Your Guide to Purchasing the Best Rocker and Roller for Your Laboratory

Setting up or adding new equipment to a laboratory can be a daunting prospect, at best. There are so many models at so many price points, and the budget numbers can really start adding up. 

While there are many types of equipment and materials necessary to fully outfit any lab, some of the most important components of any lab is the mixing equipment, such as rockers and rollers. Fret not! Here is a guide to purchasing all the right rockers and rollers

Size and Budget Matters

The first two questions are what is the type and size of laboratory you are outfitting and what is your budget? Is this a research or commercial, industrial setting? Are you in a large laboratory setting with a big budget, or are you developing a start-up lab with a more limited spending capacity? Each of these questions affects the type of mixing equipment you will ultimately choose. With so many options and advances in technology, you may want to get the most cutting-edge equipment, if you have a budget that can sustain these purchases. You may not need all the bell and whistles and can realize substantial savings by having a good understanding of exactly what your lab needs are. This sort of inventory and assessment can save a lot of heartache later. You will need to make sure that you interview all the laboratory staff carefully, so that you don't end up purchasing equipment that is not able to handle all the needed applications. 

Getting the Right Rocker 

In most labs, there are basically three types of mixers: rockers and rollers, shakers, and laboratory mixers. This article will focus on rockers, also known as rockers and rollers. 

Laboratory rockers include 2D and 3D rockers. The 2D rockers utilize a see-saw motion, moving at low speeds, making them useful for staining, de-staining, blotting and gentle mixing that require a back and forth wave motion. The 3D rockers, true to their name, operate in an orbital up-and-down motion and are also good for staining and blotting, but can handle higher speeds as well. The 3D rockers are popular for applications that need to avoid foam forming on the sample and need a kind of mixing that goes circularly from corner to corner.

Know Your Space Requirements

Once you have determined the type of rocker, whether 2D or 3D, that you need for your lab, you need to look at your space requirements. Rockers come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The larger the mixer, the more space you will have for samples, and the more room you will need at your location. And of course, smaller mixers work well with limited bench top space, but can handle smaller loads.

When choosing a rocker, you want to think about the kind of motion you are seeking for specific tasks, the speed and orbit/tilt needed, as well as the size and capacity, as discussed above. Be sure to consider if the mixer equipment will need temperature control for use in a cold room or incubator.  

Pairing the right motion with the right application will yield the most accurate and reliable results for your research. Rockers are the mixer of choice for low-speed work, if you are looking to see how a solution moves over media. For example, gel staining is a compatible application for a 2D rocker because it needs the wave motion to make sure that the gel completely absorbs into the pores. 

Know Your Research Goals 

Narrowing down your choice of a rocker really depends on the research goals. In rockers, the motion and adjustment of speed and angle are the critical determinants. The see-saw motion of 2D rockers goes up and down and results in a linear wave effect that washes from side to side. In the 3D rocker, also called nutating rockers, each corner moves up and down quickly, sending the solution from corner to corner in a circular motion. Both 2D and 3D can be used for the same effect, but 3D rockers are able to provide quicker agitation. The variation in tilt and speed are best if you are going to be performing many different sorts of tasks. If you know that you are only going to using the rocker for one application, like blotting, you can cut the price of the instrument considerably if you buy a rocker that has one speed and angle. 

You will also want to check with laboratory staff to discuss the desired load capacity and temperature range, depending on the work that needs to be accomplished and if the rocker or shaker will be located in a cold room or incubator. You will need to understand what vessels and flasks will be placed on the rocker as well. The rocker platform will need to be able to handle the weight of different flasks and vessels while it is in motion.

Needs Can Make a Big Difference in Price 

As for the size of the lab, whether it is a large commercial facility or a small start-up, the main thing you want to look at is the load capacity and weight. Most research labs that are smaller will discover that a small- or medium-sized bench top rocker will be more than enough for their lab application requirements. This can bring the price point down considerably. In larger, commercial labs, the needs are on a larger scale, with many applications going on at once, and many more flasks, vessels, and larger volume of liquids and solutions being utilized at the same time. And in both large and small labs, researchers and scientists are always looking for a way to vary flask volumes, so you want to take a good look at the rocker to make sure that it is able to work in the full variety of situations they expect to encounter. 

Next Day Science sells and offers only the highest quality laboratory and equipment, including mixers such as rockers and rollers. For more information, call customer service at 866-650-0314 or visit rockersrollers.