Saturday, September 27, 2008

Comparing microscopes offered at Homeschool Buyer's Co-op

First let me mention Homeschool Buyer's Co-op. They arrange group discounts from various companies for their members, and membership is free. Discount amounts go up as more members purchase a product.

They have a lot of science offerings, some of which have purchased.

Currently they are offering discounts on several Bolden microscopes through October 13th. Only now that all of them have reached the maximum discount are they worth the price. Shipping is $15 per scope.

My First Lab Microscope, now down to $83, is comparable with Kids' Microscope at Home Science Tool for $95. No fine focus. The optics are O.K. (some of my biology students use this model.) It will do the trick.

The Premiere Student Microscope, now at $131, is comparable with Great Scope's SF3 for $149. The SF3 has fluorescent lighting but no coaxial focus ($179 for that option.) Bolden is also offering a cordless version with LED lighting now at $137.

The Premiere Advanced Student Microscope, now at $197, gets you the 100x oil immersion lens and a mechanical stage along with the coaxial focus nobs. Bargain Microscopes has a $175 model with the 100x lens, but without a mechanical stage (a very nice feature costing $25 at Home Science Tools) or coaxial nobs (makes little difference to me.) Bolden's LED cordless version is $203.

Next closest model is Great Scope's SF4 for $209 (+$10 shipping) with coaxial nobs and fluorescent lighting; add a mechanical stage and the price goes up to $248. Home Science Tool's comparable model is $240 with a mechanical stage and fluorescent lighting.


Beck's Bounty said...

Thanks. Not sure how you KNEW I am currently hunting a microscope for my new highschool student (bio now, and eventually more) --- but THANKS !! (HA !)


Kris! said...

Wow, you were reading my blog while I was reading yours--what are the chances? The apples look fabulous...

Maureen said...

Kris, which would be better to own -- the LED cordless or the fluorescent? Thanks for the post.

Laura said...

I'm glad you brought this to my attention. We're looking into getting one for Christmas! Thanks once again!

Kris! said...

Here is what I found out about illumination (I will update my original post about microscopes...)

Tungsten, usually 15 or 20 W, is what you get unless it says otherwise. These bulbs run hot, enough to damage microorganisms or be uncomfortable to touch after time.

Fluorescent lighting is cooler and brighter.

Newer LED lighting is cool, bright, long-lasting, and requires less to illuminate it--great for cordless.

Halogen is brightest and hottest and used in professional scopes.

For any microscope find out about the bulb, specifically if it is a standerd bulb you can get most anywhere. Microscopes have a long life so you don't want it rendered obsolete because you can no longer replace the bulb.

As for cordless, I have no experience with them. My fear is that the battery will over time no longer hold a change (like this 3 year laptop's battery) and it would be expensive or impossible to replace. The convenience is very nice, though.


Karin Katherine said...

All of this is sadly over my head. Which gives you the most bang for your buck? I know that most expensive is not always BEST. So which would you buy if money were no object? Not that money is no object---we just make allowances for education! lol

Kris said...

I have an in depth blog entry about this that you'll find helpful. See
Buying A Compund Microscope. You'll see that the binocular scope I priced out is well worth its cost if your budget allows for it. I would buy it if I did not already have the teaching scope I bought from them three years ago.

Feel free to post another comment or email me with any questions.

L a u r a said...

Just wondering if you know about or have used the inexpensive pocket microscope recommended at Mater Amabilis.

We plan on getting a more powerful microscope as well, but I couldn't help but think this could be very nice to take right outside with us to scope nature on the spot...and not be too expensive or fragile to fear being ruined.

Thanks so much for your advice and support with this.

Kris said...

We had one, two actually or the same type, and my boys broke them. There were problems with the design, though.

Still, we very much enjoyed them while we had them, and now that you mention it I am going to get these for Christmas.

I'll blog about this after looking around at various models. I am going to add Stratton House to the links also!

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