Introduction

Pipetting, at first glance, would seem a fairly simple and easy task. Essentially described as glass or plastic tubes used to measure and transfer liquid substances of accurate volumes, pipettes are the ultimate laboratory tool. Yes, pipettes and micropipettes are easy to use–but, for scientists and professionals working in genetics, chemistry, microbiology, and medical research, transferring substances one at a time for experiments that would need a thousand or so samples can become an inexplicable nightmare.

In the success of large-scale experiments, just as important as knowledgeable procedures, safety regulations, and accurate measurements is laboratory efficiency. Ordinary pipettes and automatic micropipettes already offer the former, but how about the latter? The solution for efficiency is as painless and straightforward as can be–multichannel pipettes.

Why Do You Need a Multichannel Pipette?

Multichannel pipettes are tools that allow the simultaneous aspiration of multiple pipette tips, effectively increasing laboratory output and reducing production time and costs. Different design variations of the multichannel pipette allow for the usual 8 to 12 to as much as premium 16, 48, and 64 pipetting channels that aspirate and dispense large volumes of liquid substances in welled trays at a time. However, increasing efficiency shouldn’t come at a cost for measuring accuracy. The best multichannel pipettes are expected to deliver superior accuracy with high-volume pipetting, as well as maximum comfort to the user.

Selection Criteria for a Multichannel Pipette

With a large number of pipette brands on the market today, it can all get a little too confusing for the prospective pipette buyer. Premium laboratory equipment such as the multichannel pipette are expensive investments, and choosing the right variant is a crucial decision to be made. Nevertheless, this choice can be made easy once important benchmark criteria are kept in mind. What do you need to look for in a high-performance multi-channel pipette? Let’s look at our checklist.

Needs & Price

Do you need an electronic, 8-channel, 100 microliter multichannel pipette? Or a 12-channel pipette at 200 microliter settings? Establishing what is necessary for your experimental procedures is a must, before choosing among the other less essential features. But of course, as with any experimental pursuit, scientists can only dream of going beyond one’s set budget. Therefore, the first thing on our list is financial considerations. This factor can quickly narrow down options, with different multichannel pipettes offering distinct features and properties at varying prices.

Comfortable Use

Conducting research can present very high demands for scientists, necessitating intensive manual labor across long periods of time. Spending hours in the lab with pipette in hand could prove an arduous task for any professional, and it is therefore important to consider that members of the laboratory staff are as comfortable as possible especially when using these complex instruments. Consequently, minimizing the risk of fatigue and wrist strain also minimizes the risk of error. The right multichannel pipette must have updated ergonomic designs for maximum productivity. Ideally, it may be equipped with a 360-degree rotation for convenience in adjusting to any position, and it must also be light enough to be comfortably held by the user for long periods.

Easily Cleaned & Autoclavable

Time is a limited resource in laboratory experiments, and none of it must be wasted on activities that are of lesser priority. Cleaning equipment, for example, is of utmost importance in the lab, but can potentially take too much time and workforce. Therefore, the right multichannel pipette must be easily cleaned and autoclavable to ensure lab safety and avoid contamination of substances without taking too much effort.

Universal Tip Fit

Given the wide array of pipette brands that exist in the market today, measurements might not be standardized for all variant products. That being the case, in buying new instruments for use in the laboratory, one must take into account the compatibility of equipment to the available resources. In the case of multichannel pipettes, the fit of the pipette tip can vary from brand to brand. Therefore, one must ensure that the multichannel pipette of choice has properly valued, widely available and easily acquired pipette tips.

Accuracy

Lastly, but surely not the least on our checklist, is the accuracy of measurement of the multichannel pipette. In using such a convenient, effortless, and efficient tool such as the multichannel pipette, it may be easy to disregard its number one purpose, which is to deliver substances in exact amounts. In transferring volumes one a time versus filling eight channels simultaneously, it isn’t as easy for the scientist to do manual re-checks for precision. Therefore, relying on the accuracy of the instrument is of optimum priority.

All modern laboratories should have multichannel pipettes in their arsenals. Now that we know what it takes to become a smart and responsible buyer of multichannel pipettes, here is a list of the best multichannel pipettes out there today.

