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Illustration of a microplate reader
Credit: Lab Manager

Purchasing Guide: Microplate Technology

Microplate handling robots move microplates from one location in a workflow to another

by Lab Manager
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Microplate handling robots move microplates from one location in a workflow to another, such as microplate readers, automated liquid handlers, incubators, and storage locations. Because microplate handlers can increase user walk-away time, as well as throughput and efficiency, they are often used in biomarker research, cell biology, and assay development. For a list of microplate technology manufacturers, see our online directory:

8 Questions to Ask When Buying a Microplate Handler:

  1. How many plates and plate types can it accommodate?
  2. What is the transfer speed?
  3. Will it fit inside your biological safety cabinet or fume hood?
  4. Which other instruments is it compatible with?
  5. Does it use barcode reading for plate identification?
  6. Is the configuration scalable?
  7. Does it remove microplate lids?
  8. Does it enable cherry-picking applications?

Single-Mode Readers

Single-mode readers can only accommodate one of three read modes: absorbance, fluorescence, or luminescence. While this can meet the needs of many labs, you may need to invest in a multimode reader if you wish to expand your lab’s capabilities. Besides the standard three modes, multimode readers also offer modes suited for high-throughput screening, such as fluorescence polarization, time-resolved fluorescence, and more. 

Automating Plate Readers

If your lab has high sample throughput, consider investing in a plate reader that supports integration with automated systems and informatics platforms like a LIMS for faster analysis and data management. Otherwise, your lab may be subjected to bottlenecks and inefficiencies, not to mention higher margins for error.