Best Microscope For Viewing Trichomes: Top 7

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. more info

In a rush? we recommend the Rotek Wireless Digital Microscope (available at Amazon).

When it comes time to harvest your cannabis plants, you need to ensure that they are actually ready to harvest.

A big mistake which many newbie growers make is to harvest their marijuana plants either way too early or too late, and both are not good at all. Therefore, you need to know how to judge when the best time to harvest your plants is.

Carson MicroBrite Plus 60x-120x LED Lighted Pocket Microscope (MM-300)
Carson MicroBrite 20x-40x LED Lighted Pocket Microscope for Learning, Education and Exploring (MM-24)
Carson MicroBrite Plus 60x-120x LED Lighted Pocket Microscope (MM-300)
Carson MicroBrite 20x-40x LED Lighted Pocket Microscope for Learning, Education and Exploring (MM-24)
Carson MicroBrite Plus 60x-120x LED Lighted Pocket Microscope (MM-300)
Carson MicroBrite Plus 60x-120x LED Lighted Pocket Microscope (MM-300)
Carson MicroBrite 20x-40x LED Lighted Pocket Microscope for Learning, Education and Exploring (MM-24)
Carson MicroBrite 20x-40x LED Lighted Pocket Microscope for Learning, Education and Exploring (MM-24)

Last update on 2023-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

When it comes down to it, one of the most effective ways to tell if your cannabis plants are ready to harvest is by viewing and analyzing the trichomes on the marijuana plant.

However, this is not something that can be done with the naked eye. You need something like a microscope in order to properly view and analyze marijuana trichomes.

Here is a rundown of the 7 best microscopes for viewing trichomes in 2021, and everything you need to know before buying one.


How To Choose The Right Microscope For Viewing Trichomes

Marijuana and its trichomes

Before we wrap up for the day, you should also keep some main purchasing factors in mind. You don’t want to go out and buy just any microscope of magnifying device.

Here are the main points to keep in mind before buying a microscope for viewing trichomes;

1. Magnification Capabilities

First off, you want to look for the exact magnification capabilities of the item in question. As you may have noticed from our reviews, some jeweler’s loupes are as low as 10x, or even 5x, but some of the microscopes we looked at, especially the digital ones, go up to 1000x magnification or more.

Well, 1000x magnification is overkill, but 5x is not enough. If you want something basic that works, you do want to have at least 10x magnification, and anywhere up to 100x will do fine as well.

2. Image Quality & Clarity

If you are using a regular microscope, it is the lenses that will provide you with good image quality, so make sure that the item in question features high quality lenses.

If you are using a digital microscope, you want to ensure that it has a good camera with great resolution, and that whatever display you are using can match that quality.

Great magnification capability is not going to mean much if the end result is grainy.

3. Durability & Longevity

Yes, you do want to find something that has a decent level of durability.

Of course, you do get what you pay for, so if you are looking for something decent, don’t go with the cheapest option around, but this does also not mean that you have to shell out hundreds and hundreds of dollars either.

Something mid range will do just fine for viewing trichomes.

4. Size & Portability

How large is the microscope in question? Keep in mind that handheld options are nice because they are small and portable, and more important, they do not make you remove the buds form your plants for viewing, which is a big deal.

On the other hand, larger and less portable microscopes, although you do have to break off a bud and bring it to the microscopes, they do tend to have higher quality and better capabilities overall.

5. Illumination Capabilities

Whatever you do, you should always look for a microscope that has illumination. In other words, you want it to have a light.

It will just make it much easier to see the trichomes with clarity.

6. User Friendliness

Finally, how easy is the item in question to use. Is it something that anybody can use, or is it a microscope that you have to have a PhD to use?

Something simple and straightforward will do just fine for viewing trichomes.

7 Best Microscopes & Magnifying Glass For Viewing Trichomes

quality check with trichomes in marijuana buds with a powerful microscope

Here is a rundown of what we think are the current 7 best microscopes which help to magnify your cannabis buds so you can easily view them to see if the trichomes are at the proper stage, and therefore if your cannabis plants are ready for harvest or not.

