Top affordable microscopes this year – Guide & Comparative Analysis


If you’re here to find the best cheap microscope and have little to no time on your hands, this paragraph should tell you everything you ought to know. Following several weeks of research during which we’ve looked at the user feedback and the value provided by the critically acclaimed choices out there, we’ve concluded that the AmScope M150C-I is the one that best suits your needs. It is budget-friendly since this is one of your primary considerations. However, it’s also convenient, easy to use, and made to withstand the test of time. The fact that it comes with a LED illumination system and a magnification range of 40x to 1000x may also be worth mentioning. If there’s no way you can choose this particular model, perhaps you might want to consider the second best unit, the AmScope M162C-2L-PB10.



Comparison table




What’s the best budget microscope? If you can’t find the answer to this question and you haven’t settled on a number of details that are important for you in such a device, perhaps you should take the time to read our buyer’s guide. It’s packed with all the info you ought to bear in mind if you want to make a smart purchase.

Who are you buying it for?

The first thing you ought to do is try to look at your purpose, expectations, and the person that will use the microscope. If you’re getting one for children, you may have to consider the fact that kids have close-set eyes. As such, a monocular microscope might be a better idea than a binocular one.

Besides, if the child you’re purchasing the model for isn’t accustomed to using heaps and heaps of devices on a regular basis, you may have to purchase a unit that’s rather simple to use. In this case, you may even have to lower your expectations and choose a USB magnifier. Some of these options are actually rather efficient and versatile. On the other hand, if what you’re trying to find is a good all-around microscope for adults, be sure to check out some of the full-size models available for sale nowadays.


Consider the design

As formerly mentioned, there are several ways of going about things. Typical microscopes can be split up into two categories. Some are dissecting microscopes, which are low-power, and others are compound alternatives, which are high-power. In most cases, you’ll see that dissecting microscopes are rather limited when it comes to their magnification capabilities.

Another issue at hand is the matter of whether you’d benefit from using a compact USB microscope. Some of the best inexpensive microscopes simply have to be plugged into an USB port of your computer or laptop, and you’re ready to go. Obviously, as their optics are usually made out of plastic, and they don’t feature a sturdy design, such choices are significantly more affordable than stereo or compound alternatives.

What do you intend to look at?

When it comes to the matter of your samples, you need to look at the magnification range allowed by the microscope and the lighting system that it comes with. It used to be that all microscopes came with a small mirror that you’d have to handle in order to focus the light on the slide.

Nowadays, almost every model you’re going to take into account comes with some sort of bulb or bulbs installed either as an upper or transmitted system. If you’re going to use the device for looking at coins and other shiny objects, you might have to check if the brightness and intensity can somehow be adjusted. Otherwise, you’ll be bothered by the glare.

The magnification range is surely important if you’re a biologist, a teacher, a physician, or a veterinarian. Otherwise, if you don’t intend to look at cells, tissues, and other samples, be they of plant or animal origin, perhaps you don’t need such a generous magnification capability. Maybe you could do with one that goes up to 80x, such as that of most stereo microscopes, or up to 300x or 500x, such as that of most USB microscopes.



Our 2018 list: Find the right microscope for your needs


As we know that selecting the perfect product for your preferences and needs may be daunting, we’ve put together a list of some of the highly regarded choices out there. All of the following have acquired some of the best microscope reviews, so they appear to be worth investing in.



AmScope M150C-I


This monocular microscope is one of the top alternatives available for sale these days, and that’s mostly due to the fact that it boasts a wide array of interesting features.

One of them is the magnification range as with the help of this device you can increase the size of the specimen or area of interest by up to 1000 times.

Besides, the model proves its worth in domains such as education, biology, and anything science-related especially as it has been outfitted with a rotatable monocular head with the help of which you can show to your students or kids what you’ve found.

Another neat thing about this product is that it can be used either with three standard AA batteries or a regular outlet.

What this means for you is that it’s a portable choice that you can even take out in the garden.



It is the ideal microscope for home and school use by all students age 7 and up. From elementary school to high school projects, this affordable microscope will guide you through the basics of biology and microbiology.

It comes with five different magnification rates to offer you a wide variety of choices regarding the images seen. You can get to see your slides up to 1000 times bigger and perfectly analyze them.

The sturdy frame is made from metal, ensuring a long-lasting and reliable design.

You can either use an outlet or three AA batteries to use the LED illumination system.



Some owners have noted that there might be some issues dealing with the packaging or transportation of this device. It is therefore recommended to check the product once you have had it delivered at your home or lab.

Given the absence of any instructions or manual, users might have a hard time assembling the product properly. Putting everything together could take a bit of time.


Buy from for ($86.98)





AmScope M162C-2L-PB10


This kit might be another reasonable option to bear in mind, especially as it even comes with a collection of slides.

It’s even more affordable than other models we have seen, but it manages to boast a frame made out of metal.

If you’re buying the microscope for a kid, you may already be aware of the fact that they can sometimes be clumsy. So a metal frame is a reassuring detail in regards to the durability of the unit.

Just like other monocular microscopes of this kind, this particular one comes with a magnification range of 40x to 1000x.

The lighting system is composed of two LED lights placed both at the top and at the bottom of the model.

