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How to Select the Best Laboratory Hotplates & Stirrers for your Application

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Hotplates and stirrers are essential pieces of equipment for any laboratory, classroom, or testing facilities. Having the right pieces of equipment for your application will increase the accuracy of your results and also insure you are working in a safe environment. Here is a list of common questions and helpful hints you should consider before choosing your next hotplate or stirrer for your workstation.

What volumes will I be heating or stirring?

Consider how much of a liquid you will be heating or stirring at one time. When heating larger amounts of liquids, larger pan size and increased heating power may be needed. When purchasing a stirrer or hotplate there are different maximum stirring quantities that vary between models. Our DLAB stirrers range from 0.8 to 40 Liter stirring capacities. Overhead stirrers are better for stirring larger quantities of liquids that are 20 Liters or over or liquids with higher viscosity. Multi-position stirrers can save time since the user can stir multiple quantities of the same liquids at once. These are available in 6 or 15 position options. When selecting a hotplate take note of the maximum temperature you need to heat liquids at. Larger volumes of liquids will take longer to heat up and may require a temperature probe to insure temperature uniformity.

Should I choose an aluminum or ceramic top plate?

Aluminum top plates offer better durability than ceramic ones and have a better consistent temperature along the whole surface of the top pan. Additionally, if your application requires you to use metal containers to heat and stir mixtures aluminum top plates will be your best option. This is because ceramic top pans may crack when used in combination with metal containers. Ceramic plates however are safer to operate easier to wipe down and clean, offer cooler edges, and are better for heating up glassware. Additionally, ceramic top plates often heat up faster and have better resistance against corrosion over time.

What features do I need?

Features vary depending on the model of digital or analog hotplate, stirrer, or combination hotplate & stirrer. Science classrooms and smaller laboratories tend might go for analog equipment while research labs and testing facilities would get more use out of the increased functionality and features of digital equipment. Analog lab equipment features a basic design with knobs and number markers that are often less expensive. In comparison, digital equipment features LCD displays that typically show temperature, speed, and other important information. Digital laboratory equipment with built-in LCD screens are easier for users to see and can display important operating messages.

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