1. Carson MicroBrite Pocket Microscope

Carson MicroBrite Plus 60x-120x LED Lighted Pocket Microscope (MM-300)
  • Pocket Microscope with a Powerful 60x-120x Magnification Range
  • Precision Molded Aspheric Lenses Provide Superior Optics
  • Designed to be Compact, Lightweight and Portable.Remove the battery before storing the microscope for an extended period
  • Bright LED Light is Powered by 1 AA Battery (not included)

Last update on 2023-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Here we have a very small and portable pocket microscope that is great for viewing cannabis trichomes. We do like this one because it is so small and can fit right into your pocket, so you can easily take it from one plant to the next and look at the trichomes of each plant in quick succession.

The fact of the matter is that this thing is very convenient if you have to look at a lot of plants and don’t want to deal with a larger, stationary, or digital microscope, plus to use the Carson MicroBrite, you do not have to take the buds of marijuana off the plant, which is pretty nifty too.

Moreover, this particular microscope does have a great magnification range, which ranges from 60x to 120x magnification, which is more than enough to tell if the trichomes on your weed plant are ready for harvest.

Magnification intensity adjustments are easily made using the included dial. The precision molded aspheric lenses to provide great optical quality so you can see your trichomes in great detail.

Moreover, what is also nice about the Carson microscope is that it comes with a bright LED light, one that is battery powered, which also helps you see those trichomes with clarity.

This thing is very simple, small, portable, and it gets the job done.

Check Pricing At Amazon

2. Rotek Wireless Digital Microscope

No products found.

Here we have a slightly more advanced version for you to go with, as the Rotek Wireless Digital Microscope is indeed digital, which means that instead of looking through the lens and eye piece with your eyes, this thing hooks up to your smartphone, tablet, or computer, which is then where you will see the image.

The Rotek Digital Microscope uses a wireless connection to connect to your device, so you can view your trichomes on your phone or tablet screen, or computer too if you choose.

The cool part here is that this thing is very small. You can easily hold it in one hand and point it at a marijuana bud to look at the trichomes, while also holding your device in the other hand for viewing.

This digital microscope has a magnification range between 50x and 1000x, which is obviously way more than enough to basic cannabis trichome viewing. All you have to do is turn the included dial to adjust the magnification intensity.

The camera itself is a 2.0 megapixel camera with high quality 1080P resolution, which when combined with a decent phone, tablet, or computer display, allows you to see those awesome trichomes with great clarity.

We do also like how the Rotek microscope comes with a built in adjustable LED light to make it much easier to see those potent trichomes. It does come with a little stand in case you want to be a bit steadier while looking at your cannabis buds.

Check Pricing At Amazon

3. Yinama LCD Digital Microscope

LCD Digital Microscope, YINAMA 4.3 Inch 50X-1000X Magnification 1080P Compound Handheld Microscopes Camera with Rechargeable Battery Mini Hdmi Port 8 LED Lights Slides
  • ❤【Built-in 4.3 Inch Screen & Connecting to PC】Built-in 4.3 inch screen provide broad field of view for easy viewing. No need to worry about unstable app of wireless or usb microscope. Digital microscope supports connecting to PC via usb cable for viewing details. It's the best gift for children, students, hobbyists and other users.
  • ❤【50X and 1000x Magnification】Microscope has magnification levels of 50x and 1000x, allowing us to view the smallest details of specimens clearly such as plants, coins, diamonds. Images and videos obtained during viewing can be saved to the 8GB TF card.please note that:the TF card has insert into the item, please check it.
  • ❤【Easy to Focus】Adjusting the object stage close to the lens, then you can view the sample on the screen clearly by rotating the focus wheel slowly. Fine focus and coarse focus function can be achieved by adjusting the microscope.
  • ❤【Sturdy Base】Sturdy and nicely weighted base enable to minimize shaking and keep your sample in sharp focus. Then you will view the object more steadily and accurately.
  • ❤【Premium Rechargeable Battery】Microscope equipped with premium rechargeable battery supports up to 4 hours working time, you can charge it with the usb cable. The microscope is a normal level microscope, it is not good at living cells analysis.

Last update on 2023-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Here we have yet another nice little microscope that works quite well for viewing marijuana trichomes.

