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Pocket Microscopes, as the name implies, are compact microscopes. They offer similar services as the bigger ones, though often with a lesser magnification range. These microscopes are also pocket-friendly and usable anywhere you find yourself. These factors blend to put pocket microscopes on the list of gadgets high in demand.

Several varieties of pocket microscopes now flood the stores. Deciding which one to buy can put you in the same condition as a kid in a toy shop. Hence, we’ve curate several things to consider in choosing the best pocket microscopes. Taking a step further, we have reviewed four of them to make your choice even more fruitful. All of these and more, you will find as you read on.

Reasons to buy a pocket microscope

Getting a pocket microscope is a no-brainer, and here is why.

1. Highly Affordable

The prices of pocket microscopes are very reasonable. You would find several high-quality ones below $50. Products appearing on our review of the best pocket microscopes will prove that fact to you.

2. Versatility

Though miniature in size, pocket microscopes offer a reasonable magnification, making them applicable for various uses. A few of them are as follows:

  • As a STEM toy for children education
  • Jewelry inspection
  • Inspection of circuit boards and photographs
  • Watchmaking
  • Examining teeth in dentistry
  • Entomological studies
  • Currency inspection, etc.

3. Compactness and Portability

The small and compact size of the microscope affords you the privilege of taking it wherever you go. That means wherever and anytime, you can view those little things that excite you.

4. Ease of use

Most pocket microscopes have simple controls and fewer parts than larger ones. You won’t have to deal with several adjustments to get a clear view. Moreover, the arrangement of the knobs and buttons is reachable with a hand to use it.

Categories of pocket microscopes

There are two types of pocket microscopes you will find. They are those with optical and digital views. Let’s examine them briefly.

Optical view

This makes use of eyepieces and functions just like the big microscopes. You have to look through the eyepieces to inspect the images. Luckily, this option has the possibility of seeing either in 2d or 3D. Of course, they’ll have a single scope less it compromises the size. Also, they won’t be having the option of connecting to an external viewing device. A downside to this type is that you can’t save images nor record what you see.

Digital View

This alternative requires an external viewing device such as a phone or computer. Pocket microscopes with digital views afford you plenty of options. You can create memories from what you see and share with others. However, it has its limitations. Though portable, it is often more limited in external use than those with the optical view.

Parts of a pocket microscope

Regardless of the type, pocket microscopes feature some or all of the following parts.

  •  Light source –This helps to illuminate a sample for the lens to pick its image. Most pocket microscopes have a LED light source located at their end.
  •  Eyepiece –A necessity for those with optic view
  •  Stage –It is present in some and absent in others
  •  Mirror –It is required by most pocket microscopes to reflect the image on the lens.
  •  Batteries –Every pocket microscope needs a power source, batteries being the most preferred option.
  •  Digital camera –It is a necessity for pocket microscopes with digital viewing.

How to choose the Best Pocket Microscopes

Although pocket microscopes come at budget prices, you can’t buy them all. You won’t have a problem deciding which is ideal if you consider the following:

The User

If you’re getting one for the kids, the optic pocket microscope would be just fine. They won’t have to go through the trouble of dealing with the techy aspect of using one with a digital view. A grown-up can conveniently use either of the two kinds as long as it meets the need.


Pocket microscopes often have magnifications within 10x and 200x. Some brands may dare to go higher but not by far. Magnification of 50x and more should be ideal for most things you would need to do.


Illumination is crucial to all microscopes, and LED lighting is often the choice of most manufacturers. They offer more brightness and the possibility of regulating their glare. Some pocket microscopes have adjustable lights, and others do not. What matters most is that the light intensity is uniform and sufficient to give you a clear image.


Look for features that would cause the microscope to last long. Examples include a protective cover for the lens, waterproof covering, and quality material.


Most pocket microscopes that connect with phones and computers require you to install software to use them on those platforms. You must ensure that it works with your device.

Besides, you should consider one with several functions like measuring, editing, taking images and videos, and more.

Power Source

Every microscope requires a power source that could be rechargeable or need replacement often. The downside to the latter option is that you would have to keep buying batteries, which adds to the cost in the long run. Nevertheless, you can quickly power up by having a spare battery with you.

Meanwhile, rechargeable ones accrue no added cost with use. The only limitation is finding a charging point should it run out suddenly. To avoid this, ensure you buy the one with a battery status indicator to keep track of it.

Viewing option

If you wish for a portable microscope as a hobbyist, you would love the optics type. Imagine taking a stroll and finding something of interest. You only have to take it out and have a look. On the other hand, if you wish information gathering is the purpose, the digital view would be perfect as you can store images and record videos.

4 Best Pocket Microscopes Reviews

By considering several of the factors listed above, here are four of our best pocket microscopes.

1. Ankylin 50x-1000x Portable Microscope

You’ll have no regrets about purchasing the Ankylin 50x-1000x Portable Microscope. The device is light and compact enough to find a space in your pocket while on a trip. Charging takes only a moment and lasts for some hours.

The microscope offers 50x magnification and high picture quality of 1080P HD, thanks to its 2MP camera. You can take pictures and record videos with it, making it not just a microscope but a portable camera. The eight built-in adjustable LED offers sufficient illumination to let you use it even at night.

