How to Choose the Right Pipette in the Lab

Whether you prefer a manual , electronic, single or multi channel pipette, repetitive pipetting can pose some serious ergonomic challenges which, if you are not careful, can take a serious toll on your body.   And more specifically, repetitive pipetting can cause harm to your shoulders, wrists, hands and thumbs.

The good news is that here are many great pipettes on the market today which are ergo-friendly.  (Whew!) But how do you know which pipette is right for you?

Choosing the Right Pipette

When considering which pipette to use, there are a few things to be on the look out for.

Is Your Pipette Hand & Arm Friendly?

  • Make sure the diameter fits your hand and that you don’t strain or have to over-grip to hold your pipette.
  • Pick a shorter design which makes it easier to keep your shoulders relaxed and have your arms by your sides.
  • Choose a handle that feels natural in your hand and helps promote a neutral wrist position.

Is Your Pipette Comfortable?

  • Pick a lightweight pipette.  This can make all the difference in the world!
  • Look for a pipette that allows you to use the plunger with various fingers so that one finger isn’t over taxed, especially your thumbs!

Pay Attention to The Plunger & Pipette Tips

  • Strive to use a low force plunger that doesn’t cause you to over-exert your fingers.
  • The shorter the plunger “travel” is, the better.
  • It’s best to use a pipette that works with universal tips.
  • Work with pipettes tips that have low force acquisition as well as low force ejection.

And of course, don’t forget about using good technique:

  1. Keep Your Work Close to Your Body
  2. Work at Elbow Height
  3. Avoid Over-gripping
  4. Keep Your Wrists Neutral
  5. Avoid Overuse of Your Thumbs
  6. Take Frequent (even if short) Breaks

Until the Next Time!

Vivienne & Andrew

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