The purpose of microscopes in general is to enhance resolution, this can apply to an object or image under the scope. A stereo microscope (also known as a dissecting microscope) uses two separate optical paths to give different viewing angles to the left and right eye, resulting in a 3D image of the sample. This type of image is essential for a wide range of industries including watch-making, electronic circuit boards, dissection and microsurgery, the medical industry. Stereo microscopes are also widely used in engineering, biology and forensics.
Other types of microscope available are digital, which use a monitor to display the image rather than looking through a lens and the compound microscope, which use a “compound” optical system consisting of an eyepiece and objective lens.

There are a wide range and variety of features and specifications across our choices, so you are sure to find something that suits you. The following are our top 5 currently available on Amazon.

Let’s start with #5…

#5 AmScope SM-3BZ-80S 3.5X-90X Boom Stand Binocular Zoom Stereo Microscope on Boom + 80 LED Light

AmScope SM-3BZ-80SOur first choice is the AmScope SM-3BZ-80S Binocular Zoom Stereo Microscope with 3.5X-90X Boom Stand and is priced towards the middle end of the price spectrum. It represents excellent value for money, being heavily discounted at less than a third of its retail value of $1600. This microscope has some great features and its 3.5X-90X continuous zoom power is more than most instruments in the same price range. It has a super widefield of view (2-1/2″ 65mm) and high resolution, with sharp, clear images and a large 26:1 zoom range. Illumination is provided by 60 LEDs and is bright and even as well as being surprisingly cool. The microscope is perfect for use in the electronics and semiconductor industries as well as engravers, scientists and researchers.


#4 AmScope SE306R-AZ-E2 20X-40X-80X Digital Binocular Stereo Microscope with Top & Bottom Dual Light Illumination System 2.0MP USB Imager Digital Camera

AmScope SE306R-AZ-E2
Our next pick is the AmScope SE306R-AZ-E2 20X-40X-80X Digital Binocular Stereo Microscope. It offers a broad field of view with high resolution and good depth and has a special feature in that it comes complete with a 2 Megapixel digital camera (USB). As well as taking still images, the camera can stream video onto a computer (Mac/Windows). Magnification power setting is adjustable between three settings, 20X, 40X and 80X and there is a choice of illuminating the object from the top (incident) for three-dimensional objects or bottom (transmitted) for viewing slides. This is a highly versatile stereo microscope which is great for examining any 3D object, from electronic components, plants, rocks and insects to jewelry and coins and stamps. Whilst being perfect for use in the geology, archaeology, forestry and biology industries it is also highly suilable for use in schools and hospitals.


#3 Celestron 44202 Advanced Stereo Microscope

Celestron-44202Next up is the Celestron Advanced Stereo Microscope which has the power to create incredibly realistic three dimensional images. This awesome piece of equipment uses two distinct light paths and two eyepieces to achieve amazing images in life-like 3D. This machine is for the advanced low power user but at a price that will suit most budgets and comes complete with two 10x wide field eyepieces giving 20mm field of view, as well as both 2X and 4X object lenses. Magnification options are 20X and 40X power and there is both top and bottom illumination from the halogen lights. The viewing head lets you view in any position thanks to its 360 degree rotation and the binocular head is inclined for maximum comfort. Again this scope has a wide variety of uses, including being excellent for die making, watchmaking, engraving, jewelry making/repairing, stamps and coin collectors/dealers, students and scientists.


#2 AmScope SE400-Z 10X-20X Widefield Binocular Inspection Stereo Microscope on Boom Arm Stand

AmScope SE400-ZThe AmScope SE400-Z has proved to be one of the most popular stereo microscopes on the market and ranks very highly in terms of customer satisfaction. Although a more basic instrument than some others in the review, this scope is ideal for use in industries like soldering, dental services and circuit board repair. Magnification levels of 10X and 20X are achieved through two sets of widefield eyepieces and one objective lens and the instrument can be adjusted to suit veariations in the eye. The user will have a comfortable experience in using the SE400-Z as it is set at the optimum 45 degree angle and has rubber eye guards to help prevent any eye strain. X- and Z-axis adjustment is provided by the head, mounted on a 12″ boom-arm stand and there is a 9″ working distance.


