The Best Student Microscope for High Schools, Elementary Schools,
& College Students Reaching for Greatness
Learners don’t want to work with a student microscope that feels cheap. And yes, your budget matters. The student microscopes below are built with value for the learner and the institution in mind. They’re affordable for your department and they’re sturdy, with great optics and simple controls, so your students feel real tools for science in their hands.
The most affordable student compound microscope for beginners:
The OM118-M3 40X-400X Monocular Student Compound Microscope
(Regular price $218. On sale for $129 right now)
This simple monocular compound student microscope doesn’t feel like a simple monocular microscope. It’s sturdy and durable and excellent as a workhorse for students in elementary school who will eventually explore cells with beginner skills and magnification up to 400X.
The best price on a binocular microscope with a mechanical slide holder:
The OM118-B4L LED 40X-1000X Compound Student Microscope
(Regular price $489. On sale for $239 right now)
Students with a good grasp on foundational skills, or learners who engage more with the binocular microscope, flock to this Omano model. Schools love it because the build construction is unusually high for the price point, and units have worked under hard use by inexperienced users for more than a decade. At up to 1000X, students get higher magnifications for deeper inquiry.
The most affordable binocular with mechanical stage:
The OM118-B4SL LED 40X-1000X Compound Student Microscope
(Regular price $538. On sale for $279 right now)
When students are ready for more advanced controls, this Omano unit is the next step up as they build their skills. In senior year, students are more serious about their microscopy, and a mechanical stage is an indispensable tool for students eyeing a future in the sciences. At 40X to 1000X, it has an excellent magnification range.
For College Students
The best introduction to digital microscopy for students:
The OM118-B4L 40X-1000X LED Compound Student Microscope with 1.3MP Digital Camera
(Regular price $607. On sale for $298 right now)
Students are starting to show a specific interest in an area of study. Maybe they like looking at creatures in water samples, or the curious structures of skin cells from different animals. They can collaborate better with teachers and other students, and learn curation and cataloging skills, with the digital microscope, screen (not included), and software. Students who struggle with looking down the objective of an optical microscope can adjust the fine focus and have more fun with each learning activity.
Why is one of these models the best student microscope?
...that are built to last with inexperienced users who tend to be harder on delicate instruments than they should be.
They have precision optics
...that produce clear, sharp images students can explore, understand, interpret, and get excited about.
Give them the tools to find their passion - a student microscope that says you believe in them
Students want to feel valued and trusted. They want to explore their interests with abandon! They want to use real tools for science. And they don’t want to be patronized with a toy microscope they think would be better in the hands of their little sister or brother. The student microscope market is full of those, and they’re no good.
They don’t need fancy features as they learn to explore with a student microscope. They just need a tool they can learn to use and take care of. A tool that allows them to try this science thing out. To see if it’s an interest they want to explore. To see if maybe their life could go to science.
These student microscopes show them what’s out there and allow them to nurture their own curiosity. The lens is glass. The LED illumination is bright.
Any high school student, college student, or young scientist in elementary school can look at a specimen though the eyepiece or at the camera image and see real magic.
And these student microscopes last, so they’ll inspire years of students to do things they never would without a good tool to reveal and nurture the science in them.
We know students, but you know your students best
The elementary school, high school, and college options above aren’t written in stone. Maybe your freshman students respond better to a digital microscope because collaborating on the computer screen is more engaging to them.
Maybe your seniors are more interested in learning how to manipulate the mechanical stage, and your juniors have no interest in that yet.
Maybe your science program is expanding, and you need a lot of microscopes on a tight budget for all your students.
There is great value for every student in each model. And there are other models that might suit the unique needs of your students or the special program you’re running.
Tell us about it and we’ll help you find the right model with a great value price. We can also recommend other models for a college student or more advanced research lab applications.
The student microscope models on this page are compound microscopes. You can find stereo microscope options by browsing the rest of the site (one of the best-selling student stereo microscopes can be found here).
Frequently Asked Questions
Are prepared slides available?
Yes! Prepared slides for any student microscope come in groups of 5 to 50. They’re available in animal and non-animal, human histology, human pathology, plants, fungus, and lots more. You can find prepared microscope slides for students here. There are also accessories like blank slides, petri dish, or other things students use to look at samples under magnification in the chemistry or biology laboratory.
What brand of microscope does Microscope.com recommend?
In most situations, we recommend Omano brand microscopes. Omano is our house brand, and the best mix of value and features available on Microscope.com (and we think anywhere else). We are passionate about science, and Omano is our attempt at making science accessible to as many students as possible. Omano microscopes are built to last decades in the classroom so you don’t have to buy again and again.
Is a 10X eyepiece good for a student?
In most situations, a 10X eyepiece is the best choice for a student microscope. A special 10X widefield eyepiece is also an excellent choice because it gives the student a better field of view. When you use a 15X or 20X eyepiece, you get greater magnification, but it also decreases the field of view (so it’s more like looking through a keyhole instead of the objective lens at the microscope slide).