enhanced “flatter” image of the subject.
There are four kinds of illumination found in microscopes. These are fluorescent, halogen, LED, and tungsten. Each provides a different level of illumination and works better for different situations. Let’s take a quick look at each one.
Fluorescent illumination is typically used for biological research and other similar purposes in specialist microscopes. This ring lighting can also be found in some stereo microscopes as an additional light source.
This lighting is standard in high-quality pedestal microscopes. Halogen lighting gives off a strong white light which can be adjusted via a variable rheostat.
Ring lighting via LEDs is becoming more common in portable microscopes. These can be used with rechargeable batteries in a variety of different settings, from science fairs and conferences to out in the backyard.
Entry-level microscopes use tungsten lighting to provide the most basic illumination.
Five Great Microscopes for 10-Year Olds in Review
OmanoJuniorScope Microscope for Kids
Let’s begin with our most recommended microscope for 10-year-olds, the Omano JuniorScope. You get a series of experiments worth nearly $20 called The Amazing Microscope Adventures with your order. These let your kids get into scoping without needing to catch their own specimens…yet. Also included are guides, slides, a test tube, a dropper, forceps, stains, and a petri dish. There’s thus no need to go out and buy any microscope accessories. It’s all here.
Children can analyze germs, DNA, blood, insects, plants, and lots more, shifting the focus knobs to zoom in just right. The magnification settings on this Omano microscope start at 40x and go through 100x all the way to 400x. The JuniorScope boasts premium-grade glass lenses and precision glass optics for safe and clear use each and every time.
- Since it runs on batteries, you can take the JuniorScope to school or out in the yard to observe what kids catch as they do so.
- The informative guides will teach children more about their own bodies as well as insects, plants, and even crime scene investigation.
- Other accessories and parts included with your purchase are cotton swabs, a dissecting needle, a wooden specimen pick, test tubes, slide labels, lens paper, cover slips, blank slides, and Beastly Bits prepared slides.
- Some users say this microscope comes broken or does break very shortly after use.
- Others say the LED light burns out quickly.
AmScope 120x-1200x Kids Beginner Microscope
As an Amazon’s Choice product, the AmScope 120x-1200x kids beginner telescope makes for a wonderful choice for children getting into scoping. With 52 pieces in all, you get an ABS plastic carrying box, an LED light, plastic slides, and a microscope with a hardened metal body.
The included coaxial coarse focus includes an appealing white metal frame that prevents stains. You can use the rack-and-pinion focus mechanism to zoom in on specimens. Your kids will also quite appreciate features like the included color filter wheel, mirror illumination, LED lighting, and a monocular viewing head.
- You get everything your children need to get into scoping all in one convenient, inexpensive kit.
- With a rotating turret, you can magnify 120x, 240x, 300x, 480x, 600x, and all the way to 1,200x.
- This microscope is designed for beginners such as young kids.
- Some users have reported that parts arrived broken.
- Others said that the microscope as a whole doesn’t work.
Educational Insights Nancy B’s Science Club Microscope
Next, we’ve got Nancy B’s Science Club Microscope from Educational Insights. This microscope set includes an activity journal that’s 22 pages long, a scientific tool set with 26 pieces, and the microscope itself. Also bundled with the microscope are some focusing knobs and a rubber eye cup.
The light helps kids zoom way in to bugs and other critters with a 30x to 400x magnification. When your kids do catch something they want to observe more closely, you get a handful of blank slides (seven total) in which to do just that. Educational Insights also includes four of their own prepared slides for your children to investigate.
- All the equipment and accessories are very neatly and clearly labeled. They also match the purple color scheme of the whole kit.
- The microscope and activity journal gives the kids a great memento to look back on later as they remember their scientific adventures.
- Using a microscope like this could promote STEM learning.
- The batteries you need for the microscope don’t come with them.
- Users have reported that what you put under the microscope shows up blurry, even if you switch settings to 400x magnification.
National Geographic Dual LED Student Microscope
If your kids want something that looks a bit more adult, get them this National Geographic dual LED student microscope. There are no cutesy colors here, just a sturdy, dependable microscope. You get everything your kids need to have their own experiment on brine shrimp, such as a lab manual, a petri dish, shrimp eggs, and a hatchery station. Your kids will quite enjoy getting to see a brine shrimp’s lifecycle in action.
This National Geographic microscope has magnification between 20x and 50x. Included with the microscope are dual optical eyepieces made of real glass, various lenses, and a dual function light system. A comprehensive learning guide will teach your kids more about brine shrimp and microscopes themselves.
- This National Geographic microscope comes in three colors: Genetic Green, silver, and Biology Brown.
- You get more than 50 accessories, among them a mini geode, a petri dish, eye droppers, tweezers, slide labels, slide covers, and a slide storage box.
- Kids can also study daisy leaves, earthworms, and onion skins in addition to brine shrimp.
- Compared to some of the other scopes on this list, you can’t get as much magnification with this National Geographic microscope.
- Some users have complained about the trans-illuminator, mentioning how it doesn’t diffuse and is too bright.
AmScope 40x-1000x Dual LED Light Student Microscope
Our last pick is yet another one from AmScope. This time, it’s their 40x-1000x dual LED light student microscope. This complete microscope package includes a slew of accessories, an all-metal framework, an impressive optical glass lens, and two LED lights. We also have to talk about the magnification, as this is able to zoom in to 1,000x. That’s crazy good.
Getting back to the accessories, these include tools, blue and red specimen stains, 100 cover slips, 50 blank slides, five biological specimens, and two slide kits with 10 pieces each. You also get a six-hole disc diaphragm, a lens condenser, and an optical glass monocular with the microscope. Your children will have hours of fun and learning with this more mature but still kid-friendly microscope.
- The variety of slides lets inexperienced kids use included specimens until they’re ready to catch or find their own.
- The quantity of the various accessories is quite generous.
- The fine focusing and coaxial courses enhance the views of this impressive microscope.
- Some users have said you get very little stain dye, only a couple of drops.
- Others have noted how the knobs are stiff and don’t work very well, thus preventing focusing.
If you’re the parent of a kid who’s interested in starting out with a microscope, the Omano JuniorScope is one of the best ways to get them into this rewarding area of scientific study. Between the scope itself and all the added accessories, your kids will have everything they need to get started with their new hobby.
Nicole Malczan is a content marketing writer and freelancer. She’s applied her knowledge of marketing and SEO to many clients over the years, ranging from food service to facilities management and currency exchange. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, baking, and music.