The Best Five

Eppendorf® Research Plus Multichannel Pipette

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Eppendorf® Research Plus Multichannel Pipette
  • Adjustable eight-channel micropipette with a manual volume control and a secondary calibration option for transporting a measured volume of aqueous or viscous liquid
  • Four-digit counter indicates the selected volume and has a magnified shape for visibility
  • Plunger requires low operating force to aspirate and dispense liquid, reducing user fatigue and thumb muscle activity
  • Spring-loaded tip cones for ease of connecting and ejecting pipette tips
  • Fully autoclavable for decontamination and sterilization
  • Needs
    • Available in 8- and 12-channel variants, Eppendorf Research Plus Multichannel Pipettes can transfer amounts in variable volumes of 0.5 to 10 microliters, 10 to 100 microliters, and 30 to 300 microliter ranges, in 0.01, 0.1, and 0.2 unit increments.
  • Comfortable Use
    • The Eppendorf Research Plus Multichannel Pipette offers an easily-manipulated control button and low operating force of tip ejector, minimizing exertion and providing comfort to its user.
    • It is also equipped with spring loaded tip cones, which make the process of tip attachment and ejection easier, minimizing the risk of hand or wrist strain from repeated use.
    • The Research Plus pipettes are with the lowest weight and lowest operation forces at Eppendorf. The brand pioneered the Physiocare Concept®, which stands for ultimate durability, intuitive operation, and, above all, perfect balance and minimal user exertion.
  • Easily Cleaned and Autoclavable
    • The Eppendorf Research Plus Multichannel Pipette can be fully autoclaved without the need to be disassembled.
  • Universal Tip Fit
    • Aside from their ergonomic purpose, the spring loaded tip cones also limit the attachment and ejection forces needed for optimum pipette fit regardless of the user.
  • Accuracy
    • The digital volumeter is easily adjusted in a few quick turns, with optimal calibration display and adjustment for substances of specific volumes.
    • Eppendorf Research Plus pipettes also offer secondary adjustment calibration option and improved 4-digit volume display with a magnifying feature.
  • Additional Features
    • Eppendorf’s PerfectPiston™ piston system provides a structurally light but accurate tool that is also made of a UV- and chemically-resistant and lightweight material, Fortron™. This unique polymer is also resistant to heat, mildew, and bleaching. This added feature makes decontamination of the multichannel pipette an easier process.

Gilson PIPETMAN Neo MULTI

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Gilson PIPETMAN Neo MULTI
  • Color-coded push-button for easy identification
  • Reduced pipetting forces
  • Made of highly resistant materials
  • Universal tip holder
  • Internal track system applies equal pressure on each piston to ensure consistent volume levels across all channels
  • Needs
    • With a fine volume range of 2 to 20 microliters and 20 to 200 microliters, the Gilson PIPETMAN Neo Multichannel Pipette is constructed with high-quality and lightweight materials that can last a long period, given its higher price ranges.
  • Comfortable Use
    • The Gilson PIPETMAN Neo is the updated variant of the original PIPETMAN P, addressing user comfort issues such as wrist strain and other occupational upper body injuries. It is designed to reduce susceptibility to common injuries through a 50% reduction of pipetting forces bought by newly engineered spring systems.
    • The PIPETMAN Neo MULTI tip ejection forces can be considered the lowest of any product on the market today.
  • Easily Cleaned & Autoclavable
    • The Gilson PIPETMAN Neo is designed to allow easy access to user-serviceable parts, making the instrument easy to clean, especially the parts in contact with liquids. However, only the lower part is autoclavable.
  • Universal Tip Fit
    • The pipette-tip holders have been designed to fit major leading tip brands for convenience. But, PIPETMAN diamond tips are still the recommended product to meet Gilson’s and ISO’s specifications.
  • Accuracy
    • The Gilson PIPETMAN Neo has an internal track system that applies equal pressure on each piston, securing consistency in volume transfer across all of the 8 or 12 available channels.
    • Gilson pipettes are individually calibrated and delivered with a certificate of conformity, and engraved with identification numbers for easy traceability. They report that on average, Gilson PIPETMAN pipettes allow permissible error that is two times better than the standard recommendation of ISO 8655.
  • Additional Features
    • The Gilson PIPETMAN Neo is constructed with high-quality and lightweight materials that can last a long period, given its higher price range.

Thermo Scientific Finnpipette F1

Thermo Scientific Finnpipette F1
  • Volume size: 10-200uL; type: transferpette-12 electronic
  • Adjustable finger-rest and V-rings on the tip cones helped it become the first pipette independently certified "Ergonomics Approved" by the prestigious TÜV testing service
  • Includes five operating modes help improve productivity and increase sample throughput: standard pipetting, sample mixing, reverse pipetting, dispensing, gel loading
  • Easily removable manifold is autoclavable for sterile applications; autoclaving only manifold protects instrument calibration, takes up less space in your autoclave
  • Soft-touch pipetting key, adjustable finger-rest, and innovative tip cone minimize tip-mounting, operation, and tip-ejection forces
  • Needs
    • The Thermo Scientific Finnpipette F1 is the only product on our list that offers volume ranges at 16 channels, as well as the standard 8 and 12 channels. The volumes range from 1 to 10, 5 to 50, 10 to 100, and 30 to 300 microliters.
  • Comfortable Use
    • Considered as “User-Friendly,” the Thermo Scientific Finnpipette F1 is an ergonomic and electronic multichannel pipette equipped with modern and intuitive software that makes it deserving of a spot on this list.
    • The Thermo Scientific Finnpipette F1 is equipped with innovative design features that provide ergonomic comfort. Adjustable finger rests can be rotated up to 60 degrees to both directions of the center position, depending on the dominant hand of the user. V-rings on the tip cones also help in reducing tip-mounting and ejection forces.
  • Easily Cleaned & Autoclavable
    • Thermo Scientific Finnpipettes are not autoclavable, but the tip cones can repeatedly be autoclaved.
  • Universal Tip Fit
    • The instrument is also compatible with most major brands and pipette tip variants, which include flexible and filter tips. However, Finntips are recommended for use. These pipette tips are autoclavable.
  • Accuracy
    • The instrument includes five available operating modes: standard pipetting, sample mixing, reverse pipetting, dispensing, and gel loading. These modes function to achieve maximum productivity in the laboratory and increase sample throughput with each session.
    • The delivery volume is set by rotating the knob at the top of the pipette. As with other pipette brands, using excessive force may accidentally jam the knob or damage the pipette. Volume lock is done by pushing the knob down after the volume click.
  • Additional Features
    • F1 pipettes include components that contain antimicrobial additive; Silver Sodium Hydrogen Zirconium Phosphate, to inhibit the growth of microorganisms.

