Advantages and Disadvantages of Syringe Pumps

Pros and cons of utilizing a syringe pump in research applications.


Photo of a syringe pump


Topics Covered:

  • Advantages of syringe pumps in a laboratory setting
  • Disadvantages of syringe pumps 

Why Consider a Syringe Pump

  • Syringe pumps control for an exact amount of fluid administered without inaccuracy.
  • Applying syringe pumps is beneficial for steady dosing techniques.
  • Protocols can be carried out more efficiently, even when the user’s hands are full.

Syringe pumps are standard instruments in research labs. They allow for precise transfer of liquid chemicals, drugs, solvents, and many other fluids due to the simple nature of the fluid delivery mechanism. Syringe pumps are also offer accurate and precise fluid delivery. However, like any tool, syringe pumps have a few limitations to keep in mind. This article will cover the technical aspects of syringe pumps and explain their advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of Using Syringe Pumps

“Syringe pumps are very useful for multiple applications. They bring significant precision and control advantages over manual fluid administration.”

Accuracy & Precision – In a laboratory environment, syringe pumps are considerably useful for significant precision and control advantages over other types of fluid administration. The use of syringe pumps in labs has increased since new and sophisticated electronics have improved performance.

“Recent advances in microprocessor technology have led to next-level accuracy and precision flow rate control.”

  • Recent advances in microprocessor technology have led to next-level accuracy and precision flow control. Syringe pumps offer a near pulseless flow rate across several flow ranges.  Syringe pumps infuse 20-30 times smoother and have far less pulsation than older models.

“Syringe pumps come with onboard programming options.”

  • With the ability to accept 10 microliter syringes, volumes down to picoliter microinjection are achievable.
  • Onboard programming options include handling cycling injections and presets from manufacturers.
  • With the programs, syringe pumps have infusion or withdrawal capabilities. These programming options include:  stepped functions, constant or ramped speed, trigger dispense, and periodic dispense.

“When working with viscous solutions or injecting semi-solid materials under pressure, high-pressure syringe pumps are also available. High pressure syringe pumps offer precision flow and performance, which is crucial for strict experiment specifications.”

  • Syringe pumps can maintain high accuracy and precision, independent of liquid and environmental factors such as, humidity, viscosity, surface tension, hydrostatic pressure, or barometric pressure.
  • High-pressure syringe pumps are great instruments to utilize when injecting semi-solid materials or handling viscous solutions. Some high-pressure pumps are equipped with a heated syringe sleeve for temperature control and pressure modulation options, such as The Fusion 6000 high-pressure syringe pump by Chemyx.

“Relatively easy to operate and clean.”

  • Syringe pumps are intuitive and not difficult to run and clean, and With fluids contained in the syringe, it is one of the cleanest and maintenance-free pumps to run.
  • There are pump models that can hold up to  eleven syringes for parallel dosing applications.
  • Syringe pumps offer the ability to deliver multiple reagents at once, which makes them extremely useful in multi-step chemical synthesis processes.

“Ensures smooth and precise volume delivery for optimum instrument calibration.

  • In neuroscience, syringe pumps are essential tools for delivering precise doses of chemicals to specific brain regions.
  • Syringe pumps can also be applied in cell biology for microinjections of delicate cellular plasmids and viruses.
  • Mass spectrometry and electrospray ionization can also use syringe pumps, ensuring smooth and precise volume delivery for optimum instrument calibration.

Disadvantages of Syringe Pumps

Syringe pumps have a few physical limitations that may not be suitable for some applications.

“Fixed volume delivery, cost, vibration, and shear fluid sensitivity.”

  • Unlike peristaltic pumps which can pump indefinitely, syringe pumps deliver a fixed volume of fluid. While setups have valves to automate reloading, most applications call for manual reloading of the syringe. Volume limits associated with the size of the syringe consequently are also not desirable for continuous flow applications when syringes are too small.
  • The initial cost of a pump is usually from 1 thousand USD to a few thousand dollars, although there are previous generation pumps designed for lower-end applications.
  • Tubing on syringe pumps can be highly sensitive to vibration and fume hood airflow, which can cause oscillations in microfluidic flows.
  • Precision can be affected by fluidic shear from slurries that can clog the syringe or needle which will overpressure the pump and potentially stall the device.


Another interesting article: Syringe Pumps in Research Labs. Applications and More


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