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Tired of manual cell counting?

Classic vs. Automated Cell Counting:

Which Method Should You Choose?


If you work with cells, you probably spend hours in the lab counting them.

As much as researchers love bench work, it can be handy to automate certain processes, especially when it comes to larger laboratories with high demands.

To solve this problem Cellix has recently released the Inish Analyser. It is a simple, automated and easy to use instrument for cell counting and viability.

This article discusses the main differences between classic cell counting with the famous hemocytometer and automated alternatives. You will learn the benefits of automatization and when to choose one method or another depending on your lab needs.

Cell Counting

Cell counting is a fundamental process in R&D and quality control of cell-based products. It allows:

  • Maintaining cell cultures

  • Preparing cells for transfection experiments

  • Preparing cells for downstream experiments like qPCR

You can either count cells manually using a hemocytometer or by using an automated cell counter.


Manual cell counting with a hemocytometer

The hemocytometer is a thick glass microscope slide with a grid in the middle. The area covered by this grid makes it possible to determine the number of cells in a volume of solution.

In short, counting cells with the hemocytometer involves:

  • Preparing the hemocytometer and the cell suspension

  • Loading the hemocytometer and placing it on the microscope

  • Counting the cells

  • Calculating cell concentration

The hemocytometer's grid contains nine squares of 1 mm2. The central counting area has 25 large squares, each of them with 16 smaller squares.

With the help of a clicker, you can count the cells in each square, remembering that you must only count the cells set within a square or on the right-hand or bottom line.

To differentiate dead from viable cells, you usually add a stain such as Trypan blue that penetrates dead cells membrane coloring them blue.