A pipette is a narrow tube that is usually calibrated, into which small amounts of liquid can be suctioned either for measurement or transfer. Pipettes are measuring instruments that come with a graduated glass tube, the purpose of which is the measurement or transference of precise liquid volumes by having the liquid drawn up into the tube.
Pipettes are laboratory tools often used in biology, chemistry and medicine, and are available in a wide array of different designs, shapes and sizes. They have many different purposes with a variety of precision and accuracy levels, from single piece glass pipettes to much more complex electronic or adjustable pipettes.
The majority of pipettes work via the creation of a partial vacuum over the top of the chamber holding the liquid, which is then selectively released so as to draw the liquid up and dispense it.
What is a micropipette?
Micropipettes are used in labs for the transference of very small quantities of liquid, even down to as little as 0.1 µ. They are usually found in laboratories where activities such as microbiology, molecular biology, cell culture, analytical chemistry, immunology, cell culture and genetics are undertaken.
What’s the difference between pipettes and micropipettes?
A micropipette usually measures between 1 and 1000 µ. Pipettes on the other hand do not start at anything less than one millimetre. Pipettes and micropipettes are both made use of in a number of different laboratories such as:
- Environmental sciences
- Microbiology, and
- Research labs
Different pipette types
Pipettes are available in a variety of different designs including electronic and manual, in addition to multichannel or single pipettes, disposable or reusable, and they are all designed to be as efficient as possible when working with various dishes, plates, tubes and types.
New and even more efficient pipettes continue to be created by manufacturers for a diverse array of cell culture and experimental purposes.
Pipette and micropipette purchasing considerations
When selecting a pipette for use in your laboratory, it is important to understand the volumes you will need to be measuring and transporting in order to choose whether you need pipettes or micropipettes.
You will also need to choose between measuring by hand or by making use of pipettes that will perform this task on your behalf. It may be a good idea to select a pipette that has multiple tips in the event that your laboratory makes use of multi-well equipment.
There are a variety of different types and micropipettes including:
- Air displacement micropipettes
- Positive displacement pipettes
- Mechanical pipettes
- Electronic pipettes
- Graduated pipettes
- Volumetric pipettes
- Disposable/transfer pipettes
- Pasteur pipettes
Pipettes and micropipettes are both invaluable items of laboratory equipment that have the same fundamental purpose in the drawing up, measuring and delivery of accurate volumes of liquid, but on completely different scales. The nature of your application and the volumes of liquid being dealt with will decide whether a pipette or micropipette is better for your particular purpose.