Manual vs. Electronic Pipetting: What You Need to Know

Photo of Thermo Fisher pipetting device with worker in the background

Written by Thermo Fisher Scientific. Originally posted on July 01, 2021

When it comes to liquid handling, it is critical to ensure quality, reproducibility and precision in pipetting. You should be as comfortable using your pipette as an artist with a paint brush. Using it is second nature, but the better the quality of the brush, the better the product. Given the importance, investing in a new pipette means ensuring better accuracy and ergonomics, ultimately leading to greater usability, so that you as a scientist can be more productive and save on costs long term.

But WHICH pipette to invest in is a decision that should not be made lightly, and one of the main questions to consider is whether to go manual or electronic. There are a few main factors to keep in mind when making this decision:

1. Precision & Comfort: Using an electronic pipette significantly reduces the opportunity for human errors such as contamination of the workplace and irregular amounts of fluid in each pipette. If a customer is pipetting for long periods of time, they face risk factors of repetitive strain injury with heavy pipettes with stiff plungers, sometimes leading to errors. ClipTip Pipettes are manufactured to be light and sit comfortably in your hand, minimizing risks in the lab and helping to save time.

2. Time: As mentioned, ergonomics can play a big role in accuracy, so in cases where large amounts of pipetting are required, breaks are recommended when using a manual pipette. Electronic pipettes eliminate the need for breaks or potential discomfort. Take our E1-ClipTip Equalizer Pipette, for example. It has been designed with the comfort of the scientist in mind, with tip ejection forces up to 93% lower compared to the other adjustable tip spacing pipettes tested, resulting in the ability to increase repetition in a comfortable manner.

3. Volume of pipetting: Manual pipetting is perfect for those who only occasionally pipette or pipette in low volumes for activities such as experiment set up. These tools offer instant usability if you use a pipette for simple, repeatable work.

4. Budget: Electronic pipettes are a costly financial investment. So, if you are working with a small budget, a manual pipette may be the way to go. An investment in a new manual pipette will still guarantee access to the latest in interlocking technology, for a complete seal during pipetting.

No matter if you choose a manual or electronic pipette, the most important thing is to choose a product that is easy to maintain. Do your homework before making your decision.

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