The best chemistry set for adults
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The 11 Best Chemistry Sets for Adults

Last update: December 2022

For adult science lovers looking for fun ways to experiment and learn at home, a complete chemistry set is a great way to get started. One of the most difficult things about trying to perform chemistry projects at home is getting the chemicals and tools needed for basic lab work. It’s also difficult to find chemistry kits that match the difficulty level needed for adults since most are designed to teach younger students basic science concepts.

In this article, we’ll cover some of the best chemistry sets for adults on the market that will help get you started with your home chemistry experiments. We’ll also provide a buyer’s guide to help you choose the best set for your needs as well as some tips on how to get started with your new chemistry set.

SUMMARY

The Best Chemistry Sets for Adults in 2022

Best overall
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When you want a chemistry kit that gives you a lot of value, the Thames & Kosmos C2000 set is an excellent choice. With over 250 possible experiments using a variety of chemicals and materials (most of which are included in the kit), you can perform much more advanced tests than with other consumer chemistry kits.

The C2000 comes with an alcohol burner and professional-grade lab equipment so you can even try your hand at chemistry experiments that require heat. This can be difficult to do at home with other sets.

The kit comes with 50 pieces total and 12 different chemicals. Some experiments also require other household objects that are not included. So for more chemical reactions, make sure to have things like baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and citric acid at hand.

You also get a 128-page full-color lab manual that gives step-by-step instructions for each experiment. You can use it to find background information on the science behind all chemical reactions.

Overall, this is the best chemistry set for the beginner to intermediate user who wants to try their hand at serious experimentation.

Standout Features

  • 250 different experiments
  • 128-page lab manual
  • Alcohol burner included
Best on a budget
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If you’re looking for a cheaper introductory chemistry set for adults to get started, the Chem C500 kit is the perfect balance between versatility and affordability. With 28 possible chemistry experiments, you can delve into learning chemistry with ease.

The kit includes a full-color manual that covers science basics, the scientific method, basic laboratory procedures, and detailed instructions for each experiment. While the information is thorough and educational, it is written in a way that is easy to understand regardless of your previous chemistry knowledge.

The Chem C500 science kit is best for beginner users who want to explore chemistry without spending a lot of money. Experiments included in the kit are designed to be safe and easy to perform, making this a great choice for those new to chemistry.

Standout Features

  • 28 different experiments
  • 48-page full-color lab manual
  • Beginner-friendly
Most versatile
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One of the basic tenets of chemistry is the understanding of molecules and their atomic structures. The Happy Atoms modeling kit is a fun and dynamic way to learn molecular structures through flexible magnetic model parts that let you build your own molecules. You can then scan your creations inside their proprietary app and discover what sort of molecule you created.

The educational value of this Happy Atoms science kit is significant. Most chemistry classes require some type of molecule modeling set, but they are usually fundamental compared to the Happy Atoms kit. Not only do their rubbery and magnetic pieces let you create a wider variety of molecules than your average modeling set, but you can also learn about the molecules as you create them inside the app.

The model pieces stay stored in a drawstring bag when not in use which also works as a scanning pad when using the app. It also comes with a poster (that also works as a scanning mat), a full-color manual, and references for several different molecules. This is enough content and chemical reactions to appeal to budding scientists and seasoned chemists alike.

Standout Features

  • Includes 50 different pieces
  • Additional app available for Android and iOS
  • Magnetic and flexible for versatility
Best crystal growing kit
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For a more beginner-friendly alternative to some of the more robust science kits on our list, the 4M Crystal Growing Kit is a basic chemistry set that is perfect for the novice scientist. It lets you grow seven beautiful crystals by submerging rocks into the chemical solutions provided in the kit.

It provides all the necessary supplies and equipment, including PPE like safety glasses and basic tools and utensils for use in the experiments. The included experiment manual not only provides you with a wealth of knowledge on crystals and the science behind their formation, but it also provides clear step-by-step instructions for making the crystal solutions.

