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Lab Manager Life Science Product Survey

Top 10 Factors to Look for When Purchasing a Microplate Handler

Learn readers’ most sought-after features and more from our latest survey results

by Jason Kerkhof

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 reader52%
Microplate centrifuge10%
Microplate washer7%
Microplate stacker5%
Microplate labeler3%
Microplate sealer2%

Top 5 microplate handler applications as reported by survey respondents:

Education, Research38%

Nearly 47% of respondents are engaged in purchasing a new micoplate handler. The reasons for these purchases are as follows:

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

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

Durability of product83%
Performance of product81%
Ease of use80%
Value for price paid74%
Availability of supplies and accessories69%
Low operating costs64%
Total cost of ownership62%
Low maintenance / easy to clean62%
Service and support60%

For more information on microplate handlers, visit

See results from previous surveys: