Best Digital Microscopes

Updated March 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

21 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
221 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

Shopping guide for best digital microscopes

Last Updated March 2019

When you want to get a new perspective on something, you often step back. However, it can be far more revealing if you lean in and get right next to something in order to examine it in greater detail. There's no better way to get an extreme close-up than with a digital microscope.

When shopping for a digital microscope, there are a number of elements you'll want to consider to be certain you’re getting the model that’s right for your quest for knowledge. The higher the magnification, the more secrets you’ll discover, but only if you also have proper lighting and crisp focus. You also want a digital microscope that’s stable and easy to operate.

If you're ready to buy a digital microscope, we've listed a number of outstanding models elsewhere in this article. You'll be happy with any one of those options. However, if you'd like to learn more about digital  microscopes, just keep reading.

If you purchase a digital microscope with its own screen, you can take it to a park and explore nature in a whole new way.

Key considerations

A digital microscope is a device that offers you a remarkable way to explore the world. As such, there are a number of features and options you need to first consider to be certain you’re purchasing the instrument that’s best for you.

Magnification

The higher the magnification, the more you can see. For example, a microscope with 40x (40 times larger than life size) allows you to view objects in great detail, but if you want to break through to the cellular level, you'll need a digital microscope with 400x.

Resolution

The higher the resolution, the larger your image will be on a high-resolution computer screen. An image captured in standard definition (640 x 480 or about 0.3 megapixels), appears smaller on a computer screen with a higher resolution (1024 x 768). If you try to make the image larger, it will blur because there are only 640 x 480 points of data.

Lighting

The key to seeing is light. Sometimes you need a great deal of light and other times you want a little less. If your digital microscope has a number of dimmable LEDs, that's a great feature to have because you’re fully in control of the brightness. Some manufacturers take it a step further and add a backlight to the stand. This is the ideal situation.

Size and weight

In most instances, you want something lightweight and small. However, if you need a larger or heavier stand for stability, that's the kind of digital microscope you should purchase. The best one for you is the one that can do what you need it to do.

Controls

You need a digital microscope that has well-calibrated, accessible controls. Focusing can be quite difficult. If you're constantly struggling to achieve a crisp focus, you'll wind up frustrated and stop using your digital microscope. The controls also need to be in a convenient location that’s easy to reach. When you want to snap a picture or start a video, you want to be able to do it without taking your eyes off the screen to make sure you’re getting the best shot.

Ease of use

Plug and play is the way to go. A digital microscope that has too steep of a learning curve or is too hard to set up is one you may never use.

High power, low price

This Plugable digital microscope combines 250x magnification with plug-and-play technology, creating an accessible, high-power window for students, collectors, or anyone interested in exploring the microscopic realm. The adjustable gooseneck base and dimmable LED lights allow you to quickly zoom in on any area you'd like to examine. The microscope is effortlessly compatible with Mac, Windows, and Chromebook, but Android and Lynx require additional steps.

Digital microscope features

Built-in screen

If you’re looking for portability, you need a digital microscope with a built-in screen. A built-in screen is much smaller than a computer monitor, but it allows you to use your digital microscope when you aren’t near a computer.

WiFi

A handy feature that some manufacturers offer is built-in WiFi. With a wireless digital microscope, you won’t be be encumbered by wires, and you’ll have more flexibility when it comes to where you can use your digital microscope.

Compatibility

You must be very careful about compatibility. The microscope and the USB must be fully compatible with your computer and its operating system or else it won’t work. If a digital microscope lists that it’s compatible with Mac and Chromebook, but you have an Android system, that microscope isn’t for you.

Adjustable stand

An often overlooked item is the stand. If your digital microscope’s stand isn’t sturdy and doesn't lock in place, you'll never be able to achieve the focus needed for higher-powered magnification. Also, if you'll be using slides, you want a stand with clips that hold the slide in place.

Attachments/other functions

Some digital microscopes come with a variety of attachments that allow you to perform specific actions. Using the device as an endoscope is one possibility. If you have specific needs, you want to look for a digital microscope that can meet those needs.

Accessories

Besides the digital microscope itself, there are a few accessories that may or may not come with your model. The following is a list of items that could enhance your user experience.

  • Software: Consider the software that comes with your digital microscope. Will it allow you to take pictures and record videos? Can you add special effects or correct color? At the very least, you want to be able to save or export your files to a universal format.

