Best USB Digital Microscope for Every Need

Digital USB Microscope

Digital USB Microscope

Whether you are a scientist or a hobbyist who wants to know more about the small things in our world, investing in a good USB digital microscope is a huge step forward to examine tiny structures in detail.

In this article, we show you what aspects you should consider before buying a digital microscope and how to choose a microscope that fits your requirements.

Finally, we show you a top list of our favorite USB microscopes. Now, please click a link below for quick navigation.

Finding the right microscope for your task

Choose your platform

Some digital microscopes work on several operating systems (Windows, OSX, Linux, iPhone, Android..). Some also come as a stand-alone device with the possibility of transferring data via USB or SD card to your computer.

So you should ask yourself: Which interfaces are required? (SD card, USB connection, internal storage, WiFi, HDMI…)

Before buying, you need to check if the chosen digital microscope works on your desired device and operating system.

What magnification do you need?

insect magnified under microscope

Insect magnified under microscope

Before you try to put tiny things under the lens of your device, you need to know if your object is even visible when using less powerful microscopes. Overall, you need enough magnification for your ask. Typically the magnification of digital microscopes ranges from 20x up to over 1000x.

In general, the higher magnification is, the more details you will see. But higher magnification also requires more prep works. This can include proper placement on the glass, adding immersion oil and cleaning the microscope from oil when you are done.

For example, with a 20-40x lens, you can already see single leaf cells.

Moreover, you’ll need a 400x lens to get a good look at a bacteria and over 1000x for professional high detailed microscopy.

How expensive is a digital USB microscope?

Prices for microscopes range from $20 up to over $2000. Thus you need to think about how much money you are willing to spend on your new magnifier.

Maybe, when you get a peek at the wonders of the world around us, you’ll be thankful you invested in a more advanced model.

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USB digital microscopes – our top list

In the following list, we will take a look at the image quality, interfaces, magnification levels and additional features of the USB microscopes.

Plugable USB 2.0 digital microscope with flexible arm

This digital USB 2.0 lense made by Plugable comes with a 2.0 Megapixels camera. It provides an image resolution of 1600 x 1200 for pictures and 640 x 480 for video recording.

Image capturing can be either started within the included software or by the capacitive touch button on top of the camera head.

The integrated LED light can be dimmed to adjust the environment lightning for excellent image illumination.

Technical specification:

  • Megapixels: 2.0 / picture resolution: 1600 x 1200 / video resolution: 640 x 480
  • Magnification: Up to 250 x
  • Lightning: 4 dimmable SMD LEDs
  • Sensor Type: CMOS
  • Interface: USB 2.0

Take a look at the following video to get a closer impression of the Plugable microscope.

PROS:
  • High Image resolution
  • Additional video mode
  • Software included
  • Very attractive price

CONS:
  • Microscope stands on a suction cup which requires you to use it on flat surfaces only

Plugable USB 2.0 Digital Microscope with Flexible Arm Observation Stand for Windows, Mac, Linux (2MP, 250x Magnification)

1 used from $29.94
Free shipping
Last price update as of October 5, 2018 12:31 pm PST More Information
$34.95 $35.00

OPTI-TEKSCOPE OT-HD USB digital microscope

The Opti-Tekscope OT-HD is a an USB digital microscope with a rugged aluminum construction which makes this microscope durable for your daily use on the job. It has a secure stance and you can use the focus knob to adjust the focus point.

The software comes with the included CD.

In the following video you see the first use of the microscope:

Technical specification:

  • Megapixels: 2.0 / picture resolution: 1600 x 1200 / video resolution: 640×480 at 30 FPS
  • Magnification: Up to 200 x
  • Lightning: 8 fully adjustable LEDs
  • Sensor Type: CMOS
  • Interface: USB 2.0
PROS:
  • High Image resolution
  • Additional video mode
  • Software included
  • Durable Aluminum stance

CONS:
  • More expensive than other USB microscopes

Opti-Tekscope Digital USB Microscope Camera- Advanced CMOS Sensor, True High Definition Macro 200x Zoom Imaging –1600 x 1200 – Video...

Free shipping
Last price update as of October 5, 2018 12:31 pm PST More Information
$89.00 $129.95

OMAX MD82ES10 – 3MP Camera 40X-2000X digital biological compound binocular

The OMAX M82ES-SC100-LP100 has a built-in 1.3 megapixels digital camera and included picture and video recording software. According to the manufacturer, this is an ideal microscope for student and school use. Moreover, the magnification levels of this microscope are 40X-80X-100X-200X-400X-800X-1000X and 2000X.

Technical specification:

  • Megapixels: 1.3 / picture resolution: 1280 x 1024
  • Magnification: 40x – 2000x (8 levels)
  • Lightning: LEDs with variable intensity illumination
  • Sensor Type: ?
  • Interface: USB 2.0
PROS:
  • High magnification (up to 2000x according to manufacturer)

CONS:
  • More expensive than other USB microscopes
  • Included software allows you even to make measurements

No. 1 in Top 8 USB Microscope 2016 OMAX 40X-2000X Digital Lab LED Binocular Compound Microscope with Built-in 1.3MP Camera...

