A compound microscope uses multiple lenses, namely the objective lens and the eyepiece (ocular) lens, to magnify static 2D samples. These lenses allow the microscope user to observe a large amount of detail in the samples. They are typically simple to use, featuring their light source, and are convenient to set up; they're also lightweight, making them easy to store.

Read more about what a compound microscope is here.

You can also see a comparison of stereo vs compound microscopes here.

Compound Microscope Parts

The main parts of a compound microscope are:

  • Eyepiece (ocular lens)
  • Objective Lens
  • Mechanical Stage
  • Condenser
  • Illumination

We've got a fully labelled diagram of the parts of a compound microscope here.

Check out our selection of accessories and parts here

How to use a Compound Microscope?

We've got a full guide on how to use a microscope here.

Compound Microscope

Why Choose a Compound Microscope?

Compound microscopes are very simple to use, and convenient to setup. They are relatively small, making them easy to store. They also come with their own light source. Because they use multiple lenses, they're also able to reveal a great detail in the sample you're observing.


Biological Microscope


Biological microscopes and clinical microscopes are commonly used for biological applications that include high magnification of internal cell structures such as:

  • Plant
  • Animal
  • Human tissue
  • Blood

These microscopes are designed to fulfill the requirements of laboratories and educational sectors.

Fluorescence Microscope

Phase Contrast/Fluorescence/Polarizing Microscopes for Medical Research and Life Sciences

Phase contrast microscopes, fluorescence microscopes, and polarizing microscopes are valuable tools in:

  • Medical research
  • Biotechnology testing
  • Life science
  • Various routine laboratory applications
Inverted Microscope

Inverted/Metallurgical Microscopes for Industry, Metallurgy, Textiles and Composites

Inverted microscopes and metallurgical microscopes are the ideal solutions for:

  • Industrial inspection
  • Material science
  • Metallurgy
  • Fabrics/textiles
  • Wafers
  • Composites
Teaching Microscope

Teaching Microscopes for Simultaneous Observation

Teaching microscopes offer user-friendly operation and durability required for teaching and training students, particularly in the medical field. Teaching microscopes are available in configurations of up to ten heads, to allow for simultaneous observation.

Student Microscope


Student microscopes are a great choice if you are just starting your journey towards scientific discovery and/or are looking for an affordable microscope. Monocular microscopes make for a great tool to enhance your studies as they are durable and easy on your budget.

Compound Microscope Price

At the low end, our student compound microscopes can start from as little as $69, but if you require more features and a more complicated setup, the top end of compound microscopes are cost upwards of $36,000.

Best Compound Microscopes

Here we go over our top picks for each type of Compound Microscope

A few of our best-selling compound microscopes include:

  • ACCU-SCOPE 3000-LED Binocular Biological Microscope, 1000x Magnification: An ideal choice for universities, laboratories, doctors' offices, veterinarians, and life science professionals.
  • UNITRON 12100 Binocular Polarizing Microscope: An excellent choice for university and industrial applications for the examination of birefringent materials for geology, petrography, crystallography, and material sciences.
  • OPTIKA B-150P-BRPL Binocular LED Polarizing Microscope, N-Plan Objectives, Rechargeable: Designed to fulfill all requirements of educational laboratories. It's one of your best choices if a cordless microscope is needed.
  • Labomed Lx300 Binocular LED Microscope: Spawned from a call by educators for a high-value classroom and pre-clinical microscope that is ideal for continuing education programs.
  • Meiji MT-93L LED Binocular Entry Level Polarizing Microscope: Best buy for a student polarizing microscope that is portable, affordable, and built to last year after year.

Best Budget Compound Microscope for Home and Casual Use

The ACCU-SCOPE EXM-150 Cordless Microscope is an affordable microscope with excellent features. It has quality optics, mechanical stage, and iris diaphragm to adjust light settings. The rechargeable LED illumination allows you to operate it anywhere you like (up to 4 hours of use). The EXM-150 is an ideal choice for home use and K-12 students.


For advanced applications, Meiji Techno offers best-in-class compound microscopes like the Meiji MT4200L Binocular Biological Microscope. This microscope provides high optical performance for researchers and laboratory specialists. It has an ergonomic design for maximum comfort, durable finish, and high efficiency LED. 100% made in Japan and has a limited lifetime warranty.

Best Compound Microscope for Live Video

The OPTIKA B-190TBPL Digital Microscope with 10.1 inch Tablet consists of innovative and high quality components. The detachable tablet is rotatable and allows for demonstrations, image capture and video. The microscope has outstanding high contrast optics and LED with intensity control.

Compound Microscope FAQ’s

Here are some common questions you may also have when buying a compound microscope:

Why is it called a compound microscope?

It's called a compound microscope because it uses a compound lens system. The objective lens provides the main magnification, which is then compounded (multiplied) by the ocular lens in the eyepiece.

What is the maximum magnification of a compound light microscope?

The maximum magnification of a compound microscope is roughly 1000x. This is a result of a maximum ocular magnification of 10x, and a maximum objective lens magnification of 100x.

How many lenses does a compound microscope have?

A compound microscope contains two lenses, the ocular lens in the eyepiece, and the objective lens.

How does a compound microscope differ from a simple microscope?

A simple microscope uses a lens (or set of lenses) to enlarge the sample using angular magnification, which is a similar function to a magnifying glass. A compound microscope uses two different lenses, one is the objective lens that enlarges the sample, and one is the ocular lens that magnifies the image, allowing for much higher magnification.

Custom Quotations for Compound Microscopes

Let our experts create a custom quote just for you with our best pricing and terms. Simply tell us your requirements and we'll do the rest.

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