Lab Manager | Run Your Lab Like a Business
Illustration of an automated liquid handler
Credit: Lab Manager

Purchasing Guide: Automated Liquid Handlers

For any applications that require repetitive pipetting tasks, such as serial dilutions, PCR, and next-generation sequencing, automated liquid handlers (ALHs) are the way to go

by Lab Manager
Register for free to listen to this article
Listen with Speechify
0:00
5:00

For any applications that require repetitive pipetting tasks, such as serial dilutions, PCR, and next-generation sequencing, automated liquid handlers (ALHs) are the way to go. Apart from performing these and other tasks more efficiently than manual options, ALHs have several other benefits, such as reducing the risk of cross-contamination and improving traceability with barcode scanning features. For a list of ALH manufacturers, see our online directory: LabManager.com/ALH-manufacturers

7 Questions to Ask When Buying an Automated Liquid Handler

  1. What is the volume range of the ALH, and is this sufficient for the range of experiments performed in your lab?
  2. Is the ALH compatible for the labware and machines it will be used with for the intended applications? 
  3. Can the ALH be remotely monitored?
  4. If you need to automate plate handling, can the ALH accommodate plate stackers or robotic arms?
  5. Is the ALH compatible with the different styles of pipette tips used in the lab, including speciality tips?
  6. Will you require other capabilities such as vacuum, magnetic bead separation, shaking, and heating and cooling to be used alongside the ALH?
  7. Is the ALH system easy to use and set up in your current laboratory environment?

Usage Tip

One aspect of purchasing the right liquid handler is ensuring that you have sufficient space for it. But the required space goes beyond the physical footprint of the liquid handler. Confirm that you can physically fit all of the pieces, additional materials such as pipette tips, and space to conduct the experiment itself into your laboratory. Also account for the negative space around it to ensure freedom of movement and user safety.

Using the Right Pump for Your Liquid Handler

The pump is the workhorse of the liquid handler. Before incorporating one into your liquid handling system, it’s important to ensure that it will suit your sample and research needs. This article shares practical tips on the different types of pumps and how you can confirm chemical compatibility before you buy: www.LabManager.com/choosing-a-pump