How to Choose the Best Magnetic Stirrer for Your Laboratory
Science labs are diverse and innovative research environments that serve a wide variety of industries including food, medical, pharmaceutical and biotechnology. Having the right lab equipment for the job is vital to any laboratory, and the complex nature of laboratory research requires a broad range of lab supplies — from glass vials and pipettes, to lab instruments such as magnetic mixers, stirrers and hotplates.
What is a magnetic stirrer?
A magnetic stirrer (also called magnetic mixer or stir plate) is a scientific laboratory device that uses a rotating magnet (known as a stir bar) to rigorously mix liquids and chemicals at high speeds. Magnetic stirrers are constructed from materials such as aluminium, ceramic and stainless steel composites. They are typically used alongside other lab equipment such as shakers, hotplates and scientific scales for measuring mass.
Many types of magnetic stirrers are available, including custom hotplate stirrers that simultaneously heat and mix liquids; durable, rugged stirrers that are resistant to chemicals and are suitable for heavy-duty tasks; and vortex mixers (also called vortexers) that are used to mix small vials.
How are magnetic stirrers used?
Small in size, magnetic stirrers are convenient and useful lab instruments. Laboratory researchers and chemists use them in chemical and biological experiments to mix chemicals and for cell agitation.
Institutions such as the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) specialise in medical research, producing vaccines for diseases and anti-venom for poisonous stings and bites. Precision lab work such as this requires approved devices such as magnetic stirrers, centrifuges and other high-tech analysing equipment.
How to use a magnetic stirrer
Assemble the equipment you need for the task, including vials, beakers, stands and clamps.
- Make certain the magnetic stirrer is turned off.
- Place an empty beaker on top of the magnetic stirrer pan. If you’re using a vial, set up a stand and attach a clamp to the neck of the vial. Adjust the stand until it rests on the stirrer pan.
- Carefully place the magnetic stir bar into the container (beaker/vial).
- Using a funnel, pour the liquid into the container.
- Securely attach a cap or seal on top of the container.
- Turn on the magnetic stirrer, adjusting the speed with the dial on the front of the stirrer. If you’re using a magnetic hotplate stirrer, adjust the temperature.
- When mixing is complete, turn off the magnetic stirrer and remove the beaker from the stirrer pan. Use a stir bar retriever or strong magnet to remove the stir bar without decanting the liquid.
- Thoroughly wash the stir bar and lab apparatus to prevent contamination from chemicals.
What is the difference between a microplate mixer and a vortex mixer
The main difference between a vortex and microplate mixer is the design. Vortex mixers feature a small attachment for connecting test tubes to the mixer base, the operator can then rotate the dial on the mixer as necessary which causes the solution within a test tube to turn in a vortex motion for controlled mixing. In contrast, a microplate mixer uses a small plate surface attachment on the mixer base in order to mix powders, beakers and flasks of solutions; by rotating the dial on the mixer, the operator can control the intensity of the vibration given off by the device through the dial as part of the mixing process.
Benefits of using a magnetic stirrer
- Minimises contamination Use of a magnetic stirrer reduces liquid contamination, since only the stir bar comes in contact with the fluid. Other methods of mixing might require additional lab equipment, which increases the chance of sample contamination.
- Multi-purpose versatility Some magnetic stirrers incorporate custom hotplates and other tools into one product. Instead of owning several devices, you can save time, money and space with a custom magnetic stirrer.
- Reliable performance Magnetic stirrers provide a more consistent rate of stirring than manual stirrers, which is important when mixing takes place over a long period of time.
Magnetic Stirrers and mixers from Scaletec
The MKlab Magnetic stirrer features simple adjustable dial controls for detemining speed. ABS housing diverts spills and is resist to weak acid and alkali solutions. The high powered magnet or stir bar up to 135mm diameter plate can easily mix solutions up to 3 liters at a time and supports stirring bars up to 50mm in length.
The MKlab magentic hotplate stirrer operates the same way as the basic stirrer model with the addition of a controlable hotplate. Hotplate stirrers are perfect for laboratory experiments and can be used to simultaneously heat and stir liquids.
MKlab magnetic stirrers come with durable ceramic and stainless steel top plates that are both heat and chemical resistant.
Please contact us for more information or for a quote on our magnetic stirrer models.
MKlabs's range of vortex and microplate mixers are reliable, easy-to-operate devices essential for any laboratory environment. Microplate models are perfect for controlled mixing of larger samples within flasks and beakers, whilst vortex style mixers are an ideal choice when mixing solutions within test tubes.