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Laboratory Centrifuges: Types, Uses, and Buying Advice

Laboratory Centrifuges: Types, Uses, and Buying Advice

Centrifuges are vital pieces of equipment in multiple laboratory, research, and clinical settings. They separate liquids, gases, and fluids based on density and are used for a variety of applications such as DNA and RNA research, tissue culture, protein research, cell culture, and more.

This article will tell you everything you need to know about laboratory centrifuges. We’ll kick things off by discussing what centrifuges are and how they work. Next, we’ll look at the different types of centrifuges and how you can choose the one capable of meeting your requirements. 

What are Centrifuges?

Centrifuges separate liquids, fluids, and gases based on density. They consist of multiple parts, including the motor that powers the centrifuge, the rotor that spins the tubes, the chamber where tubes are placed, and the control panel with the on/off buttons.

All centrifuges work on the sedimentation principle, in which the acceleration of the rotor subjects the centrifuge’s tubes to a centripetal force. The centripetal force pushes the denser materials to the walls of the tube, while the lighter materials remain in the middle.

The rotor’s acceleration is measured in a unit known as relative centrifugal force (RCF), which is different from RPM (revolutions per minute). RPM only describes how fast a centrifuge moves. RCF also refers to the amount of force or acceleration exerted on the tubes’ sample. 

Types of Centrifuges

Centrifuges are available in a variety of types, including Multi, Multi Pro, Micro, and Mini. All these types are available in a range of sizes, helping them meet diverse separation needs. Let’s discuss the various types of centrifuges.

1)   Microcentrifuge

As the name implies, microcentrifuges have an incredibly compact design. They are mostly used to spin small volumes, such as 0.1-mL, and 0.2-mL, at very high speeds. Having said that, some microcentrifuges come with rotor adapters that let them accommodate tubes of different sizes.

Since they are on the smaller side, microcentrifuges don’t take up much space on the working bench. They are typically used for the micro-filtration of small aqueous samples. Other potential applications include pelleting proteins from solutions and for holding pelleting nucleic acids.

Here are some of the microcentrifuges available for sale at Liberty Scales:

Ohaus FC5513 120V – This incredibly compact unit has everything users may want in a microcentrifuge. It features an intuitive interface, has a wide speed range (200 – 13,500) and is backed by CE/FCC safety certifications.

Ohaus FC5515 230V – Here is another convenient microcentrifuge from Ohaus. This model comes with a brushless quiet motor, and its ultra-fast rotor makes it ideal for high-speed lab applications.

Ohaus FC5513+R01 – The FC5513+R01 shares two differences with the FC5513 model. This model is the more expensive of the two and justifies its higher asking price with more applications.

2)   Multi Centrifuges

Multi centrifuges are backed with various functions that make them ideal for general lab applications. An intuitive interface makes them easy to use and allows for an uber-responsive operation – even for operators who might be wearing grooves.

While they can accommodate standard 15-mL and 50-mL tubes, most multi centrifuges come with accessories that let you adapt their rotors to accommodate sizes as small as 1.5-mL. All in all, multi centrifuges enclose various functionalities within a compact footprint.

Here are some of the microcentrifuges available for sale at Liberty Scales:

Ohaus FC5707+R05 100-230V – Thanks to its incredibly compact footprint, brushless quiet motor and stain-resistant platform, this multi centrifuge is a dependable option for high-speed lab applications.

Ohaus FC5706 120V – In addition to performing all the tasks the abovementioned multi centrifuge is capable of, this model boasts an LCD display and a user-friendly interface to make its usage a cinch.

Ohaus FC5706 230V – The Ohaus FC5206 230V is a much more powerful cousin of the FC5706 120V discussed above. As such, this unit is capable of performing tasks the former might struggle at.

3)   Multi Pro Centrifuges

Ohaus’ Multi Pro Centrifuges offer the best of both worlds. These multi-purpose devices come with a high-speed centrifugation platform that can be customized to accommodate a wide variety of tubes, accessories, and rotors.

Automatic rotor recognition, backlit LCD and quick rotation between diverse applications are other standout features of our Multi-Pro centrifuges. All of them are constructed using chemical-resistant stainless steel to ensure long-lasting life.

Here are some of the Multi-Pro centrifuges available for sale at Liberty Scales:

Ohaus FC5916 120V – The FC5916 is a multi-purpose centrifuge with clinical, research and industrial applications. It is available in 7 models with capacities ranging from 0.2-mL to 4 x 750 mL.

Ohaus FC5714 120V – Almost all of Ohaus’ Multi Pro centrifuges are made from corrosion-resistant stainless steel. The FC5714 isn’t any different. This means you can count on this model to last years and years.

Ohaus FC5718 – This portable centrifuge belongs to Ohaus’ Frontier series, whose models are designed for universal use in multiple applications. That and its competitive asking price set this model apart.

4)   Mini Centrifuges

Mini centrifuges are meant for life science separation applications. They require a much lower voltage input than the likes of micro or multi centrifuges. A quiet brushless motor enables them to offer a noise-free operation, with a rubber base keeping vibrations at bay.

Ohaus FC5306 possesses all these characteristics. It can accommodate 0.2-mL 8 strip tubes or 32 individual PCR tubes. An adapter is also included in the package, which you can use to install 0.2-mL as well as 0.5-mL tubes in the 8-place tube rotor.

What to Consider When Buying Centrifuges?

Given that centrifuges are available in various types, it’s important to select the mode that is capable of meeting your requirements. Therefore, when purchasing a centrifuge, you might want to consider the following questions:

How fast do you need your centrifuge to operate? It may seem like a straightforward query, but not many people know that RCF (relative centrifugal force) is much more critical than RPM (revolutions per minute).

What is the volume of samples you regularly work with? If you regularly work with large sample volumes, a Multi Pro centrifuge with multiple rotor configurations and higher capacity may be what you need.

Are your samples temperature sensitive? If they are, make sure your centrifuge comes with temperature control options and refrigeration.

How much laboratory space is available for the centrifuge? If not much space is on offer, go for a Mini Centrifuge.


Laboratory centrifuges are an essential part of any research setting. It’s thus essential to pick a unit that could meet your current needs as well as your future requirements.

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