Shaker Motion Descriptions

Orbital Shaker

A guide for selecting the best benchtop laboratory shaker!

We offer a variety of shakers to provide you with the exact shaking motion that your application requires. The terms included here are used throughout the Shaker section to depict the characteristic motion(s) of each shaker. You should also consider the type of holder needed for your samples, and whether your samples are temperature sensitive.

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 of our orbital shakers will operate inside an incubator or cold room. Always check specifications to determine the proper ambient conditions for shaker use.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Rocking motion: Our platform 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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Specialty Shakers

Microplate shakers have platforms that oscillate horizontally. Samples are placed in beakers or flasks and placed onto the platform. Test tubes and vials are placed in holes in a plate called well microplates. Some microplates can accommodate 96- and 384-wells. Microplate shakers are ideal for immunoassay and research procedures. Choose from a variety of features including easy plate removal, auto startup, adjustable speed control, space saving designs, and remote control units with RS-232 interface.
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Incubating shakers ensure even mixing with temperature control, and promote cell growth and cell aeration. An incubator shaker can be used to grow many types of cells including tissue cultures, bacterial cultures, and yeast. We offer shaking incubators in a variety of sizes including compact, benchtop, stackable, and floor models.
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Water Bath shakers: ideal for thawing, heating, mixing and shaking samples. Some applications include hybridization, bacterial culturing, cell aeration and molecular biology assays.
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Waving shakers are used for operations involving shear sensitive fluids such as ELISA, DNA extraction, protein synthesis, and hybridization. Choose from models with variable speed, adjustable tilt angle, and countdown timer to optimize your procedure.
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Sieve shakers: used to measure particle size as part of your research or quality control applications. Sieve shakers provide uniform motion to ensure the reproducible results you cannot get from hand sieving. Shakers are available with amplitude control and timers allowing you to standardize your procedure for reliable results.
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Tips for use and care of your shaker

  • Take care to avoid spills by matching your labware with the speed and pitch of your rocker/shaker. Too vigorous motion may cause liquids to spill from low-profile, poorly covered containers.
  • When placing a flask into a spring clamp, pull the clamp open enough to then insert the flask. This will increase the life of the clamp and spring, and prevent accidental damage to the flask. Reverse the process to remove the flask.
  • When using multiple vessels, ensure that they are evenly distributed on the platform for best operation and to reduce the chances of vibration, uneven wear on mechanics, and uneven shaking.

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Disclaimer: Cole-Parmer products are not approved or intended for, and should not be used for medical, clinical, surgical or other patient-oriented applications.