When pipetting in the milliliter range, scientists often use a serological pipette and a controller. The controller can be manual or motorized, and a collection of features can be considered—some of them depend on personal preference.
Here, an expert provides a tour of the best ways to select a serological pipette controller.
Pick the power
In most cases, scientists likely pick powered over manual in a controller. If cost is a crucial issue or the amount of pipetting is minimal or even rare, though, a manual controller might be preferred. Plenty of scientists only pipette now and then. That was completely true in my lab days, and a range of manually-controlled devices worked just fine.
But, yes, it’s a different world now—where some lab personnel pipette more in an hour than I did during my entire time in a lab. These individuals certainly benefit from a motorized controller.
So, after settling on a powered pipette controller, a crucial feature is the longevity of battery life. The “ability to hold a charge for many hours of operation” is a key feature of a serological pipette controller, says Christian Dyott, product manager at Globe Scientific (Mahwah, NJ).
Find the right fit
Repeated pipetting could be the lab poster child for repetitive strain injuries. For more on the problem and potential solutions, see “Smart Pipetting: Using Ergonomics to Prevent Injury” from Mettler Toledo (Columbus, OH).
Consequently, comfort is an important consideration when selecting an ergonomic serological pipette controller. Dyott adds that it should be lightweight and made with an “ergonomic design for hours of continuous use.”
When in use, the controller should be as easy to operate as possible. Dyott adds that a controller should have “adjustable speeds for accurate aspiration and dispensing.”
Features worth finding
There are other controller features worth considering. Dyott points out three examples: “A universal silicone adaptor for accepting serological pipettes, a powerful but quiet pump motor, and a replaceable disc filter.”
Overall, one serological pipette controller might look pretty much like another. “Since serological controllers are fairly common items in most labs now, the differences can be small between models,” says Dyott. “At Globe, we feel that the most important aspects are reliability, quality, and strong backing from the supplier.” He adds, “Of course price comes into play, but features, quality, and backing combined with a competitive price are paramount when selecting a serological pipette controller.”
With these suggestions from Dyott, shopping for a serological pipette controller could be a little easier, or at least more strategic—all with less pain for years to come.