Laboratory Equipment: Comprehensive List of Biology

Laboratory Equipment: Comprehensive List of Biology
Posted on September 19th, 2023
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As a budding scientist or an experienced researcher, a well-equipped biology lab is the key to success in your experiments. But what does it take to set up a functional, efficient, and safe laboratory? Let’s dive into the world of biology lab equipment and find out how to create the perfect environment for your research.

Key Takeaways

  • Equip biology lab with essential tools such as microscopes, beakers, flasks and safety equipment
  • Advanced instruments facilitate specialized research in genetics & population variations
  • Consider cost estimations when setting up a lab. Ensure proper handling of chemicals & use PPE for safety

Essential Biology Lab Equipment

lab, science, scientific

Functional biology labs are equipped with essential tools, as outlined in a typical biology lab equipment list, such as:

  • Microscopes
  • Beakers
  • Flasks
  • Test tubes
  • Racks
  • Heating devices
  • Measuring instruments
  • Safety equipment

These tools are the foundation of every biology lab, allowing you to observe, manipulate, and analyze molecular samples with precision and safety in biology laboratories.

The success of any biology lab depends on having the correct equipment. It is important to make sure that


For centuries, microscopes have served as the cornerstone of biological research. From simple light microscopes to advanced fluorescence microscopes, these tools allow scientists to delve into the microscopic world and make groundbreaking discoveries. Microscopes are vital in clinical laboratories, forensic science, and conservation biology, as they provide valuable insights into the structure and function of cells, tissues, and microorganisms. With new advancements in technology, modern microscopes can even reveal the fluorescent behavior of molecules within living cells, further expanding our understanding of how biological processes work.

Microplate readers are specialized instruments that enable the analysis of microwell plates in conservation biology research. These devices use fluorescence-based or absorbance methods to analyze multiple samples simultaneously, streamlining the research process and providing valuable data on the molecular level.

Beakers and Flasks

Beakers and flasks play a key role in handling, mixing, and measuring solutions in the lab. Griffin beakers, Berzelius beakers, and crystallizer beakers are just a few examples of the diverse range of containers available for various tasks in the lab. Made from borosilicate glass or plastics, these containers are designed to withstand high temperatures and chemical reactions, ensuring the safety and accuracy of your experiments.

In addition to storing and mixing solutions, flasks are also very important in wet lab using. From conical flasks for titrations to flat-bottomed flasks for heating and evaporating, these versatile containers provide the stability and precision needed for a wide range of lab tasks.

Remember to exercise caution when handling chemicals and follow proper safety procedures to prevent accidents.

Test Tubes and Racks

Serving as containers for holding, mixing, and heating chemical substances and solutions, test tubes are another indispensable component of a biology lab. Available in glass or plastic, these long glass tubes come in various sizes to accommodate different volumes of liquid. Boiling tubes, a larger variant of glass tube and test tubes, are designed to hold even more liquid during experiments.

To ensure the safe handling and organization of test tubes, clean test tubes and tube racks are a must-have for every biology lab. These racks:

  • Secure test tubes in place during experiments
  • Facilitate easy access to different solutions
  • Properly store test tubes to prevent accidents
  • Ensure a clutter-free workspace
  • Allow for a more efficient and safe laboratory environment.

Heating Devices

Many laboratory processes, including:

  • heating substances
  • conducting chemical reactions
  • boiling
  • melting
  • sterilization
  • combustion

rely on heating devices. Bunsen burners, hot plates, and water baths are common heating devices found in biology labs, each with its own unique applications and advantages.

Bunsen burners produce an open flame using natural gas, making them a staple in many labs for quick and direct heating. Hot plates, on the other hand, use electricity to heat up a flat surface, providing a more controlled and even heating process. Water baths offer a gentler heating method by submerging samples in a temperature-controlled water environment, ideal for delicate substances that require a steady temperature.

Measuring Instruments

Successful experiments in a biology lab require accurate measurement of mass and volume. Essential measuring instruments that ensure precise and reliable results include:

  • Weighing machines
  • Graduated cylinders
  • Pipettes
  • Burettes

Weighing machines, such as analytical balances and spring balances, provide the ability to measure the mass of objects with high accuracy. These devices are critical for tasks like weighing chemicals or biological samples, ensuring the correct quantities are used in experiments.

