The emergence of the USB microscope has changed the face of hobby and professional microscopy. While it does lack the magnification power and precision of a traditional model, this fun little tech makes a fun toy for anyone.
It is connected to a computer via a USB and projects the image onto a computer via software that comes with the microscope. The simpler design of USB microscopes makes them cheaper but the influx of model makes it hard to narrow down your options. This post reviews the 10 best USB microscopes on the market.
A List Of The Best USB Microscopes
Useful and fun for students, collectors, testers, and anyone interested in exploring the microscopic world.
2.0 Megapixels, up to 250x magnification (Note: Final magnification corresponds to monitor size)
True 5MP sensor to capture and save high-resolution images and videos of your specimens
5-Element IR cut high-quality glass lens ensures sharper images
SEE EVERY DETAIL CLEARLY Advanced CMOS sensor provides high-definition 1600x1200 resolution, so you can fully view fine details
FULLY ADJUSTABLE LIGHTING Includes a total of 8 LED lights that you can dim or brighten to provide the perfect light conditions
High quality professional optical glass elements; 45 degree inclined 360 degree swivelling binocular head; Built-in 1.3MP USB Camera (Windows 7, 8, 10 & Mac Compatible) with Advanced Software for Windows
8 levels of magnification: 40X-80X-100X-200X-400X-800X-1000X-2000X; 4 achromatic objectives DIN 4X, 10X, 40X(S), 100X(S,Oil); 2 pairs of eyepieces: WF10X and WF20X
Powerful USB Digital Microscope with 75x/300x Effective Magnification (Based on a 21'' monitor)| Contains Adjustable LED Lighting Knob and Focus Knob | USB 2.0 or 3.0 Port Required
The included flexible neck stand with suction cup adapter attaches to any smooth surface or the included graduated base with ease | Microscope Dimensions: 1.25 inch (L) x 1.1 inch (W) x 3.45 inch (H)
All-in-one digital microscope brings technology into the hands of young learners
Encourages hands-on investigation and facilitates scientific observation
Powered by 2.0 USB. 0.3M pixel CMOS sensor, interpolated to 2MP definition. Adjustable LED light.Auto white balance and auto brightness balance function.
Magnification: 1 ~ 200 times (combined optical and digital zoom), continuos zoom capability. Focal distance from 3 mm to infinity. The magnification factor increase as the focal distance decrease, and vice versa. To change focus, please rotated the knob at the end of the microscope body. It could be used as a web camera if the focal distance is 0.3 m or more.
Digital microscope & stand package
10X -50x, 230x variable magnification
USB-powered handheld digital microscope with 10x to 40x magnification (up to 150x on some monitors)
Built-in 2MP digital camera for capturing images and videos
LED light control to adjust brightness
The Plugable Technologies Microscope comes with a digitized system that will prove beneficial to students, teachers, testers and collectors. It is conveniently powered by USB 2.0 and comes with a premium sensor.
The glass lens has a maximum magnification of 250x. Another feature you will love is that it comes with a universal chipset that works well with most operating systems. It uses LED bulbs to illuminate specimens and a graduated scale for judging size. The easy-to-use capacitive capture button is unlike anything you will find on similar models.
- Offers up to 250x magnification
- Features an accurately graded scale
- Has sturdy suction cups
- Uses a powerful LED illuminator
- Magnification is adjusted manually
The Celestron 5 MP Handheld Digital Microscope Pro is a powerful 5-megapixel microscope that offers impressive performance. It features a fun handheld design and is quite impressive compared to other digitized models in its price range.
The microscope uses a 5-element IR lens, which is preferred by most professional users. It generates high quality images, hence a good tool for research, school and casual use like reviewing coins at home. This product offers a 20x-200x adjustable magnification, which is quite incredible given its compact design. It makes low and high power viewing of 2D and 3D specimens possible. Additionally, you can backup images and videos to view later.
- Sturdy stand allows for hands-free operation
- Uses 5-element IR lens
- Comes with a powerful 5MP sensor
- Offers 20x-200x magnification
- Calibration can prove a pain
The Opti-Tekscope Digital Microscope Camera is an easy-to-use USB microscope that offers a maximum magnification of 250x. It comes with a unique prime lens that doesn’t need focusing. In addition, it uses a CMOS sensor, which does a great job of separating light and dark colors.
There are two adjusting knobs on the rear support beam and front of the device that allow you to zoom in or out. The arm swings make it easy for you to maintain the zoom when you move side to side in a circular motion. Your computer detects the integrated webcam chipset as a standard webcam and as such, you can use it for anything from editing suites to video chatting.
- Uses an advanced CMOS sensor to provide high-resolution images
- Has 8 LED lights with adjustable brightness
- Durable construction with aluminum
- Not the best for professional use
While it may look like something that requires a bachelor of science to operate, the OMAX Digital Lab Compound Microscope is one of the simplest models on the market. It offers 40x-200x magnification, which means that it comes with two sets of eyepieces and four objectives.