#1 AmScope SE306R-PZ 20x 40x 80x Home School Student Dissecting Binocular Stereo Microscope with Incident and Transmitted Dual Light Illumination System

AmScope SE306R-PZ
Our number one selection is another AmScope model, the binocular pillar-stand SE306R-PZ. This dissecting binocular stereo microscope has three levels of magnification power – 20X, 40X and 80X and has both top and bottom illumination. The top (incident) lighting is used when you need the light to be shining down on a three dimensional object being viewed and the bottom ( transmitted) light is used for viewing slides on the stage plate. It is equally perfect for home school student use as it is in the many industrial and eductional environments it is used in. Its ability to examine the surface details of a wide range of materials such as metal, solder, semiconductor, wood and stone makes it an unbeatable choice for jewelers, watchmakers, engravers as well as schools, colleges and hospitals. This is a high quality microscope at a very affordable price and comes brand new and factory sealed in the box.

Some of the terms used in the above reviews are:
Binocular – two eyepieces
Magnification – Size of an image
Resolution – Image clarity (determined by field of view / numerical aperture / working distance)
Fixed focus – Fixed distance between lens and image
LED / Fluorescent / Mirror / Halogen – Light sources for control of image viewing

Scales are instruments used for measuring weight, whilst balances are used to measure an object’s mass. The main difference is in accuracy, balances are more precise than scales and analytical balances can measure highly accurately to 0.0001g. There are many different uses for scales and balances and each application has a type of scales best suited to it, this review concentrates on use in labs and small industrial premises. They range from very cheap handheld models right up to highly accurate state of the art machines with outputs to computer software. The measurement technique also varies widely depending on the use, from balance beams and springs to highly sophisticated electronics.

The following are the top 5 best scales and balances available to buy on Amazon in 2014:

Starting with #5…

#5 Adam Equipment HCB Highland Portable Precision Balance

Highland HCBFirst up we feature the Highland HCB range of precision balances from Adam Equipment which offers high precision without a premium price to match it. These are available in a wide range of sizes, from the HCB 123 with its 120g capacity and a readability of 0.001g, up to the HCB 3001 which has a capacity of 3000g and 0.1g readability. This conventional balance has a two second settling time giving less unproductive time and an automatic internal calibration system. Backlit digital LCD display makes it readable in all conditions. A hook is suspended below the HCB to suspend items that are too bulky for the 120mm stainless steel plate. To prevent accidental damage to the weighing cell and balance from over weight samples, an overload protection is also built in. Data can be transferred easily to printers and computers though the RS232 and USB slots. Mains AC or battery powered through an integrated rechargeable battery (up to 24 hour use). ABS plastic housing. Built-in security slot. Accessories available include: ATP Thermal Printer, Adam Data Collection Program, RS-232 to PC cable, USB cable.


#4 Ohaus 8004-PN Pull Type Spring Scale, 4.5lb/20n Capacity, 1lb/0.5n Readability

Ohaus 8004-PNOur next choice is the Ohaus 8004-PN pull-type spring scale, which If you are looking for ease of use at a rock-bottom price, combined with excellence in manufacture from one of the world’s leading brands, is definitely the one for you. Ideal for use in a range of applications from science projects to measuring torque in-situ where the component can’t be easily moved and put on a fixed set of scales. Also great for any other hand-held application. Reading in pounds (lb) / grams (g) /ounces (oz) or Newtons (N) force. Capacity up to 4.5 pounds (2000 grams). The product is of sturdy construction with ABS plastic housing and metal face plate, spring and hook and pointer action.


