Buying a microscope is a significant investment, whether you plan to use it for professional, educational, or hobby purposes. You can't always go by price alone when judging the quality of a microscope, but very cheap microscopes aren't likely to be high quality. Lenses, lighting, and the body of a quality microscope must be constructed of quality materials, which can get costly.
However, there are ways you can buy a quality microscope at a discount price. In this article, we'll talk about what features you should look for in a quality microscope as well as how you can find a good deal on one.
What To Look For in a Quality Microscope
There are several key features you should look for in a quality microscope, regardless of your budget. Whether you're in the market for a student-grade or a professional microscope, look for the following:
Quality Optics for Clear Imaging
Optics are the most important part of a microscope. The objective lenses on your microscope should be labeled with one of two standards, Deutsche Industrie Norm (DIN) or infinity. Most microscopes that sell for under $1000 use DIN objectives. Infinity objectives are becoming more common, but they're usually found on professional-grade microscopes.
Ensuring your microscope uses one of these two standards guarantees that:
- You can replace your lenses if one breaks
- The color correction of your lenses will be accurate
Another important lens is the eyepiece. It's also called the ocular, and it's the lens that's closest to your eye. Your microscope may offer you the option to change your eyepiece. If it doesn't, make sure the one you choose has a wide field of view. The standard size of a wide-field eyepiece is 18 mm.
A wide-field eyepiece makes it easier to see through your microscope. It also widens your field of view so you won't have to move your slide around as much. A wide-field eyepiece is particularly important if children will be using the microscope. It won't be as fiddly, and they'll be able to see more.
Finally, you can buy microscopes that are either monocular or binocular. Monocular microscopes only have one eyepiece, while binocular microscopes have two. This is largely a matter of personal preference, although you should consider how you'll be using the microscope. If you're going to be using the microscope for long periods, you may want the comfort of using a binocular microscope.
While it may seem like a binocular microscope would be easier for children to use, they may actually have more success using a monocular microscope. Young children may have a harder time adjusting a binocular microscope.
You can tell a lot about the quality of a microscope by examining the materials used to construct it. Microscopes that are made of heavy metal will be more durable than microscopes made of lightweight plastic. Check to see if the gears, frame, and screws are metal.
Another feature that affects the quality of a microscope is the lighting. Microscopes usually come with one of four types of lighting:
LED lighting is the best option in most cases. LED bulbs are energy-efficient, cool, and bright. There is a danger that an LED light can be too bright, so a dimmer switch is a valuable feature on an LED microscope.
Fluorescent lighting is an acceptable option. Fluorescent bulbs are still fairly white for clear viewing and are usually cool enough not to harm your specimen.
You should avoid microscopes that use tungsten lighting. Tungsten or incandescent bulbs are hot and yellow. It's also difficult to find replacement bulbs for tungsten lights.
Halogen lighting used to be a standard feature on lab-quality and research microscopes before LED lighting became more common. Halogen light is very bright and concentrated. It's rarely used now, but if you find one, it will probably come equipped with a dimmer to help reduce the heat.
The industry standard is a five-year guarantee. AmScope stands behind all its microscopes, so you can rest easy knowing you won't get stuck with a poor-quality microscope.
Discount Options for Budget Microscopes
Since buying cheap microscopes won't provide you with a quality product, you'll need to look for other ways to save money. Some legitimate ways you can save money on discount microscopes include:
AmScope offers steep discounts on open-box products. These are microscopes that are fully functional and new except that they have been opened. You get all the quality of a new microscope at a significant price reduction.
You can get excellent deals on clearance microscopes. These are top-quality microscopes at discounts of up to 44%. Clearance microscopes are new microscopes that are usually on sale because they were overstocked.
Buying a microscope doesn't have to break the bank. When you know what features to look for in a quality microscope and where to find good deals, you can find value microscopes for any need. You can avoid buying a low-quality microscope by examining the overall construction. Look for a microscope made of metal, and check to see that the optics are high quality, including the objective lenses and eyepieces. You should also check the lighting source and opt for LED lighting if possible.
When you're looking for a good value, try looking in the clearance section or the open-box section. You'll be better off choosing a quality microscope that has been discounted rather than choosing cheap microscopes from an unreliable company.
AmScope offers a wide variety of microscopes for every application, from student-grade to research quality. When you order with AmScope, you'll get a customer satisfaction guarantee, a price match, and a five-year warranty. With AmScope, you'll get microscopes for less without compromising quality. AmScope has been the top source of microscopes for over 15 years. Our microscopes are used in laboratories, research facilities, universities, and businesses all over the world.
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