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2014 Microplate Handlers Product Survey

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.

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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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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 37%
Microplate centrifuge 20%
Microplate washer 14%
Microplate stacker 12%
Microplate sealer 8%
Microplate labeler 5%
Other 5%

Top 5 microplate handler applications as reported by survey respondents:

Biotechnology 27%
Clinical / diagnostics 23%
Pharmaceutical / medicine 18%
Education, research 11%
Environmental 6%

Nearly 31% of respondents plan on purchasing a microplate handler in the next year. The budgets for these purchases are as follows:

Less than $1,000

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

Durability of Product 88%
Performance of product 85%
Availability of supplies and accessories 77%
Low operating costs 77%
Value for price paid 77%
Service and support 62%
Software 62%
Warranties 60%
Ease of use 58%
Low maintenance/Easy to clean 54%

For more information on microplate handlers, including useful articles and a list of manufacturers, visit

See the most recent survey results here