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2016 Product Resource Guide: Microscopy

One of the most common pieces of equipment in any lab, microscopes have many different styles and functions.

by Lab Manager

13 Questions to Ask When Buying a Microscope


  1. What type of microscope is most useful for analyzing your materials and applications?
  2. What’s within your budget?
  3. What’s the anticipated lifespan of the instrument and what are the reviews for it like?
  4. How adaptable is it for other applications or for accepting attachments?
  5. What level of compliance does it need to meet? ISO, cGMP? Is a qualification packet/validation (IQ-OQ-PQ) necessary? What degree of accuracy is necessary?
  6. What is the service/warranty package like and what does it cost?


  1. What type of samples will you be looking at? This will help determine the appropriate type of SEM.
  2. What is the finest resolution you want to achieve? Do you want to achieve finest resolution at low beam energy and possibly variable pressure conditions, or just at high vacuum and high beam energy?
  3. What is your budget? What is the expected total cost of ownership?
  4. What is the level of post-purchase field service available? Are there trained experts in your area who will be able to service your particular model?
  5. What ergonomic features are available?
  6. What consumables are required for the long-term operation of the SEM and how much do they cost?
  7. Is your laboratory physically appropriate in terms of vibration, electromagnetic fields, and acoustics to house the level of SEM you are considering?

How Are Your Microscopy and Imaging Staff Trained?

On-the-Job Training by Fellow Worker 85%
Vendors 5%
Videos, Books, etc. 3%
Off-Site Imaging Courses 2%
Online Imaging Courses or Tutorials 2%
Other 3%

Top 10 Features/Factors Respondents Look For When Purchasing a Microscope

Performance of product 97%
Easy to maintain 94%
Price of microscope 93%
Ease of use 90%
Availability of supplies and accessories 84%
Low operating costs 83%
Warranties 82%
Total cost of ownership 81%
Service and support 73%
Ergonomics 65%