Graduated cylinders, pipettes, and burettes are indispensable tools for measuring the volume of liquids. Here’s a breakdown of each tool:

  1. Graduated cylinders: These are marked with precise volume measurements, allowing for easy transfer and mixing of solutions.
  2. Pipettes: Designed for dispensing specific volumes of liquid, pipettes provide even greater accuracy and control in volume measurement.
  3. Burettes: Similar to pipettes, burettes are used for dispensing specific volumes of liquid. They offer precise control and are commonly used in titration experiments.

By using these instruments, scientists can confidently carry out experiments with the correct proportions of liquids, ensuring reliable and reproducible results.

Safety Equipment

A picture of safety equipment such as lab coats, safety goggles and gloves

Given the priority of safety in any biology lab, the following items are considered essential lab supplies:

  • Safety goggles: protect your eyes from chemical splashes and fumes
  • Gloves: shield your hands from potential contamination
  • Lab coats and aprons: provide an additional layer of protection against spills and splatters, ensuring that your clothes and skin remain safe from harm.

Proper use and maintenance of safety equipment are key to preventing accidents and injuries in the lab. Here are some important steps to follow:

  1. Always inspect your equipment for any damage before use.
  2. Follow proper hygiene practices when handling chemicals.
  3. Wear appropriate personal protective equipment, such as gloves, goggles, and lab coats.
  4. Store chemicals properly and label them correctly.
  5. Follow all safety protocols and procedures. By taking these precautions, you can create a safe and secure work environment for yourself and your fellow scientists.

Advanced Biology Lab Equipment

A picture of a centrifuge machine

Advanced biology lab equipment becomes necessary as your research becomes more specialized, allowing you deeper insights into life’s mysteries. Cutting-edge instruments like next-generation sequencers, flow cytometers, and chromatography systems provide invaluable insights into genetics, diseases, and population variations, propelling the field of biology forward.

Centrifuges and Ultracentrifuges

A laboratory centrifuge machine used for separating fluids, including blood and urine samples, in the centrifuges and ultracentrifuges section.

In molecular biology, centrifuges and ultracentrifuges are vital for the density-based separation of particles. Through the use of centrifugal force, these devices can isolate cells, viruses, and macromolecules, enabling further analysis and experimentation.

A wide range of centrifuge models exists, from microcentrifuges to ultracentrifuges, each designed for specific applications and sample sizes. By selecting the appropriate centrifuge for your needs, you can efficiently and accurately separate particles, paving the way for new discoveries and breakthroughs in your research.

Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) Systems

The field of genetics has been revolutionized by next-generation sequencing (NGS) systems, which allow for rapid and comprehensive DNA sequencing. These systems enable scientists to analyze DNA samples quickly and affordably, providing a wealth of information about the genetic makeup of organisms.

NGS systems have numerous applications, from studying genetic variations within populations to identifying the genetic basis of diseases. With the ability to sequence entire genomes in a relatively short amount of time, NGS systems have opened up new possibilities for research and discovery in the life sciences.

PCR Systems

Another invaluable tool in molecular biology is the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) system, which allows for the amplification of specific DNA sequences. Through the use of a PCR machine, millions of copies of a target DNA sequence can be generated in just a few hours, enabling detailed analysis and experimentation.

PCR systems have a wide range of applications, from microbiology to molecular biology. They are commonly used to study gene expression, identify pathogens, and diagnose genetic disorders. With the power to amplify DNA sequences quickly and accurately, PCR systems have become a staple in biology labs around the world.

Gel Electrophoresis Systems

The separation of DNA, RNA, and proteins based on their size and charge is facilitated by gel electrophoresis systems. By applying an electric field to a gel matrix, these systems can separate molecules, allowing researchers to study their structure and function.

Gel electrophoresis systems have numerous applications in biology, including DNA sequencing, gene mapping, and protein analysis. By enabling the separation and analysis of complex mixtures of molecules, these systems provide valuable insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying biological processes and disease states.

