The Mini-Beadbeater-16 is a high-energy cell disrupter designed to handle four to sixteen samples at a time.

Cat. No. 607, Mini-BeadBeater-16, 115 volt
Cat. No. 607EUR, Mini-Beadbeater-16, 220-240 volt

Note for European buyers:

See the Mini-BeadBeater 24 if CE certification is required.

Our Price : $0.00

The Mini-BeadBeater-16 disrupts microbial cells and plant and animal tissue by violently agitating four to sixteen 2 ml screw-cap microvials containing small glass, ceramic or steel beads and disruption buffer. Even resistant samples like yeast, spores or fibrous tissue are completely homogenized around 3 minutes in 0.1 to 1 ml of extraction medium. The non-foaming, aerosol-free method preserves enzymes and organelles. In the presence of nucleic acid extraction media such as phenol, Gu-SCN or a commercial kit solution, DNA and RNA are recovered in the highest possible yield. The method is ideal for PAGE, PCR applications and diagnostics using antibody or oligonucleotide probes. Because beads and vials are disposable, there are no cross-contamination concerns when homogenizing multiple samples.

The Mini-Beadbeater-16 can also be used for dry grinding.  Steel beads are added to hard samples such as hair, bone, teeth, seeds and minerals and are completely powdered in 10-60 seconds. Softer materials such as biological tissue, rubber or plastics can also be powdered by first freezing the sample to liqN2 temperatures (a process called Cryo-grinding).  Special break-resistant vials are highly recommended for dry- or cryo-grinding (See our XXTuff Polypropylene Microvials and Stainless Steel Microvials).  The powdered material can be safely extracted with aqueous and most organic solvents in the same vial, thus simplifying recovery of the analytes.

Links to Selected Applications Using the Mini-Beadbeater

OPERATING INSTRUCTIONS:  See  See also a short video showing the operation of the MBB-16 at or watch below

Size 5
Color Purple
  • Power: 115 volts, 60 Hz, 7.5 amps or 230 volts, 50 Hz, 3.7 amps.
  • Width 10 in, Depth 16 in, Height 12 in, Weight 40 pounds
  • Shaking pattern: Uses proven, more efficient near horizontal vial orientation with shaking motionand a "figure 8" shaking pattern.
  • Capacity: Four to sixteen screw-cap microvials (0.5, 1.5 and 2.0 ml) with each handling up to 400 mg (wet weight) bio-sample.
  • Shaking speed: 3450 oscillations/min.  The CDE "performance" meets or exceeds all other bead-mill cell disrupters on the market (see detais below).
  • Throw or vial displacement: 0.75 inches.
  • Timer: 0-5 minute digital, with auto reset.
  • Removable vial-holding cassette.
  • No required motor cool-down-time between sample runs.

The MiniBeadBeater-16 uses standard screw-cap plastic microvials. Stainless steel microvials or a special reinforced polypropylene microvial (XXTuff vials) are available when dry- or cryo-milling with steel beads. Larger 7 ml vials can be processed with an accessory holding ring.

Confusing Specifications - information for first-time buyers...

SHAKING TIME:  If you are harvesting expressed proteins, for example, you need close to 100% cell disruption.  But, if you want nucleic acids for PCR amplification, perhaps a partial disruption of cells is acceptable.  Some manufacturers claim disruption times of less than 30 seconds.  That may be fine for PCR work, but not for blotting or protein recovery where yield is paramount..

SHAKING SPEED:  Some cell lysis beadbeater (bead-mill) machines sold have settings expressed as meters/second.  This term combines measurable shaking speeds with vial displacement distance to create a unit presumed to define its cell disruption power.  Unfortunately, no formula is available to precisely define cell disruption efficiency of bead mill grinding machines.  Were it to exist, such a term would take into consideration not only shaking speed and distance of vial displacement, but also the shaking direction (vertical vs.horizontal), shaking pattern (linear vs.figure eight), kinetics of change in shaking direction (sigmoidal vs. square wave), vial size and shape and other engineering variables.  Clearly, the interplay of these variables is complex.  They must be optimized in the design of a high performance cell disrupter machine and, as might be expected, some machines achieve this goal better than others. Additionally, most published protocols rarely use shaking speeds below the maximum shaking speed available from the machine.  Thus, variable speed control can be viewed as a 'bell and whistle' feature for a beatbeater.

