Finding the right chemistry set to help your child along in their education, as well as keep them entertained, can be difficult. The heirloom kit that was iconic of youth for so long has faded into a rarity. Instead of focusing on education and science, almost all modern products are intended to be mere toys. However, there are still a handful of legitimate, science-based ones produced.
These are the top 6 chemistry sets we could find anywhere. Each kit includes everything you will need to encourage your children in this area of science and keep them, and you, entertained too. The kits we’ve included are best for a household with kids ten and older, with the larger ones even being at an adult level and a perfect gift for anyone wanting to set up their own lab.
6 Best Chemistry Sets
We prefer the top chemistry sets on our list because they are more complete and provide more options. The simpler sets are also very good but are more for kids that are just being introduced to the science of chemistry. The best chemistry sets on the market are listed in the reviews below.
1. MELScience Chemistry Kits
MELChemistry is the best chemistry set of 2021. Why? Because it’s not one static chemistry set. It’s an evolving set of chemistry experiments.
At least for a kid, the problem with a chemistry set is that after all of the experiments from the instruction book are carried out, the child has no idea what to do.
When I was a kid, I was fortunate to have an old and well-supplied chemistry kit. I think my mom found it at a garage sale. It was GREAT! I had glassware, a bunsen burner, and dozens of chemicals! I even had a thick manual that had extensive instructions. Unfortunately, the manual was written for high school kids and I was 10 years old.
I had no earthly idea what to do with it!
This is where MELChemistry comes in. Every month, they send a new, and generally amazing, chemistry kit.
The kit includes everything you need to conduct 2-3 experiments, safely and with detailed, but fun and interesting, explanations of what’s happening chemically in the experiment.
Check out their website for videos. They had me after the second demo video.
In an ideal world, a kid would have MELChemistry and the Chem3000 chemistry set below, so they could conduct their own self-guided experiments to build on what has been learned. Having the two would would give them an exciting foundation for learning.
If that combination is out of your budget, MELChemistry alone offers the most bang for your buck.
Note: “Bang” is used as a figure of speech. Wildly unstable reactions should always be avoided with a home lab. Did I mention that MELChemistry is safe?
2. Thames & Kosmos Chem C3000 v2
Although it is #2 on our list, this is the ultimate lab for any young scientist and an excellent starter for adults. It includes everything from the C2000, with dozens of additional chemicals and lab equipment.
Includes: Erlenmeyer Flask, Large Graduated Beakers (2), Small Graduated Beakers (4), Pointed, Straight, Angled, and Acute-Angle Glass Tubing, Glass Balls (2) for mixing safely, Test Tubes (5), Immersion Heater, Alcohol Burner, Tripod Stand, Carbon Electrode, Magnesium Strip, Copper Sheet and Wire, Zinc Sheet, Aluminum Disk, Sodium Thiosulfate, Sodium Hydrogen Sulfate, Calcium Hydroxide, Potassium Hexacyanoferrate(II), Ammonium Chloride, Potassium Permanganate and Sodium Sulfate Chemical Mixture, Sulfur, Copper (II) Sulfate, Sodium Carbonate, Potassium Iodide, Potassium Bromide, Ammonium Iron (III) Sulfate, Litmus Powder, Iron Filings, Silicone Hose Coupler, Activated Charcoal, and Three 100 ml Bottles for Caustic Soda, HydrochloricAcid, and Hydrogen Peroxide.
These are just some of the highlights. It includes a lot more supplies than it makes sense to list here and a complete selection of hardware that you will need to carry out over 300 science experiments. You can find the full list of what is included at the link below.
This product is at a higher level than the option below, but it is still full of illustrations and explanations. Through performing a range of educational exercises, the guide helps kids learn about the periodic table, chemical equations, and atomic structures through experience.
The projects cover general and organic chemistry, with topics ranging from “Metal ions as oxidizing agents” to “Redox of the halogens”. You will be learning about Chlorine, Bromine, Potassium Permanganate, and Hydrochloric Acid, among other chemicals, so parental supervision is a must for safety.
This is a great set for anyone who already has basic foundational knowledge and wants to take their knowledge and abilities to a higher level or set up a lab and do their own research. It is also one of the most complex, complete, and high-quality products we’ve found at any price.
This will come with enough items to serve young scientists through high school and will be fascinating for most adults.
3. Thames & Kosmos Chem C2000 v2
This is a 50 piece intermediate chemistry lab, with 250 guided lab projects and the addition of an alcohol burner. It continues the exploration of electrochemistry and includes materials to perform an activity to introduce the basics of combustion and heat.
The alcohol burner greatly increases what can be done. Because kids can involve high heat, they can catalyze and explore the separation of mixtures.
Stronger acids and bases are used to explore metals like aluminum, iron, and copper while still being fairly safe for a home setting, though supervision is required.
- One of the more scientific kits to have in your chemistry lab.
- Kids make slime, crystals, and volcanos in their home lab.
- Activities for kids up to 12 years old.
4. Chem C1000 v2
Labeled as being for 10+ years, this kit is significantly more advanced than the one below and is definitely not a toy. Quite frankly, it depends on your 10-year-old. If your kids are total scientists, get this. If their mind is on other things and you just want to introduce the subject and spark a scientific interest, then the product below is a good choice.
125 experiments are laid out with detailed instructions in an 80-page full-color manual. This is intended to help kids learn about the physical properties of fluids, the physics of air pressure, and the surface tension of water.
There is some duplication in the subjects covered with the lower model of this item, but the C1000 also continues exploring electrochemical reactions by dissolving metals.
My personal favorite is the simple experiment of splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen. Through simple electrolysis, there is a clear demonstration how science can literally change everything, and how the components of molecules can have very different properties than the molecule itself.
5. Chem C500
Focus is on the differences between solids, liquids, and gases as well as how they react. It also introduces electrochemistry with metals and salts.
This may sound like a big step for a 10-year-old, but it is all easy hands-on fun and not textbook serious. This results in the student getting acquainted with slightly more advanced concepts, without feeling like they are playing with a toy instead of a science kit.
Lab projects include a color-changing litmus solution, crystal growth, and how to make invisible ink.
As should be expected, you will need to buy some things locally since it only has chemicals and tools that can be dropped by the postman.
- Educational and fun, but still teaches real chemistry.
- Greater safety for young kids.
- Introduces STEM in the kitchen.
6. Kids First Chemistry Set
Designed specifically for teaching the fundamentals, this has detailed full-color illustrations for each of the 27 projects recommended. At this stage, so many kits dumb down the real science, but this keeps activities entertaining for kids while not losing focus on understanding what is at work.
An example of this is making test tube racks from plaster they make themselves, which will then be used in a future project.
With hands-on fun, it will help in the understanding of crystallization, color, thermal flow, and evaporation. In the process, kids will also become familiar with the basic equipment used in much of science.
Made in Germany.
How to Choose the Right Chemistry Set
The single most important thing to consider when buying a science kit is how your child will learn. It seems obvious, but it is so easy to just look at the “recommended age” when buying something, without actually considering where they are in their development.
If you just want to pique their interest, you’ll probably want to try something simpler or focused on the magic of science. But if your kids are already drawn toward science or engineering, don’t be afraid to buy something slightly above their level.
Science is great for encouraging imagination and expanding your understanding of the world. Exposing your children to material that just beyond their current comfort level can keep your kids hungry to discover the next amazing thing in life.