Lab Manager Magazine's Independent Guide to Purchasing a Pipette

By

There are many different features of a pipette to take into consideration before making your purchase, including ergonomics, low force, fitting, ease of use, reliability, accuracy and precision. This guide will narrow down a list of models that might suit your pipetting needs by looking at three main selection criteria, including displacement method, manual or electronic operation and the number of pipetting channels. The models will not be broken down by volume range,as that varies widely from vendor to vendor. Instead, the sample volume range will be listed after the make and model name. First, let's look at whether a positive displacement or an air displacement pipette fits your application best. Once you're finished consulting this guide, check out LabWrench.com to find the latest pipette models.

Air Displacement Pipettes

Air displacement pipettes are commonly used for aqueous samples and general lab work. They are driven by a piston within an air-tight sleeve that generates a vacuum through its vertical travel. This is triggered either from the depression of a plunger at the top of the pipette by your thumb when using a mechanical pipette, or the same process triggered by the touch of a button when using an electronic model. The sample never comes in contact with the piston, as it is separated by a cushion of air, referred to as dead volume. Next, decide if a manual or electronic air displacement pipette best suits your application.

A. Electronic air displacement pipettes offer many advantages, but the most significant is the reduced force and fewer hand movements required for operation, which reduces the risk of repetitive stress injuries. Accuracy and precision are also often increased as there is less room for operator error. Next, let’s look at single-channel, multi-channel and repeater electronic air displacement pipettes to see which is best for your application.

  • Single-channel electronic air displacement pipettes are the Swiss Army knives of liquid handling, capable of taking on any application in the lab. Check out the Pipettes section on LabWrench.com to find the latest models that meet your sample volume requirements.
  • Multi-channel electronic air displacement pipettes are ideal for applications that involve multiwall plates, such as PCR or ELISA. The number of channels on the pipette can range between 4 and 64. Consult LabWrench for several examples.
  • Repeating electronic air displacement pipettes are used for repetitive serial pipetting. They are commonly used in applications such as biochemistry, immunology and microbiology where samples need to be rapidly dispensed in the same volumes. Use the “Narrow Results By” option on the left side of LabWrench.com’s Pipette category to find the latest models that meet your sample volume requirements.

B. Manual air displacement pipettes are often more durable and better withstand the abuse of everyday lab use. When they do require maintenance, it is often more straightforward and easily accomplished by lab staff. Next, let's look at single-channel, multi-channel and repeater manual air displacement pipettes to see which is best for your application.

  • Single-channel manual air displacement pipettes are the Swiss Army knives of liquid handling, capable of taking on any application in the lab. Check out the Pipettes section on LabWrench.com to find the latest models that meet your sample volume requirements.
  • Multi-channel manual air displacement pipettes are ideal for applications that involve multiwall plates, such as PCR or ELISA. The number of channels on the pipette can range between 4 and 64. Consult LabWrench for several examples.
  • Repeating manual air displacement pipettes are used for repetitive serial pipetting. They are commonly used in applications such as biochemistry, immunology and microbiology where samples need to be rapidly dispensed in the same volumes. Use the “Narrow Results By” option on the left side of LabWrench.com’s Pipette category to find the latest models that meet your sample volume requirements.

Positive Displacement Pipettes

Positive displacement pipettes are commonly used for heavy liquids or ones that are too viscous to be displaced accurately by air, as well as dense, volatile, radioactive or corrosive samples. These pipettes are driven by a disposable piston that comes in direct contact with the sample. This means volatile liquids can be aspirated without evaporation. Next, decide if a manual or electronic positive displacement pipette is best for your application.

A. Electronic positive displacement pipettes offer many advantages, but the most significant is the reduced force and fewer hand movements required for operation, which reduces the risk of repetitive stress injuries. Accuracy and precision are also often increased as there is less room for operator error. Next, let's look at single-channel or repeater electronic positive displacement pipettes to see which is best for your application.

  • Single-channel electronic positive displacement pipettes are the go-to tool for handling viscous, dense liquids for a variety of applications in the lab. Look through the models on LabWrench for ones that meet your sample volume requirements.
  • Repeating electronic positive displacement pipettes are used for repetitive serial pipetting. They are commonly used in applications such as biochemistry, immunology and microbiology where samples need to be rapidly dispensed in the same volumes. Check out the latest models that meet your sample volume requirements on LabWrench.

B. Manual positive displacement pipettes are often more durable and better withstand the abuse of everyday lab use. When they do require maintenance, it is often more straightforward and easily accomplished by lab staff. Next, let's look at single-channel or repeater manual positive displacement pipettes to see which is best for your application.

  • Single-channel manual positive displacement pipettes are the go-to tool for handling viscous, dense liquids for diverse applications in the lab. Use the “Narrow Results by” function on the left-hand side of LabWrench.com to find the latest pipettes that meet your sample volume requirements.
  • Repeating manual positive displacement pipettes are used for repetitive serial pipetting. They are commonly used in applications such as biochemistry, immunology and microbiology where samples need to be rapidly dispensed in the same volumes. Look through the latest models on LabWrench.com for ones that meet your sample volume requirements.
Categories: Purchasing Guides

Published In

Career Building Magazine Issue Cover
Career Building

Published: October 1, 2010

Cover Story

Career Building

While technical ability is essential to becoming a successful laboratory manager, it is not sufficient. Many outstanding scientists or engineers have failed as lab managers. It takes more than just technical ability. What is this more that outstanding lab managers have?