Because most of the people who have bought it appear to have only good things to say about it, it seems that this unit is another choice to give some thought to.



It offers no less than 10 different slides to watch, which makes it extremely suitable for science projects and school use.

The overall metal frame is trustworthy and reliable, meaning your little children won’t get to be clumsy near this item and easily break it off.

It comes with five different magnification rates, ranging from the classic 40x to 1000x, and they are plenty to clearly see objects, cells, and more.

This is an optical glass monocular microscope featuring top and bottom LED lights for easy observing in all lighting conditions.



Although most customers were pleased with the top quality and the affordable price for this microscope kit, some clients claimed that they received the product with missing or faulty items, including missing slides or missing eye pieces.

The focus of this microscope could also be improved but, overall, clients were satisfied with what they received.


Buy from for ($69.99)






AmScope M100C-LED


In some respects, the performance and quality ensured by the design of this model makes it possible for you to rest assured that it will never disappoint.

Granted, it’s a rather limited choice compared to some compound options, but it’s a great alternative for kids, teenagers, high school students, and any other beginning microscope user.

The AmScope M100C-LED boasts optics made out of glass and a solid metal body. Besides, it comes with a LED illumination system and allows you to take advantage of any of its five levels of magnification ranging from 40x to 1000x.

Since it’s backed by a five-year warranty, this microscope appears to be an investment that is both safe and sound. Also, it won’t even ruin your budget as it is typically priced under eighty dollars.

Some of the buyers argue that it performs better when used at lower magnifications, so you may have to use it for larger samples.




The product offers five different magnification rates, up to 1000x, for clear shots and in-detail captures.

It features the same 360-degree rotatable monocular head for easily handling slides and seeing every detail that matters.

The metal framework and the built-in LED illumination make from this microscope a powerful and useful tool for children, students, and more. Also, the hard metal case makes the product reliable, trustworthy and safe to carry around and deposit without the risk of breaking.

This microscope also features a wide series of accessories, useful for fulfilling plenty of school projects or satisfying your kids’ curiosity. Choose between four different focusing objectives, depending on how close you want to see your sample, and use any of the many accessories provided in the deal.



While most customers rated this product as a five-star, some others considered the manufacturing was of a poor quality and that the design wasn’t all that reliable.

Some customers say that they received faulty items with lens detached from the body.


Buy from for ($71.99)





AmScope M158C-E


As it is priced a tad higher compared to some of the other choices we have showcased earlier on, we saved this unit for the end.

It is a more than adequate choice if you’re in the market for a microscope that costs under one hundred dollars. Something that sets it aside from its competitors is that it comes with two eyepieces and a 0.3-megapixel camera.

Otherwise said, you can either utilize it in a typical manner, in that you’ll have to use your eyes to look at the sample, or you can connect it to a laptop or personal computer to visualize the images this way.

As is the case with many other microscopes manufactured by the same company, this particular one boasts a LED illumination system.

Since it has garnered the appreciation of over one hundred customers on various online websites, it goes without saying that this particular model is worth its weight in gold.



As a good hybrid between a monocular microscope and a digital one, this AmScope product comes with a slightly higher price than the previous models.

It features a similar 40x up to 1000x magnification rate for clearly seeing your samples and observing them in the tiniest details.

It also comes with stage clips to secure the slides and prevent them from moving while focusing, as well as a stage stop to prevent damaging slides or objectives.

Since it is a digital microscope, it comes equipped with a 0.3MP camera and USB 2.0 output for connecting it to your computer and capture images. The software works with the main Windows OS, from XP to Windows 10.



The camera on this microscope is of poor quality, only at 0.3MP, meaning there is no clarity of the image you are downloading on your computer.

Also, the software is not compatible with Mac OS, meaning you cannot use the microscope to download pictures on your MacBook or iPhone.


Buy from for ($122.99)





Crenova UM012C


The design of this product is entirely different, especially when compared to that of compound microscopes.

The Crenova model is a digital USB microscope that can prove its worth under many circumstances, especially if you find it hard to use any eyepieces or you’re simply not interested in learning the way that a full-size microscope works or needs to be operated.

The unit has been outfitted with a 5-megapixel camera and the software offered by the manufacturing brand can ensure that the device works both with Windows and Mac OS X computers and laptops.

With the help of the Crenova, you will be able to increase the size of the area of interest on your specimens by up to 300 times.

In short, this alternative is remarkably easy to utilize and even easier to put together, as reported by some of the individuals who have purchased it.



The design of this microscope is entirely different from what you are used to seeing in regular microscopes, but this doesn’t mean it offers a lower quality or less impressive features.

This is a digital microscope complete with a 5MP video camera to easily capture and watch all relevant information directly on your PC. The magnifying rate is up to 300x, allowing you to enjoy specimens in vivid detail.

The Crenova digital microscope is user-friendly and easy to assemble without requiring special skills or more than one-two hours from your precious time.

It works with all main operating systems, from Windows XP and Windows 7 to Mac OS X.



This item only works with personal computers and laptops, meaning you cannot use it to upload images and videos to your iPads, iPods or smartphones.

The product doesn’t have an attached screen, which forces buyers to utilize their laptops or computers all of the time. In the end, this magnifier does have its limitations, especially as it’s way more affordable than full-size microscopes.


Click to see the price on Amazon!



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