Recommended Used Spectrophotometers for Cuvettes and Microplates

In the market for a new spectrophotometer? Here are 5 things to consider before buying.


Recommended Cuvette Reader: Varian/Agilent Cary 100/300

Why the Cary 100/300?

Commonly seen here at New Life Scientific, the Cary series is a favorite among our technicians thanks to its robust build quality and longevity. Fully functional Cary units with software aren't too hard to find on the used market, so you shouldn't have to wait long to buy one.

If your budget is especially tight, you can save even more money by purchasing a Varian-branded Cary manufactured before Agilent acquired Varian.

What's the difference between the Cary 100 and the Cary 300?

According to their specification sheet, the 100 and 300 are very similar save for the fact that the 300 offers double dispersion while the 100 only offers single dispersion. Additionally, the 300 has a pre-monochromator while the 100 doesn't. 

Price estimates: At the time of this publication, you can find a Cary 100 for ~$3,000 and a Cary 300 for ~$5,000. Age, functionality, and software availability will influence these prices.

Browse our Cary spectrophotometers here.

Recommended Plate Reader: PerkinElmer Victor X Series

Why the Victor X series?

Much like the Cary series, the Victor X series has a time-tested, robust design. Even a Victor X manufactured 15 years ago can offer a good ROI thanks to how rarely they break down.

Additionally, these readers support both 96- and 384-well plates.

What's the difference between the Victor X models?

The Victor X series of spectrophotometers offers incredible flexibility.

Starting with the X2 and onward, each Victor X contains all of the functionality of its predecessor along with one additional read mode. Here's a breakdown of what each Victor X model offers:

Victor X Light: Luminescence

Victor X2: Capabilities of X Light + Fluorescence Intensity

Victor X3: Capabilities of X2 + UV-Vis Absorbance

Victor X4: Capabilities of X3 + Time-resolved Fluorescence

Victor X5: Capabilities of X4 + Fluorescence Polarization

Much like Cary units, Victor X spectrophotometers are long-lasting thanks to their excellent build quality. The series as a whole has been in production for a few decades now, so many have trickled down to the used market and are available at much more affordable prices than new units. Many of these units also have software included.

Price estimates:

  • Victor X Light: $3,000
  • Victor X2: $3,500
  • Victor X3: $4,800
  • Victor X4: $6,500
  • Victor X5: $8,200

  • Browse our Victor X plate readers here.

    Recommended Plate/Cuvette Reader: Molecular Devices SpectraMax Plus 384

    Why the SpectraMax Plus 384?

    The SpectraMax Plus 384 is one of the few systems that can scan both cuvettes and microplates without requiring additional hardware. It comes with plate shaking and incubation built-in as well. You can use it to refine results with a cuvette and then jump into high-throughput scanning without needing to buy a separate plate reader.

    Price estimate: Tested, working SpectraMax Plus 384 systems are available for ~$3,500 or so.

    Browse our SpectraMax Plus 384 spectrophotometers here.

    Browse other used lab equipment.