PROS / This is the only site we surveyed that sells chemicals separately, as well as more durable supplies than what we found on other sites.
CONS / The site does not differentiate toy kits from purely educational kits.
VERDICT / This is the best site for buying supplies and materials for your home science lab.
Home Science Tools is an online store designed to provide hands-on science activities for home use. In addition to a wide selection of chemistry kits, this site sells lots of general chemistry supplies for helping you set up a small science lab at home. This is the only site we found that sells actual chemicals in addition to equipment. Home Science Tools was created out of two parents’ desire to find supplies for teaching chemistry to their own children, and has since developed into a very competitive site more focused on science than toys. While the site was designed as a resource for parents, it is also useful for schools, offering purchase orders and quantity discounts. For its commitment to helping parents further their kids’ scientific education outside the classroom, Home Science Tools has earned a spot in our top ten list of online chemistry set stores.
Home Science Tools has a good selection of general chemistry sets for all age groups, from beginners to students in high school and beyond. The Thames & Kosmos CHEM C500, C1000 and C2000 sets each contain several different types of experiments. A unique kit we found on this site is the MicroChem kit, a small-scale kit demonstrating 17 high school-level lessons. The idea of microchemistry (also called microscale chemistry) is that the same experiments can be conducted on a smaller scale, using smaller amounts of chemicals and smaller equipment. Another fascinating product is the Clock Reaction Kit, which focuses on the effects of temperature and other environmental influences on the rate of chemical reactions.
Home Science Tools carries many specialized chemistry sets including a chocolate-making kit, cheese-making kit, cosmetics and perfume kits and many others. The Fizz Wizard & Jammin’ Jelly kit is a unique edible chemistry set that allows you to demonstrate chemical reactions while mixing up tasty concoctions like soda pop and pudding. The Rubber Flubber Experiment Kit has ingredients and instructions for making rubber balls, erasers, foam rubber, rubber stamps and more. The Goofy Glowing Gel Kit has everything you need to make a glowing gel that demonstrates polymer formation and phosphorescence (light-producing properties).
The Home Science Tools website has a more professional-looking design than most chemistry set stores we surveyed. The site is designed as a scientific resource for parents and teachers rather than an online toy store. The products are broken down into categories in the left margin and when you click on a category, you are taken to another page with subcategories. Under the “Chemistry” tab are various subcategories including chemistry kits, glassware & plastic ware, chemistry books & models and lab equipment. There is also a search function and a “Quick Order” tab for entering product codes from the catalog.
Under the “Science Projects” tab, you can find a wealth of resources for science projects classified by branch of science and age or education level. Each category has step-by-step instructions for several experiments as well as books with science project ideas and background information. If you want to do a custom experiment, this site also sells a wide selection of materials. The newsletter includes product promotions, science resources, project ideas and lesson plans for elementary- and middle school-level students. Many of the experiments discussed on the site and in the newsletter are appropriate for home or classroom settings.
Home Science Tools offers customer support by phone or email. The site accepts returns within 90 days (superior to the 30-day window of most chemistry set stores) with the use of the online return form, which can be found by clicking the “Customer Service” tab at the top of the site.
Home Science Tools is a professional science store that is equally useful for parents and teachers. With a wide selection of general science equipment in addition to complete kits, this site can help you keep your home or school lab stocked with supplies, and it can be a great source for gifts.