1. Which volume range?
To maximize reproducibility, you should always select a pipette with a nominal (max.) volume that is as close as possible to the volume you usually need to transfer.
2. Which vessel format?
If you routinely work with individual tubes, single-channel pipettes are ideal. When working with microplates, multi-channel pipettes or hand-dispensers will be your tool of choice. For 384-well-plates you should consider selecting a 16- or 24-channel pipette to easily fill a complete row in one pipetting step. If, on the other hand, you regularly need to switch formats (e.g. from tubes to plates), it’s definitely worth looking at an adjustable tip spacing pipette.
3. Which liquid type?
The most commonly used pipettes in labs around the world are air-cushion pipettes, which are ideal for transferring aqueous solutions. Challenging liquids with a different viscosity, volatility, surface tension, or density than water, as well as hot, cold, or hazardous liquids, are better handled with a positive displacement dispenser such as the Multipette® (US/CAN: Repeater® ) with Combitips® advanced. When using an electronic pipette, a digital lab assistant with pre-defined settings for different liquid types (such as the VisioNize® pipette manager) can offer additional assistance when handling challenging liquids.
4. Throughput and 5. Complexity
The definitive criteria to be considered when selecting your liquid handler, however, include the throughput as well as the complexity of your tasks. The higher your throughput and complexity, the more it makes sense to look at electronic pipettes or even automated pipetting robots.
See “Related links” to download a selection chart for Eppendorf pipettes and matching tips.