The 10 Best Microscopes for Graduate Students in Chemistry and Biology in 2023

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Various laboratory works and experiments require the use of microscopes. Modern microscopes can be used to view a wide range of objects in great detail. Small specimens and minute objects may be magnified for various research and academic pursuits. Students studying different sciences use the instrument regularly.

Biology students may use it in viewing different water samples to check for contamination and different water-borne bacteria. They may also view different cell samples taken from animals or even the human body.

On the other hand, students studying chemistry use microscopes to look at the structures of different elements. They may also observe how several substances, such as acids and bases, react differently at the microscopic level. Students get to experience many things they cannot see with the naked eye firsthand.

Moreover, most research projects involve images of your observations. Getting a microscope that has a camera or can support external imaging devices is a big plus. 

Best Microscopes Biology and Chemistry Grad Students - fact

There are numerous options both in stores and online. Establishments with medical or educational supplies may give you a chance to look at the product more closely. However, with the popularity of online shopping, more microscope manufacturers are also turning to online platforms to sell their products. You may check different brands offering door-to-door delivery for convenience. Also, numerous shopping apps offer a selection of microscope choices, both internationally and locally. Plus, you can read different customer reviews that will give you more insight into what you’ll be getting. 

Why Buy One For Your Personal Use? 

Conducting experiments and doing research can be very time-consuming and tedious. It involves long hours in the lab and probably long hours under the lens too. With this, getting one for personal use is one way to make your grad school life easier. This is more convenient since you won’t need to share one with the rest of your class. As a result, you can use the device indefinitely without worrying about who will get it next. If you’re looking into buying one online, here are ten of the best microscopes for graduate students in chemistry and biology! 


Swift SW380T Microscope

If you’re looking for a microscope with quality magnification, the Swift SW380T Microscope is best for you. 

The product packs a very powerful wide eyepiece that has 10X and 25X ocular lenses. It also has four objective lenses ranging from 4X up to 100X that come in a revolving nosepiece. With this, you may achieve both the basic close look of 40X for viewing and a powerful magnification of 2500X, which provides better details of minute particles. 

These specifications are especially helpful for students studying how microorganisms move and interact. Aside from its powerful lenses, it also has a grip handle for better microscope management. It also comes with a 360-degree rotating head for convenience. The set is equipped with an LED bulb for improved illumination, which a built-in dimmer may control. It also has a large stage area, so you won’t need to reclip specimens when viewing them. 

Best of all, you may attach a camera to the microscope to take sharp pictures of your samples. You may attach a recording device or even a phone adapter through its dedicated port. Biology students may take live videos of how microbes move and behave under the lens. Overall, the microscope has garnered high praise online. Customers are impressed, especially with its quality and brightness. 

Why choose the Swift SW380T Microscope?

  • Value for money
  • Excellent lens quality 
  • Great illumination 
  • Sharp images
  • User friendly
Best Microscopes for Graduate Students in Chemistry & Biology - Divider

OMAX 40X-2000X LED Binocular Compound Lab Microscope

The OMAX LED Binocular Compound Lab Microscope has eight magnification levels, ranging from 40X up until 2000X. This is achieved through its eyepiece lens of WF10X and WF20X, paired with objective lenses of 4X, 10X, 40X, and 100X. The objective lenses come in a revolving nosepiece that holds all four objective lenses. Plus, the stage comes in two layers to give you better control of your specimen by letting it move across different directions. It also has scales for more accuracy during adjustment. 

This microscope is great for students studying different specimens like nail fungus, which may be easily observed through high magnification. For added protection, the device has a stage lock that automatically stops the stage from moving upward further when it’s too close to the lens. This prevents you from breaking the specimen slide and damaging the objective lens. 

In addition, the microscope features an enamel finish that’s resistant to stains. This is beneficial for chemistry grad students dealing with different chemicals and dyes. If you’re planning to take pictures of your microscopic samples, you have the option to attach a digital camera. The set comes with 100 pairs of microscope slides and cleansing paper wipes, so you don’t have to worry about ordering separately.

Why get the OMAX 40X-2000X LED Binocular Compound Lab Microscope?

  • Great quality and durability
  • Value for money
  • Excellent magnification
  • Stain-resistant
Best Microscopes for Graduate Students in Chemistry & Biology - Divider

AmScope B120C Siedentopf Binocular Compound Microscope

The AmScope B120C Binocular Compound Microscope is equipped with a 10X and 25X eyepiece in a 30-degree inclination for convenience when viewing specimens. It also has adjustable eyepiece spacing for more comfort and flexibility. Its binocular head is capable of rotating 360 degrees for students to share the device easily. It comes with four objective lenses with an additional 25X lens to improve magnification up to 2500X. With this magnification, students may observe specimens in better detail.