VIAL ORIENTATION, SHAKING PATTERN and SHAKING DISTANCE (THROW):  Most beadmill cell disrupters shake 2 ml microvials in either either a vertrical (upright) or approximately horizontal direction. In terms of cell disruption efficiency (CDE), the horizontal position is more efficient than vertical.  All shaking-type beadbeaters have flatten figure eight shaking patterns.  The exact shape of this figure eight pattern has little impact on the CDE.  Shaking distance (throw), however, has a significant impact on CDE.  By necessity, all bead mill cell disrupters must have a vial throw of about ¾  to 1 inch. 


.....from a Researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Lab: 'We have now tested the MiniBeadBeater-16 with two different sets of samples, with more than 100 samples processed. It seems to perform comparably with the single channel units we have from BioSpec, which is a very pleasant surprise. We are able to isolate DNA from purified Bacillus spores, which have proved to be too difficult for all of the other commercially available, multi-channel instruments we have tried.'   {*Not to be taken as an endorsement by LLNL or its affiliates}

.....from Ontario Veterinary College: 'We received your MiniBeadbeater and put it to use immediately. It is just as advertised, easy to use, and our tissue homogenization and resultant RNA isolation has improved drastically!!'

Great prices

.....from Steve 'I'm shopping around for a bead-beater kind of homogenizer, and the Mini-Beadbeater-16 looks great, price-wise anyway, compared to the Fastprep and other similar products. How does it compare to the other $7000-$10000 bead beaters on the market and why is it so much cheaper?' Answer: For over 30 years our philosophy has been to offer novel scientific equipment at reasonable prices. BioSpec accomplishes this in two ways: 1. We sometimes design and build equipment around preexisting mass-marketed tools and appliances (example: our 'TissueTearor' homogenizer uses a low cost Dremel-tool motor drive). Savings from this strategy are passed on to the customer. 2. We advertise modestly. For product promotion we mostly rely on 'word-of-mouth' and scientific literature references. Print and internet advertising, distributor discounts, representative commissions, mock customer discounts, trade shows and other forms of marketing are many cases, over 50% of the sales price of a lab tool goes to cover promotional costs!

What is meter/second?

.....from Alexa at Mt Sinai School of Medicine:  'I received a protocol from another lab where they used a FastPrep™ machine to lyse Staphylococcus aureus for RNA isolation.  I wanted to use a BioSpec bead beater in my lab for cell disruption.  The FastPrep protocol called for 20 seconds at a setting 4.0, cool on ice for 5 minutes, then process again for 20 seconds at a setting of 4.5.  You suggested that I try a total of 30 seconds in the MiniBeadbeaater, alternating between 10 seconds beadbeating and 1 minute cooling in ice-water.  I am writing to let you know that this revised protocol is working for me.  If anyone else is having a similar problem, please feel free to have them contact me'.  .....And a question from Teresa, Virginia Tech:  'I have a protocol that uses the FastPrep at a machine setting of 6.5.  What does the FastPrep setting mean and what is the cell disruption speed I should use with my new MiniBeadbeater?'  Answer:  The original manufacturer of FastPrep machines did not do the scientific community a service in coming up with the term 'm/sec' to express cell breakage performance.  The term, which lumps shaking speed and vial displacement into one term, does not comprehensively describe cell disruption power of a bead mill.

Such a term, were to exist, would have to take into consideration not only shaking seed and distance of vial travel (throw), but also the shaking direction (vertical/horizontal), shaking pattern (linear/figure eight), kinetics of change in shaking direction (sigmoidal/square wave), vial size and shape and other engineering variables.  Clearly, the interplay of these variables is complex and poorly defined.  Engineers must take into consideration all of these variables in the design of a cell disrupter machine and, as might be expected, some machines achieve their goal better than others.

But to answer your question, here is a Rule of Thumb for operating any bead mill cell disruption machine offering variable shaking speed, whether made by BioSpec or another manufacturer:  If the objective is to disrupt cells, crank up the machine and get the job done. Operate the machine at its maximum speed setting.  Special applications requiring lower operating speeds are rare.  Grinding time will vary, depending on the type of sample.  Generally, 2-3 minutes will get you close to total cell lysis.  If you are doing PCR work and can settle for less than 100% lysis, shorter periods of beadbeating may suffice.  Also important for good cell disruption is the choice of bead size, bead composition, and bead load.  These later details are covered in operating instructions that accompany our machines and are also available on our web site under "Beads (Guide-lines)".