Now, if you notice, the first one we looked at was a basic small microscope, the second one connected to your phone or tablet for viewing, and now this one, the Yinama LCD Digital Microscope, while also being a digital microscope, actually comes with its own display.

Now, for this one you do have to take a bud off the plant to view the trichomes, as this microscope is designed to be stationary, but this should not be a huge deal.

We do really like the display on the Yinama microscope, as it has a super high quality resolution, it is fairly large, and has excellent color contrast too. Keep in mind that the screen here is a 4.3 inch screen, which should be more than large enough.

The included lenses here are also of a very high quality, which helps to make it much easier to identify and analyse the trichomes. What is also neat about the Yinama Digital Microscope is that it has an adjustable stand, as well as an adjustable LED light, so you can get the right distance and lighting conditions to see trichomes with ease.

This microscope features magnification capabilities ranging from 50x to 1000x.

Check Pricing At Amazon

4. Plugable USB Digital Microscope

Plugable USB Digital Microscope with Flexible Arm Observation Stand Compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux (2MP, 250x Magnification)
  • Hobby Focused - Useful and fun for students, collectors, testers, and anyone interested in exploring the microscopic world. Includes a microscope camera yet cannot be used as a document camera
  • High Definition - 2.0 Megapixels, up to 250x magnification (Note: Final magnification corresponds to monitor size)
  • Broad Compatibility - Electronic microscope uses a webcam chipset and sensor to support nearly any operating system using standard webcam software. Users with an Oculus Rift may require additional setup
  • Integrated Lighting - LED halo light with brightness adjustment control. The microscopes flexible arm stand with observation pad includes graduated marks for easy measurement or use as a handheld microscope
  • 2 Year Warranty - We love our Plugable products, and hope you will too. All of our products are backed with a 2-year limited parts and labor warranty as well as Seattle-based email support

Last update on 2023-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This is another nice little digital microscope, but here we are going back to a model that needs to be connected to your computer in order to use it. It does not come with its own display, and you cannot simply look through it like a normal microscope.

Now, the Plugable USB Digital Microscope is compatible with most operating systems, and it uses a standard USB plug to connect to your computer, both good benefit, but do keep in mind that this thing is designed to be stationary, so you will have to bring the cannabis buds and the trichomes to it, instead of being able to take it to the plants.

With that being said, this microscope is still quite convenient and very easy to use. One thing to note is this microscope is compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac, but not with iOS, just so you know.

Other than that, this is a perfectly fine option to keep in mind. It features a magnification range up to 250x magnification, which should be way more than enough for trichome viewing.

Moreover, it comes with a high quality 2 MP camera, so you can rest assured that you get the picture and color quality that you need to properly analyse the trichomes.

Here you even get an adjustable LED light so you can illuminate the cannabis buds and the trichomes for even better observation.

5. Carson MicroBrite Pocket Microscope

Carson MicroBrite 20x-40x LED Lighted Pocket Microscope for Learning, Education and Exploring (MM-24)
  • Zoom Pocket Microscope with 20x-40x Power Magnification
  • Compact and Lightweight | Included Accessories: Base and 2 Specimen Slides
  • LED Lighted to ensure bright and clear subjects | Dimensions: 1.125'' x 3.875'' x 2.125 (W x H x D)
  • Runs on 3 LR-44 Button Cell Batteries (Included) | Weight: 2.0 oz.

Last update on 2023-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Here we have another microscope from the Carson brand name. Now, in all reality, this one is very similar to the very first option we looked at on the list today.

This one, has a bit of a lower magnification range than the other one we looked at, which had a range of 60x to 120x, whereas this one has a range of 20x to 40x.

No, it does not magnify quite as much as the other one on the list, but when it comes down to it, 40x magnification is still way more than enough to view some trichomes on your marijuana buds. Other than this main difference, this microscope and the other Carson microscope are more or less the same.

This pocket microscope is extremely small and portable. It is small enough to hold with one hand, and you can literally hold it up to your cannabis plants without having to remove a bud from the plants, which is really convenient no doubt.

