Do You Need a Mill or Grinder in Your Lab?

Learn readers’ purchasing plans and more from our latest mills and grinders product survey results.

By Ryan Ackerman

In a laboratory, most materials required for sampling are—in practice—nonhomogeneous mixtures. The best method of obtaining a small representative sample of the non-uniform whole is to take a quantity of the material large enough to be compositionally representative and reduce it to a fine homogeneous powder. For this purpose, a laboratory mill or grinder is usually used.

Top 5 Questions You Should Ask When Buying a Mill or Grinder

  1. Will the mill/grinder be used for wet or dry milling?
  2. For dry milling, ask how finely the material needs to be ground and what are the properties of the material? Rotor beater, disc, and mortar mills, for example, are best for mid-range grinding (final fineness of ~0.01-0.1 mm).
  3. For wet milling, ask what capacity of grinder you will need. Bead mills are usually best for small capacity applications while rotor-stator homogenizers should be considered for larger scale applications. For very large scale applications, industrial-scale mills are probably the best fit.
  4. How important is preventing cross contamination? Bead mills are likely a good choice if you don’t want any risk of contamination.
  5. Based on the materials you will be milling, how long does the mill or grinder typically last? How much do replacement parts cost and how easy are they to get? What level of support/warranties does the company offer?

Types of laboratory mills or grinders used by survey respondents:

Grinding mill 41%
Ball mill 37%
Jaw crusher 17%
Mortar grinder 17%
Cutting mill 15%
Rotor mill 15%
Disc Mill 12%
CryoMill 9%
Mixer mill 9%
Knife mill 8%
Other 15%

Primary purpose of lab mill or grinder as reported by survey respondents:

Research 60%
Quality control 20%
Processing 15%
Clinical and diagnostic 3%
Other 1%

Nearly 43% of respondents are engaged in purchasing a new laboratory mill or grinder. The reasons for these purchases are as follows:

Replacement of an aging system
Addition to existing systems, increase capacity
First time purchase
Setting up a new lab

Top 10 Features/Factors Respondents Look for When Purchasing a Laboratory Mill or Grinder:

Durability of product 80%
Low maintenance - easy to use and clean 75%
Results with minimum deviation 71%
Value for price paid 71%
Safety features 67%
Service and support 59%
Reliability of vendor 56%
Reputation of vendor 45%
Warranty 41%
Variable Speed Controls 35%

For more information on mills and grinders, including useful articles and a list of manufacturers, visit

See survey results from previous years:

Categories: Surveys

Published In

First and Foremost... Safety! Magazine Issue Cover
First and Foremost... Safety!

Published: June 13, 2016

Cover Story

New Lab Safety Rules for Protecting Workers

The question of permitting lab employees to work alone with dangerous materials and equipment has raised serious questions of whether prohibiting the practice would impede academic freedom