  • Carrying case: Does your digital microscope easily pack up into a secure case? This is important not only for travel but also for keeping your instrument safe when not in use. At the very least, it should have a dust cover.

  • Other items: There are a number of other items that add functionality to a digital microscope, including slides, slide covers, forceps, eyedropper, additional lights, and color filters (to better see transparent specimens). If you need any of these items and they don’t come with your digital microscope, you’ll have to purchase them separately.
DID YOU KNOW?

The more control you have over the lighting, the more clearly you’ll be able to view your specimen.

DID YOU KNOW?

Once you take a picture, you can open it in photo manipulation software and fine-tune the lighting, color, contrast, and other elements to enhance the image.

DID YOU KNOW?

Remember to not use any sudden or strong motions when snapping a picture because it may blur the image.

Digital microscope prices

Inexpensive

Typically, models that cost $35 or less are mounted to a stand that tilts and swivels or uses a gooseneck to direct the lens. These are lower-end introductory models, but with diligence, you may still find one with remarkable magnification and resolution.

Mid-range

From roughly $35 to $80, the stands are better geared to precision viewing. These models generally only move up and down and may feature a backlit base and arms to hold your specimen in place.

Expensive

At over $80, digital microscopes may function as standalone units, each complete with its own view screen. Additionally, you may find other bells and whistles, such as additional lights and a built-in camera with an SD card.

Affordable entry to the micro world

If you'd like a quick, easy, and affordable way to start exploring all things small, the Jiusion digital microscope might be your answer. It features eight LED lights with a knob to control the brightness along with a focus wheel and adjustable metal stand that locks in place. When you see something you like, just press the Snap button to take a picture or record a video.

15 things to look at

Having a digital microscope means you’re able to see things in a wildly new and wondrous way. Some items may look unremarkable when magnified, but others might make you gasp in awe. To get you started, here are 15 things to examine with your digital microscope:

  • Circuit board

  • Dental plaque

  • Ear wax (only for the most adventurous)

  • Flower petal

  • Fruit

  • Hair

  • Moss

  • Onion skin

  • Pond water

  • Printed paper

  • Salt

  • Spider web

  • Velcro

  • Wood

  • Yarn

Other products we considered

Elsewhere in this article we've listed a number of the highest-rated digital microscopes available. However, there are a few other models that are worthy of your attention in case you’re looking for something a little different. For instance, the DEPSTECH WiFi Microscope can either be used on its base or detached for handheld operation. The magnification range covers 50x to 1000x. The 10DM WiFi Digital Microscope has eight dimmable LED lights, as well as a lighted base, to help ensure clear viewing. Additionally, the thin microscope can be removed from its base and used to examine your skin, nose, mouth, and ears. If you’d like a standalone unit, the rechargeable YINAMA Digital Microscope has its own view screen and memory card, making it fully portable, and it features 50x to 1000x magnification.

It’s important to be absolutely sure that the digital microscope you buy is fully compatible with the operating system you have.

FAQ

Q. What is the difference between a regular microscope and a digital microscope?

A. With a regular microscope, you can only marvel at the image while you’re looking at it through the eyepiece. A digital microscope can transmit that image to a screen for better viewing. A digital microscope can also take pictures and videos so you can document your discoveries. Think of a digital microscope as a webcam that lets you see objects in incredible detail.

Q. What is the advantage of having a digital microscope?

A. Besides the aforementioned ability to share and document your discoveries, you can do anything with that image or video that you'd like. For educational purposes, you could include the image in a PowerPoint display. However, if you'd like to get creative, you could turn your discoveries into artwork with photo-editing software. The possibilities are as limitless as your imagination.

Q. Why would I want a wireless digital microscope?

A. A wireless digital microscope gives you the freedom to inspect anything, anywhere. Instead of being limited to the room where your computer is located, you can explore the world. Additionally, certain models can be beneficial to your health because they allow you to examine your own body.

Q. What does 1000x mean?

A. When you view an object at 1000x, it appears 1,000 times larger than it actually is. For instance, when looking at a strand of human hair at 1000x, you might be fooled into thinking it is the bark of a coconut tree.

The team that worked on this review
  • Allen
    Allen
    Writer
  • Alvina
    Alvina
    Photographer
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    Amos
    Director of Photography
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    Videographer
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    Bronwyn
    Editor
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    Production Assistant
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
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    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Enid
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    Editor
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
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    Vukan
    Post Production Editor

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