1 used from $239.24
Free shipping
Last price update as of October 5, 2018 12:31 pm PST More Information
$318.99

AmScope digital USB microscope M158C-E

Either use the AmScope M158C-E as like a monocular or use the camera head and attack it directly to your laptop. Doing this, you will avoid any neck strain because you can comfortably see the image on your laptop screen. This microscope has five magnification levels, ranging from 40x up to 1000x. You can adjust the focus with the control knobs on the microscopes side. The M158C-E is a very solid and well-designed microscope.

Technical specification:

  • Megapixels: 1.3 MP camera / picture & video resolution: 1280 x 1024 @ 7,5 fps
  • Magnification: Five levels: 40x, 100x, 250x, 400x, 1000x
  • Lightning: LED illumination
  • Sensor Type: CMOS Aptina Sensor
  • Interface: USB 2.0

AmScope M158C-E Compound Monocular Microscope, WF10x and WF25x Eyepieces, 40x-1000x Magnification, Brightfield, LED Illumination, Plain Stage, 110V, Includes 0.3MP Camera...

2 used from $103.74
Last price update as of October 5, 2018 12:31 pm PST More Information
$124.99

Koolertron 4,3″ LCD digital USB microscope

Because the Koolertron comes with an included 4,3″ LCD screen, it is a very portable microscope that doesn’t need a connection to your PC or tablet. As a plus, this Li-ion battery powered allows you to store your video and image data on a Micro SD card (SD card not included in this package).

Typical applications of this microscope is circuit board analysis, minerals, textiles, rare currencies, small insects or similar. The recommended object distance ranges from 20 mm up to 100 mm.

Technical specification:

  • Magnification: 1-600x continuous magnification
  • Lightning: LED illumination 8x that you can adjust in brightness
  • Interface: USB / micro SD

Koolertron 4.3" LCD Digital USB Microscope magnifier with 1-600X Continuous Magnification Zoom,8 LED Adjustable Light Source,Rechargeable Lithium Battery,Micro-SD Storage,Camera Video...

Free shipping
Last price update as of October 5, 2018 12:31 pm PST More Information
$59.99 $69.99

Andonstar ADSM302 5 inch Screen 1080P Digital Microscope

This high-resolution microscope comes with an IR remote control. When using the remote, it avoids blurred images that you get from vibrations when you touch the microscope.

Technical specification:

  • Megapixels: 1080 full hd output via HDMI (12 MP photo resolution)
  • Magnification: up to 560x (focus range 50 to 220 mm)
  • Lightning: LED illumination
  • Sensor Type: 3MP HD sensor
  • Interface: HDMI / micro SD card

Andonstar 5 inch Screen 1080P Digital Microscope HDMI Microscope for Circuit Board Repair Soldering Tool ADSM302

Last price update as of October 5, 2018 12:31 pm PST More Information
$280.00 $399.00
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Differences between digital and analog microscopes

Digital USB microscopes allow you to plug your microscope to your computer.

Thus, you don’t need to look through an eyepiece and you can see the image on your computer. This helps a lot when zooming in and out.

Moreover, a USB microscope makes it easy to save screenshots on your computer and quickly edit images.

Compared to traditional analog microscopes, USB microscopes are an advantage for every scientist and hobby user. But, if you need a tool to look into pipes and holes, you should check our article about borescopes and endoscopes.

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What can you do with a Microscope?

If you own a microscope, there’s no need to leave it in a cupboard gathering dust. There are plenty of creative ways to use your device, with all kinds of practical, artistic and educational benefits.

Let’s have a look at a few possibilities.

Discover the hidden life of ponds and lakes

If you live near a body of water, it’s a treasure trove of quirky creatures and wondrous sights. Just take a pipette or two of liquid from your local pond and place it on a slide, then apply the cover slip very carefully.

When you look at it in more detail, you’ll see a little world of critters such as protozoa.

Study the differences between leaves

Leaf under microscope

Leaf under microscope

Ponds aren’t the only area of the natural world that look magical under standard microscopes. Leaves, grasses, flowers and ferns are just as fascinating.

Look closely to see the stomata (holes used by plants to breathe), as well as how the epidermal cells create a barrier to protect the spongy cells underneath.

Find the tardigrades in a moss sample

Moss is another great source of microscopic sights. If you gather a small sample of moss or lichen and soak it for a few hours in pure water then dry it, you should find the resulting sample is teeming with “tardigrades.”

Also known as water bears, these amazing little creatures resemble tiny walruses or bears and can only be seen under a microscope.

Get a good look at the dust in your home

If you have the stomach for it, it’s also fascinating to magnify the dust in your home (we all have some hanging around).

When you do so, you can really uncover some secrets about modern life. For instance, you’ll see tiny flakes of cosmetics, plastic particles and glass, as well as fearsome dust mites that can give you a shock at first glance.

Analyze technical materials

weld seam cross section

Weld seam cross section

A microscope lets you analyze the cross-section of technical materials. For example, you can find material defects like pores, cracks or structural defects.

A typical application for a microscope in technical analysis is also the weld seam analysis of weld seam cross sections. Under your microscope you can see if the weld penetration depth is sufficient and you can check if there are no cracks in the weld seam.

If you have any proposals or experience with microscopy, please don’t hesitate and leave us a short comment below!

Image Credits: Pixabay / markusspiske, Virvoreanu-Laurentiu / Pixabay, Free-Photos / Pixabay

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