There are many reasons to get hold of a USB digital microscope, particularly if you’re a student or hobbyist involved in some research projects.
Getting a USB handheld microscope to check out the existence of dust mites in your home is not unheard of. A typical adult dust mite measures approximately 0.3 millimeters, which essentially escapes the sight of our naked eyes.
A USB digital microscope is needed if you’re to catch a sight of these unpleasant creatures.
How Does A USB Digital Microscope Works
A USB digital microscope enables users to have a magnified view of specific objects. Unlike optical microscopes, digital microscopes do not have the objective lens that magnify the image of the object.
Instead, a USB digital microscope works on electronics, particularly those involving optics. At the core of the digital microscope is a CMOS sensor, which visualizes and magnifies the object captured through the digital lens. Technically, a digital microscope is similar to a digital camera, except that the former usually has a larger zoom capacity and is built differently.
Magnified images are captured by a digital microscope and transmitted to screens in computers, TVs, and smartphones. Depending on the degree of magnification, you’re able to inspect tiny objects that cannot be seen by the bare eyes.
Often, you’re able to save the recordings captured in image or video format. Like cameras, you’ll often find digital microscope fitted with LED lights to ensure sufficient brightness when inspecting the objects.
How To Choose A USB Digital Microscope
If you’ve never used a USB digital microscope, you’ll want to take some time weighing different aspects before making a decision. After all, going through the technical specs can be mind-boggling, except you’re familiar with some of the jargons.
To make things simple, here are some criteria that you must evaluate before choosing a USB digital microscope.
If you’re strictly choosing a digital microscope to view a specimen of dust mite, you’ll want to get one with at least 40x magnification. It’s the minimum magnification value required to have a good look of the unsightly creature.
Most digital microscopes usually go beyond the range of hundreds of times of magnification. But you’ll still want to be safe by double-checking the specification.
Having a high magnification power is pointless if the image eventually turns out blurry and out of focus. You’ll want to get a digital microscope with impeccable image quality, preferably offering high-resolution image capture and recording.
It shouldn’t take hours just to figure out how a digital microscope works, even if science isn’t your favorite subject. The best digital microscopes must be well-constructed and intuitive to use. At the very least, the digital microscope must have an accompanying user manual for reference.
Pluggable digital microscopes are usually connected to the PC via USB port. But if you wanted to use the digital microscope with the Android or iOS phone, ensure that the manufacturer specifically states that the microscope supports those platforms.
A USB digital microscope may be a fancy gadget to own, but it shouldn’t be ripping off your budget. While it’s important to get a digital microscope that is well-constructed, the price listed shouldn’t be exorbitant nor dirt-cheap.
Like all electronics, digital microscopes may suffer from wear and tear or manufacturing defects. Ensure that the brand that you choose includes a warranty policy.
Best USB Digital Handheld Microscopes 2020
If you want to skip the process of browsing through the different models, check out this curated list of the top-rated USB digital microscopes.
1. Celestron 5 MP Handheld Digital Microscope Pro
The Celestron digital microscope is a powerhouse amongst USB microscopes. It is engineered with a 5MP sensor that allows the capturing of high-resolution images and videos.
The camera is further enhanced by a 5-element IR cut glass and an adjustable shutter ranging from 1 to 1/1000 second. This technically results in sharper images.
Whether you’re just checking on the presence of dust mites, or other tiny objects, Celestron is more than up to the job. Its magnifying power ranges between 20x to 200x allowing you a better observation of the specimens.
It is easy to use the Celestron microscope. The focus wheel can be easily adjusted by the same hand gripping the microscope. Alternatively, you can make use of the metal stand, which ensures stability when viewing and capturing the image of the specimen.
The Celestron can be plugged into both Windows and Mac computers. Each microscope is shipped with an installation CD that contains the driver and the Micro Capture Pro software. The software not only allows you to capture the image but also jotting down notes and taking measurements.
- 5 MP sensor enables high-resolution images to be captured.
- Continuous zoom between 20x and 200x.
- A sturdy metal stands for stability when viewing specimens.
- The quality of the images produced is suitable for serious works.
- Very user-friendly. Doesn’t take much to start using the microscope.
- The magnification may be limited by the monitor resolution.
- Some users have problem with installations or launching the software.
2. Plugable USB Digital Microscope
The Plugable USB digital microscope has all it takes t be a decent magnifying tool for both hobbyist and collectors. It has a diverse magnifying range that starts from 20x and limited by 250x power.
Built with a rugged body, the Plugable digital microscope operates on a webcam chipset. This means that it can be installed to any operating systems that support a webcam. Supported systems include Windows, Mac OS, OS X, Linux, Chrome and Android.
To get a clearer image, the digital microscope is built with LEDs. The LED shines through a cleverly installed diffuser, which prevents glare issues often encountered in other models. The diffuser works by spreading out the LED evenly on the surface.
Instead of a mechanical button, you’ll find a capacitive-sensing button on the Plugable microscope that enables capturing the image with a touch. Such an innovation prevents excessive force that may result in a blurry image.
