Top 5 Lab Essentials | Laboratory Equipment, Tools, and Consumables | Corning

The following article originally appeared in Biocompare on May 10, 2023.

The lab may feel like your second home. After all, you spend a large chunk of your life there. So it can be easy to fall into a routine and use whatever lab consumables are available. But what if those everyday items aren’t the best tools for the job? Using inappropriate products can mean unreliable results, leading to even more time at the lab bench, and potentially increasing costs. Let’s take a look at the top five lab essentials and highlight some key features you might wish to consider.

At number one, it’s serological pipets, like the well-known Corning® Stripette® products, which are named for their color-coded magnified strip that makes reading volumes easy. These lab staples are used for transferring liquid, harvesting cells, making buffers, and more. Features that ensure precise liquid delivery include an anti-drip tip, proven volumetric accuracy, and bidirectional graduations that prevent the need for math.

At number two, it’s centrifuge tubes, frequently referred to as Falcon® tubes in a nod to one of the life science industry’s best established brands. Centrifuge tubes have almost limitless uses, spanning the storage of buffer components and media additives to performing density gradient separations and pelleting cells. They can also be found hanging out next to centrifuges, waiting to be used as balances. When choosing centrifuge tubes for your lab, features to look for include high strength, broad temperature stability, and low protein binding. You’ll also want to check the centrifugation rating and find out whether the tubes come in convenient, reusable racks.

Cell culture flasks are in at number three. Whether you’re working with an immortalized cell line, a primary cell culture, or performing stem cell research, choosing the right cell culture vessel and surface treatment is critical for ensuring healthy, viable cells. Beyond sterility, other features to look for in a cell culture flask include a canted neck, which can protect against contamination; secure stacking, to prevent accidental spills; and clear volumetric graduations to ensure you add an adequate volume of media.

At number four, it’s vacuum filtration units and storage bottles, which are widely used for preparing cell culture media and buffers. During filtration, all systems retain a certain amount of liquid, known as the hold-up volume. The larger the hold-up volume, the more media and reagents are lost, so that’s one feature you’ll want to bear in mind. Other things to look for in a vacuum filtration unit are the pore size, membrane type, and ease of use, while the storage bottles should be break-resistant, leak-free, and freezer-safe.

Lastly, at number five, it’s freezing containers and cryovials. While it was once common practice for researchers to freeze cells by placing them in a basic storage box and leaving them in a -80 oC freezer overnight, more sophisticated freezing containers are now available that provide controlled rate freezing. These include the Corning® CoolCell®, an alcohol-free system which has been shown to improve post-thaw recovery and viability for a variety of cell types. Cryovials have also been improved with external threads for reduced risk of contamination, self-standing bottoms to help prevent accidental spills, and more advanced o-rings and washers for better seal security.

So, now you’ve thought about all of these features, where should you source your lab consumables? To make sure you’re able to get what you need, when you need it, look for a manufacturer that can offer a global distribution network and assurance of supply. And to safeguard the quality of your research, choose a partner with a long track record of quality and reliability. Finally, with sustainability being key, you’ll likely want to identify a manufacturer with environmentally friendly initiatives, such as one offering to recycle your packaging.

Corning Life Sciences ticks all of these boxes, and more, and can provide any of the lab essentials you need.