Friday, November 21, 2008

Hand-held microscopes

A few years ago I bought this pocket microscope (NOT the ones pictured)for ds#1. It broke the first time he used it. Home Training Tools replaced it, but not long after the lens in the replacement became dislodged.

My boys are not very gentle with things; in fact, they are down right rough and careless despite my warnings. I decided to stick to a pocket loupe magnifying glass with a 10x magnification.

The kids are a couple of years older now, and they do like to use the microscope. I know they would really enjoy a pocket microscope to bring on our nature walks. After Laura's question and with Christmas coming I decided to do a little looking.

I suggest getting one with illumination otherwise you will see very little without bright sunlight or someone else holding a flashlight. I was pleasantly surprised to find several models that had up to 100x magnification with very affordable prices. Do they really magnify to 100x though? I am sure the optics are mediocre quality; still, these are something MY three boys will be carrying around in the woods.

I am deciding between the 100x Pocket Microscope from Home Science Tools for $13.95 (top picture) with the detachable (read: prone to be lost) base for viewing slides or the MicroMax 100x from Edmund Scientific for $14.95. I am leaning toward the latter because it is smaller especially for little hands. The slide-viewing attachment is a nice feature, but since we have a microscope we don't really need it.

Edmund Scientific has a variety of models, like a less expensive 30x model and some pen microscopes. Also I found a 30x loupe for $4.70. It has no illumination but it likely has better quality optics, so in the long run it may be the best value. Just don't leave it in the sun...


L a u r a said...

Thanks for checking into this. Great information. I hadn't seen these other pocket microscopes. Those pocket loupe ones sure could be handy and probably very well used.

I also appreciate the info on their durability!

Lori said...

i'm getting ready to buy one of these, so this was really helpful! thank you!