The crystal-making process itself is fairly easy and consists of mixing boiling water with the included supplies in a high-sided dish. You then add a plain rock to the mixture and let it sit in a cool, dark place for several weeks, checking on the progress of your crystals every few days.

The 4M crystal growing kit also provides cases for once your crystals have fully formed. This is a great way to display and protect your crystals and makes for a wonderful science project that can be enjoyed by all.

Standout Features

  • Materials included to grow 7 crystals
  • Display cases for finished crystals included
  • All supplies provided
Best high-end
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For someone looking to seriously study the concepts of chemistry, they need complete chemistry set like the Thames & Kosmos Chem C3000. The kit consists of all the equipment and supplies (minus a few common household items) needed to conduct an impressive 333 different chemistry experiments.

The 192-page full-color experiment manual is a fantastic resource to help you learn chemistry. It covers the basic science of chemistry, explains how to use all the equipment, and details the different experimental procedures for all the experiments included in the kit.

The Thames & Kosmos Chem C3000 kit is easily one of the best chemistry sets around and includes everything needed for a budding scientist to start their home lab. All the equipment is student-quality similar to what high school students would use in their school labs. The kit includes advanced tools an alcohol burner and a tripod, making it possible to conduct advanced experiments front the comfort of your home.

The only drawback of this kit is its price. It costs significantly more than most of the other chemistry sets for adults on our list, but the quality of the equipment and the breadth of experiments possible with this set make it well worth the investment.

Standout Features

  • 333 different experiments
  • Alcohol burner and tripod included
  • Student-quality lab equipment
Best for kids & adults
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While the Discover Extreme Science Kit is clearly designed to be a kids’ science kit, it is something that kids and adults alike are sure to love. With all the necessary tools included to conduct 20 different experiments like slime making, making liquid ice, and more, it is the best chemistry set to help adults and kids start learning the basics of chemistry.

The instruction booklet contains all the experiments set up in a way that lets you follow along using the scientific method to prepare them for a more advanced level chemistry set after having their fill of these fun experiments.

The kit provides all the equipment needed to get started, including a black light. All the included equipment is plastic, making it less durable than some of the other chemistry sets we’ve covered. However, it is suitable for the experiments in question and is an excellent start to their own home lab.

Standout Features

  • 20 experiments
  • Blacklight included
  • Kid-friendly
Safest chemistry set
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Another kids’ science kit, Mindware Ultimate Chemistry Lab includes everything you need to try 12+ fun experiments like making color-changing liquids, a baking soda balloon, and more. The chemistry kit is the first to include only safe, non-toxic ingredients so kids 8+ can safely follow along. If you’re looking for something you can do together with your kids, this is the best chemistry set to keep everyone safe and entertained.

The kit comes with a colorful lab station to keep all the supplies and equipment together and organized. It also features a detailed full-color experiment manual that helps you learn chemistry basics with ease, follow along with the 12+ experiments, and record your findings all in one place.

The Mindware Ultimate Chemistry Lab is the best chemistry set for adults and kids who want to learn together. It’s also a great gift for anyone who loves science.

Standout Features

  • Lab station
  • 12 kid-friendly experiments
  • Safe, non-toxic ingredients
Best home distiller kit
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For more advanced experimentation and lab work, the Cherish XT Home Distiller Kit is a steam distiller meant for making things like essential oils, moonshine, and other products. While this one is marketed for home use, it is made from quality materials that can easily handle laboratory conditions.

The distiller itself is made from durable borosilicate glass made to withstand prolonged contact with an open flame. The kit comes with a tripod and alcohol burner in place of the bunsen burner that would traditionally be used in a laboratory setting.

While this kit is made with essential oil production in mind (it even comes with essential oil bottles), this is a tool that any adult can use for advanced experiments that you will likely come across as you are learning chemistry.

Standout Features

  • High-quality steam distiller
  • Made from borosilicate glass
  • Alcohol burner included
Best for food experiments
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Yet another excellent chemistry kit from Thames & Kosmos, the Chem C1000 is a beginner-level science kit geared toward a 10+ age group. While it is technically a kids’ science kit, it has plenty of fun experiments and interesting facts that make it an interesting and helpful resource for kids and adults alike.