Laboratory Glassware and Supplies

A picture of glass slides and coverslips

A functional cell biology and lab necessitates not only specialized equipment but also a variety of laboratory glassware and supplies. Some essential items include:

  • Petri dishes
  • Glass slides
  • Filter paper
  • Litmus paper

These everyday items are indispensable for conducting experiments and maintaining a clean, organized workspace.

Glass Slides and Coverslips

For mounting and examining specimens in a biology lab, glass slides and coverslips are integral. Microscope slides, typically made of soda lime glass or borosilicate glass, provide a flat surface for securing specimens during observation. Coverslips, smaller and thinner sheets of glass, are placed over the glass slide and the specimen to protect both the microscope and the sample during examination.

By using high-quality glass slides and coverslips, researchers can ensure that their specimens are properly mounted and examined, leading to accurate and reliable results in their experiments.

Filter Paper and Litmus Paper

Filter paper, a key laboratory supply, is utilized to separate fine solid particles from liquids or gases. Made of natural cellulose or quartz fibers, filter paper can be employed in a variety of applications, from simple filtration to more complex chemical separations.

Litmus paper is another essential lab supply, serving as a pH indicator to determine whether a solution is acidic or basic. By using blue litmus paper for acidic solutions and red litmus paper for basic solutions, researchers can quickly and easily assess the pH of their samples. ensuring the accuracy and reliability of their experiments.

Petri Dishes and Inoculating Loops

Commonly used for culturing cells, bacteria, and fungi, petri dish is a term referring to shallow, lidded dishes. Available in glass or plastic, Petri dishes provide a sterile environment for growing and studying microorganisms, making them a staple in biology labs.

Inoculating loops are metal wire loops with a handle, used for transferring microorganisms onto a culture medium. By sterilizing the loop in a gas burner flame, researchers can ensure a clean transfer of microorganisms, preventing contamination and ensuring accurate results.

Together, Petri dishes and inoculating loops provide a reliable and efficient system for culturing and studying microorganisms in the lab.

Setting Up a Biology Lab

A picture of a laboratory with various pieces of equipment and supplies

The process of establishing a new biology lab presents both exciting opportunities and challenges. From selecting the appropriate lab space and procuring the necessary equipment to designing a safe and efficient workspace, there are many factors to consider.

In this section, we’ll explore some key aspects of setting up a biology lab, including cost estimations, buying new versus used equipment, and leasing options.

Cost Estimations

The financial investment in opening a biology lab can be substantial, with costs varying from $50,000 to several million dollars, influenced by factors like lab type, geographic location, and required instrumentation. The primary expenses associated with establishing a biology lab include the cost of the lab space, equipment, and staffing.

By carefully considering your budget and researching the costs associated with each aspect of your lab, you can make informed decisions about the best way to allocate your resources. This will help ensure that your lab is well-equipped and properly staffed, setting the stage for successful research and experimentation.

Buying New vs. Used Equipment

The decision to purchase laboratory equipment involves weighing the benefits and drawbacks of both new and pre-owned options. New equipment is generally of the highest caliber and includes a warranty, but it can be costly. Pre-owned equipment is typically more affordable, although it may not be of the highest quality and may require additional repairs or maintenance.

By carefully weighing the pros and cons of new versus pre-owned equipment, you can make an informed decision that best meets your lab’s needs and budget. It’s important to remember that investing in high-quality equipment can ultimately save you time and money in the long run by reducing the need for repairs and maintenance.

Leasing Options

As an alternative to purchasing, leasing laboratory equipment could provide financial advantages. With leasing, you pay a fixed amount for a set period of time to use the equipment, and at the end of the lease term, you have the option to return the equipment, renew the lease at a discounted rate, or have a small purchase option.

One of the advantages of leasing is that the cost of maintenance and repair is often included in the lease, which can save you money in the long run. Additionally, leasing allows you to spread payments over time, making it easier to manage your lab’s budget and maintain cash flow.

By exploring leasing options and comparing them to the costs of buying equipment. You can determine the best choice for your lab’s needs and financial situation.

Laboratory Safety Practices

A picture of a laboratory with safety equipment such as lab coats, safety goggles and gloves

In any biology lab, safety should always be of utmost importance. By following proper safety practices and using the appropriate personal protective equipment. You can prevent accidents and injuries while conducting your research.