Biology students handling laboratory work such as observing live bacteria on water samples or studying plant cells may find this microscope very easy to use. Chemistry students may look into various substances and identify their components. Moreover, you may get a clearer picture through the product’s LED lighting positioned below the sample. With its 1.25 NA Abbe condenser, you may control the illumination of the sample to get a better look at it without affecting its temperature.

Moreover, the set comes with an immersion oil that’s used for viewing specimens in high resolution. A cover is included to protect the device from small debris or dust build-up while not in use. Overall, the B120C has received great reviews online. Customers find that it produces high-quality specimen images and is easy to use.

Why opt for the AmScope B120C Siedentopf Binocular Compound Microscope?

  • High-quality imaging
  • User-friendly
  • Durable material used 
  • Affordability
Best Microscopes for Graduate Students in Chemistry & Biology - Divider

Panthera Generation 2 Binocular Microscope

Boasting its quality lenses, the Panthera Generation 2 Binocular Microscope offers clear viewing through its 10X eyepiece. It is paired with four sets of nosepiece lenses ranging from 4X to 100X for an impressive magnification of 1000X. Students may use this device to view various specimens such as tissue samples and even observe bacterial movements. The device may be connected to the Panthera app for mobile viewing. 

Its head is inclined at just 25 degrees, but this may be swiveled within a full 360 degrees. Impressively, the microscope has an integrated camera system. It delivers 5MP images so that you won’t miss any detail of your sample. The images may be viewed using the device’s several connectivity options: HDMI, Wi-Fi, or ethernet. Having these options adds to the convenience of the Panthera L. Students won’t have to worry about bringing HDMI cords when there’s a wireless option available. 

In terms of illumination, the device comes with halogen and LED lights with color temperature technology. These may be adjusted to achieve the ideal lighting for a crisp image. The device also comes with a packed mechanical stage with a specimen holder and controls. This will enable you to adjust not just the lenses but also the stage where the object you’re viewing is located. The set comes with additional accessories such as a calibrations slide and USB dongle. 

Why buy the Panthera Generation 2 Binocular Microscope?

  • High-quality lenses
  • Built-in camera
  • Incredible connectivity options
  • Value for money 
Best Microscopes for Graduate Students in Chemistry & Biology - Divider

RB20 Digital LCD Lab Microscope

The RB20 Digital LCD Lab Microscope is one of the higher-end products. It comes with four objective lenses, from 4X to 100X, all centered and in-focus. With its 10X eyepieces, students may be able to magnify a sample at a maximum of 1000X. The product produces high-quality images by utilizing its 3W LED light source. With this, light is focused and centered over the specimen stage for better contrast and resolution.

The product’s best feature is its LCD monitor, which displays the magnified image while you’re viewing the specimen. This is made possible with the microscope’s integrated HD 1080p camera that captures 2MP images and saves them to its SD card. Best of all, you may control and adjust the images’ sharpness and exposure through the monitor. This is ideal for viewing and recording live microorganisms and even the movement of live cells. 

Moreover, the microscope has a mechanical specimen holder on its stage. This can be moved both horizontally and vertically, depending on how you want to view your sample. Its triangular design promotes stability so the device won’t wobble while being used. Located at the back portion, the device is also equipped with a built-in storage space to store wires and accessories to keep it tidy.  

Why get the RB20 Digital LCD Lab Microscope?

  • View image through a screen
  • Show real-time feed of specimen
  • Quality image
  • Storage space for organizing
  • Value for money
Best Microscopes for Graduate Students in Chemistry & Biology - Divider

Swift S7-TGL-CA05 Trinocular Gooseneck Zoom Stereo Microscope

The Swift S7-TGL-CA05 Microscope has the same goose-neck LED feature as the Swift S41-20 but better optics. It carries two 10X eyepieces and may magnify up to 45X and produce a high-resolution image when paired with its objective lenses. The two flexible LED illuminates without affecting the sample’s temperature, making it suitable for even live specimens. It also provides sharp images without a shadow cast from the light. 

Biology students may use this stereo microscope to look at different varieties of metal fragments and their structure. Moreover, students may also test out different mixtures and view their chemical reactions through this product. The microscope’s trinocular head is tilted at a 45-degree angle and rotates at any angle to make viewing more comfortable. It’s also user-friendly, even for those who are wearing eyeglasses.  

