Buying A Used Microscope, Tips & Information

Searching for a great deal on a microscope?  Worried about sacrificing quality and longevity for affordability?  Maybe it’s time to look into a used microscope, which can offer high quality at a significantly reduced price.  In some ways it’s like buying a used car.  Like cars, microscope styles change over the years.  However, it’s what’s under the hood that truly counts, and when it comes to microscopes that not only means the optics, but the gears, and lubrication inside.   You can either go through a dealer or buy directly from a seller. Of course, working with a microscope dealer has obvious advantages including professional inspection and a guarantee of the instrument.  In addition, with a respected microscope dealer that has been in business for many years, you get an expert that is usually happy to share their vast wealth of product knowledge to help you navigate the used microscope market.  How do they do this, you ask?  Well, let’s look at a specific example:

One of the most common descriptions you will encounter when shopping for a used microscope is "Removed From A Working Lab".  On the surface, this seems to indicate that the product is reliable.  After all, it was recently in use at a lab.  Professionals were relying on this microscope every day to do their jobs.  If it is good enough for them, then it should work for you.  However, just talk to a professionally trained service technician, and you will hear endless anecdotes about the various problem microscopes that they serviced in “working labs”, often punctuated with “I don’t know how they were using that microscope”. Furthermore, there are many self-trained, all-purpose microscope repairmen performing maintenance on these instruments.  They often miss small issues that can blossom into much larger ones.  And all of this can impact a microscope’s lifespan.  An experienced microscope dealer sees right through “Removed From A Working Lab” and knows there is no correlation with the quality of a particular instrument. Rather, the dealer will conduct a full inspection and make any adjustments needed to ensure the microscope is working like new, before offering it to a customer. It’s important to note that the right microscope should last you 25 years.  Again, just like cars, that all depends on consistent maintenance.  The good news is that the right microscope serviced properly by a trained technician could last much longer.  A dealer will be able to make this appraisal for you, so that you have assurance that you are making a wise purchase. 

When you buy a used microscope from an experienced dealer like us you have the assurance that comes from dealing with Microscope Experts that have been in business since 1936.  Family-owned and operated, we are in our fourth generation of microscope sales and service for one reason – and that’s the stellar reputation that comes with decades of honesty, integrity, and a sincere desire to help our customers. What does that mean for you?  It means we will take the time to listen to you, and then offer our knowledge and experience to provide you with the appropriate instrument that meets your specific needs. It also means that you get an instrument guarantee with a minimum 1 year warranty, and the confidence that comes with the knowledge that your microscope was inspected by one of our factory-trained technicians. Sure, you could save a few dollars upfront buying directly elsewhere but you have no one to hold accountable if you experience any issues 6 months after you make the purchase.

Used Microscope Buying Tips:

1. Identify the type of microscope you need. 

2. If you are buying a microscope to duplicate one you already have, or have used in the past make sure the microscope is configured the SAME way. Back to the car reference, the same model microscope can be configured many different ways. There are various types of heads, objectives, eyepieces, etc.

3. Make sure you know and understand what you are buying! Some sellers provide 3rd party parts / components. 

4. Ask when the microscope was last serviced, and what qualifications the service company has. Look for factory trained technicians, not self trained, or general equipment service facilities.

5. Ask when the microscope was last lubricated. Microscopes have internal gears and parts that contain grease. Overtime this grease will dry up. If the grease dries up the entire focus mechanism could seize up.

6. Just because the microscope was "Just Serviced" a few months ago does not mean it is still working fine! Back to the car reference you could take your car home from the service center and in two weeks another minor issue could pop up.

7. Consider the source! If you are buying on Ebay, Liquidation sale, or elsewhere you have no one to hold accountable for any warranty issues.

8. Keep in mind we can fully customize almost any microscope, if you see something on our website but need it configured differently, let us know!

We have a vast collection of used microscopes at and our inventory is always changing, so check out the great deals. If you do not see what you are looking for, just ask! We can also fully customize a microscope for you! Give us a call at 800-219-1451.  We’re always happy to talk microscopes.