Centrifuges are integral components of processing, research and development, and medical labs. Most scientists already know what they need for centrifugation, but successfully buying pre-owned equipment can require extra considerations. Here are some strategic and technical tips for quickly finding the right centrifuge and rotor.


Eppendorf 5804R, BSIID: 2029480

    1. Browse early

The most common hurdle in buying pre-owned centrifuges is matching the right centrifuge with the right rotor and adapters. To give yourself the time to find the perfect fit, start looking as soon as you can. Some resellers accept wishlists and will search for your desired centrifuge and rotor combination through their sourcing network, often finding you the right equipment much faster than you can independently.

    2. Look for name brands

Another way to expedite finding the right centrifuge and rotor combination is by actively pursuing name brands (which really won’t be difficult). The overwhelming majority of centrifuges in BioSurplus’ inventory are from Beckman Coulter, Eppendorf, Thermo Fisher Scientific (including Jouan, Heraeus, and Sorvall lines), and VWR. This means rotors, adapters, consumables, and replacement parts for these brands are also more readily available. Additionally, should any technical issues arise years later when the manufacturer no longer supports the equipment, many third-party service companies continue to specialize in these brands. Even if this may mean a more expensive initial purchase, it will be the better long-term investment.

    3. Anticipate future growth

To put this another way, balance your current needs with where you see your lab going in the future. For example, we see many start-ups buy a great centrifuge only to come back soon after because they need refrigeration. Centrifuges are integral to pretty much every lab department, so you may be in a situation where you should buy a versatile centrifuge with numerous rotors and a wide range of speeds so you don’t need to shop again (or waste valuable lab space).


Technical considerations

Beckman 70.1 Ti rotor, BSIID: 3014635

    1. Functionality

This point should go without saying, but we’re still including it because it’s easily the most important. With all pre-owned equipment, you need to know what you’re getting, and that includes a functionality and quality assessment. Reputable resellers will be honest and forthcoming with any damages, missing parts, or operational failures to ensure you’re getting the best equipment for your needs, even if you’re only buying for parts.

    2. RPM vs. RCF

RPM (revolutions per minute) is a measure of how fast the centrifuge rotor rotates. RCF (relative centrifugal force) is the force exerted upon the rotor’s contents. Although this seems basic, online centrifuge descriptions may only specify maximum RPM, but the maximum RCF a rotor will withstand can be more important. Research what rotor options are available for the centrifuge that seems have the right RPM range. If you can’t find the information independently, the reseller’s service department should be able to get that information for you.

    3. Electrical requirements

Approximately 85% of our centrifuges run on 110/115/120 V (50-60 Hz). The remaining 15% are floor, standing, or occasional benchtop models that operate at 220/230 V. Although this means it’s generally safe to assume the voltage for micro and benchtop centrifuges, scientists upgrading to a floor model may not consider the corresponding upgrade in electrical requirements. Confirm the electrical requirements with your sales representative, and make sure your facility has the right outlets to accommodate the higher voltage.


What else do you look for when shopping for centrifuges? Tell us in the comments below!

For more information on centrifuges, see our “Centrifuges at BioSurplus” video and our centrifuge selection and operation guide under our microcentrifuge category page.


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