Laboratory mixers and lab agitators are particularly important general-purpose laboratory mixing devices that aid in a vast array of experiments. As volumes can vary from sample to sample, purchasing the right size and type of mixer is essential.
There are multiple options for various mixing needs: shakers, hotplate stirrers, rocking platforms, orbital shakers, and tube rollers. In this guide, we will look over all the differences and variables to help you purchase the best mixer to fit your lab’s needs.
Laboratory mixers are instruments that help to form a homogenous mixture from more than one ingredient. They are used to mix, emulsify, homogenize, disintegrate and dissolve samples. Laboratory mixers have a tool such as a paddle or a blade that goes into the sample to be mixed and mechanically stirs it.
Laboratory shakers significantly agitate the mixtures that are placed on them.
Plates vibrate back and forth or circularly to significantly mix the components. Some laboratory shakers have plates that tilt up and down as well as side to side for an added mixing element.
The first step in choosing a mixer is to determine the performance specifications that need to be met for your lab’s needs. The container capacity, speed range, viscosity range, operating temperature, introduction methods, and temperature control are all variables in choosing.
Another consideration to be made is if you will be using a mixer that comes with a container. Or will you need the amount to put it on your existing containers? There are several types of laboratory mixers all with distinct purposes.
Laboratory orbital shakers rotate along two planes parallel to the work surface. The orbital feature allows for the enhanced distribution of expressly low-volume samples. These units are ideal for bacterial cell growth, dissolution studies, and staining of electrophoreses gels and blots. These units typically accommodate microcentrifuge tubes, microplate, gel trays, and larger Erlenmeyer flasks.
They use higher speed orbital shakers for bacterial incubations. These specialized shakers keep cells in suspension, providing optimal growth conditions.
They design rockers to mix by gently swaying back and forth. The purpose of rockers is to provide extremely low agitation, unlike the more aggressive motion from shakers.
Additionally, rockers are used during blotting applications. Whether fixing, blocking, or incubating tissues, cells, or blots, a rocker is best suited to your application.
They design tube rollers for gentle mixing of collection or conical tubes. For best diagnostic results, a sample needs adequate blending with the preservative or stabilizer adding to lining the tube. They design these rollers to hold specimen tubes in a stationary horizontal position for rotation between rotors. They are ideal for clinical laboratories, medical research, and physician offices, where the risk of a spilled tube could be hazardous.
For samples that are sensitive to changes in temperature, there are a few considerations to think of before purchasing. For samples that require heat application during the mixing process, you can purchase a stirrer that has a hot plate attachment to the system to control the temperature.
To keep track of changes in temperature, you can get a stirrer with a temperature sensor built-in, allowing researchers to monitor the temperature of their samples in real-time.
As volumes can vary from sample to sample, purchasing the right size stirrer or mixer is an important consideration.
For overhead stirrers, ensuring the rotor speed and agitator shaft sizes are robust enough to mix the lowest and highest requirement volumes is important.
For magnetic stirrers or vortexers, making sure the plate size is large enough to accommodate the maximum volume of the sample requirement will ensure that you purchase the ideal mixer.
With laboratories always increasing in scope and size, the ability to automate any process can free up technician and researcher time so they may accomplish other tasks. As a result of this, they can program many modern magnetic and overhead stirring systems to carry out specific stirring patterns. Depending on the needs of the samples and process it can be customized.
Do your due diligence in researching a company that specifically offers life science laboratory equipment. Tritech is the East Coast’s leading life science lab equipment resource. Their goal is to help life science researchers meet their goals each and every day. They offer new and refurbished lab equipment to help you find the best product within your budget. In addition, they are an ISO 17025 accredited lab and will be able to help with your lab equipment maintenance in the future.