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Things to Consider Before Buying a Microscope

Young girl looking in microscope

One of the most vital pieces of any lab is the microscope. Most labs have multiple types of microscopes, but perhaps the most frequently used one is the compound light microscope. So how do you know what makes one microscope better than the others or what to even look for in a microscope? If you need to purchase school chemical supplies and don’t know where to begin, review the tips below to find the right microscope for your needs.

Consider What You Need the Microscope For

The kind of work that will be done in the lab will inform the type of microscope you need to purchase. Compound microscopes are great for examining tiny microorganisms that need to be magnified hundreds of time to be analyzed. The image produced by this microscope is turned upside down and reversed from the left to the right.

Compound microscopes are better suited for examining littler objects because the space between the slide and the lens is small. If you need to examine something larger, you may need to purchase a stereoscope microscope, which is better suited for the job. Consider what you will examine before choosing the type of microscope you need to buy.

Choose the Correct Basic Build

The build of the microscope plays a direct role in its longevity. A microscope with a better basic build will last longer, which will save you money in the long term. Try to find a frame that is made of metallic alloys. These alloys are good at minimizing vibrations and limiting the effects that changing weather can have on a microscope. You should also look for microscopes that have metal focus gears, metal screws, optical glass lenses, reagent resistant finish, and ball bearings in their revolving parts.

Look for High-Quality Lenses

Next, you will want to consider the lens of the microscope. After all, a microscope with low-quality lenses will make it harder to observe the subject, which is the main purpose of the scope. Select a scope with high-quality lenses, along with an equally good focus system, so you can get the best image quality possible. You should also look for achromatic lenses, which means they are color corrected.

Two students in lab with microscope

Select the Right Eyepiece

The eyepiece is also referred to as the ocular, and it is the part that will be closest to your eyes. Choose a microscope with a wide field eyepiece. This will make it easier to observe the entirety of any subject that you are examining.

Finding the Best Lighting System

Lastly, you will want to consider the lighting system of the microscope. This is the part that illuminates the examination subject from below and directly contributes to the clarity of the image. These days, microscopes can come equipped with one of a few different lighting systems. Here are a few of the most common types that come with compound microscopes:

  • LED: This is the newest and perhaps the best lighting system for compound microscopes. LED lights may also come with a rechargeable battery, allowing for cordless use.
  • Fluorescent: Fluorescent lights make items under the scope look very white, which tricks our eyes into thinking the object is as clear as it would be in nature.
  • Halogen: This type of lighting system is often used by medical practitioners, though it is quickly becoming out-of-date.
  • Tungsten: Tungsten lighting (aka incandescent lighting) is yellowish and doesn’t show the object as it would appear in nature.

While we at Hi Valley Chemical do not sell microscopes, we strongly believe it’s important to give our customers access to the best information and resources about all lab supplies. Visit our website to obtain the supplies you need and to learn more valuable information!