There are many different features of a pipette to take into consideration before making your purchase, including ergonomics, low force, fitting, ease of use, reliability, accuracy and precision. This guide will narrow down a list of models that might suit your pipetting needs by looking at three main selection criteria, including displacement method, manual or electronic operation and the number of pipetting channels. The models will not be broken down by volume range, as that varies widely from vendor to vendor. Instead, the sample volume range will be listed after the make and model name. First, let's look at whether a positive displacement or an air displacement pipette fits your application best.

Air Displacement Pipettes

Air displacement pipettes are commonly used for aqueous samples and general lab work. They are driven by a piston within an air-tight sleeve that generates a vacuum through its vertical travel. This is triggered either from the depression of a plunger at the top of the pipette by your thumb when using a mechanical pipette, or the same process triggered by the touch of a button when using an electronic model. The sample never comes in contact with the piston, as it is separated by a cushion of air, referred to as dead volume. Next, decide if a manual or electronic air displacement pipette best suits your application.

Electronic air displacement pipettes offer many advantages, but the most significant is the reduced force and fewer hand movements required for operation, which reduces the risk of repetitive stress injuries. Accuracy and precision are also often increased as there is less room for operator error.

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Manual air displacement pipettes are often more durable and better withstand the abuse of everyday lab use. When they do require maintenance, it is often more straightforward and easily accomplished by lab staff. Next, let's look at single-channel, multi-channel and repeater manual air displacement pipettes to see which is best for your application.

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Positive Displacement Pipettes

Positive displacement pipettes are commonly used for heavy liquids or ones that are too viscous to be displaced accurately by air, as well as dense, volatile, radioactive or corrosive samples. These pipettes are driven by a disposable piston that comes in direct contact with the sample. This means volatile liquids can be aspirated without evaporation. Next, decide if a manual or electronic positive displacement pipette is best for your application.

Electronic positive displacement pipettes offer many advantages, but the most significant is the reduced force and fewer hand movements required for operation, which reduces the risk of repetitive stress injuries. Accuracy and precision are also often increased as there is less room for operator error.

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Manual positive displacement pipettes are often more durable and better withstand the abuse of everyday lab use. When they do require maintenance, it is often more straightforward and easily accomplished by lab staff.

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