Budget microscopes – Buying Guide & Comparison


If you are short on time and you just want to find the best microscope for the money, this short paragraph should help you get exactly the model you need. According to our research, the OMAX MD82ES10 is the best as it comes with all the capabilities you might need from such a device. The magnification range of this alternative is truly astounding as it can increase the size of the specimen area that needs to be examined by up to 2000 times. What this means is that you can utilize it efficiently for analyzing the structure of cells, tissues, and even cellular organelles. Besides, the unit boasts a 1.3-megapixel camera that can be used with most Windows operating systems, thus enabling you to save pictures of your samples, perform measurements, and make other modifications as you deem necessary. If the OMAX MD82ES10 is unavailable, your second option should be the OMAX CS-M82ES-SC100-LP50.



Comparison table


The Good
The Bad



Finding the absolute best microscope these days is a difficult endeavor as there are many units to choose from. To make it easier for you to decide, we have created a comprehensive buyer’s guide that can take you through all the factors that need to be taken into account. Find it below.

What do you want to look at?

The first factor that you have to bear in mind is the specimen you are going to examine. If you are looking for a unit that you can utilize once in a while, perhaps a full-size compound binocular microscope is not the right solution to your problems. If on the other hand, you work in a busy lab or process organic samples on a regular basis, such a device would integrate perfectly with the rest of your equipment.

There are significant price differences between compound and stereo microscopes and handheld models as they haven’t been constructed with the same components. Most of the full-size units, whether they’re monocular or binocular options, are made with glass optics and a rugged metal base that enables you to use them for a decent amount of time.

By contrast, many handheld alternatives fail to serve customers when it comes to durability as some of their parts might prove to be flimsy. Portable microscopes are great if you’re always on the run, but otherwise, they’re not the high-end choice that a medical examiner or student should consider. Nonetheless, they are more affordable and easier to work with, so if you’re planning to look at coins, jewelry, or electrical components, these models might be perfect.


It’s all in the magnification

Assessing the build quality of a microscope is one thing, but seeing what you have to see is another. Less portable choices like the compound and stereo microscopes we were mentioning earlier on are made to offer a decent magnification capability.

However, it is important to note that your purpose needs to be considered before you have to make your final call. Most full-size student microscopes have magnification ranges between 40x and 1000x, but some take it to a whole new level by allowing you to increase the image of your sample by up to 2,000 times.

To put it briefly, what you ought to do is think beforehand and try to imagine the types of samples you will be analyzing in the future. If you’re buying the microscope for your child or for a user who hasn’t had any prior experience with handling such a device, you might have to avoid getting an overly complicated device.


Digital features

Few monocular microscopes come with an integrated camera, and that’s typically due to the fact that they are smaller and more user-friendly than their binocular counterparts. Nonetheless, if you intend to make the most of the unit you are going to spend your cents on, you might have to consider the models that come with a camera or at least those that allow you to get one separately and fit it to the design of the device.

Even a good budget microscope should come with a built-in camera that has a resolution of at least 1 megapixels. High-res photos can be used in scientific papers, showcases, and presentations, so you ought to take this into account if you’re in the academic environment. Even a college project can turn out looking impressive if you include breathtakingly crisp and clear images of your samples.

Since not all models are made with the same features, and they don’t offer the same benefits, you have to check whether or not the one you’re thinking of purchasing comes with software that’s compatible with the operating system on your laptop or computer.



Top microscopes for the money in 2019


We cannot decide for you, so we have at least come up with some of the models that have garnered the best microscopes reviews out there. From what we’ve gathered, these selections are worth every penny as they’re made with the needs of the owner in mind, whether you’re an amateur or a professional user.





While some argue that this OMAX model isn’t the most inexpensive microscope ever to have been developed, the fact of the matter is that it comes with a set of features that’s hard to say no to. On the one hand, the magnification capabilities of this unit are more than impressive as it has a range of 40x to 2000x.

Otherwise said, the versatility of the MD82ES10 simply cannot be denied as you will be able to utilize it for as many types of specimens as they might have crossed your mind. The only thing that this product won’t allow you to perform is electron microscopy, but other than that, it’s one of the best in its line.

This particular compound microscope has been outfitted with a 1.3-megapixel camera with the help of which you can save and modify the images to and on your computer. The only drawback that we were able to determine about the MD82ES10 is that it is compatible just with Windows operating systems. Other than that, it’s a top-of-the-line alternative that undoubtedly needs to be considered.



One of the core advantages ensured by the design of this product is that it allows owners to magnify their specimens by 40 to 2000 times.

Another benefit that you ought to consider if you’re interested in this alternative is that it has been equipped with a 1.3-megapixel camera, thus enabling you to take shots of your samples.

The camera driver is compatible with Windows and Mac computers, so you can use them with both if you own two such devices.

The interpupillary distance adjustment of this microscope can let you utilize it for children and adults alike.

The product is considerably more affordable than others in the same line, particularly given the value it offers for the money.



Some owners argue that the 40x objective is not very good quality and might be a tad fuzzy.

Installing the driver on a Windows 8.1 can be challenging.


Buy from Amazon.com for ($376.75)







Compared to the unit we’ve showcased above, this model is more of an affordable microscope as we have found that most online marketplaces sell it for less than two hundred dollars. Equipped with most of the features made available by the previously described unit, this OMAX choice should also be on your shopping list.

