Best Microscopes for Hobbyists

The microscope is an incredibly versatile instrument that opens up whole new worlds for hobbyists. Coin, rock, and insect collectors can use microscopes to bring an extraordinary level of detail to their craft. Even if you don't have an established hobby, microscopy allows you to gain a new perspective on objects around you. Microscopes also make great presents for kids, fostering an interest in STEM education and skills.

With so many types and models of microscopes available in the market today, however, choosing one can quickly become overwhelming. How do you know which tool is best for your hobby? To support your avocation, we created a guide on the best microscope to buy in 2022. Our comprehensive article should help you narrow down your options and select the tool just right for your needs and interests.

Let's start with a quick overview of the types of microscopes you might need:

  • Stereo Microscopes. These offer a magnification of 10x to 40x and are ideal for large samples like flowers, coins, insects, and plant parts.
  • Compound Microscopes. Also called biological microscopes, these tools offer a magnification of about 100x (sometimes as high as 1000x). People use compound microscopes to view blood or cheek cells, bacteria, algae, and parasites.
  • Digital Microscopes. Quality control or manufacturing industries most commonly use digital microscopes because they operate with digital cameras instead of an eyepiece. Digital microscopes provide high-quality images and allow you to change contrast, color depth, and even lighting options. 
  • USB Computer Microscopes. These offer magnification up to 200x and are very easy to use. You can use them to observe any object without prior preparation.

Other types like inverted microscopes, metallurgical microscopes, and polarizing microscopes are designed for specific samples and may not be the best fit for hobbyists. Whichever microscope you need for your next craft and art piece, AmScope has you covered. AmScope offers a complete range of high-quality microscopes for collectors and all kinds of hobbies. You can explore them all below by searching your avocation.

Coin and Stamp Collecting

If you have been collecting coins and stamps for a while, you'll know about the sophistication a microscope can bring to your work. Coin collecting microscopes can help you identify any defects, scratches, or irregularities in your coin. You can view the seams and file marks to determine authenticity and the scratch patterns to recognize previous cleaning approaches. 

Affordable hobbyist microscopes allow you to see the tiny illustrations and edges on stamps in magnificent detail. Stereo microscopes with magnifications of 10x to 40x are usually sufficient for even the most meticulous collectors. 

If you're looking to buy one right now, AmScope has a collection of the best microscopes for coins. The 3.5X-45X Stereo Coin Microscope offers a handful of premium features for the coin inspection like 3.5X-45X super widefield continuous zoom magnification, a variable 144-LED illuminator, and a 3MP USB2.0 digital camera. 


Microscopes open our eyes to an incredibly intricate world. If you'd like to spend your time getting to know the tiny cells in and around us, a compound microscope is a vital piece of instrument. Regardless of whether you want to examine tissue samples or microorganisms in a petri dish, a magnification of 50x to 1000x will do the trick. 

The 40X-400X Portable LED Monocular Student Microscope is one of the best microscopes for students and hobbyists. It comes with three levels of magnification, a 0.3MP USB digital eyepiece camera, a 360-degree rotatable monocular head, and LED illumination via outlet and/or batteries. If you can go without a USB camera, the 40X-1000X All-Metal Student Biological Field Microscope is an excellent choice. It offers five magnification settings and some other useful features. 

You may want to take a look at the advanced 40X-2500X LED Binocular Compound Microscope as well. It is a professional biological microscope used for entry-level research offering six wide-field magnifications levels from 40X to 2500X. You also get a 5MP USB 2.0 C-mount camera and professional microscopy software for capturing photos and videos on your PC. 

Gemology, Rocks, and Jewelry

A specialized gemology microscope allows you to observe and evaluate different types and grades of rocks and stones. A 40x magnification is typically more than enough to reveal the most intricate details and improve your experience when working with gems.

Most gemology microscopes also have additional capabilities that provide the best viewing conditions. The 10X-40X Compact Multi-Lens Stereo Microscope is best for people relatively new to the hobby. It has a compact design, top and bottom halogen illumination, and high-quality widefield eyepieces. The inclined binocular head with locked-in eyepieces ensures a fatigue-free viewing experience for hours.

The 10X-60X Compact Jewler's Stereo Microscope is particularly useful for gemstones and jewelry examinations. It has four levels of magnification and both top and bottom halogen illumination. For a more premium experience, consider the 3.5X-180X Trinocular Stereo Zoom Microscope, which gives crystal clear sharp images with a stunning zoom ratio of 51:1. 

Finally, the 5X-80X Jewelry Gem Trinocular Stereo Microscope offers dream lighting with incident brightfield, transmitted darkfield, and gooseneck side-lighting box illumination. 

Miniature Painting

Powerful magnification is crucial for high-quality miniature painting/micro painting. While you may not need the magnifying power of a compound microscope, a magnifying lamp is a must for your craft. 

Those on a limited budget can take advantage of the 40 LED Adjustable Tabletop Magnifying Lamp. A versatile 15-inch tall tabletop lamp with a 4-inch glass lens and 1.75x and 4x magnifications can do wonders. Its unique dual-swivel head and arm allow you to position your artwork perfectly for detailed work. 

If you need improved magnification, consider the 2.25X Magnification Glass Magnifying Lamp. It has a large rectangular 7.5-inch X 6.25-inch glass lens fitted to an articulating arm for precise positioning. The two energy-efficient and long-lasting 9W fluorescent lamps create an extremely well-lit working space for your next masterpiece. 

You can also get illuminators such as the 78-LED Microscope LED Ring Light and the powerful 6 Watt LED dual gooseneck to brighten up your workspace.

Take Your Hobby to the Next Level With the Right Microscope

The possible applications of a microscope are endless. Whether you're an experienced collector or a budding enthusiast, a dedicated microscope can take your hobby to the next level. 

If you haven't found the right tool for your hobby on our list, we got you covered. AmScope has an extensive collection of microscopes and accessories to fulfill all your needs. We offer superior quality products that come with a five-year warranty. 

Visit us today and browse our collection of microscopes, cameras, telescopes, and much more.