#3 Intel-Lab Lab Balance 320 g X 0.001 g, RS232, Rear display,NEW

Intel-Lab Lab Balance

The Intell-Lab PMW-320 range of balances have been developed for simple weighing applications and their design is hard to fault. They are designed with simplicity and ease of use as a main priority with the large backlit LCD display a stand-out feature, providing a impressive easy to read screen which is visible in all lighting conditions including bright sunlight. Ideal for use throughout a wide range of industries with flexible weighing suited to many disciplines. Along with the display the ease of use is carried through to the large user-friendly menu. Communication with peripheral devices is easy via the configurable RS232 port which allows the user to interface with printers, hanheld readers or laptops/PCs. 320 gram maximum weighing capacity and readout is to 0.001 gram making this a highly accurate device.


#2 DE-938 Pocket Scale 500g Max Weight / 0.01g Accuracy Auto Shut off LCD Backlit Screen g oz T gn ozt dwt ct

DE-938 Pocket Scale

Our second top selection is the Duda DE-938, these pocket scales are lightweight and extremely portable at only 5 ounces, making them ideal for any application where you need to have scales ready all the time and you want to have a set handy in your pocket. Weighing capacity is up to 500g (half a kilogram) and accuracy of the instrument is very impressive, within 0.1 gram. The LCD Backlit Screen runs off 2 x AAA batteries which come supplied and has an auto-shut off feature. You can set the scales to choose from various measurement units including grams, ounces, carat, grain, pennyweight and troy ounces. This is a great pick if you are looking for very inexpensive pocket scales.


#1 Ohaus 750-S0 Triple Beam Mechanical Balance with Stainless Steel Plate, 610g Capacity, 0.1g Readability

Ohaus 750Our top pick is the Ohaus 750-S0 Triple Beam Mechanical Balance, an excellent choice for all small scale counter-top applications like weighing ingredients and powder, science labs or for eductional departments. The triple beam design gives unparalleled accuracy in measurement and the simple technology of these balance scales means that they will last a lifetime and never break down. The beams are notched and tiered and have a centre reading and the balance is magnetically dampened so that weighing is quick and the zero adjust compensator is spring loaded. Ohaus is just about the most respected name in weighing aparatus so you can be sure that this product delivers on precision, accuracy and durability.

In the reviews below you will learn the best pH meters to buy currently.

A pH meter is an electronic device used for measuring the acidity or alkalinity (pH) of a liquid. The pH reading itself is on the “pH scale” from 1 to 14, with 1 being the highest acidity and 14 being the maximum alkilinity. The neutral point – or zero pH – is 7. A pH meter consists of an electronic meter with a special glass measuring probe connected to it, it measures the pH and gives the the reading on an LCD display. pH meters generally require to be calibrated using control solutions which have precise pH values. There are many uses for the pH meter, both scientific and industrial, as well as normal everyday household applications. These include: Fish ponds (koi carp), plants and gardens, swimming pools, soil analysis, home-brewing, home winemaking, testing well water, testing chemical baths, hydroponic gardening, cheese making, spa baths, drinking water, foodstuffs.

Here we have the best five pH meters currently available on

Starting with #5…

#5 HORIBA LAQUAtwin 3200456563 Model B-713 Compact pH Meter

horiba compact phFirst for review is our fifth place choice, the HORIBA LAQUAtwin 3200456563 Model B-713 Compact pH Meter, that to be honest is not for everybody due to being a bit more expensive than some of the meters on the marketplace. However if you need really fast accurate pH measurement in a just seconds, this is regarded by many as the best compact pH meter available. It measures pH samples in water, soil, plants, food and more from as little as a single drop of sample – all at the touch of a button. Easy to calibrate, user-selectable for either one or two point calibration. With Horiba you know you are buying a quality, well designed product and it is easy to use, accurate and stable as well as being able to be stored dry.




