A Buyer’s Guide To USB Microscopes

A Buyer’s Guide To USB Microscopes

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USB Microscopes

The introduction of USB microscopes into the marketplace has completely changed not just professional microscopy, but hobby microscopy as well. While these devices can lack the magnification power and precision of a conventional microscope, they are still incredibly functional and a lot of fun to use.

USB microscopes do not have an eyepiece like traditional microscopes. Instead, you plug the device into your computer or laptop’s USB port and view the image on the computer screen. Of course, you need to make sure that you install the correct drivers and software in order to get the best out of a device.

Since USB microscopes do not have an eyepiece and thus have a much simpler construction, they are cheaper for manufacturers to produce and these savings are passed on the end customer. Indeed, there are now thousands of cheap USB microscopes in the marketplace. Unfortunately, due to the wide range of different products available, it can sometimes be hard to know which USB microscope to buy. Some of the criteria you need to consider when comparing the best USB microscopes include; build quality and construction, ease of use, supplied software, cost, image quality and magnification power.

Build Quality And Construction

max c nashIdeally you want to purchase a device made from metal, as the material is much more durable than plastic. No matter how carefully you plan to handle the item, you will appreciate a USB microscope that has a sturdy construction. After all, the last thing you want to do is purchase a device that is likely to bend or become brittle and crack with only a few uses.

Magnification Power

In general, the higher the magnification power, the more expensive a microscope will be. Depending on what types of things you plan to use your microscope for, you might not need a device with insanely high magnifying power. It is important to note that it can sometimes be difficult to compare the magnification power of different USB microscopes, as some will say “150X zoom” in the product description, but in reality they only provide 50X zoom because the imagine quality deteriorates to an unviewable level at higher magnifications.


While there is a lot of free open source software available, it is important to make sure that any microscope you buy comes with a comprehensive software package that is 100% compatible with the device. The software should be easy to use and shouldn’t require you to read a 500-page manual before you can start seeing images from the USB device on your computer screen. A frustrating experience with a device’s corresponding software can put you off using the device.


The majority of USB microscopes fall into the $30 to $150 price band, however, if you need superior images and very high magnification capabilities from your device, you can expect to pay up to $1000. It is important ensure that you don’t spend more money than you need too. Unless you are a professional biologist, any device under $150 will most likely meet your needs just fine.

Hopefully this article has helped you to learn a little bit more about USB microscopes and how to compare different products in the marketplace. Before you buy your own device, however, it would be a good idea to check out a comprehensive review website to discover more about the advantages and disadvantages of various models.

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