With the equipment and supplies for 125 possible experiments, the C1000 lets you experiment in all sorts of ways—including in the kitchen! Test different household items and foods like honey, sugar, starch, eggs, and more to see how they react when introduced to other compounds and chemicals.

The 80-page full-color manual not only walks you through the experiments, but it also teaches the basic chemistry concepts and the historical scientists who helped shape the field of chemistry into what it is today.

All in all, the Thames & Kosmos Chem C1000 Kit is a great way to learn about chemistry in a fun and engaging way—whether you’re 10 years old or 100.

Standout Features

  • 125 possible experiments
  • 80-page full-color manual
  • Experiment with food items
Best for environmental science
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One of the more unique chemistry sets on the list, the Test Tube Chemistry Lab focuses on environmental science and green chemistry to let you experiment with gases, generating electricity, making things like a test tube lava lamp, and more. This chemistry kit comes with everything you need to get started on 50+ possible chemistry experiments.

The kit comes with its own lab station to keep everything organized and tidy while not in use. This chemistry set is rated for kids 8 and up, but it includes enough interesting content to keep adults engaged in hours of learning as well.

The full-color instruction manual teaches you the basics of chemistry and the science behind each experiment in a way that is easy to understand. This product is the best chemistry set for novice users and casual learners thanks to its easy storage and thorough lessons.

Standout Features

  • Focus on green chemistry
  • Lab stations to keep things organized
  • Over 50 possible experiments
Easiest to clean
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Another chemistry kit designed for kids and adults alike, the Ben Franklin Toys Chemistry Lab Pad is a fully-stocked chemistry kit with over 50 pieces included. Everything is designed to fit on the included easy-to-clean pad to keep messes contained and work surfaces protected.

This chemistry set includes supplies for 12+ experiments with easy-to-follow experiment cards and a dry-erase checklist of action steps. It also comes with high-quality lab equipment like test tubes, Erlenmeyer flasks, pipettes, and more.

The Lab Pad is rated for ages 5 and up, making it the most accessible option on our list. While it is designed with kids in mind, it is still a great chemistry set for adults who are looking to learn the basics in a fun and accessible way.

Standout Features

  • Easy-clean foam pad
  • Over 50 pieces
  • Designed for fun

What to Look for When Buying a Chemistry Set for Adults

Number of Experiments

Consider how many experiments you can do with any of the chemistry sets you are considering. The more experiments you can conduct with the kit, the longer you will be able to use it. Some of the chemistry kits we listed here had as few as 12 experiments which will be used up fairly quickly. Others had as many as 300+ experiments, which will obviously last longer.

Types of Experiments

Not all experiments are created equal. Some will be more interesting to you than others. Consider the types of experiments each kit comes with and make sure they align with your learning interests. For example, if you are interested in environmental science, make sure the kit you choose has experiments related to that topic.

On the other hand, if you want to be a chemist or like organic chemistry, you may want a more complete set that is more geared towards future professionals and has more difficult experiments.

The best science kits will have a variety of experiments that will appeal to different interests.

Equipment Quality

The quality of the equipment is important to consider as well. Some kits come with lower quality equipment that breaks easily or that is not designed for precision measurements.

Other kits come with better quality equipment that is more durable and can be used for more complex experiments.

Safety

Safety is always a concern when working with chemicals. Make sure the kit you choose comes with safety goggles and other safety equipment. You should also make sure the kit comes with clear instructions on how to use the equipment safely.

It is also a good idea to research further into safety. Buying a quality lab coat or having a fire extinguisher at hand is always a good idea. Even the best chemistry sets don’t have a 100% of the recommended safety equipment.

Educational Value

Consider how much you are likely to learn from the kit. While you want it to be simple and understandable, if it only covers extremely basic concepts, you won’t get much value from it. The more complex science kits like Thames & Kosmos that cover a wide variety of concepts in their kits in an accessible way are going to give you the most learning potential.