The device has a stable WiFi connection and would not cause lagging with your phone. The Ankylin 50x-1000x Portable Microscope works with both Android and iOS phones. The app for connecting is easily accessible on Google Play and the Apple store. Should you need a bigger view, you can always connect to a computer using a USB cable.

The positioning of the controls is such that you can handle it with only a hand. To make sure it lasts long, it comes with a protective cover to keep the lens. The microscope is ideal for viewing insects, flowers, and minerals wherever you choose.


  • Quick charging
  • Wide compatibility
  • Adjustable LED illumination
  • High picture resolution
  • Stable WiFi connection


  • Stand is absent

2. Carson MM-300MU MicroBrite Plus Pocket Microscope

The Carson MM-300MU MicroBrite Plus Pocket Microscope is like a palm-size stereomicroscope. You have to look through the eyepiece to see your specimen. Consequently, you get to see either in 2D or 3D, depending on what you are viewing.

The compactness and portability make it possible to inspect flowers, insects, and other objects while taking a stroll. Simply tuck it into your pocket once you are through with the inspection.

Also, the magnification contrasts with the physical size. The device has a magnification of 60x-120x and an excellent display quality. The reason for this is that it utilizes an Aspheric lens system instead of the popular spherical lens. Studies reveal that this unique lens produces crisper images and corrects aberrations occurring in spherical lenses.

The magnification knob is close to your thumb when holding it. That allows you to use a single hand when viewing. You would find the LED illumination to be more than sufficient.

Lastly, the pack contains four pieces of the microscope at an affordable price. That allows you to share it with your kids and loved ones. There is no doubt that it would make a perfect gift.


  • 60-120 magnification
  • Aspheric lens system
  • Light and portable
  • Easy to use


  • Non-rechargeable battery
  • No external device connection

3. Dino-Lite AM4113T Digital Portable Microscope

The Dino-Lite AM4113T Digital Portable Microscope is no joke. The device boasts magnifications of 10x-50x and 220x. Also, it delivers a high picture quality with its 1.3MP capturing lens. The video recording isn’t poor either, having a frame rate of 30fps. Moreover, its 8 LED ring provides brilliant illumination.

You would find its unique MicroTouch feature, which allows you to touch a sensitive area to snap pictures. Are you afraid to capture images unawares? You can set the gadget to take images at a double-tap to ensure you don’t do so unknowingly. Meanwhile, the scroll lock prevents you from wrongfully changing magnification power when viewing.

The device depends on either a computer or smartphone. You don’t have to download any software to install it on your PC since it comes with an installation disc. Connect to your computer with the USB end and enjoy the advanced options the software provides. These include measuring, drawing and annotation, captured image analysis, and lots more.

For your smartphone, you have to adapt the USB end with an OTG to connect. Should you need to keep it steady, the device can fit into a custom stand.


  • Micro Touch feature
  • Program-rich software
  • 10x-220x magnification
  • Premium capture quality
  • Wide compatibility


  • Added accessory is expensive

4. Carson MM-450 Pocket Micro Zoom Field Microscope

This is yet another beautiful invention from Carson. No doubt, this microscope deserves its place on this list.

The Carson MM-450 Pocket Micro zoom field microscope is perfect for you and your kids to probe the micro world. The ultra-small size of this device makes it the one you won’t ever have to leave behind. It allows you to see more details of samples at 20x-60x magnification.

On a flat platform, it can stand on its own. The design allows you to position your sample under its lens while it is upright. Unlike most microscopes, the Carson MM-450 Pocket Microscope makes use of an aspherical lens system. That gives it an advantage of crispy and distortion-free imaging with concentrated focus.

As prevalent with the Carson pocket microscopes, the device uses LED illumination and runs on an AA battery.


  • Perfect for curious kids
  • Light, compact and portable
  • Easy to use
  • Aspherical lens system


  • Frequent battery replacement

How to maintain a pocket microscope

Though portable, even the best digital microscopes are not immune to getting damaged. Since you won’t want that, here are some things you should do to maintain them.

  1. Don’t touch the lens with a bare hand – Touching the glass part of your lens can leave prints and cause distortion.
  2. Store in a dustproof casing: If you allow dust to get into it and accumulate, it can cause deterioration in image quality.
  3. Replace the lens cap if it has damage. This will greatly protect the lens from any external impact.
  4. Avoid moisture: Although pocket microscopes are great for outdoor use, do not use them in the rain or other wet conditions that will expose them to dampness.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What can you see with a 120x pocket microscope?

At 120x magnification, you can see substances as small as 2mm. That means you can observe some protists in water.

2. Can a pocket microscope see bacteria?

No, pocket microscopes cannot see bacteria. You can only see bacteria using a microscope with at least 1000x magnification. That is way more than the best pocket microscope can afford.

3. Is pocket microscope a recent invention?

No, the pocket microscope was invented far back in the 18th century. Modifications of the device gained popularity across Europe, though known by another name. In recent times, the popularity has soared as people keep finding more applications for it.

Bottom Line

Pocket microscopes play their roles but are no substitute for the standard-sized ones. So, when considering buying one, be wary of those that promise unrealistic magnifications. We advise that you follow the tips in choosing the best pocket microscopes in order of personal priority. After all, you would soon find that there is none without its pros and cons.

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