Alliance Scale Blog

Laboratory Hotplates and Stirrers: What You Need to Know

Apr 2, 2018 4:14:29 PM / by Ray Secour

Top 5 Questions to Ask before Purchasing Hotplates and Stirrers

in-the-labWhether you're researching or experimenting in your lab, you need to be able to count on your equipment for several important reasons. Beyond achieving results that are both accurate and able to be readily replicated, the right equipment can play a crucial role in protecting your lab staff, building, and even your company as a whole. Hotplates and stirrers are an integral part of laboratory solutions and testing, so it's important to make an informed choice for your needs. Here are 5 questions you should consider asking yourself when hunting for the best lab hotplates and stirrers:

1.) Do I Need Explosion-Proof Lab Solutions?

This is an important question to ask if you are working with flammable finished products or flammable components. Even if these start or end as inert "safe" products, if there is danger along the way, your laboratory equipment needs to be up to the task. This is especially true of hotplates and stirrers, as motion and heat are two common triggers for explosion-based incidents; too fast or too slow and the fume buildup could prove dangerous or even fatal. 

2.) What Type of Viscosity Am I Working With?

While your laboratory solutions will obviously vary from case to case, there is likely a baseline viscosity your lab is working with. If you're researching a material like paint, for example, you'll need a more powerful stirring mechanism than you would for thinner solutions. For the most versatility, opt for a magnetic stirrer over a mechanical one; the latter could malfunction or offer erratic results when used with these thicker solutions over time.

3.) Will My Laboratory Solutions Remain Consistent?

Even the most carefully-performed lab test needs to produce the same numbers the second, third, and tenth times it's performed. If your equipment heats or stirs unevenly, despite keeping all the other experiment elements constant, your team won't be able to support their own findings. That inconsistency can be very costly, as it requires additional tests and measurements to be performed in order to root out the cause of the anomalies. Again, magnetic stirrers are an excellent choice in this situation, as they offer a significantly reduced chance of a mechanical stirring mechanism "catching" or slowing down and altering the results.

4.) Can My Lab Hotplate Deliver Uniform Results?

Much like any equipment in a lab, materials matter. For example, if your existing hotplates use a metal heating plate, you can't expect the same range and uniformity from a ceramic heating plate. The way these materials interact with your heating vessels can cause one solution to heat up more quickly than another, even at the same heat settings. Whether you're building your equipment array from scratch or adding to your existing setup, you should ideally opt for the same heating element materials, if not the same model across the board.

5.) Can My Lab Hotplates and Stirrers Hold Appropriate Volumes?

hotplateEven if your equipment is consistent and purpose-suited, if you aren't able to fit the required volume of solution into it, it won't work for your needs. Carefully consider the solution volumes you'll be dealing with when looking for the perfect hotplate and stirrer. When in doubt, opt for a larger capacity to give your experiments literal room to grow. 

With these five guiding points on your shopping list, you'll be able to buy confidently and trust in your laboratory hotplate and magnetic stirring equipment for many years to come. OHAUS Hotplate Stirrers available through Alliance Scale are rugged, compact units that can heat and stir up to 1000 ml of water. These stirrers are ideal for educational and other lab environments that require consistent stirring. Models include Hotplates, Stirrers, Hotplate-Stirrers, Fixed Temperature Hotplates and Auto Stirrers. All models feature a 4×4 inch (10.2×10.2 cm), easy-to-clean ceramic top plate and cool-touch housing. Check the full list of specifications here and click below to request a quote.

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