Complexity

Make sure the difficulty of the experiments is enough to hold your interest. Kits like the Benjamin Franklin Toys Lab Pad aims to be accessible even to young children, so while that is a great option if you want to do some experiments with your kids, it likely won’t offer much of a challenge for you by yourself.

Procedures and Manual

A good chemistry set must have a good lab manual to get you started. If the kit includes an instructional DVD, that is a good addition too.

Make sure the included instructions have information about experimental procedures for each project and detailed information on all of the included supplies and materials. This isn’t just to help you learn—some of the chemicals included in these chemistry sets can be dangerous if misused or mishandled.

Cost

Finally, as with any purchase, consider the cost of the product. More complex chemistry kits will have higher price points, while the more kid-focused simple ones will be cheaper. While the price of professional or semi-professional kits may seem unappealing, they are often worth the extra money when you are buying the kit for an adult.

They come with better quality equipment and materials, so even after you have used up the chemicals, you can still use the tools in future projects. They also typically include more experiments (at a higher difficulty level), increasing the overall life of the kit. Unless the user is just trying to dabble with some quick and easy science projects, an intermediate or advanced kit will almost always be the best chemistry set for adults.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you still get chemistry sets?

Yes, you can still get chemistry sets. However, they may not be as readily available as they once were because of increased safety concerns.

Chemistry sets have been around since the early 1800s and were originally marketed to boys as a means of teaching them about science. Over the years, they’ve evolved into more complex kits that include everything from test tubes and chemicals to lab equipment and instructions for conducting experiments.

What is the best chemistry set?

The Thames & Kosmos Chem C2000 Kit is one of the best chemistry sets you can buy. It’s packed with all the tools and supplies you need to conduct experiments in basic chemistry. It also comes with a comprehensive instruction booklet that will guide you through each step.

The kit includes a storage case for all your materials, so it’s perfect for taking with you on the go. You’ll be able to perform over 250 different experiments with this set, covering topics like acids and bases, chemical reactions, and chromatography. If you’re looking for a top-quality chemistry set that will give you hours of fun and education, the Thames & Kosmos Chem C2000 Kit is a perfect choice.

What comes in a chemistry set?

Chemistry sets can come with a wide variety of items, depending on their intended purpose and audience. A basic set typically includes some combination of the following items: glassware (e.g. beakers and test tubes), safety equipment (e.g. gloves and goggles), chemicals (e.g. acids and bases), and an instruction manual, or an instructional DVD. More advanced chemistry sets can include other items such as a scale, pH meter, or even a microscope.

Can adults use chemistry kits designed for kids?

Absolutely! In fact, many chemistry kits designed for kids can be used by adults with great results. The key is to choose a kit that is appropriate for your skill level and interests.

For example, if you’re a beginner, look for a kit that comes with comprehensive instructions and plenty of safety precautions. On the other hand, if you’re more experienced, the best chemistry kit is one that allows you to experiment more freely.

Whichever route you choose, adult-friendly chemistry kits can provide hours of fun and learning.

Final Thoughts

Finding the best chemistry set for adults can be difficult and is dependent on a lot of factors like age range, complexity, amount of content, and more. We found the Thames & Kosmos Chem C2000 to be the overall best chemistry set. It has a large number of possible experiments, comes with advanced equipment like an alcohol burner, and has a detailed and informative lab manual.

The Wild Environmental Science Test Tube Chemistry Lab and the Happy Atoms Magnetic Molecular Modeling Set were both close seconds. They have a decent amount of possible experiments to conduct and come with interesting educational content. Not to mention, either chemistry kit has a great price point to match the number of supplies and materials you get.

No matter if you are into organic chemistry, atomic structures, or specific chemical reactions, always make sure that the kit consists of the experiments that match your interests.

If you are interested in a chemistry set for adults, you might also want to check out our articles on the best model kits for adults and the best robot kits for adults!

Are you planning to start your own home lab? Which kit did you like the most? Let us know!

  • Emily

    Emily is a content writer who focuses on DIY, 3D printing, graphic design, and technology. She grew up learning about design, drafting, and machining from spending her afternoons at her father’s tool and die shop.

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