The device comes with a photo port, so you can use a camera to take still images of your specimen. A metal base supports the device to make it stable while being used. Lastly, with any microscope from Swift, this one comes with a five-year manufacturer’s warranty for peace of mind. 

Why buy the Swift S7-TGL-CA05 Microscope? 

  • Great lighting 
  • Sharp imaging 
  • It can be customized with a camera 
  • Affordable 
Best Microscopes for Graduate Students in Chemistry & Biology - Divider

Richter Optica S6 Digital HD Stereo Zoom Microscope

The Richter Optica S6 Digital HD Stereo Zoom Microscope is great for viewing solid samples. Students may examine specimens such as the different insects or flower species. Its diopter eyepieces include 10X lenses, while its objective lenses have a zoom range of 0.7X to 4.5X. This produces a magnification of 7X up to 45X. The magnification is relatively low, but it may be improved by adding auxiliary lenses

The device comes with a 95mm stage plate with clips to fasten the specimens in place. It may be able to accommodate samples as high as 5 inches. This is ideal for chemistry students observing various metals such as copper and aluminum. However, it’s best to measure them beforehand to avoid damaging the microscope’s parts. It also has two illuminators, coming from the bottom and top, for better lighting. 

Additionally, the microscope comes with a 1080p HD camera with a 2MP image quality output. It can also record videos at 60 frames per second. Best of all, the set comes with a 12-inch LCD monitor that you can connect to the camera for real-time viewing. The microscope comes with software that can be used to operate the camera through the computer. You may also take measurements remotely after calibrating the device. 

Why opt for a Richter Optica S6 Digital HD Stereo Zoom Microscope?

  • Durability
  • Several connectivity options
  • Easily upgradeable
  • High-quality imaging
Best Microscopes for Graduate Students in Chemistry & Biology - Divider

OMAX 40X-2000X 18MP USB3.0 Digital PLAN Phase Contrast LED Trinocular Microscope 

One great feature of this OMAX 18MP USB3.0 microscope is the 18-Megapixel camera that captures sample images digitally. This is important, especially for grad students creating their reports and needing pictures of bacteria samples and tissue specimens to support their findings. Aside from producing clear images, it may also be used to record live videos that are essential when presenting your data. All the images and videos may be processed through software compatible with most of the widely-used operating systems on devices. It is easy to install using the CD that goes with the entire set. 

Together with its four objective lenses, the machine offers eight magnification levels, with 2000X as the highest. It features an optical system where you can look through the eyepiece and an adjustable port simultaneously. Its head can be rotated in any direction for easy use and is inclined at 30 degrees to avoid neck strain. In terms of illumination, it uses a 3W LED that you may adjust accordingly. Along with the microscope, you will also be receiving a dust cover and carrying case. The aluminum carrying case is sure to protect the device during transport. 

Why get the OMAX 40X-2000X 18MP USB3.0 Digital Trinocular Microscope?

  • Comes with a camera
  • High-quality imaging
  • Safe for transport
Best Microscopes for Graduate Students in Chemistry & Biology - Divider

OM36 40X-1000X Compound Student Microscope

The OM36 40X-1000X Compound Student Microscope is ideal for students since it delivers exceptional optics while being user-friendly. The microscope has two 10X eyepieces and four objective lenses: 4X, 10X, 40X, and 100X. This delivers a magnification range of 40X up to 1000X. With this, students may be able to observe microorganisms such as live bacteria or amoebas. Med students taking up subjects in biology may also examine different blood samples under this device. 

The device has a wide stage with built-in measurements and slide clamps to prevent the slides from slipping while in use. For safety, the product is equipped with a rack stop that automatically locks when the nosepiece is near the slides. This feature prevents both the objective lens and the specimen slide from breaking. Moreover, its eyepiece is angled at 45 degrees for more ergonomic viewing. 

Students may choose between a 20W halogen or LED for its illumination. Both are great for increasing visibility and can be adjusted through a built-in condenser. You may also add a camera to secure digital images of your specimen. The device has a mount ready if you choose to upgrade. There are various camera options available from the same brand with different qualities that range from 1.3MP to 14MP. The set also includes a spare bulb and fuse, so you won’t need to rush out if you need them replaced. 

Why choose the OM36 40X-1000X Compound Student Microscope?