The fact that you can take it to your plants, instead of bringing the buds to it, is a really big bonus indeed. We do like the fact that the Carson MicroBrite does come with an LED light, as it makes it much easier to see what is going on with your cannabis buds and the trichomes on them.

6. Carson LumiLoupe Magnifier Loupe

Carson LumiLoupe 10X Power Stand Magnifier (LL-10), Black/Clear
  • Manufacturer of the number magnifieirs in the United States
  • Groundbreaking and innovative designs
  • Made using the highest quality components

Last update on 2023-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Ok, so here we do not have a microscope per say, but as you will find out from the sections further below, some people do use a magnifier loupe or jeweler’s lens in order to view trichomes.

Now, these do not have quite the same magnification capabilities as a straight up microscope, so the depth of magnification and the quality of the image is not quite as high, but when it comes to basic first time trichome viewing, it should still be more than good enough.

For instance, this Carson Magnifier Loupe has a 10x magnification capability. No, this is not adjustable, and it always sits at 10x magnification, but it is still enough to see trichomes with relative ease.

This thing is quite portable and small, and you don’t need to hook it up to any electronics. Simply remove a small bud of marijuana from the plant, place it under the Magnifier Loupe, and you can observe it to see if the trichomes are ready to harvest.

This is a very small, simple, and effective tool to use for viewing marijuana trichomes.

7. Fanci LED Jeweler’s Loupe

Fancii LED Illuminated 20X Jewelers Loupe Magnifier, Triplet Glass - Premium Aluminum Magnifying Eye Loop Best for Jewelry, Diamonds, Gems, Coins, Engravings and More!
  • ✔ ADJUSTABLE FOCUS - 20X power zoom magnifying glass loupe with adjustable lens to allow examination of objects close-up
  • ✔ PROFESSIONAL QUALITY - Aircraft grade aluminum frame and optical glass lens suitable for jewelers, watchmakers, geologists, coin and stamp collectors, photographers, and hobbyists
  • ✔ PORTABLE AND STYLISH - Lightweight, pocket size, and easy to carry. Comes with a black PU leather sleeve for added protection.
  • ✔ PREMIUM HIGH CLARITY - Best for examining intricate details in jewelry, gems, diamonds, antiques, coins, stamps, currency, photography, film negatives, etc.
  • ✔ BRILLIANT LED LIGHTS - 6 bright eco-friendly and energy-efficient lights; turn on or off with a simple switch on the side (Batteries included)

Last update on 2023-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

We just wanted to add another jeweler’s loupe to the list, especially because the Fanci LED Jeweler’s Loupe has a 20x magnification ability, whereas the other one we just looked at only featured 10x magnification.

Simply put, this one will provide you with a more closeup look at the trichomes and should provide you with better image quality too.

Something we do really like about this jeweler’s Loupe is that it comes with a nice LED light to make sure that you can see exactly what the cannabis trichomes look like with optimal clarity.

It’s also very small and portable, which is convenient if you are on the go and have to examine a large number of cannabis plants.

What Are Trichomes?

Something you definitely want to familiarize yourself with when it comes to weed plants is what trichomes are. Trichomes, technically speaking, are the resin glands of your marijuana plant, and this is where most of the THC, CBD, and other active compounds are produced.

Trichomes are little glands which grow on the exterior of the marijuana flowers or buds, and they often look like little mushrooms.

It is very important that trichomes on the marijuana plant are at the proper stage of development when you harvest them, as this will decide how much THC and CBD is present in your buds, and the potency of it as well.

The bottom line is that the trichomes of your cannabis plant are where all of the good stuff is contained.

Why Do You Need To Look At The Trichomes On Your Marijuana Plant?

weed plant close up

As mentioned before, the reason you will want to use something like a jeweler’s loupe or a microscope to view the trichomes on your weed plants is because this will decide whether or not your marijuana plant is ready for harvest.

We do have another article which is all about knowing when to harvest your marijuana, and here we discuss exactly what the trichomes should look like when your pot plant is at the optimal harvesting point (you can check out the article by clicking here).

If you don’t want long enough to harvest your plant, the trichomes will not be fully developed and the amount of THC present will be limited, but if you want to long, the THC can start to go bad or dissipate, which is of course no ideal either.

