mini8 vs. mini16: Which thermal cycler is right for me?

Everyone’s favorite portable thermal cycler, the miniPCR® comes in two sizes: the mini8 and the mini16. Not sure which miniPCR to get? This guide will walk you through the differences between the two and help you choose the miniPCR that best fits your needs!

Cost: the mini8 costs $695 per unit and the mini16 is priced at $860 per unit

Size: both mini8 and mini16 are the same compact size (2” X 5” X 4”, and weighing 1 lb)

Capacity: the biggest difference between the mini8 and the mini16 is how many PCR tubes (0.2 ml size) each can hold. As the name suggests, the mini8 can hold 8 PCR tubes, while the mini16 can hold 16 PCR tubes. Both mini8 and mini16 are compatible with standard PCR reagents and consumables, including 8-strip PCR tubes. 

In a teaching lab, each group that runs miniPCR Learning Labs™ will generally need 4 wells to run 4 samples. This means two lab groups will be able to share a mini8 device and four lab groups will be able to share a mini16 device. Some teachers like to have mini8s to maximize the hands-on experience, as machines will be shared among fewer students. On the other hand, some teachers choose mini16s to save money, as you need fewer PCR machines per class.

Device compatibility: another difference is what devices can be connected to each miniPCR.

As seen in the chart above, PCs, Macs, and Android devices can be used with either mini8 or mini16. The mini16 should be your choice if you plan to connect via Bluetooth, or with an iOS device.

If you run Chromebooks that are not connected to the Google Play store, then the mini8 is better suited for your classroom via the miniPCR v1.5 Chrome App. If your Chromebooks can install Google Play apps, download the v3 Chromebook app and choose mini16s instead.

Programming options: for more advanced users, the mini16 does offer FLEX mode programming (which allows for user-defined combinations of up to 15 programming steps, including touchdown PCR steps), while the mini8 does not. Note that FLEX programming is not needed for a typical classroom PCR lab. 

No matter which device you end up choosing, you will have a great PCR experience with our miniPCR devices! Need more help choosing a device? Schedule a video conference with us and we’ll be happy to go over your needs and answer your questions.

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