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Lab Manager General Lab Product Survey

How Laboratory Shakers Are Being Used and What To Look For When Buying

Learn how often our readers use their shakers in their labs and more from our latest results

Shane Downie

The wide variety of lab shaker designs on the market reflects the increasing diversity of scientific experimentation. Labs now use a greater range of sample sizes than ever before, from liters to microliters. And while replicate and combinatorial studies increase the number of samples, requirements for environmental control create yet a third dimension that shaker designers must consider.

Top 6 Questions You Should Ask When Buying a Laboratory Shaker

  1. What is the capacity of the unit (both for total weight and volume)
  2. What accessories are available?
  3. What is the RPM range and what increments can it be controlled in?
  4. Do you require a temperature controlled shaker? Incubating or water-bath shaker? Cooling?
  5. What shaking method do you require? Orbital, vortex, or rocking?
  6. What programming functions, if any, does the unit have?

Shaker types used by survey respondents:

Vortex shaker69%
Orbital shaker51%
Rocking shaker35%
Incubator shaker31%
Biological shaker23%
Vibrating shaker16%
Reciprocal shaker12%
Nutating shaker5%

Number of hours per day shaker is in operation:

Less than 1 hour28%
1 - 3 hours27%
3 - 5 hours15%
5 - 7 hours13%
More than 7 hours17%

Nearly 56% of respondents are engaged in purchasing a new laboratory shaker. The reasons for these purchases are as follows:

Replacement of an aging system
Addition to existing systems, increase capacity
Setting up a new lab

Top 10 features/factors respondents look for when purchasing a laboratory shaker:

Durability / rugged design78%
Low maintenance — easy to clean77%
Simple operation — easy to program and monitor68%
Shaking speed50%
Low noise — quiet46%
Minimal vibration46%
Compact design36%
Orbital vs. reciprocating motion34%
Electronic speed controls34%

For more information on lab shakers, including useful articles and a list of manufacturers, visit

See previous survey results: