Best chemistry sets 2024: amazing at-home chemistry sets for kids and adults

Get the reaction you’re looking for with the best chemistry sets for kids and adults.

Best science kits

Chemistry is among the most exciting types of science, but it can also be intimidating and complex for some people. But with chemistry kits, kids and adults alike can learn in a hands-on fashion, understand concepts easier and learn just how much fun science can be. 

There is a great range of science kits out there, with some better than others, especially if you’re buying for a beginner. For kids, you’ll want to look at the kit’s age guidelines, which might mean buying one with easy-to-read instructions and basic experiments. 

If you’re looking for a more advanced chemistry kit, there are plenty of options that let you conduct a range of exciting experiments — from underwater volcanoes to test tube lava lamps. 

We’ve compiled a list of the best chemistry sets across all price points. With kits suitable for both kids and adults, you’re sure to find one that suits you. 

For more scientific tools and toys for your young ones, check out our guides to the best microscopes for kids and best science kits for kids respectively.  

Best chemistry sets for kids

National Geographic Science Magic Kit

(Image credit: National Geographic)

1. National Geographic Science Magic Kit

Discover the magic of science, and the science of magic.

Specifications

Price: $16.99 – 29.99
Age range: 8+
Brand: National Geographic
Number of experiments: 10-50

Reasons to buy

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Pricing options

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Learn science through magic

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Vibrant color changes

Reasons to avoid

Limited in scope when compared to more science-focused sets

Starting things off with the best chemistry sets for kids, we have the National Geographic Science Magic Kit. This is a great option for those looking for a way to engage kids with science, by framing experiments as magic tricks. Color changes, magically appearing snow, and floating coin activities will gradually build on your child’s understanding of chemistry. There’s a magic wand included and easy-to-read kid-friendly instructions.

Even the most seasoned scientists still manage to find wonder in the basics of chemistry, with many fundamental experiments seeming like the work of magic. There are a few options available here, ranging from a starter kit featuring 10 activities, to a larger bundle that offers a wider variety of tests and tricks. The Science Magic Kit is designed for kids that want to show off their experiments to friends and family, adding a layer of theatricality to the proceedings.


WILD! Science Test Tube Chemistry Lab

(Image credit: WILD! Science)

2. WILD! Science Test Tube Chemistry Lab

Conduct real science experiments at home with this comprehensive set.

Specifications

Price: $29.99
Age range: 8-12
Brand: WILD! Science
Number of experiments: 50

Reasons to buy

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Great value

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Full color instructions

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Over 50 experiments

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Great variety of activities

For those looking for a more expansive chemistry set that’s still approachable for young kids, WILD! Science’s Test Tube Chemistry Lab is a solid choice. For starters, there are over 50 experiments to learn, including a test tube lava lamp, and STEM projects involving the metals copper and zinc.

Clear and easy-to-understand instructions can really make or break a kids’ chemistry set, so it’s great that you’ll find a large, full-color set included here. One of the bonuses with this kit are the resealable containers, which should help cut down on waste and mess. There’s a wide variety of activities for your child to enjoy, covering everything from color changes to more educational tasks that explain pH, diffusion, and invisible gases.


Playz STEM Extreme Kids Chemistry Kit.jpg

(Image credit: Playz)

3. Playz STEM Extreme Kids Chemistry Kit

Learn the wonders of chemistry with safe and fun science experiments.

Specifications

Price: $59.95
Age range: 8-13
Brand: Playz
Number of experiments: 52

Reasons to buy

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Vibrant packaging and presentation

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52 hands-on experiments

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Safe introduction to fire-dependent reactions

Reasons to avoid

Expensive when compared to similar products

When selecting a chemistry set for children, presentation and packaging can be key to getting them engaged initially. The Playz Extreme Kids Chemistry Kit features a more cartoon-like design on the box and has more of a playful tone than other kits on this list. It offers over 52 experiments, including crystal growing and an underwater volcano.

The main issue here is that the kit is pretty pricey when compared to its competitors. It does seem to be on offer fairly often however, so well worth picking up if you can catch it on a discount.


Thames & Kosmos Ooze Labs Chemistry Station

(Image credit: Thames & Kosmos)

4. Thames & Kosmos Ooze Labs Chemistry Station

Create glowing slime, fizzing reactions and oozing bubbles.

Specifications

Price: $39.95
Age range: 6+
Brand: Thames & Kosmos
Number of experiments: 20

Reasons to buy

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Slime science

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Clip-on experiment cards and stand

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Booklet containing scientific explanations

Reasons to avoid

Not many experiments included

The Ooze Labs kit from Thames & Kosmos features 20 experiments that teach chemistry through the wonder of slime and ooze. This is a brilliant set for younger kids, and has an easy to set-up stand. This stand holds test tubes and can be used to clip the experiment cards to. The experiment cards are brief, easy-to-understand instructions for each activity, with deeper explanations and science facts found in the accompanying booklet.

As you will likely know, kids love slime, and this is a way to get them active and interested in how stretchy materials are formed. The Ooze set adds an extra layer of fun, framing important scientific concepts in ways that children will love.


Best chemistry sets for adults

Discovery Extreme Chemistry STEM Science Kit

(Image credit: Discovery)

1. Discovery Extreme Chemistry STEM Science Kit

Unleash your inner mad scientist!

Specifications

Price: $19.99
Age range: 12+
Brand: Discovery
Number of experiments: 40

Reasons to buy

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Blacklight included

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Online instructions

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Great value

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Bonus poster

For those looking for a more science-focused chemistry set, the Discovery STEM Science Kit is a great choice. There are 40 experiments to try out, ranging from core concepts like acid/base reactions, to creating stringy worms. That’s not to say that this set is at all dense, more that it presents the science behind each experiment up-front. Important topics like pH litmus changes are taught, helping you take on some of the fundamentals of professional chemistry.

The Discovery STEM set has a couple of bonuses over the others on this list. First up is the included blacklight, which adds an extra layer of magic to some of the experiments. There’s a bonus poster too, showing off some of the activities that you will have carried out.


National Geographic Mega Science Lab

(Image credit: National Geographic)

2. National Geographic Mega Science Lab

Three huge science kits in one.

Specifications

Price: $79.99
Age range: 8+
Brand: National Geographic
Number of experiments: 75

Reasons to buy

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Huge variety of experiments

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Includes Earth science

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High quality tools and instructions

Reasons to avoid

High-end pricewise

National Geographic has some truly great science sets, being one of the best brands for those wanting to scratch their inner Einstein. The best thing about these sets is that while they can be enjoyed by kids, the presentation and contents appeal to all ages too. This stunning set is a great option for adults/teens looking for quantity as well as quality when it comes to experiments as this box is split into three different sets: chemistry, Earth science, and science magic. As this is a bundle of sorts, it carries a higher price tag, but with the variety and depth to back it up.

Earth sciences and chemistry topics are all covered here, with everything from crystal growing to pH tests included. This is a chemistry set that will have something for everyone, with enough diversity in its activities to keep things fresh and interesting.

How we test

How educational are chemistry sets for kids?

From learning about invisible gas to growing crystals, chemistry sets can provide hands-on education that is particularly suited to kinesthetic learners.

The kits can also add a sense of fun and playfulness to a child’s impression of science, which can be important, particularly as they approach their later school years when science is studied in more depth. They can also teach children about the practical elements of science, such as how to dispose of chemicals properly (throwing chemicals down the drain can be troublesome). 

That said, there are plenty of science manuals and books, documentaries, YouTube videos and more around these days, so there are many different ways to learn about experiments without needing a chemistry set. But you should consider buying one as it can be an enjoyable and helpful way to complement learning at home. 

How do I choose the best chemistry set?

It’s important to consider the age range of a chemistry kit when choosing one. For example, the Discovery Extreme Chemistry STEM Science Kit is listed for children aged 12 and above. Indeed, it covers some important topics like pH changes, which is perfect for a child approaching high school, but may be too complicated for a younger child. 

Of course, chemistry kits are not just for kids; they’re for adults too. If you’re buying one for yourself, we suggest looking closely at the experiments they offer to decide what you want to experience. 

Price is also important to consider and can vary from under $20 to over $100. You might also want to keep in mind that some science kits can be subscription-based — making them a long-term investment. 

For you, value for money could mean buying a kit that allows you to do a lot of experiments. In this guide, the kits range from allowing you to create 250 different experiments to just three. So, you can look at the type and number of experiments on offer to make the best purchase decision. 

Are chemistry sets safe?

In the past, chemistry sets have contained substances that would have fallen short of today’s safety standards. For example, the uranium dust present in the “nuclear” kits of the 1950s.

Since the late 20th century, however, chemistry sets have been much safer. They are also made with varying age guidelines depending on the set. All kits aimed at children are also designed with adult supervision in mind.

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