In this section, we’ll discuss essential safety practices for handling chemicals, using personal protective equipment, and following emergency procedures.

Proper Handling of Chemicals

To prevent accidents and safeguard your health in a biology lab, it’s critical to handle chemicals safely. Here are some important guidelines to follow:

  1. Properly store chemicals in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area, away from sources of heat, sparks, and open flames.
  2. Always ensure that chemicals are stored in their original containers.
  3. Accurately label all chemical containers.

When working with chemicals, follow recommended hygiene practices such as washing hands before and after handling, wearing protective clothing, and avoiding contact with skin, eyes, and mouth. Additionally, be aware of proper disposal procedures for chemicals, disposing of them in designated containers and adhering to local, state, and federal regulations.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Maintaining a safe work environment in a biology lab relies heavily on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). Some essential PPE for a biology lab includes:

  • Safety glasses: Protect your eyes from potential hazards, such as chemical splashes.
  • Gloves: Prevent direct contact with biological agents and other dangerous materials.
  • Lab coats: Provide an additional layer of protection for your body.

Wearing these PPE items will help ensure your safety while working in the lab.

Always inspect your PPE for any damage before use and follow proper hygiene practices when handling chemicals. By using PPE correctly, you can minimize the risk of accidents and injuries, ensuring a safe and productive lab environment.

Emergency Procedures

Knowing the appropriate emergency procedures is critical in case of an accident, spill, or injury in the lab. This includes alerting all personnel in the lab, evacuating the area, and contacting the necessary personnel, such as the safety officer or fire department.

Familiarize yourself with the location of the nearest fire extinguisher, emergency exit, and first aid kit, and follow any instructions provided by safety personnel. By being prepared for emergencies, you can minimize the impact of accidents and ensure the safety of your lab and its occupants.


From the basics of essential lab equipment to the advanced tools needed for specialized research, a well-equipped biology lab is the foundation for successful experiments and discoveries. By carefully considering the costs, safety practices, and equipment needs of your lab, you can create a productive and efficient workspace that supports your research goals. With the right tools and resources, the possibilities for scientific breakthroughs are endless.

Certified MTP has an elite selection of lab solutions, showcasing industry-leading brands including Flasks, Beakers, Pipettes, & Graduated CylindersErlenmeyer FlasksMeasuring PipettesStainless Steel BeakersGlass Graduated Cylinders, and Plastic Graduated Cylinders, lab hot plates,  centrifugesdesiccatorslab burnersbunsen burners, including the popular vacuum ovens and all the needed vacuum pumps for your lab research.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it laboratory or laboratory?

It is clear that ‘laboratory’ is a noun, in the plural form. It is a building or other space equipped to conduct scientific experiments, tests, investigations, and more.

What is the purpose of the laboratory?

The purpose of the laboratory is to identify signs of nutrient deficiencies, detect any changes in health, evaluate bodily functions, perform limited diagnostic testing, reference testing and disease surveillance, provide emergency response support, perform applied research and training, design and test technological devices, and teach how to make careful experimental observations. These activities are essential for the advancement of medical science and the health of the public. They are also important for the development of new technologies and the improvement of existing ones. By providing a safe and controlled environment. The laboratory allows researchers to conduct experiments and make observations that would otherwise be impossible.

What equipment is used in biology laboratory?

In the biology laboratory, equipment such as biological fume hoods, incubators, autoclaves, bonanzas and heating pallets are commonly used. Other pieces of equipment include microscopes, cooling systems, liquid treatment pipettes, shakers, balances and refrigerators.

What is the primary purpose of a microscope in a biology lab?

A microscope in a biology lab is primarily used to observe specimens at the cellular level and analyze their shape, structure, parts and functions. It can also be used to measure the size of cells. Observe the movement of cells, and identify different types of cells. In addition, microscopes can be used to observe the effects of various treatments on cells,

How can I ensure accurate measurements of mass and volume in my experiments?

To ensure accurate measurements of mass and volume in your experiments, use weighing machines, graduated cylinders, pipettes, and burettes.

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