The Types Of Pipette Tips And Their Applications

Types Of Pipette Tips

There are many factors that should be considered while selecting a pipette tip for a task. The type of application and the properties of the liquid are some of the factors that should guide the choice of the pipette tip.

Division Based On Function And Features:

There are various types of pipette tips available in the market. Some are sterile, whereas others are non-sterile but can be sterilized later. Additionally, they also come in long and short sizes and low retention and wide bore counterparts. With so many options to choose from, it can be daunting to pick the right one for a particular experiment, storage, or solution. In this blog, we will discuss the major types of pipette tips and their appropriate usage.

1.   Filter Tips:

The generation of aerosols inside the pipette tip upon aspiration of the liquid is quite common. This means that the pipette will be contaminated if filter tips are not used to secure the sample. If you fail to apply a filter tip or end up changing the tips in between, not only will it cause aerosol contamination, but will also pollute the next samples.

In most PCR applications, the contamination can lead to a false-positive representation in the resultant. This is because even the tiniest amount of DNA from another sample will highlight itself during detection. Therefore, it is extremely essential to use filter tips when performing PCR applications or handling potentially damaging liquids. Radiolabeled, or corrosive samples have the potential to damage your pipette and consequently, reduce its lifespan. (Harkins, n.d.)

Some liquids like RNA/DNA solutions and infectious samples should always be pipetted with filter tips. Be very careful when working with storing acids or bases, or volatile and viscous samples to avoid cross-contamination and pipette disfigurement.

One major advantage of these tips is that they are safe to train new recruits and employees of the lab. You should consider investing a bit extra in Beckman filter tips to allow them to get familiarized with the lab equipment and handling procedures. The technique pays off by not only training the staff but also avoiding pipette damage and contamination simultaneously.

2.   Long Tips:

Some tips are developed with a long shaft for specific lab applications. These were created with a common laboratory mistake in mind that can cause cross-contamination. Some technicians risk contamination by putting the shaft of a pipette attached to a standard tip into the tube to try to reach the bottom. This practice risks contamination, which can be eliminated by the use of pipette tips with an extended length. They are ideal for lab instruments such as deep well blocks and microcentrifuge tubes.

3.   Short Tips:

There are two major reasons for the development of short pipette tips. When you are manually pipetting into a multi-channeled, 1536 or 384 well plate, the small tips help to target the smaller wells. Additionally, they allow you to pipette near the bench which reduces the stress on the arm, resulting in improved ergonomics.

4.   Low Retention Tips:

These types of tips are designed to retain a lesser amount of liquid, leading to a more precise and consistent stream of results. However, the cost of these tips is higher than others, so it is recommended to use them strictly for specified applications.

An experiment that compared the practicality of low retention tips with standard tips indicated that each results in an ideal recovery of liquid upon water pipetting. However, upon assessment with low surface tension solution or viscous liquids, there was a significant difference between the results of both.

This means that low retention tips are more appropriate for the highly concentrated solutions or reactive samples. These are ideal for collecting samples during PCR, protein purification, SDS-PAGE, cloning, DNA and RNA applications as well as various protein analysis applications.

5.   Wide Bore Tips:

A cellular sample should never be forced through the narrow opening of a standard tip. These samples are quite fragile and prone to shearing. Use wide bore tips when handling vulnerable cell samples, including cell lines and violent materials. When the sample is transferred through a wider orifice, it prevents resistance in the flow and shearing of the cellular components.

These are some of the commonly used types of pipette tips used in a laboratory setting. An expert lab technician knows how to choose the right tip for their particular task. If your lab is in need of wide bore tips or conductive filter tips from Hamilton, get in touch with Molecular Biology Products. We have a wide variety of filter tips and other laboratory equipment.


Harkins, J. (n.d.). The different types of pipette tips | INTEGRA. Integra Biosciences. Retrieved March 9, 2022, from

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