A sturdy stand is important for a digital microscope and Plugable ensures that the stand provided is both stable and versatile. It has a gooseneck arm that allows you to position the digital microscope with great flexibility.
- Webcam chipset with up to 250x magnification range.
- 4 Dimmable LED with a diffuser to prevent glare issues.
- High-resolution recordings with 1600 x 1200 for images and 640 x 480 for videos.
- Capacitive sensing button to make capturing possible with the slightest touch.
- Sturdy stand with gooseneck holder for maximum flexibility.
- Some customers received defective microscope that failed to connect.
- Installation can be tricky as the microscope wasn’t properly initialized in some devices.
3. Teslong USB Microscope Magnifier Camera
At a glance, this cylindrical shape looks more like a soldering iron than a microscope. Beneath the simple design is a USB digital microscope capable of up to 200 times of magnification. It’s the perfect tool for students or curious individuals to get an amplified view of common items.
The Teslong digital microscope features a 1.0 megapixel CMOS sensor that is capable of focusing between 10 mm to 500 mm. The underlying optic-electronics enable high-quality images and videos to be captured and stored.
If the microscope is accidentally dropped into the bathtub, it may survive the ordeal, assuming that the focusing button is not submerged along with the camera. The manufacturer has ensured that the enclosure is IP67 rated which basically means the microscope is waterproof.
You can get the Teslong USB microscope working on most devices. It is supported on Windows, Mac OSX and Android devices. It comes with a metal stand to aid viewing in a stable setting.
When you use the digital microscope, you’ll feel the heat emanating from the stainless steel handle. Note that this is normal behavior of the microscope and the heat will be dissipated to the air.
- 1MP CMOS sensor with up to 200 times of magnification.
- The camera is IP67 rated which means it can be submerged to capture specimens in water.
- Works on Windows, Mac OS X, and Android devices.
- Fitted with dimmable LEDs for brightness control when capturing the specimen.
- As the stainless steel handle is used to dissipate heat, it can be uncomfortable using the microscope for a long period.
- The accompanying software may be unstable when installed in some devices.
- Product quality can be an issue in some deliveries.
4. Dino-Lite AM2111 Digital Microscope
The brand Dino-Lite is renowned amongst microscope enthusiasts and community. It has been around for more than 10 years and has a reputation for producing reliable products. This Dino-Lite AM2111 digital microscope is no difference.
Based on a CMOS sensor, the Dino-Lite digital microscope offers up to 220x of optical magnification. It enables capturing visuals of specimens in either 640x 480 image or 30FPS videos. With the built-in LED, you’ll have no problems in getting clear shots of the specimens.
The AM2111 works on both Windows and Mac operating systems. The company provides DinoCapture and DinoXcope software to be installed on both Windows and Mac computers respectively. By using the software, you’re able to analyze, compare and take notes on the recordings.
Being a pluggable microscope, the AM2111 is easy to use. Once plugged into the USB port, you can control the magnifying power by manually adjusting the dial. The only downsides are the LED is not adjustable and the microscope doesn’t come with a stand.
- Built-in CMOS sensor with up to 220x magnification.
- Works with both Windows, Mac OS and Android with OTG adapter.
- The software provided allows analysis, comparison, and annotation.
- Comes with a 2-year warranty and comprehensive customer support.
- The built-in LED light is not dimmable.
- You’ll have to purchase the stand separately as the shipment doesn’t include one.
5. Jiusion USB Digital Microscope
This USB digital microscope has a simplistic design. It is built with focus and brightness adjustment buttons. You can easily configure the focus and LED brightness to your liking.
You’ll find that the Jiusion digital microscope supports a broad range of platforms, including Windows, Mac, and Android devices. Unfortunately, the unit does not support iPhones.
The digital microscope is shipped with a driver installation CD, a metal stand and a ruler. These help in stabilizing specimens for viewing and magnification.
When plugged into the USB port, you’re able to get a magnification ranging from 40x to 1000x and a focus range between 10 mm to 250 mm. These parameters will give you a detailed image of the object in video or image format.
While you can find similar digital microscopes, this supplier added value by building apps that work with it. Considering the relatively low cost of this digital microscope, it’s a good deal that spares you the hassle of searching for functional software.
- A very decent camera for the low price that it was marketed.
- Works with a broad range of operating systems and devices, including Windows, Mac, Android, and ChromeOS.
- Clear, vivid images of magnified objects captured by the digital microscope.
- It’s built with 8 LED lights with adjustable brightness control.
- Allows magnification of up to 1000x without degrading the quality of the image.
- This digital microscope doesn’t work for iPhone and apparently, there is no workaround.
- The metal stand isn’t well-construct to stabilize the digital microscope.
- As the software is developed in-house, some installations may fail.
I hope this USB digital microscopes are helpful in getting a sight of dust mites. Don’t be surprised by having other pests showing up when placed under the magnified view.