Washing microplates may seem a simple task, but depending on the application, plate type, throughput and other factors, the requirements of the plate washer needed can be dramatically different. You will find more information below about types and characteristics of microplate washers, including:
- Type of wash head
- Type of stacker
Strip washers normally use an 8-way manifold (less often a 12-way one) as wash head, so they wash columns (or strips) one by one. This makes washing relatively slow. Strip washers are affordable instruments and often lack the functions of full-plate washers. This type of washers is often used as ELISA washers for laboratories handling only one or a few plates per day.
High-performance microplate washers use a full-plate washing head instead of a manifold. Washing 96 wells at a time is much faster than washing strips one by one, and this makes full-plate microplate washers the instrument of choice for time-critical assays and high-throughput applications. Full-plate microplate washers are more expensive than strip washers but have better performance and options; for example, many of them have angled dispensing tips for gentle washing of cells, and are thus the instrument of choice for demanding applications. The Zoom HT plate washer is a good example of full-plate washer: thanks to its 96-channel wash head, it needs only 17 seconds to wash a 96-well plate 3 times with 300 µL.