A monocular microscope is a compact device that offers a single eyepiece that gives a magnified view. This type of microscope is ideal for visual inspection tasks such as studying plants, animals, and microbes. It doesn't have the magnification capabilities of a stereo microscope, but it does have the advantage of providing a wide field of view.

A compound microscope, however, is also a monocular, but a different kind. With a compound microscope, the magnification is built up through the combination of several simple lenses. The magnification can be increased up to an infinite number of times. Compared to a monocular, a compound microscope has a higher maximum magnification, allowing it to view structures inside cells.

Monocular microscopes are generally lightweight and inexpensive. They have a clear, crisp, and natural field of view, and a distinct edge when it comes to night vision. While these microscopes aren't the best choice for looking at the smallest microbes, they are a good fit for targeted observations.

One of the most important features of a monocular is the eye relief. Although it is rarely advertised, the eye relief of a monocular will determine whether or not the user can comfortably observe the specimen. As a rule, a minimum of 15mm of eye relief is recommended for spectacle wearers. However, modern designs offer more eye relief.

Another feature of a monocular microscope is a head that rotates. These types of microscopes are usually used in classrooms and research laboratories, or for studying fixed or live specimens. Unlike a binocular, a monocular does not require symmetrical focus. Instead, the head is angled, which allows the viewer to see the object from multiple angles. If a student is working in a group, he or she can rotate the head so that all of them can look at the same specimen.

In addition, a monocular microscope does not have to be powered by electricity. It uses natural light to magnify the objects. Consequently, it's one of the most economical options when it comes to microscopes.

Monocular microscopes can be used to observe many different objects, but they aren't suitable for observing very small microbes. In contrast, a stereo microscope is equipped with four objective lenses that allow for a large range of magnification.

A monocular microscope is also very lightweight. Its head can be swiveled to accommodate different viewing positions, minimizing neck muscle strain. But it does not provide the ability to adjust the focusing mechanism, so it is not as practical as a binocular.

Some of the most popular models for monocular microscopes include the EXM-150 series and the Levenhuk MED 10M. Both of these microscopes have different features and are great choices for clinical and diagnostic laboratories, scientific research centers, and medical schools.

There are two types of monocular microscopes - those with a straight head and those with a revolving nosepiece. Straight-headed microscopes are great for beginners, but are not comfortable for more experienced users.