Posted by Fred Koenig on Feb 6th 2023

5 Things to Know When Buying a Microscope

If you’re wondering how to buy a good microscope, then the following article will give you the information you need to make a great choice. First-time microscope buyers should pay close attention so they’re getting a good deal. There are some things to look for that will help you make a smart purchase that you’re satisfied with for years to come. If you’ve purchased a microscope in the past, these tips serve as a practical refresher.

Buy from a Reputable Dealer

Where to buy a microscope is one of the first considerations. Buying a microscope at a department store or a toy shop can seem like a great deal when it comes to price, but this is definitely one of those situations where you get what you pay for. If you’re serious about microscopy, then purchasing a quality tool from a reputable dealer makes all the difference

Most department stores and toy shops sell low-end microscopes that do not have the precision a serious enthusiast wants. The resolution is low, stability is an issue, and the end result isn’t worth the effort. In all transparency, New York Microscope Company does sell microscopes, but we’re here to help you get the right microscope for your needs. We want you to be completely satisfied with your purchase from our company.

Magnification and Resolution

Yes, magnification is an important part of purchasing a microscope, but it’s not the only thing to research. Resolution is also a critical component when you’re ready to buy a microscope.

Magnification in a microscope is determined by multiplying the power of the objective lens by the eyepiece. Magnification is often easy to change. In fact, many microscopes come with more than one objective lens, so you can add or subtract your magnification levels.

Resolution is another key element to consider when buying a microscope. Resolution is the ability to distinguish details of a specimen. The more crisp and clear the image is, the better the resolution and the more enjoyable your experience will be. Make sure you’re getting a resolution that’s suitable for what you will be viewing.

Stereo or Compound Microscope

Another key consideration is if you should buy a stereo microscope or a compound microscope. The main difference between a compound microscope and a stereo microscope is what they’re used to observe.

Compound microscopes are typically used to see very small objects that can’t be seen with the naked eye. Stereo microscopes are used to carefully inspect larger items like intricate mechanics, minerals, insects, etc.

Compound microscopes have greater optical resolution with higher magnification because they’re used for viewing small specimens. Stereo microscopes do not need as much magnification or resolution because they’re used on larger specimens.

Use of Microscope

The decision between a stereo and compound microscope brings us to our next consideration, and it’s a very important one – how will you use your microscope? Choosing between stereo and compound microscopes is one big factor that is directly related to the application, but there are more. Both types of microscopes have multiple options that are important factors in the use of your microscope.

Some things to consider that relate directly to your intended application include the number of eyepieces, the stage, the focusing system, portability, and if your microscope will be used by adults or children.

Light Source

There are different light sources for microscopes, and each one has some benefits and downfalls. Understanding which light source is best for your needs helps you quickly narrow down the field of available options.

  • Arc lamp. This light source is used in fluorescence microscopes which are typically used to study organic and inorganic materials. Light is created through an electric arc or voltaic arc between two electrodes.
  • LED. Light-emitting diodes, more commonly known as LED, are used in fluorescence microscopes and are noted for their ability to produce light with little energy and without generating much heat.
  • Tungsten lamp. Incandescent lamps or tungsten lamps use wire filaments made from tungsten, similar to classic household light bulbs. They’re an incredibly reliable and inexpensive light source.
  • Halogen lamp. A halogen lamp is technically an incandescent bulb, but they tend to last longer. The use of bromine gas and a layer of quartz helps the bulb stay cooler and use less power. They cost more initially but can save money over time.

These five tips should help you buy a microscope that fits your needs, gives you a reliable and enjoyable image, and lasts a long time. While we didn’t specifically mention price as a consideration, it obviously will need to play into your equation. Narrowing down your options by using the above criteria and then selecting a model that fits your budget is a good way to ensure you’re getting the most suitable microscope for your budget.