Best pipettors for a biology lab
November 3, 2012 4:28 AM   Subscribe

Lab workers: With which brand of pipette driver / pipettor should we stock our lab?

My current lab is a mess of pipettors that won't hold a charge, stop mid-use and need shaking to restart, or simply don't work but haven't been discraded because someone might fix them one day. Inevitably, the two reliably working pipettors seem to have powerful migratory and nesting instincts; put one down for ten minutes and it'll find its way into another lab, possibly even into someone's drawer.

We have some money to buy some new pipettors. Huzzah. If you have some rock solid, reliable pipettors that have lasted for a few years (possibly with minor repair or replacing the battery), what brand/model are they?
posted by metaBugs to Science & Nature (7 answers total)
I personally prefer the classic portable drummond multispeed to any other model I've used. They particularly outshine other models when it comes to slowly and steadily delivering material when underlaying or overlaying gradients.

I have had memorably bad experiences with pipettors from Argos, in terms of both control and durability.

If it were me, I'd contact a few reps and get loaners for a week or two and let everyone try them out before choosing a model.
posted by juliapangolin at 4:46 AM on November 3, 2012

Seconding the Drummond portable pipet aid.
posted by mbd1mbd1 at 5:26 AM on November 3, 2012

The drummond is especially good because it has a flat back, which lets you set it down with a pipette still attached.

Worthless feature: name tag holder. I think I used a fisher pipetman that had a little tag holder on the side... that had an open gap into the case there. Had to tape it over so I could wipe it down with 70% etoh.
posted by demons in the base at 6:46 AM on November 3, 2012

nthing the Drummond portable pipet aid. That's what we use. Ours are really old and they work great. The battery lasts a long time. As demons in the base says, it's super helpful that you can set down a pipet without contaminating it.

As with all similar pipettors I've used, you have to pay attention to what you're doing or you will suck liquid through the filter, which stops the pipet from working and forces you to change the tiny little $25 filter. Everybody does it a few times though, not sure there's any way arround it.
posted by Cygnet at 7:23 AM on November 3, 2012

Drummond. Get a bunch of filters since someone's going accidentally suck too far eventually. Also, consider cotton-stuffed pipettes.

Nosepieces sometimes fail (poor suction) but are easily and inexpensively replaced. I've also replaced the batteries on some and it's easy and not terribly expensive.

I have one on my bench with a removable backplate-tripod thingy and it's even better (lower angle, less chance of residual liquid drops sliding down and soaking the cotton plug.

I personally don't plug mine in until it starts feeling a little weaker then I let it charge up/use it wired. Seems to be a little kinder on the NiCd battery.
posted by porpoise at 11:47 AM on November 3, 2012

Drummond indeed. Sort of like Ludlum survey meters, they're one of those hideous beige oldschool pieces of lab equipment that every lab seems to have, because they just work. The flat back, the long-lasting battery, and the regularity of speed make me happy that the one at my bench is a Drummond, not the Eppendorf model most of the lab has. (That model isn't terrible, and when working well, it's faster than the Drummond... but it seems to lose a charge faster, have a more irregular speed that gets worse when the charge is low, and have more frequent issues. The faster speed is only really an advantage if you regularly pipette 50mL or so, and honestly, if I bothered getting new batteries for the Drummond, it's possible the difference would go away.)
posted by ubersturm at 3:26 PM on November 3, 2012

Wow, I'm genuinely amazed to see such unanimity. Apparently Drummond either make great pipettors or very acceptable mind-control rays.

Thanks for the recommendations, we'll give them a try!
posted by metaBugs at 7:15 AM on November 21, 2012

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