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2016 Microplate Reader Survey Results

Learn the most common types of microplate handlers and more from our latest product survey results

by Ryan Ackerman

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 reader 83%
Microplate centrifuge 46%
Microplate washer 35%
Microplate stacker 17%
Microplate sealer 15%
Microplate labeler 9%
Other 11%

Top 5 microplate handler applications as reported by survey respondents:

Education, Research 43%
Biotechnology 33%
Clinical/Diagnostics 24%
Pharmaceutical/Medicine 20%
Environmental 9%

Nearly 44% of respondents are engaged in purchasing a new micoplate handler. The reasons for these purchases are as follows:

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

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

Durability of product 83%
Performance of product 81%
Ease of use 77%
Value for price paid 76%
Availability of supplies and accessories 73%
Service and support 69%
Low operating costs 67%
Low maintenance / easy to clean 65%
Total cost of ownership 65%
Software 56%

For more information on microplate handlers, visit

See the most recent survey results