Skip to main content

Best chemistry sets 2022: Amazing at-home chemistry sets for kids and adults

Best chemistry sets - Girl and boy playing with chemistry set_Thames & Kosmos
(Image credit: Thames & Kosmos)

When choosing the best chemistry sets, there are a lot of factors to consider. For sets aimed at children, you’ll want to prioritize safety and easy to read instructions, while teens and adults may prefer a wider range of experiments, and deeper explanations of the chemistry.

Regardless of whether you’re buying for a total newbie, or someone with a fundamental understanding of what chemistry is and how it works, there are plenty of options available. Some reframe chemistry through the lens of magic, while others offer the opportunity to slowly build up a collection of experiments via a subscription service.

Some of these options come at a higher price, but generally include higher-quality tools and equipment. Plenty are cost-effective however, and great ways to introduce your kids to chemistry, without breaking the bank in the process.

To help you decide on the best chemistry set to buy for kids and adults, we’ve collected 10 options below. These range from introductory chemistry kits to larger sets that cover Earth and physical sciences, in addition to classic demonstrations of what makes chemistry such a fascinating subject. Crystal-growing, underwater volcanoes, and VR experiments are all featured, each ready to be performed safely in your home. We’ve broken these recommendations up into the best chemistry sets for kids, and those that are well-suited to teens and adults. 

Let’s dive in and get learning!

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

+
Pricing options
+
Learn science through magic
+
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

+
Great value
+
Full color instructions
+
Over 50 experiments
+
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

+
Vibrant packaging and presentation
+
52 hands-on experiments
+
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

+
Slime science
+
Clip-on experiment cards and stand
+
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.


Einstein Box Ultimate Science Kit

(Image credit: Einstein Box)

5. Einstein Box Ultimate Science Kit

Make an underwater volcano and color changing liquids.

Specifications

Price: $34.99
Age range: 6-14
Brand: Einstein Box
Number of experiments: 40

Reasons to buy

+
Downloadable instructions
+
Color and crystal science
+
Resealable chemicals

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive for number of experiments included

If color-changing and crystal science are your jam, the Einstein Box Ultimate Science Kit will provide hours of fun. Forty experiments are included, with activities ranging from soap science to glow-in-the dark materials, and even making your own bath bombs. The great thing about this set is that the instructions are downloadable, saving you from physical booklets that can be prone to damage and spills.

The chemicals that are included come in resealable packaging, alongside brightly colored equipment and tools. The only downside here is that it's slightly more expensive than some of the other options available, though it would be perfect if you can pick it up on sale.

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

+
Blacklight included
+
Online instructions
+
Great value
+
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

+
Huge variety of experiments
+
Includes Earth science
+
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.


MEL Chemistry Science Experiments Subscription Box

(Image credit: MEL Chemistry)

3. MEL Chemistry — Science Experiments Subscription Box

Get science delivered to your door every month.

Specifications

Price: $34.90 per box
Age range: 10+
Brand: MEL Science
Number of experiments: 3 per box

Reasons to buy

+
Subscription based model to expand starter pack
+
Wide range of experiments
+
New topic each month

Reasons to avoid

-
Larger investment money-wise

Now for something completely different. The MEL Science Experiments Subscription Box allows you to purchase chemistry experiments a box at a time. Three experiments are featured per month, building on the starter kit to cover new topics every time. This subscription-based model does make things a bit more expensive, but it’s perfect for teens/adults who want to expand their knowledge of chemistry, and receive regular updates to their available experiments.

The first shipment includes 71 high-quality tools, setting the groundwork for future deliveries. Topics include colorful chemistry and VR-based activities. A cardboard VR headset is also included in the first shipment, with 70+ VR experiments to explore.


Thames & Kosmos Chemistry C500 Experiment Kit

(Image credit: Thames & Kosmos)

4. Thames & Kosmos Chemistry C500 Experiment Kit

A great introduction to the world of chemistry.

Specifications

Price: $34.95
Age range: 10+
Brand: Thames & Kosmos
Number of experiments: 28

Reasons to buy

+
Classic experiments
+
Covers fundamental concepts of chemistry
+
28 experiments and full-color instructions

Reasons to avoid

-
Extra components required for certain experiments

The Thames & Kosmos Chem C500 kit is another great example of a chemistry set that offers science-focused, fact-based fundamental chemistry experiments. There are 28 experiments to work through, with electrochemical reactions and invisible ink production being the highlights.

The set comes with a 48-page full-color booklet that explains each experiment in detail. Chemistry goes beyond textbooks, and this set does a fantastic job at conveying just that.


Thames & Kosmos Chem C2000 (V 2.0) Experiment Kit

(Image credit: Thames & Kosmos)

5. Thames & Kosmos Chem C2000 (V 2.0) Experiment Kit

A massive 250 experiments to explore in this monster science kit.

Specifications

Price: $159.95
Age range: 11+
Brand: Thames & Kosmos
Number of experiments: 250

Reasons to buy

+
Empty List

Reasons to avoid

-
Empty List

Finally, we have another set from Thames & Kosmos. This gigantic set is the most expensive on this list, but with 250 experiments, and a full set of professional quality lab tools included, it’s well worth the investment. This is definitely a step up from the other selections on this list in terms of quality, so it’s perfect for adults. You’ll find great easy-to-read instructions, a wide range of activities, and plenty to keep you busy.

Jake is a freelance writer featured in NME, Eurogamer and VG247. He has a BSc degree in Chemistry and loves keeping up to date with the latest developments in the scientific world. He's also a total sucker for anything involving a time loop, and can often be found in dive bars all over the UK trying to flog his band.