MAY 02, 2022 8:00 AM PDT

Pipette Matchmaker: Tip Compatibility Like Never Before


Written by John Winsor

All lab workers have to do it, shifting countless stacks of indiscernible boxes to find the right set of pipette tips. This task may feel eerily similar to finding the right ink cartridge when your office has more than one printer. Pipette tips and printer ink have a lot more in common than you think, but spilling a box of tips can kickstart an existential crisis, making the most dedicated researcher question their life choices. The lifetime cost of both printer and pipette are eclipsed when it comes to the consumables they use. Specialized ink cartridges and pipette tips are where manufacturers expect to make the most profits, giving out their base instrument at cost but selling high-margin specialized consumables. This is known as the “Razor and Blade” (R&B) business model, where razors are cheap but the blades are not. Some don’t mind the premiums associated with the newest gear, but it can be very wasteful whenever the base product is updated and all of the old product traded in for the upgrade gets sent to the landfill. New hardware will sometimes make a lot of third-party replacement consumables obsolete. The R&B model has become more popular in the liquid handling industry with pipette fittings becoming more unique even though they don’t appear to be more precise, easier to use or more leak-proof than they were 10 years ago.

Increased pipette complexity has led to more compatibility anxiety plaguing academia and the biotech industry. Many lab managers and purchasing agents already have headaches when it comes to lab purchasing. Compatibility sheets can help but when it comes to deciding which tips are the right ones for your lab equipment, shifting between multiple browser tabs of static tip compatibility sheets for each pipettor will turn a headache into a full-blown migraine. To make the embattled pipette user’s life easier, Labcon has collected and tested the most popular and common pipettes and compiled this data into a user-friendly compatibility matrix. Open less pages and save time when you search for your pipette brand, model and volume range to find a list of compatible tips with product images, descriptions and packaging options. The Labcon quality control team hand tests every pipette with each tip type to ensure true compatibility so you don’t have to. Tip loading is tested by checking their ability to grip onto the pipette barrel. A volume transfer test is performed, where the tip is used to transfer liquids at minimum, middle and maximum specified volumes for the tip. A drip test will then be performed to see if the tip will hold liquid for 15 seconds without dripping. Finally, an ejection test will be performed to ensure that the specified pipettes ejection mechanism will work with our tip. Only when all 4 tests have been passed, will the pipette be listed as compatible with that specific tip. This pipette library is also used during the quality control process where random samples are tested from every manufactured lot at their production facility in California. These samples will be visually inspected for flaws, measured under a microscope and used with pipettors to transfer liquids. This ensures that all tips fall under the form, fit and function requirements guaranteed by Labcon.

The path of least resistance might dictate falling into one pipette maker’s ecosystem and outfitting your whole lab with their equipment to simplify purchasing decisions. This approach works for those with more money than time, but that strategy is susceptible to supply chain disruptions, common during turbulent times. Labcon has proven to be so reliable when uncertain times hit, that they were awarded a Government Contract to more than double current pipette tip production by October 2025.

Labcon doesn’t make pipettes, they make pipette consumables. Their focus is on manufacturing the highest quality universal pipette tips with the largest product offering to match some of the most complex pipette needs. Countless hours of research, design, engineering and machining have gone into their pipette tip design, ensuring that their tips can work with the vast range of pipettes available on the marketplace today. Even without a stand-alone pipette, Labcon customers keep coming back. This speaks volumes about their reliability, universal style and tip quality.

In a time where out-sourcing manufacturing has become the norm, Labcon has remained committed to supporting U.S. labor and operating at an ISO 9001:2015 registered manufacturing site in California. While other manufacturers experienced pandemic-related shipping delays, Labcon’s North American customers benefited from having their lab consumables made domestically and not having to sit on cargo containers coming from ships and planes from across the world.

(Image of Labcon's Petaluma facility)An additional benefit of choosing Labcon products is the company’s dedication to sustainable product design and manufacturing. Labcon products are made with 93% clean energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal and hydro. To lower the environmental impact of their lab consumable, Labcon incorporates sustainable materials such as carbon sequestering bioplastics and recycling/reusable plastics into products and offer uniquely-designed renewable packaging options with minimal plastic content and inks that eliminate heavy metals. To validate Labcon’s Earth Friendly® values, over 150 products have been registered with the ACT Environmental Impact Factor Label. Created by non-profit organization My Green Lab, the virtual ACT label provides environmental Accountability, Consistency and Transparency (ACT) for each labeled product through an environmental impact score. To learn more about MGL and the ACT Article Text: Article Summary: Submitted at: label, follow this link:

There’s no need for stress when searching for the right pipette tip for you. Labcon has refreshed tip selection and simplified for you to stay supplied with the right materials. Don’t settle for the expensive pipette brand tip you were told to choose, find the tip you want for your lab’s happily ever after here.

(Example search for pipette tips compatible with the 200µL Transferpette S®: 28 unique Labcon tips are compatible)

About the Sponsor
Labcon North America was founded in Marin County, California in 1959. Our original name was Ways and Means, Inc. The name given to the company then reflected the newness of the plastics industry. We were founded to literally find the Ways and Means" to make plastic products. We made several small toys, vials for salt tablets, contact lense cases, cassette...
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