Determining a Pipette's Accuracy | METTLER TOLEDO
White Paper

Determining a Pipette's Accuracy

White Paper

How Do You Determine the Accuracy of a Pipette?

Pipetting is a fundamental technique in many life science applications. The purpose of a pipette is to deliver reliable and accurate volumes. Uncertainty about how to properly use a pipette can affect the accuracy of results as well as the tips, the user, the type of liquid being pipetted, and the external environment (e.g. ambient temperature, air pressure).

In order to ensure consistent accuracy and validity of pipetted volumes, each pipette should be calibrated and tested regularly, according to quality standards and guidelines, such as ISO 9001, ISO 8655, Good Laboratory Practice (GLP), and Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP).


Many life scientists around the world wonder - how can one determine the accuracy of a pipette? Pipette performance verification, the general term comprising monitoring, calibration, control, and routine testing of a pipette instrument, is intended to ensure metrological traceability and to provide evidence that a pipette instrument is “fit for purpose”.

Many companies put significant effort into determining a pipette's accuracy while others run the risk of failed experiments caused by being unaware of inaccurate pipettes. Regulated laboratories must document the traceability and fitness of their pipettes and spend considerable time managing deviations and their consequences, in case instruments are found to be out of tolerance.

This white paper explains the benefits of a risk-based pipette performance verification approach, which focuses on resources where risks are high and saves efforts where risks are low. A robust performance verification plan comprises of three elements:

  1. Calibration and preventative maintenance
  2. Routine testing
  3. User training

How often each should be performed is determined by the risk. A Good Pipetting Practice™ (GPP™) recommendation determines the safe pipetting range, whilst also providing a specific plan for the scope and frequency of calibration, routine testing, and user training required for a specific situation.

Find out more about determining a pipettes accuracy by reading the white paper "Pipette Performance Verification – A Risk-Based Approach"