Types of Lab Shakers and Motions

lab shakers

Motion makes the difference when selecting lab shakers.

lab shaker

Cole-Parmer SH-200 Series Orbital Shaker

Lab shakers provide more than just a back and forth shaking motion, depending on the type you select. Lab shakers can rock, turn, roll, spin, see-saw, and shake. They can move gently or vigorously. When selecting a laboratory shaker, pay attention to the motion the shaker provides. A variety of lab shakers are available to provide you with the exact shaking motion your application requires. Get the motion wrong and you could compromise your precious samples.

Lab shakers and motion descriptions

Orbital motion: The entire platform of an orbital shaker moves in a circular orbit. These shakers have many applications in molecular biology including aeration and prevention of “skin” formation. Many orbital shakers will operate inside an incubator or cold room. Always check specifications to determine the proper ambient conditions for shaker use.

Reciprocating motion: The platform on a reciprocating shaker makes a back-and-forth “sloshing” motion required for some test procedures. Many of our shakers provide both an orbital and a reciprocating motion for extra “dual-action” mixing versatility.
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Vortex motion: Vortex shakers attain speeds up to 3200 rpm for vigorous mixing of capped vessels. Applications include general test tube mixing, biochemical assays, sample preparation, and resuspending cells after centrifugation.

Rotating motion: Rotating shakers gently spin samples in test tubes, flasks, or bottles. Adjustable “tilt” lets you choose rotation angle and therefore the degree of “rise and fall” mixing. Slow, gentle mixing (up to 80 rpm) is best for delicate samples.

Hand motion: Hand-motion shakers duplicate the up and down action associated with a handshake. Applications include DNA extraction, pretreatment of various enzyme reactions, and sample treatment of small amounts of reagent.

Rocking motion: Rocking shakers provide either a rocking “see-saw” motion or a consistent, three-dimensional rocking motion. You will also find rolling shakers perfect for gentle, uniform mixing of test tubes. Use for gentle uniform mixing of blood samples cell suspensions, solutions in test tubes, blots, and dye fixations.

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