Microplate handlers are specialized robotic devices that transfer microtiter plates in three-dimensional space from one location within a workflow to another. The “locations” are actually operations such as solvent addition (through liquid handling), aspiration, heating, shaking, incubation, washing, reading, and storage.

Top 6 Questions You Should Ask When Buying a Microplate Handler

1. How many plates and plate types can the handler accommodate? An ANSI-compatible handler provides increased flexibility for those using multiple plate densities (ex. 96-, 384-, 1536-well) or low-volume plates, and interchangeable plate stacks accommodate varying throughput requirements.

2. What is the transfer speed? Transfer speed is especially important for increased throughput. Adding a dual plate carrier keeps two plates in process, thus further increasing assay efficiency.

3. Can the handler operate in portrait and landscape configurations? A rotational gripper option optimizes positioning of the microplate handler with its mating instrument, thus improving flexibility and efficient operation.

4. Does the handler fit into a hood or biosafety cabinet? Placing a microplate handler within a hood or biosafety cabinet allows users to maintain personal safety and protect samples.

5. Is the handler compatible with a wide variety of other instruments?

6. Does it come with a barcode reader for easy microplate identification? Barcode scanning is especially useful for increased throughput.

Main purposes our respondents are using their microplate handlers for in their labs, based on our latest survey says data:

Assay development 43%
Cell biology 32%
Bioassay validation 32%
DNA quantification 21%
PCR setup and cleanup 21%
High-throughput drug screening 16%
Compound investigation 14%
Biomarker research 14%
Disease studies 11%
Quality control 11%
Biomolecule concentration measurement 9%
Proteomics 7%
In vitro fertilization (IVF) 2%
Stem cell research 2%
Other 2%

The top 10 factors in our readers’ decisions to purchase a Microplate Handler:

  Important Not Important Don’t Know
Ease of use 92% 8% 0%
Performance of product 92% 5% 3%
Durability of product 89% 5% 5%
Low maintenance/ easy to clean 89% 8% 3%
Availability of supplies and accessories 87% 13% 0%
Service and support 85% 13% 3%
Total cost of ownership 84% 8% 8%
Warranties 84% 11% 5%
Price 82% 16% 3%
Easy integration with other products 79% 21% 0%

Recently Released Microplate Handlers

BioStack3 LS Microplate Stacker
• Offers speedy plate transfer— less than 10 seconds between plate exchanges on the connected instrument’s carrier
• Compatible with BioTek’s microplate washers, dispensers, pipetting systems and detection systems
• Can be moved between instruments, should the stacking needs change
• User can choose from 10-, 30-, or 50- plate stacks to accommodate throughput requirements


MiniSeal Plus Heat Sealer
• Ensures high integrity sealing of deep well or even irregularlyshaped microplates
• Only requires plugging into a single electrical outlet to operate
• Does not need a compressed air supply to operate
• Offers adjustable temperature heat-sealing from 50C up to 200C

Porvair Sciences

• Modular attachment can be integrated with all BMG LABTECH microplate readers
• Automatically loads, unloads, restacks, and continually feeds up to 50 microplates for great improvements in speed and automation
• Allows users to write their own scripts using the script mode
• Accommodates all types of microplate formats


Multi Stacker 400 (MS400)
• Contains four hotel stacks (25 or 50 plates each)
• Stacks are easily accessible
• Enables extended walk away time to liquid handlers, readers, washers, etc.
• Able to tend to two instruments with bidirectional gripper arm

PlateCentric Solutions

Microplate Handler Manufacturer

Agilent www.agilent.com
Biotage www.biotage.com
BioTek www.biotek.com
BMG LABTECH www.bmglabtech.com
Caliper Life Sciences www.caliperls.com
Douglas Scientific www.douglasscientific.com
Molecular Devices www.moleculardevices.com
PAA www.paa.co.uk
PerkinElmer www.perkinelmer.com
Phenix Research Products www.phenixresearch.com
PlateCentric Solutions www.platecentric.com
Porvair Sciences www.porvair-sciences.com
Staubli www.staubli.com
Thermo Fisher Scientific www.thermoscientific.com
Tomtec www.tomtec.com