A centrifuge is a critical piece of equipment for the laboratory, and often a significant investment . Therefore, when the time comes to add a new centrifuge—or replace an old one—it is important to make an informed decision. There is a good chance that your needs have changed since the last time you purchased a centrifuge. For example, space may now be tighter, or the activity level of the laboratory may have increased substantially and there are now many more users. Perhaps you want to try a new protocol that you learned about at a recent conference.With so many recent advances in both science and technology, it is wise to educate yourself about the wide range of centrifuge options now available. This will help you choose a model that will suit your needs not only today, but for many years to come.
Following are some key questions that can be used to determine the type of centrifuge that will best meet your needs:
1. What applications and protocols will the centrifuge be used to support?
2. What are the maximum and minimum g-force (relative centrifugal force, RCF) and volume requirements?
3. How many tubes or samples must be processed in a run, shift, or day?
4. What types of sample formats will the centrifuge need to support (i.e., microplates, blood collection tubes, disposable conical tubes)?
5. What type of rotors will be needed to support your applications (i.e., fixed angle, swinging bucket)?
6. How many people will be using the centrifuge?
7. Is versatility important? That is, do you anticipate the need for a broad range of protocols and multiple users, or will you be perform-ing the same standardized protocol day after day?
8. Do you have any space restrictions, such as benchtop or foor space only?
9. Do you have special needs such as process traceability, user lock-out, or biocontainment?
10. What is your budget?Once you have answered these quesions, you should have a better picture of your centrifuge requirements. It is also helpful to review the basic types of centrifuges to make sure you know which category best fts your needs.
Floor model or benchtop?
Centrifuges are generally classified as either floor-standing or benchtop models. Within each category are several platforms from which to choose. The style you choose is typically determined by performance requirements, available space, and budget.
Floor-model centrifuges free up bench space and are often chosen for either high-speed or high-capacity sample processing. Within the foor-model category there are superspeed centrifuges, ultra-centrifuges, and low-speed centrifuges.
Benchtop centrifuges offer versatility and convenience, and can be equipped many ways to accommodate a broad range of needs, making them a cost-effective solution for many laboratories. Benchtop platforms include general-purpose centrifuges, micro-centrifuges, small clinical centrifuges, cell washers, and high-speed models.