Laboratory Centrifuges: What are the Different Types?


A centrifuge is a device that is used to separate fluids (based on density). Separation of fluids is done through a vessel that is spun at high speed. The centrifugal force will push the heavier materials outside the vessel. It is common to find centrifuges in academic and clinical laboratories.

There are various kinds of centrifuges available. They are typically classified based on intended use or rotor design. From the large floor types to micro centrifuges, there are many centrifuge options to choose from. Below are some of the most common types of laboratory centrifuges available in the market today:


Microcentrifuges are considered a staple in many research laboratories. Microcentrifuges are designed to accommodate PCR tubes and small tube volumes like 2ml, 1.5ml, and 0.5ml. Microcentrifuges that are usually used for most laboratory procedures can spin at a speed of up to 30,000 g.

Clinical Centrifuges

Clinical centrifuges are often low-speed and compact. They are also ideally used to separate whole blood components such as serum, plasma, red blood cells, and other bodily fluids. The speed of a clinical centrifuge can range from 200 rpm to 6,000 rpm.

Most clinical centrifuges are designed to accommodate standard blood tubes. However, it is recommended that you check for tube sizes or specific tube adaptors.

Benchtop Centrifuges

A benchtop centrifuge is also known as tabletop centrifuge. Benchtop centrifuges are versatile and depending on the type of research carried out, the centrifuge can be customized to suit the requirement. The maximum speed in RCFs can also vary. It can range from a few hundred to over 30,000 x g.

A benchtop centrifuge is also ideal when separating larger liquid samples at high speed (more than 4,000 rpm). Microcentrifuges usually run liquid samples through a fixed angle rotor while most tabletop centrifuges have another type of rotor known as swing out rotor.

Swing bucket rotors can spin samples up to 90 degree angle when run at lower speed. This type of rotor is also typically used to run larger amounts of samples.

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