When they were introduced, electronic pipettes proved to be a defining improvement in pipetting technology. They swiftly revolutionised the handling and measurement of reagents in labs. Everyone who has used an electronic pipette to date can vouch for their precision and performance but research suggests that they enjoy just 10% of the market share. Given the advantages they offer, isn’t this a surprisingly low figure! Is there something more to electronic pipettes that’s often overlooked? Let’s find out.
Who is using electronic pipettes today?
Electronic pipettes are routinely used in academic set-ups, pharma labs and state-of-the-art research facilities. Other disciplines like molecular biology, analytical chemistry, and medical tests also find them useful.
Advantages of Electronic Micropipettes
User-friendly, effortless and efficient
Manual pipettes can cause repetitive strain injury that severely affects the normal functioning of the thumb or the wrist. An electronic pipette minimises hand movement and human involvement in liquid handling. This makes them highly ergonomic and user-friendly.
Precise and accurate
Electronic pipettes control piston movement through a motor. This enables them to accurately dispense the programmed volume of the reagent, eradicating the chance of human error due to approximation and parallax.
Simplifying complex pipetting
Electronic pipettes give you the option to tailor your protocols and define step-based custom programs. This eliminates the complexity that often comes with manual pipetting carried out at varying speeds.
Electronic pipettes take a very important task off the researcher’s hand – finding the time to focus on other more crucial tasks. This way, they are responsible for enhancing a lab’s productivity levels.
What is Repetitive Strain Injury?
Repetitive strain injury or RSI is the result of hours of unvarying motion without a break. RSI symptoms can take months or even years to emerge. Some of the common complaints include intermittent discomfort and pain, tingling, weak muscle, and pulsing. Cumulative Trauma Disorder (CTD) and Surgeon Syndrome are also common names for RSI.
Electronic pipettes eliminate the risk of RSI. You can also eliminate the same by following a few simple measures diligently:
- Make sure you’re relaxed while pipetting.
- Steer clear of hunched shoulders or dangling feet. Pipetting goes best with a natural and good body posture.
- Make sure your workspace is ergonomically designed, uncluttered and organised.
- Using electronic pipettes and/or setting timers for regular breaks can also reduce the chances of an injury.
- Optimise your pipetting process by double-checking your instruments and apparatus.
Disadvantages of Electronic Pipettes
High acquisition cost
Electronic pipettes are usually two to three times more expensive than manual pipettes. If a single-channel manual pipette costs around $300, an electronic pipette will cost you anywhere from $1000 to $1500.
High maintenance cost
Owing to their high-tech machinery and single use batteries, electronic pipettes incur significant maintenance costs and inconvenience as compared to manual pipettes.
Slower operation due to motor
Electronic pipettes utilise a motor operating at a fixed speed. As compared to manual pipettes, electronic pipettes therefore cannot run at a swifter pace than the one dictated by their motor.
No consistency with respect to user interfaces
As of yet, there doesn’t exist a single, standardised user interface for electronic pipettes. Every brand’s electronic pipette has its own unique user interface that you have to understand (and get used to) before you can begin using it for experiments. This makes them harder to operate than manual pipettes.
Am I choosing the right pipette?
Well, just like there is a perfect fit for every piece in a puzzle, the decision to go for a specific product should arise from your own requirements. If you wish to go for either electronic or manual pipettes, consider their pros and cons; discuss them with your lab-mates if needed. If you’re thinking of buying electronic pipettes, do discuss if the pros are worth the extra cost.
Our company, Microlit, has a wide range of products that can fulfil your requirement perfectly. Unlike other lab equipment suppliers, we manufacture our own products. This enables us to provide great prices for high-quality pieces, coupled with strong technical support. To know more about our products, visit https://www.microlit.us/product-category/micropipettes/
If you seek assistance in choosing the perfect pipette for your lab, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.