#4 Milwaukee Instruments Waterproof pH Tester
Milwaukee InstrumentsOur second choice is from Milwaukee Instruments and is a waterproof pH meter. This is a great meter if you are not particularly technical due to its quick and easy configuration and you’ll find that is is compact and easy to store. For peace of mind though, the customer service guys at Milwaukee Instruments are superb and if you have any problem at all, just pick up the phone and you’ll be right through to an expert. This meter is ideal for domestic uses including testing the pH in plant soil, drinking water and home brewing and comes with 20ml sachets of ph 4.01 and 7.01 calibration solution. Batteries ARE included and there is a very reassuring 2 year manufacturer warranty.

#3 Hanna Instruments HI98128 pHep 5pH/Temperature Tester

Hanna Instruments

Next up we rate the Hanna Instruments pHep®5 portable pH/Temperature tester, a compact tester which is used in industrial and laboratory applications. This meter is recommended if you need the highest degree of accuracy at a budget cost. The clear dual-level LCD screen shows both the pH measurement and the current temperature simultaneously and is waterproof and designed to float. Packed with features including: ATC (automatic temperature compensation), automatic pH calibration, user selectable automatic shut-off, hold function, dual temperature scales °C or °F, BEPS, replacable pH electrode cartridge, stability indicator.

The unit comes supplied with pH electrode, electrode removal tool, batteries and instructions.
Can be used in very hot and very cold environments -5 to 50°C (23 to 122°F)
Range: pH -2.00 to 16.00 pH (resolution: 0.01 pH)
Temperature: -5.0 to 60.0°C / 23.0 to 140.0°F (resolution: 0.1°C / 0.1°F)
Accuracy @ 20°C: pH ±0.05 pH, temperature ±0.5°C / ±1°F

#2 Milwaukee MW102 PH and Temperature Meter

Milwaukee MW102

The Milwaukee MW102 is the probably the best pH meter available at the price, it is easy to use and has very good accuracy. It is suitable for a range of domestic and light industrial appplications such as fish ponds, soil analysis, home-brewing and home winemaking. The calibration procedure is very simple, it only takes about a minute and the easy to follow calibration instructions make it a breeze. The instrument comes with two separate probes, one for pH and the other for temperature (as opposed to the Milwaukee MW101 which only has one probe). You will need storage solution and buffer solutions, 7.01 pH fluid and either 10.01 or 4.01 pH calibration fluid (ph 4.01 and ph 7.01 20 ml sachet of calibration solution included). 9V battery included.


#1 Oakton EcoTestr pH 2 Waterproof pH Tester, 0.0 to 14.0 pH Range

Oakton EcoTestr pH 2

Our top pick is the Oakton EcoTestr which is a handheld pocket pH meter. It comes highly recommended with over 175 reviews on Amazon and is easy to use and economical. The EcoTestr is extremely light but at the same time durable and will stand up to the rigors of most applications. It is waterproof and will float on water or liquid, as well as being dustproof so can be used in dirty and damp outdoor conditions (Ingress Protection IP 67-rated). The LCD readout is ergonomically designed so that measurements can be easily read, just dip the meter and read. Automatic temperature compernsation and hold feature to lock the measured reading. Three point push-button calibration.

Here we review the best gas detectors to buy in 2014.

Gas detectors are safety instruments which are used to detect and monitor levels of gas in the atmosphere. Various different gases can be checked, typically they are either toxic, combustible, or flammable and present a threat to human safety or life. Detectors can be portable or fixed in one position (stationary). A portable gas detector is for protection of personnel and monitors the air in the surrounding atmosphere, a stationary detector is normally fixed to a wall or in a panel and is electrically powered. Applications include construction, fire and rescue, petroleum refineries, sewage treatment, mining, paper mills and tanneries.