The magnification range of this device is 40x to 2000x, so you’ll have more than enough freedom with respect to the samples that you’ll be able to examine. The integrated LED illumination system is a net plus as this type of bulb has been found to last for a reasonable amount of time when compared to its fluorescent and halogen counterparts.

To increase the value offered by the product, the manufacturing brand has decided to include 100 coverslips, 100 blank glass slides, and 50 lens cleaning papers along with the main unit. The only thing that seems to be lacking is an integrated camera, but if it were, the model would have been more expensive.



Since this is a kit, it comes with the microscope as well as blank slides covers and some lens cleaning paper.

The unit boasts a magnification of 40x to 2000x, thus allowing you to employ it for a multitude of specimens.

A built-in illumination system can be found to be part of this alternative, so you’ll have plenty of light to see all the detail you want to analyze.

The solid metal frame construction of this unit makes it a perfect choice for educational purposes where it might become damaged if the students aren’t particularly careful handling such devices.



Some owners have noticed that the screws had to be tightened when they got sent the microscope, which is why they took it apart and then set it up again. This process can be time-consuming.

Others have reported that they have encountered issues when trying to utilize the fine focus but getting in touch with the brand’s customer support can easily solve this issue.


Buy from Amazon.com for ($209.99)





AmScope M150C-I


There are several reasons you ought to take this model into account, as well, especially if you’re looking for a microscope for an amateur who wants to study more about microscopy and optics, in general. On the one hand, the M150C-I is extremely budget-friendly despite the fact that it comes with a magnification range of 40x to 1000x.

While some might tend to think that this magnification capability might not be enough, the fact of the matter is that it’s more than sufficient if you intend to look at anything from plants to animal tissues and cells.

What’s more, the M150C-I proves its worth in scientific environments such as schools especially as it boasts a 360-degree rotatable monocular head with the help of which teachers can show students what they can’t see with the naked eye. Having gathered more than two hundred favorable reviews, we say that this AmScope unit should be borne in mind.



This AmScope model is one of the most budget-friendly choices that we have come across and is considered a top favorite option for people who want to get a model for under one hundred.

Since it is a monocular, it can be used by children, as well, particularly since they have close set eyes compared to adults and might have a hard time setting the interpupillary distance of a binocular microscope.

There are five magnification settings that you can use with the M150C-I ranging from 40x to 1000x.

The framework is made out of metal, which is why it has a high chance of putting up with a lot of abuse.

Unlike other options out there, this one can be utilized either with a typical outlet or with three AA batteries so as to provide the power that the LED illumination system requires.



Based on the feedback garnered by this microscope, it’s not a high-end choice that can be used for scientific purposes. Instead, it addresses kids and beginners.


Buy from Amazon.com for ($89.99)





My First Lab MFL-06


In some respects, the MFL-06 cannot even be compared with the alternatives we have already talked about. However, it might just be the right option for somebody looking for a beginner’s microscope or one intended for amateurs or children. Why’s that? First off, the MFL-06 has a maximum magnification capability of 400x, which means that it is less suited for minuscule cells and tissues.

Nonetheless, given that it boasts glass optics and a 6-hole disk diaphragm, this unit is definitely worth every penny it costs. Besides, since it is battery operated, you can even take it with you everywhere your adventures might take you. Last but not least, the fact that a 50-piece accessory kit is part of the deal is another advantage that you ought to give some thought to.

Given that it is priced lower than many of its competitors, this model has acquired more than one thousand favorable reviews.



If you need an even more budget-friendly product, the MFL-06 is definitely the one to get as it is usually priced under eighty dollars.

There are three magnification settings to choose from; 40x, 100x, and 400x.

Despite its somewhat basic design, the model comes with an illumination system that can ensure that you always get plenty of light on your specimens.

All of the optics used in the construction of this choice are made out of glass.

Since this product is battery-operated, there won’t be anything stopping you from taking it on the road so that you get to use it in the field.



Several buyers note that the light below is less powerful than the top light.

While the controls are simple, you still have to organize a crash course for your kids so they don’t damage the microscope if they don’t know how to use it.


Buy from Amazon.com for ($69.99)





AmScope M158C-E


The M158C-E combines the best of two worlds, in that it doesn’t cost a fortune yet it comes with loads of helpful features. For example, despite the fact that it is a monocular microscope, it’s been outfitted with a 0.3-megapixel camera. Granted, the quality of the rendered images might not surpass the ones provided by other, more cutting-edge alternatives. Even so, it’s surely worth taking into account.

The USB 2.0 output that can be found to be part of the construction of this device can be used to connect all laptops and computers. As with other choices, this one is compatible with Windows operating systems.

One of the most notable advantages offered by this AmScope choice is that it is both rechargeable and cordless, which means that you’ll benefit from a lot of freedom when it comes to portability. The LED illumination does its job precisely as it should.



The design of the M158C-E is user-friendly and unique, in that it combines two of the needs of modern consumers. It is both a monocular and can be used with a laptop or computer.

The model has been equipped with a 0.3-megapixel camera that you can rely on whenever you need to take pictures of your samples.

The software made available by the manufacturing brand is compatible with Windows operating systems.

The magnification ratio of this alternative is 40x to 1000x, which means that it is suited for most purposes.

LED illumination is also available, so you’ll be able to get a clear picture of what’s happening on your slide.



Some of those who have purchased the M158C-E have complained about the fact that it comes with hardly comprehensive instructions. Therefore, beginners stand little to no chance when it comes to understanding how a microscope should be utilized.


Buy from Amazon.com for ($130.99)




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