Sartorius Biohit® mLINE Advanced Multichannel Pipette

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Sartorius Biohit® mLINE Advanced Multichannel Pipette
  • Excellent ergonomics to protect from injuries with the exceptionnally light pipetting and tip ejection forces
  • High accuracy and precision, also in repetitive, long-lasting pipetting
  • Minimized risk of contamination with Safe-Cone Filters and full autoclavability
  • Increased safety with volume lock preventing accidental volume changes while pipetting
  • Prevent contamination with Safe-Cone Filters
  • Needs
    • Another mechanical pipette that is also both in 8- and 12- channel variants, the Sartorius Biohit® mLINE Advanced Pipette offers volume transfers at 0.5 to 10 microliters, 5 to 100 microliters, and 30 to 300 microliter ranges. These volumes are delivered in 0.01, 0.1, and 0.2 µl increments, respectively. Note that the brand offers a slightly wider mid-range option with the 5-100 µl category, compared to other variants.
  • Comfortable Use
    • Along with its savvy technological features, the Sartorius Biohit® mLINE Advanced Multichannel Pipette is also extremely lightweight and designed to prevent occupational hand, arm, and shoulder disorders and RSIs (Repetitive Strain Injury).
    • The instrument also makes use of spring-loaded tip cones and tip ejector for optimal sealing and easy ejection, same with other brands. However, if the tip is pressed too hard, the counter and operation buttons for volume setting may accidentally move.
  • Easily Cleaned & Autoclavable
    • The Sartorius Biohit® mLINE Advanced Multichannel Pipette is fully autoclavable, but necessitates disassembly during autoclave and when cleaning. Cleaning the instrument should be done part by part. It is recommended that the multichannel pipette is also greased every 3 months.
  • Universal Tip Fit
    • Sartorius recommends the use of pipette tips of the same brand that comes with the purchase and is also widely available in the market.
  • Accuracy
    • The Sartorius Biohit® mLINE Advanced Multichannel Pipette minimizes risk for volume errors through the use of volume lock, which prevents accidental volume changes while the pipette is in use.
  • Additional Features
    • The innovative addition of Sartorius Biohit Safe-Cone Filters, which are replaceable polyethylene filters, maintains the integrity of samples by minimizing the risk of aerosol or fluid contamination of samples and pipettes. However, the safety filters must regularly be changed to avoid any risk for dirt contamination.

Scilogex MicroPette

Scilogex MicroPette
  • 50-300ul 8 channel pipette
  • lightweight 50-300uL 8 channel pipette
  • Needs
    • The 8 and 12-channel Scilogex micropipettes are capable of transferring liquids in a slightly smaller volume range of 0.5 to 10 microliters, 5 to 50 microliters, and 50 to 300 microliters, in larger increments of 0.1, 0.5, and 5 microliters, respectively.
  • Comfortable Use
    • Scilogex multichannel pipettors have structurally-incorporated heads that can rotate in a full 360-degree axis, for maximum user comfort.
    • The tool is lightweight and easily handled.
  • Easily Cleaned & Autoclavable
    • Individual piston and tip cone assemblies make cleaning, repair, and maintenance easier for the Scilogex 8- and 12-channel MicroPette. However, for multi-channel pipettes, the 8 or 12 screws must be loosened before steam sterilization can take place via autoclave. Screws are tightened afterward. It is also recommended to check the performance of the pipette after each autoclaving, and grease the piston and seal after 10 autoclaving sessions.
  • Universal Tip Fit
    • Unlike other pipette models, the Scilogex Multichannel Pipette offers true universal pipette fit of any standard sizes offered by different brands for convenience and reduction of additional and hassle or costs.
  • Accuracy
    • The desired liquid volume clicks into place by turning the thumb button clockwise or counterclockwise, and the digits are visible through the handle grip display window. However, one must handle the thumb button with care as using excessive force may jam the mechanism and damage the pipettor.