  • User friendly
  • Excellent image quality 
  • Customer service
  • Durability
Best Microscopes for Graduate Students in Chemistry & Biology - Divider

Swift S41-20 Professional Dissecting Binocular Stereo Microscope

The Swift S41-20 Professional Dissecting Binocular Stereo Microscope is packed with 10X and 20X ocular lenses. Although equipped with average magnification, students can use the device when handling large specimens, such as a closer look at body organs during dissection since it doesn’t have a confined stage for specimens. Chemical reactions between two substances may also be observed more closely, such as how different types of metal react to acids and bases. 

The device has a working arm that holds the eyepiece and may be adjusted through its knobs. Its vertical pillar holds the working arm that may be slid vertically to accommodate the size of the sample. Another great feature of the Swift S41-20 is its goose-neck LED lights. It provides a great spotlight for areas you need to concentrate on when dissecting. It is flexible and adjustable, which means you can optimize its functionalities.   

Additionally, the device is held in a metal base that’s durable and strong to hold it in place while in use. Students will also get a dust cover and protective eyewear for added protection. Best of all, the set comes in a five-year warranty for factory defects, so you’re sure that you’ll get your money’s worth. In terms of reviews, a lot of its customers have noted that they provide great after-sales service. 

Why go for the Swift S41-20 Professional Dissecting Binocular Stereo Microscope?

  • Great image quality
  • Can accommodate big specimens
  • Durability
  • Exceptional customer service

Tips on Maintaining your Microscope

Microscopes aren’t cheap. That’s why it’s important to keep them properly maintained; you want to be able to use them for a longer period and give more value for your money. Here are some tips on maintaining your microscope:

  • Clean your device regularly. – It’s best to do maintenance cleaning often to prevent dust build-up, especially on its lenses. It’s also ideal for disinfecting the parts that contact the user during use, such as the eyepiece, knobs, and handle. For specimens needing immersion oil, it’s also important to clean up after since oil residue may be hard to get rid of after it has settled. 
  • Store it properly. – Most microscopes come with a dust cover. Store it in a dry place; moisture may bring in unwanted growth of molds. Aside from covering the microscope, it’s also important to place it in a place that’s not prone to people passing by or running into, to prevent any accidents and damages to the product. 
  • Go for stability. – Constant vibration may dislodge small parts of the microscope. That’s why it’s important to place it in a table or cabinet that has even and solid footings. When transporting the device, make sure to hold it through its handle, metal arm, or base since these are the more stable parts of the microscope. Never carry one through its eyepiece as this may break off. 
  • Be extra careful. – Aside from placing it in a safe place, you should be mindful when using the microscope. Be gentle, especially when turning the nobs and choosing the appropriate nosepiece lens. Harsh turning movement may cause damage and dislodge the lenses. 
  • Maintain the bulb. – Most microscopes come with lighting either through LED or halogen bulbs. It’s best to cool them down first before storing, to extend their usage span. You may keep a spare one in case it needs to be replaced. 
  • Stick to the manual. – Tinkering may cause more harm than good. It’s best to read the manual for instructions on setting up and cleaning. You may also opt for professional servicing that the manufacturing brands usually do. 
  • Use appropriate add-ons. – When upgrading lenses or installing camera systems, make sure that they are compatible with the microscope you’re using. Forcing them to fit may damage the port and prevent you from upgrading in the future.

Keep Your Microscope Clean 

After using a microscope, it’s important to clean its frame and optical system. Regular use may cause small particles such as dust to build up and clog different parts of the instrument. This may impact the quality of the images and even damage the lenses. It’s recommended to clean the microscope after every use or as often as possible. If you want to clean the nosepiece and knobs, you may use a damp piece of cloth that’s soaked in detergent to wipe off the dirt. This can prevent the spread of germs and bacteria through contact. 

For quick cleaning, use alcohol with 70% ethanol to disinfect certain device areas. In terms of cleaning the optical system, it’s important to use lens paper to prevent scratching the surface of the lens. Ordinary tissue paper contains rough fibers, while the lens paper has more fibers that make it ideal for cleaning lenses. To clean small lenses, fold the paper into a triangle and use the tips to clean off the contaminants.


In graduate school, you may work with microscopes more frequently, especially if you’re studying sciences like biology and chemistry. More of these devices are available online and in-store so that you may purchase one for yourself. Online platforms, such as Amazon, offer microscopes with different brands, price points, and add-ons. It’s best to evaluate the feature of the product first and compare them with the specs that you’ll be needing for your specimens. Compound microscopes offer better magnification, which is perfect in examining samples at a cellular level. On the other hand, the stereo ones pack a larger viewing plate, ideal for larger solid samples. Some microscopes also offer built-in camera systems and viewing screens that will surely make your research easier to conduct.

Dr. Jared Goff
Chief Editor