The 10 Best Molecular Model Kits
This wiki has been updated 18 times since it was first published in February of 2018. Molecular model kits are great tools for illustrating chemistry concepts, as visual aids, like these, are interactive, engaging, and can speed up the learning process. The carefully chosen items on this list are suitable for both advanced and beginner levels, and include everything you need to create three-dimensional representations of the structures in your textbook. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. If you'd like to contribute your own research to the Wiki, please get started by reviewing this introductory video.
February 16, 2021:
There weren't many new additions in this update, as the brands already represented on the list continue to be the best choices available. While our understanding of molecular structures continues to evolve over time, the basic makeup of elements and their bonds are still well represented by these time-tested models.
The University Chemistry Co. was removed due to availability concerns. New to the list, we have the Happy Atoms Introductory. While it isn't as comprehensive as most comparable alternatives, and is a bit pricier than most, it has several features that make it ideal for younger students (it's aimed at kids aged 10-17). For one thing, the atom pieces are labeled with their atomic symbols, rather than relying on the universal color coding system alone. This can help kids learn which element is which more easily, without having to constantly check the guide. It also uses magnets for the connections, which makes it easier to put molecules together and take them apart. Its most innovative feature is an app that can be used to scan a completed molecule. Once it recognizes the molecule, it provides not only its name, but also facts about its structure and how it is used in real-world settings.
One of the biggest issues with otherwise high-quality kits is the storage boxes that come with them. Some have issues with ill-fitting lids, and some, like the Reliancer 444, don't have any dividers, making it difficult to keep the various pieces organized and easy-to-find. If the kit that best matches your needs and budget doesn't have the best container, you might want to consider buying a higher-quality organizer as well, especially if you're planning to use the kit in a classroom or science camp setting, where small parts often get lost in the shuffle.
October 15, 2019:
While visual and kinetic learners can get plenty of information from the diagrams and charts in their chemistry textbooks, there's nothing quite like a molecular model kit for getting hands-on, tactile experience to understand complex concepts.
We ensured this list had offerings to suit almost any learning level, with the exception of very small children, and so included kits of varying price points and piece counts to cater to any budget and learning need. These sets are great for both teachers to have in their classrooms and students to purchase for use as a home study aid.
We expanded our selections to create a full ten-item list and retired the Hensah Chemistry, Wisehands Labs, and Molecularity Resonating due to fulfillment issues. This gave us the leeway to diversify our offerings by adding the Vision Scientific Large, a professional-grade, comprehensive kit that, unlike its competitors, comes with a strong, reliable case. We also brought on the Old Nobby Instructional, Mega Molecules Advanced, and Dalton Labs Building. We especially like the Dalton unit because it comes bundled with helpful 3D modeling software and is offered in five kits of varying comprehensiveness. The Mega Molecules Advanced has been lauded for the ease of assembly its pieces offer.
Flinn Scientific Designed with classrooms in mind, there are a variety of kits available, some focusing on just organic or inorganic chemistry, some designed to form one specific molecule, and some designed for individuals, small groups, or teachers. The company also sells replacement parts, so you don't have to buy a whole new kit if you lose a few pieces. flinnsci.com
Snatoms Rather than have students assemble pieces via the stick and ball method, Snatoms uses magnets, which allows you to feel the attraction between atoms and create models that are closer to what molecules actually look like. Kits include the three most important atoms for life, which are carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. From these basic building blocks users can create tons of different compounds from water and hydrogen peroxide through to cyclohexane and glucose. snatoms.com