The Best Stereo Microscope units from Leica, AmScope, Celestron Lab's, OMAX, and more are reviewed.
Our guide below will help you choose the best stereo microscope for your budget.
What's the Best Stereo Microscope?
Good question. Our Best Stereo Microscope Roundup is presented in four sections with comparisons of our top picks in the Budget, Mid-Range, and Professional Categories. See our Buyer's Guide if you want to jump directly to our conclusions.
Stereo Microscopes are the preferred tool for electronic component repair and inspection, dissecting, insect observation, sodering, and more due to the increased working distance over compound microscopes and three-dimensional imaging. Not sure if a stereo microscope is appropriate for your work? Check out our article for more comparing the difference between compound and stereo microscopes.
With that said, see our choice below:
Best all around Stereo Microscope
If you're looking for the best all-around performer, the AmScope SE400-Z is the best stereo microscope you can choose for its combination of quality, features, and price.
The AmScope SE400-Z features a stage-less design with a 17 inch boom arm design allowing for adjustments to be made in both the X- and Y- axes. The 13.5 inch pillar provides for a class-leading 9 inch vertical working distance. A pair of 10x and 20x widefield eyepieces are included in the AmScope SE400-Z package.
This stereo microscope features a binocular viewing head and comes with a 10x widefield eyepiece installed. A 20x widefield eyepiece is included with the package to achieve greater magnification.The binocular viewing head has an interpupillary range of 50 to 77mm and a 30-degree inclination to reduce eye and neck strain. The eyepiece contains a dioptric adjustment featuring accommodating differing eye-strengths.
We were especially impressed with the AmScope SE400-Z's huge working distance which makes PCB work, electronics repair, and sodering extremely easy. The light is bright however we would be happier with a ring light. Overall the AmScope SE400 is our top-pick for the best stereo microscope. See our full review here.
- Clear, sharp optics from 10x to 20x.
- Excellent 9 inch vertical working distance make its easy to handle large specimens.
- We would have liked to see more flexibility in the magnification range, but the included 10x and 20x is perfect for most needs
Best Stereo Microscope for Kids and Students
The "plastic-fantastic". The Nat Geo Microscope has kid friendly features, acceptable optics and a wonderful assortment of accessories for the young scientist.
The National Geographic Microscope: Dual Microscope Science Lab is marketed towards children and students. Unfortunately the National Geographic Microscope is all plastic in its construction with the exception of the glass objective and eyepieces.
Impressively, the National Geographic Microscope includes an interchangeable objective allowing the child or student to select 20x or 50x magnification. The top and bottom mounted lights are very weak and require a brightly lit room to be able to properly view the slides.
- The National Geographic Microscope includes 10 prepared slides, 10 blank slides, accessories and a brine specimen kit allowing you to create your own experiments.w
- National Geographic is a nonprofit organization with proceeds funding nature conservancy efforts around the world
- Any serious student will quickly outgrow the limitations of this stereo microscope
The Trusted Brand Stereo Microscope for Kids and Students
This entry-level microscope offers the AmScope styling, branding and warranty but was disappointing in the optics department.
The AMSCOPE KIDS SE100ZZ features a binocular viewing head and includes 10x and 25x widefield designated eyepieces. As with other AmScope units, this stereo microscope comes with a 5 year warranty, however the optics are not quite as sharp. When using the 25x eyepieces, clarity decreases dramatically.
Unlike the National Geographic Microscope however, the bottom mounted tungsten lamp provides adequate lighting. While some may see this as a plus, the bulb is powered by two AA batteries. This makes the AMSCOPE KIDS the perfect portable microscope, however it may inconvenience some. AmScope was gracious enough to include batteries in the box along with a dust cover.
- Solid AmScope Microscope warranty
- Bright tungsten lamp. Battery-powered which can be advantageous or detrimental depending on your needs.
- Clarity of optics suffers at higher magnification levels.
The Amscope SE306R-PZ stereo microscope features a stage design and pillar stand with a magnification range from 10x to 80x and a top and bottom light source for illuminating specimens. We consider the SE306R-PZ the preferred, premium student stereo microscope due to its comparatively low cost and solid, all-metal construction.
This stereo microscope features a binocular viewing head and comes with interchangeable 10x and 20x eyepieces. AmScope's widefield designation holds true as the eyepieces provide an appropriate viewing angle. Because this stereo microscope has a stage, the working distance is limited to just over 2 inches.(2-1/8").
Like more expensive microscopes, the SE306R-PZ provides a 45 degree inclined head which our neck and shoulders definitely appreciate. Overall, we liked the AmScope SE306R-PZ's solid metal and machining and were please with its full glass optics. We would have liked to see LED lights on this unit, however for this price point, we can live with the halogen bulbs.
- All-metal construction for a budget price.
- Sharp optics, with wide viewing angle.
- White and black stage plate included.
Best Mid-Range Stereo Microscope with a Specimen Stage
This unit from Celestron Lab's was our favorite mid-range stereo microscope with a stage and our top optical performer in its class due to the fully coated glass optics.
The Celestron Lab's 44202 Stereo microscope sports a traditional stage design, however unlike the Amscope SE306R-PZ, the Celestron boasts a comparatively large 4.33 inches of working distance. We were most impressed by the 44202's coated optics which truly shows in the clarity and sharpness of the optics.
The 44202 achieves 20x and 40x magnification using 10x wide field eyepieces and either a 2x or 4x interchangeable objective lens. As with the AmScope SE306R-PZ, this Celestron offers a 45 degree viewing angle with its all metal construction viewing head. Do note, that while the headpiece is metal, the base has some plastic construction. Regardless, the 44202 feels solid during use.
The included pair of Huygen eyepieces were perfectly clear and the halogen bulbs were bright and as a welcome feature, adjustable. The Celestron Lab's 44202 is a quality package with superb optics. We prefer this stereo micrscope over the AmScope SE306R-PZ due to the clarity of the optics.
- Excellent, coat optical glass.
- Adjustable halogen lights (top and bottom).
- Stage design with large 4.33 inch working distance.
Best Stereo Microscope with a built-in Digital Camera
An excellent entry into digital microscope photography, the OMAX 20X-40X-80X Stereo Microscope is a portable package with a built in camera system and included software.
The OMAX 20X-40X-80X Stereo Microscope is an excellent entry in the mid-range category, offering a winning combination of portability and features. As its name suggests, this OMAX Stereo Microscope provides magnification levels of 20x, 40x, and 80x with a 2.25 inch working distance.
Although the OMAX is lacking in working distance, it more than makes up for it with its plethora of features. First and foremost, we were most pleased with the portability of this 6lbs unit. The daul LED light unit can be powered by both 110V power supply or 3AA batteries, allowing the user to take this microscope on the go between home, the lab, and work.
The optics are sharp, but not the sharpest we've seen. However, the hallmark feature of the OMAX 20X-40X-80X is the built in USB digital camera. OMAX provides software to link the camera to a PC or MAC enabling the user to capture images of the specimen in view. We felt that the USB camera was a bit finicky to set up and the poorly written instructions did not help the matter. While the camera is lacking in resolution, it does provide an excellent entry into the world of microscope photography and for that reason the OMAX 20X-40X-80X receives our recommendation.
- Built-in USB digital camera, however it does occupy one eyepiece.
- Included software can be buggy.
- Very portable, LED lights can be powered by 3AA batteries.