The following are the top 5 gas detectors currently available on

Starting with #5…

#5 = BW Technologies GAXT-X-DL-2 GasAlert Extreme Oxygen (O2) Single Gas Detector

BW GAXT-X-DL-2 Gas Alert Extreme Oxygen

First up we recommend the GasAlert Extreme oxygen detector, a single gas detector for measuring oxygen levels. There’s a low level alarm set at 19.5% by volume of oxygen and high level at 22.5% but these levels can be adjusted. BW Technologies are renowned for some of the best safety instruments on the market – high in durability, reliability and accuracy. Perfect for use in the mining and construction industries as well as for the emergency services and other potentially dangerous settings such as confined spaces. The strong and robust casing is water resistant and will stand up to the most taxing of circumstances. The meter’s reliabilty is maintained by regular self-testing and it is designed to give effective and reliable performance even in extremely harsh environments. Data logging and management facilities are available – as well as a loud 95 decibel alarm, visual and vibration alerts – the meter records alarm events and can transmit them via a USB datalink.


#4 – V!sa 4 Gas Monitor

V!sa 4 GasMonitor

Nobody can put a price on safety so if that is your priority then you should consider the V!SA Portable Multi-Gas Analyzer. This detector is a bit more expensive but if you are looking for a high-end meter at a reasonable cost this is the one for you. The V!SA can display the readings for up to five different gases using “plug and play” sensor technology, selectable from a wide range of available sensors including Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Flammable gas (LEL), Carbon Monoxide (CO) Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) and Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S). The detector is certified for use in hazardous areas and has ATEX II 2 G EEx (iad) IIC T3/T4 certification so it can be used in the harshest of environments and is suitable for many industries such as petrochemical, marine, nuclear pulp and paper, refining, steel, chemical, construction, defence, electricity, brewing and food. This high quality instrument has 95 dB audible and 360-degree visual alarms, data logging capability, program menus and can be password-protected for multiple users. It comes complete with a charger.


#3 – Fixed Gas Detector, C3H8, CH4
Safe T Alert Fixed Gas DetectorNext we have selected the Safe T Alert fixed propane gas and natural gas detector, a must-have appliance if you cook or heat your home using propane gas or natural gas. Both Propane gas and natural gas can result in fires or explosions if they leak and are exposed to a source of ignition. The 40-411-P can be mounted in most locations and is fixed near the floor – where heavier propane gas will gather in the event of a leak – using either screws or velcro. An alarm should be fitted near to every appliance that uses gas, also consideration should be given if you live near a waste disposal area or pit as these produce natural gas which can find their way into your house. The unit comes with a decent length of electrical cord and plugs right into a 120V AC mains supply outlet.


#2 – Bacharach Leakator Jr 0019-7075 ABS Plastic Combustible Gas Leak Detector

Bacharach Leakator Jr 0019-7075 ABS Plastic Combustible Gas Leak Detector

Runner-up in this section is the Bacharach Leakator Jr, a combustible gas leak detector. This tool is brilliant if you are working in the plumbing industry or other related jobs like HVAC installation or maintenance but is also perfect for the gas industry – inspecting valves, meters and regulators and surveying pipelines, as well as the general building trade and construction industries. The detector easily pinpoints even small gas leaks without any calibration being required so it is very low maintenance. The unit itself is only 6 inches long and has a flexible probe which extends a further 12 inches. It has a loud warning sound on gas detection and two levels of sensitivity, for finding the approximate area then spotting the exact location of the leak. Not only can this product protect you from a costly insurance claim, it can save the lives of you and your customers.


#1 – BW Technologies GA24XT-H GasAlertClip Extreme 2-Year Detector

BW Technologies Single Gas Detector Hydrogen Sulfide  Part Number GA24XTH

The best gas detector we found for all round performance and value was the BW Technologies GA24XT-H. It is a handheld detector used to monitor levels of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) in the atmosphere and can operate continuously without recharging, battery replacement or recalibration for up to two years. There is a triple layer of warning alert with audio, visual and vibration alarms all operating on high (or low) gas level. The user-adjustable LCD screen clearly shows all the information you need; alarm set-points, alarm level, detector life remaining and maximum exposure among others. This meter is an essential piece of safety kit in a wide range of applications – petroleum refineries, sewage treatment plants, paper mills and tanneries to name a few. The detector can output its results to a printer or computer and has a belt clip on the back for hands-free operation.