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2015 Microplate Handler Survey Results

Learn the most common handler types, and more in the results of our 2015 survey on this key microplate technology

Trevor Henderson, PhD

Trevor Henderson BSc (HK), MSc, PhD (c), is the creative services director at Lab Manager.  He has more than two decades of experience in the fields of scientific...

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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.

Types of microplate handler(s) used by survey respondents:

Microplate reader 78%
Microplate centrifuge 46%
Microplate washer 32%
Microplate stacker 12%
Microplate labeler 10%
Microplate sealer 8%
Other 8%

Top 5 microplate handler applications as reported by survey respondents:

Assay development 43%
Cell biology 29%
Quality control 25%
Bioassay validation 22%
Biomolecule concentration measurement 22%

Nearly 44% of respondents are engaged in purchasing a new micoplate handler. The reasons for these purchases are as follows:

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

Top 10 features/factors respondents look for when purchasing a microplate handler:

Durability of product 80%
Ease of use 80%
Performance of product 78%
Value for price paid 65%
Low maintenance / easy to clean 61%
Low operating costs 59%
Service and support 59%
Total cost of ownership 58%
Warranties 58%
Software 55%

For more information on microplate handlers, visit

See most recent survey results