What Lab Mixer Do You Use for Your Application?

Whether you're in the cosmetic, pharmaceutical, food or biotechnology field, you may use a lab mixer. This equipment helps agitate and mix samples in a uniform and scaled way, and you can choose a specific type of lab mixer based on your specific needs and work environment. Below, we explore the differences between laboratory mixing equipment to help you make an informed decision.

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The Benefits of Using a Lab Mixer

What do lab mixers do? While lab mixers are an investment, they come with many essential benefits for your lab:

  • Even mixing: By using a laboratory mixer, you can ensure you're achieving a uniform mixture.
  • Improved efficiency: Opting to use a lab mixer will save you time mixing.
  • Increased safety: Using a lab mixer prevents operators from excessive exposure to corrosive and toxic chemicals. 
  • Easy placement: Lab mixers' compact size allows them to easily fit into any space. 

What to Look for in a Lab Mixer 

Before discussing the different types of laboratory mixing equipment on the market, it's important to discuss what features and components make them different. Here's a list of six factors to consider when buying a lab mixer:

1. Capacity

When choosing a mixer, consider the volume of materials you intend to use it for. Make sure you choose a mixer that has the capacity to mix the volume of your batch. The capacity of a mixer will be measured in either gallons or liters.  

2. Speed Range

When comparing lab mixers, you'll see that the speed range of a mixer is measured in revolutions per minute. Some mixers can operate at varied speeds, while others need to run at a continuous speed. Check that the option you're considering will mix fast enough for your application.

3. Operating Temperature

The operating temperature of a mixer is usually measured in Fahrenheit or Celsius. When buying a mixer, consider the temperature limits of your products.

4. Temperature Control

In addition to considering the operating temperature of a lab mixer, you should also consider its temperature control features. Mixers with heating and cooling elements are readily available. Heating elements are measured in watts and are made of ceramic materials. To cool a device, smooth cooling shovels rotate in a drum to achieve maximum contact without creating friction.

5. Viscosity Range

Be sure the mixer you decide on can withstand the viscosity of your batches.

Viscosity refers to the thickness of the liquid when stirring. This is an important measurement to consider if you're mixing liquids with viscosities greater than water or with viscosities that change when stirred. Be sure the mixer you decide on can withstand the viscosity of your batches. 

6. Extra Features

When choosing a mixer, you'll notice there are a number of additional features you can choose from. These features include:

  • A digital torque and speed display
  • A zero torque option
  • A timer
  • Programmable mixing options such as automatic shutdown, external computer control and data logging 
  • Reversible modes that allow for clockwise and counterclockwise stirring

Types of Laboratory Mixing Equipment

Which lab equipment is used for mixing solutions? The kind of mixer you choose depends on the needs of your application. To make it simple, mixing equipment can be separated into three main groups — mixers, shakers and rockers. Here's a breakdown of each category and an explanation of how it can help you in your lab:

1. Mixers 

The most frequent type of mixer you will come across is a magnetic stirrer. Controlled by a powerful magnet, this mixer uses a stir bar to mix a flask filled with liquid. With a full range of speeds, this mixer will allow you to do anything from gently mixing a sample to strongly agitating it. Magnetic stirrers come on a heated or unheated platform. 

Another type of popular mixer is a vortex mixer. Vortex mixers allow for the vigorous mixing, agitation and resuspension of samples. Vortex mixers move in a circular motion and have a relatively small orbit. You can operate this mixer in either a continuous or touch mode. You can choose from a multi-tube model or a multi-sample control model.

2. Shakers

One of the most common types of laboratory shakers is a reciprocal shaker. These shakers move back and forth along a horizontal plane. The motion of the shaker means it pushes liquid from one side of the device to the other side. Reciprocal shakers are used for moderate to vigorous levels of mixing. One ideal application for these types of shakers is sedimentation studies.

Another common type of shaker is an orbital shaker. These shakers move in a circular rotation on a horizontal plane. Orbital shakers are perfect for cell and tissue work. These shakers can aerate the sample and then distribute the cells and nutrients evenly throughout the flask.

The incubated shaker is extremely similar to the orbital shaker. The difference between the two devices is that the incubated shaker is enclosed and has built-in temperature control. In addition, the incubated shaker comes in a wider variety of sizes, such as small bench-top units and large floor models 

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3. Laboratory Rockers

The third category of lab mixing equipment is rockers. Rockers come in two forms — 2D and 3D. They usually operate at lower speeds, making them ideal for staining, de-staining, gentle mixing and blotting. Specifically, 3D rockers are ideal for researchers who have applications where they want to prevent the formation of foam.

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Save Money on a Lab Mixer With New Life Scientific

If you're looking to invest in a lab mixer for your business or organization, New Life Scientific offers a wide range of used lab equipment that can meet your needs and your budget. Often, used options are the best choice for labs because they provide years of value without a hefty price tag. With years in the business, we focus on supplying quality used products to help scientists like you succeed.

From mixing options to safety cabinets to numerous other equipment options, New Life Scientific has what you need to expand your lab and get the job done. Browse our selection today or contact us to learn more.