MEL Science Chemistry Kits Review

Disclaimer: I was in no way compensated for this review, other than MEL Science generously sending me two free chemistry experiment kits along with their starter kit.

With the disclaimer out of the way, let's begin the review!  The basic concept is that upon subscription to MEL Science, they send you two chemistry kits each month.  You can then do experiments at home without needing to buy everything individually.
My first impression was that everything in the kit was well packed.  I did not find anything broken or damaged, and all the glassware was neatly padded so as to make breaking nearly impossible.  The starter kit has some good beginning materials - disposable plastic beakers (no more beaker-scrubbing!), a solid fuel stove, some glassware, etc.  It also has an instruction booklet on using the kits along with a detailed website that discusses the chemistry going on behind the scenes in the experiments.

The experiments themselves are on a variety of topics - I was sent one on combustion (The Chemistry of Monsters) and one on electrochemistry/redox reactions (Tin).  I enjoyed that the kits didn't require a lot of set-up work.  There wasn't anything to weigh out, plug in, or lay out.  In perhaps five minutes' time, I was doing actual experiments.

The tin dendrites experiment seemed to work well.  The dendrites grew beautifully, and the included macro lens took some stunning shots with my iPad 4 (sadly the MEL Science app does not support the iPad 4).

I tried one other experiment for the video, the sugar snake experiment from The Chemistry of Monsters.  As seen in the video, the hexamine solid fuel didn't quite fill the included mold, so its depression didn't hold all the sugar/sodium bicarbonate mix and the snake didn't work as well as pictured on the MEL website.  That was a small disappointment, but the sugar snake was still quite an intriguing experiment.  This simply shows that you may get different results as you try the experiments

In general, the MEL Science experiments seem to be "real"/unadulterated chemistry - they do dangerous and unique things like lighting off a Zn/S mixture and also have complicated concepts such as concentration cells.  They are meant to be suitable for most ages, so they won't be a substitute for a rigorous class in chemistry.  If, however, you are looking to explore, enjoy, and learn some unique chemistry, a subscription to MEL Science may be what you're looking for.