Therefore, the point here is that using something like a microscope to view marijuana trichomes will let you know when the right time to harvest is.

Types Of Magnification Devices For Viewing Trichomes

types of devices

Before you go out an buy any kind of device to analyze the trichomes on your marijuana plants, do keep in mind that there are a few different devices which you can choose to go with for this very purpose.

Let’s take a look at the different options which you have at your disposal;

1. Jeweler’s Loupe

The first option you could go with here is the basic jeweler’s loupe or jeweler’s lens. As you can probably guess by the name, these are used by jewelers to assess the quality of jewels.

These are very small and portable, they often do not cost all that much, and they work well enough. Now, there is only so far these go in terms of magnification, but they should be more than fine for basic use.

2. Handheld Microscope

Handheld microscopes, often known as handheld magnifiers, are a bit better when it comes to magnification capabilities, when compared to a jeweler’s loupe, plus they often come with light for better illumination.

These are also fine for basic marijuana grower’s but keep in mind that they are handheld, so it is up to you to keep them steady during use, which can be a bit of a challenge, but a benefit is that you can take them to your plants, so you don’t need to remove any buds from the plant to view the trichomes.

3. A Normal Microscope

Going up the list, the next thing you can use for your trichome viewing is a good old normal microscope. These are stationary, so as opposed to handheld options, you do need to remove buds from the cannabis plants to use a normal microscope.

However, the advantage you get with a normal microscope is that they have way better magnification abilities, plus they usually have better illumination too.

4. A Digital Microscope

The other option that you can go with is a bit more modern, the digital microscope. Now, as opposed to a normal microscope where you stick your eye to the eye piece and look through a lens, the digital microscope uses a camera and a display.

There are some options which come with their own high quality digital displays, there are those which use your phone or tablet as the display, and there are also those which can hook up to your computer as well.

These tend to be the most advanced, but beware that here you are relying on the display of your device to provide you with a good viewing experience.


How to See Trichomes Without a Magnifying Glass?

If you don’t have a magnifying glass or a microscope, seeing trichomes becomes much harder, if not impossible.

The reality is that to accurately observe trichomes, a magnifying factor of at least 30x is required, and the higher the better.

If you don’t have any of these tools, the best thing that you can do is to take a bud and place it in very direct and bright sunlight, stand about a foot or two back from it, and try your best with your naked eye.

That said, observing trichomes with just your eyes is not really doable. It’s best to simply invest in a good trichome viewer device like we have covered in the article.

What Color Should my Trichomes be?

When your cannabis plant is ready to harvest, some of the trichomes, about 15% to 20% of them, should be amber in color, with the rest being milky white.

This means that the plant is ready to harvest and that it contains the maximum amount of THC possible.

If the majority of the trichomes on the cannabis plant are amber, it means that the plant is overripe, and at this point much of the THC will already have disappeared.

What Percentage of Trichomes Should be Amber?

As mentioned above, your cannabis plant is ready to harvest when roughly 20% of the trichomes have turned amber.

If you wait too long to harvest your plant, and the majority of the trichomes have turned amber, it means that it is too late.

You can still harvest an overripe cannabis plant, but it won’t be nearly as potent as it could have been.

What Is The Best USB Microscope For Trichomes?

We would say the Plugable USB Digital Microscope, which was our number 4 pick above.

It’s a nice small digital option that is compatible with most operating systems and has a range of up to 250x magnification which makes it a suitable trichome microscope.


When all is said and done, before you go to harvest your cannabis plants, be sure to examine the trichomes to ensure that they are indeed ready to harvest.

The best way to go is with a good little microscope or magnifying glass (we recommend the Rotek Wireless Digital Microscope). Keep in mind the points we made here today about choosing the best microscope for viewing trichomes, and you should be just fine.

Photo Credits: Théo @ Flickr (CC)
Psychonaught [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


My passion for the sticky icky started nearly a decade ago, and it all began when I first laid my eyes on the beauty that is the marijuana plant.

I cover all aspects of growing from equipment recommendations to plant health/care tips to help both new and experienced growers.