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2017 Microplate Handler User Survey Results

Learn readers’ purchasing plans and more from our latest microplate handler survey results.

Erica Tennenhouse, PhD

Erica Tennenhouse, PhD, is the managing editor of Clinical Lab Manager.

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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 83%
Microplate centrifuge 57%
Microplate washer 42%
Microplate stacker 22%
Microplate sealer 21%
Microplate labeler 14%
Other 15%

Top 5 microplate handler applications as reported by survey respondents:

Education, Research 42%
Biotechnology 31%
Pharmaceutical/Medicine 21%
Clinical/Diagnostics 20%
Environmental 8%

Nearly 47% 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
First time purchase
Setting up a new lab

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

Performance of product 83%
Durability of product 79%
Value for price paid 74%
Ease of use 70%
Service and support 62%
Total cost of ownership 61%
Availability of supplies and accessories 58%
Low maintenance / easy to clean 56%
Low operating costs 55%
Easy integration with other products 49%

For more information on microplate handlers, visit

See Latest Survey Results Here