An orbital shaker is an important lab equipment that is used to blend, mix, or agitate materials in a vessel by shaking them.
An orbital shaker works by generating a circular shaking motion at a slow speed of 25-500 rpm. The shaker contains an oscillating board that hold the vessels as the device shakes to blend, agitate, or mix the substances in the vessels.
Orbital shakers are primarily used in the fields of biology and chemistry but feature in many other applications as well. The instrument is suitable for washing blots, general mixing, and especially for culturing microbes, as it produces a low heat compared to other types of shakers.
Analogue orbital shakers are much cheaper than digital shakers as they have more limited speed accuracy. Whereas, digital shakers usually contain extra features, like under/over temperature and speed alarms, or set point retention. Some analogue shakers may also require yearly maintenance, while most digital orbital shakers are maintenance-free.
Although the magnetic stirrer has come to replace the shaker, the orbital shaker is still the preferred option when simultaneous agitation is necessary, or when working with large volume samples.