The smooth, precise knobs do a good job of controlling the position of the slide. Also included is a sturdy 3D mechanical stage.This microscope uses LED lights to illuminate the specimen and has a pair of viewing ports that are found at the top. It uses a 1.3MP sensor to produce clear images with well reproduced colors.
- Fine and lockable adjustment knobs
- Sturdy mechanical components
- Utilizes universal technology
- Has a 6-LED rim illuminator
- Lighting system isn’t adjustable
The Carson eFlex MM-840 is an LED-lighted USB microscope that features a sturdy neck with the ability to work in different orientations. It offers plenty of convenience thanks to its digitized design. Unlike other USB powered microscopes that offer low power, this one has adjustable 75X-300x magnification level.
Its compact size makes it easy to work on personal and professional projects without clattering your table. This model is compatible with both Windows and MAC computers, but you will need USB 2.0 or 3.0. Also featured is an adjustable LED lighting knob that allows you to control the brightness of the 4 LED lights. Finally, this microscope is backed by Carson’s one year warranty.
- High 75x-300x magnification
- Compatible with both Windows and MAC operating systems
- Compact size and doesn’t take up a lot of space
- Sturdy build with flexible neck
- Large pixels
Adults don’t get to have all the fun. That said, kids deserve to have their own science equipment and the Learning Resources Zoomy Handheld Digital Microscope is good for them. It produces crisp images, is small enough to fit in the palm of small arms and quite easy to use.
This toy will keep your child occupied for hours and comes with 43x magnification, internal LED illumination as well as software that’s compatible with both Windows and MAC OS. Also included are two head adapters for viewing various objects. The main concern is that it can prove a little difficult to use at first but everything should be fine once you get the hang of it.
- An easy-to-use microscope for kids aged 4-8 years
- Produces clear images with amazing details
- Has two head adapters
- Uses LED illumination
- Not designed for adult use
Dino-Lite is known for its pricey and forensic-grade USB microscopes. At $100, their AM2011 Digital Microscope is quite a steal. It comes with a 0.3 megapixel digital camera, which is enough to dissuade many. However, it offers sophisticated color reproduction to deliver crisp images to your computer.
The microscope offers 10x, 50x and 200x magnification, and uses 4 white LED lights to illuminate objects. The included software is compatible with Windows and MAC. You can use it to capture still images or record videos. The lighting isn’t as good as what you’d get with other models on this list, but the AM2011 makes a great buy for geologists, entomologists, stamp enthusiasts or others with curious minds.
- Uses 4 white LED lights for illumination
- Backed by one year warranty
- Has a resolution of 640x480
- Lighting isn’t adjustable
The development of affordable USB microscopes like the Supereyes B005 has made it easier to research and review specimens. While it doesn’t have built-in mounts like other models, it offers high-quality performance.
It is easy to use, has a compact design and uses a o.3 megapixel CMOS sensor. The microscope magnifies objects up to 200 times and uses long lasting LED bulbs for illumination. In addition to getting quality images, you can also record videos while optimizing their quality in real life. Its cross-platform design works well with PC and MAC computers.
- Plug and play USB 2.0 technology
- Comes with powerful and long-lasting LED bulbs
- Good for capturing still images and videos
- CMOS sensor is low-powered
The Celestron 44302 Deluxe USB Microscope is a digital 2MP accessory that features a lightweight, handheld design. It is powered by USB and uses a 6-LED rim illuminator to light up specimens for optimal viewing.
The microscope has an adjustable magnification of 20x-40x, which is quite low compared to other models. The 2MP camera captures clear images and videos that you can backup to review later. It also comes with an inbuilt measuring tool, a sturdy stand as well as universal technology that works on both PC and MAC.
- Universal technology
- Comes with a 6-LED rim illumination system
- 20x-40x magnification
- Non-adjustable light
The Innolife Portable boasts a durable, handheld design and high performance. It is a perfect tool for both personal and educational use. Its lightweight design makes it travel-friendly. The microscope offers an adjustable magnification of 50x-500x, allowing you to study anything from parasites and bugs to rocks.
It uses an 8-LED illumination system to light up specimens for optimum viewing. The micro-measure tool included comes handy. The microscope works well with 32 bit Windows operating systems.
- Uses 8 LED lights for optimum illumination of specimens
- Comes with an accurate micro-measure tool
- Has a portable USB-powered design
- Compact and lightweight
- Variable magnification levels ranging from 50x to 500x
- It’s not compatible with MAC computers
USB microscopes offer convenience, are easy to travel with and make exploratory research more fun. They provide plenty of power in a compact package and their clarity is impeccable. If you want to enjoy all of these benefits and more, the above mentioned USB microscopes are a good place to start. We also an article on microscopes for beginners and microscopes for kids.