Types of Forensic Tools

By Sarah Trevino
A forensic scientist uses different types of microscopes with varying power options.
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A forensic laboratory is full of equipment and tools used in the lab and at crime scenes to investigate cause of death, suspect traits, causes of accidents and other questions. From simple flashlights to chemicals and compound microscopes, the tools of a forensic scientist are vital to fulfilling these scientists' daily tasks.


A forensic scientist uses many different microscopes, including a comparison microscope, a high power microscope and a low power microscope. The forensic comparison microscope, either high power or low power, contains dual eyepieces that allow one to compare two specimens. A low power microscope compares different evidence such as imprints, marks and debris on bullets, fabrics, metals, and anything else found at a crime scene. High power microscopes are a tool to observe DNA evidence, fingerprints, blood samples and hair samples.

Video Equipment

Forensic scientists use video equipment such as cameras and camcorders to record replicas of evidence and crime scenes. This equipment is useful when a crime scene is exposed to outside elements that may alter or remove evidence naturally. The order and location of evidence and a crime scene is recorded and stored for future use in the laboratory or courtroom.

Basic Hand Tools

The hand tools of a forensic scientist are a mix of sharp instruments, flashlights and even power tools. Scalpels help remove evidence by scraping with either a sharp tip or a blunt end. Scissors and knives help cut parts of cloth or fabric from a body or crime scene without disturbing the entire scene. Flashlights are useful at nighttime or low light crime scenes. Other hand tools used include bottle openers, files, wire cutters, screwdrivers and pliers.


A forensic scientist has kits for almost any situation that may arise during a crime scene or laboratory investigation. The most common kits are the laser trajectory kit and the blood splatter kit. The laser trajectory kit aids a scientist in finding the angle and penetration point of a bullet by using mounts, photo rods, angle finders, strings and lasers. A blood splatter kit contains sticks, strings, magnets, fabric, scales, putty, tweezers, tape measures and a scientific calculator. These tools help pinpoint from what angle an attack was committed.

About the Author

Sarah Trevino has been a freelance writer since 2005 and specializes in food and wine, television, home and garden, and weddings. She has written for numerous websites and publications, including OMG!, Procter & Gamble and various blogs. Trevino holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Central Florida and a graduate certificate in health and wellness.