Bento Lab

Your Portable PCR Workstation

From £1,299.00 ex VAT

Bento Lab

Your Portable PCR Workstation

From £1,299.00 ex VAT

A mobile genomics setup, Bento Lab combines a portable PCR machine, a microcentrifuge, gel electrophoresis and a transilluminator. And it fits into any laptop bag, so Bento Lab can travel wherever your science goes.
in stock


How is Bento Lab used?

Use Bento Lab to verify your samples in the field, or inspire your students with hands-on biotechnology in the classroom. Combining all the essential tools for molecular biology, Bento Lab includes a portable PCR machine, a microcentrifuge, gel electrophoresis tank and a blue LED transilluminator. Professionals around the world are using Bento Lab to identify fungi in Wales, detect pathogens in Cambodia, and environmental monitoring in Malaysia.

A lab you can depend on, deployable in minutes

“[Bento Lab is] deployable to remote locations with minimal household-grade infrastructures […] The standard protocols of a laboratory may be used without amendments and adaptations […]”

Kambouris et al. (2020). Point-of-need molecular processing of biosamples using portable instrumentation to reduce turnaround time. Biosafety and Health, 2 (3), 177-182.

“Bento Lab and MinION are useful for genomic analysis and surveillance of AMR bacteria in hospitals and research centers with limited facilities.”

Hirabayashi et al. (2021). On-site genomic epidemiological analysis of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria in Cambodia with portable laboratory equipment. Frontiers in microbiology, 12 , 675463.

Bento Lab Pro or Entry – which configuration is right for me?

Bento Lab Entry: An affordable option for beginners. Fixed speed centrifuge (2,700 g), fixed voltage electrophoresis (50 V), blue light transilluminator. The centrifuge is compatible with 1.5 mL conical centrifuge tubes, and with 0.5 mL and 0.2 mL tubes via adaptors.

Bento Lab Pro: For ambitious and professional research and teaching applications. Thermocycler supports touchdown PCR. Variable centrifuge (max 8,000 g), variable voltage electrophoresis (30 V–120 V), blue light transilluminator. The centrifuge is compatible with spin-column DNA extraction and purification kits; 2 mL centrifuge tubes, skirted tubes, and smaller tubes via adaptors; and DNA precipitation.

What’s inside?

Explore detailed technical specifications for Bento Lab

PCR Thermocycler



Temperature Range: 21 °C to 99 °C

Temperature Range: 12 °C to 105 °C,
supports touchdown

Block size: 32 wells, 0.2 mL tubes

Ramp rate: up to 2.5 °C/s

Temperature accuracy: ± 0.2 °C of programmed target

Temperature uniformity: ± 0.5 °C well-to-well

Lid temperature range: Ambient to 120 °C

Memory: Store up to 100 PCR programs


Fixed Speed: 7,000 rpm

Variable Speed: 3,000 – 13,500 rpm

Fixed RCF: 2,700 g

Variable RCF: 500 – 8,000 g

Modes: Quick spin or timed spin

Capacity 6 x 1.5 mL tubes

Capacity: 6 x 2 mL tubes

Gel Electrophoresis

Fixed Voltage: 50V

Variable Voltage: 30V – 120V

Gel tray dimensions: 91 mm x 78 mm

Gel volume: 25 mL gel, 30 mL buffer

Wells: 9 and 12 well combs

Gel Box and Imaging Hood included


Surface dimensions: 105 mm x 85 mm

Electronics Design: Blue LED array

LED wavelength: 468 nm (visible blue light).

Material: Scratch-resistant acrylic plastic


Dimensions: 330mm * 214mm * 81mm (13in * 8.4in * 3.1in)

Weight: 3.5 kg / 123 oz

Universal Power: 110 – 240 V, 47 – 63 Hz

Memory LCD Display, Click-Dial Interface

WiFi for software updates and connectivity

Auckland, New Zealand

Hands-on teaching

Lecturer Stephane Boyer at Unitec Institute of Technology uses Bento Lab to teach Molecular Biology to students interested in biodiversity. He also offers 1 or 2 days outreach workshops for school kids and the general public. Stephane’s research focuses on biodiversity assessment and species identification. He often travels to remote places to collect DNA samples, and using Bento Lab he can check that the samples are of good quality before bringing them back to the lab.

“Bento Lab allows me to give each student real hands-on experience in molecular analysis. I want to put a Bento Lab in the hands of everyone of my students.”

– Stephane Boyer

Trieste, Italy

Barcoding the underground world

Dr Josef Vuch studies Proteus anguinus, an amphibian that has adapted to live in hostile environments like the underground caves around Trieste, Italy. An experienced mountaineer, he uses Bento Lab for biospeleology, including extracting DNA and preparing DNA barcodes for sequencing.

“This very compact instrument is ideal for domestic or field use.” 

– Dr Josef Vuch, Club Alpinistico Triestino

Selected Product Citations

Chang, Jia Jin Marc, et al. “Takeaways from Mobile DNA Barcoding with BentoLab and MinION.” Genes 11.10 (2020): 1121.

Kambouris, Manousos E., et al. “Point-of-need molecular processing of biosamples using portable instrumentation to reduce turnaround time.” Biosafety and Health 2.3 (2020): 177-182.

Knot, Ineke, et al. “DNA barcoding of nematodes using the MinION.” Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution (2020).

Hu, Yiheng, et al. “Pathogen detection and microbiome analysis of infected wheat using a portable DNA sequencer.” Phytobiomes Journal 3.2 (2019): 92-101.

“Bento Lab.” Nature Biotechnology 34 (2016): 455–455.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does Bento Lab compare to traditional thermocyclers?

Bento Lab is designed to match or exceed the performance of traditional thermocyclers.

Temperature is controlled using industry-standard peltier modules, for high accuracy and speed. The Bento Lab peltier modules are specifically designed for robustness in thermo-cycling applications. For accurate temperature measurements, Bento Lab uses platinum resistance thermometers, the gold standard in temperature accuracy and reliability.

From the start, Bento Lab has been rigorously tested by our team of molecular biologists, research partners and independent testing houses. Bento Lab’s performance has been independently verified by scientists at world-leading research universities, institutes and commercial labs internationally on a broad variety of applications.

Which DNA stains are compatible with Bento Lab?

Avoid UV damage, and visualise DNA safely with Bento Lab, using green fluorescent nucleic acid dyes designed for blue-light excitation.

Bento Lab is compatible with a wide range of dyes, including GelGreen®, GreenView, SYBR Green, and SYBR Safe. Our recommended stain for beginners is GelGreen® from Biotium because of its improved safety profile.

Can I use standard consumables with Bento Lab?

Yes, Bento Lab works with standard reagents and consumables, from 0.2mL PCR tubes to 1.5mL microcentrifuge tubes. With 32 wells, Bento Lab can accommodate four 8-tube strips for sequencing prep.

Do I need the Biotechnology Starter Kit?

The Biotechnology Starter Kit is our educational genetics kit. If you have a background in molecular biology, then get started with just Bento Lab.

For first-timers looking for an introduction to genetics, you can add a Biotechnology Starter Kit to your Bento Lab, which provides everything you need to learn about molecular biology and genetics hands-on.

What is the Bento Lab warranty?

All Bento Lab products are backed by the Bento Lab Limited Warranty, which covers defects in materials and workmanship for a period of 12 months from the date of purchase. Check our Terms and Conditions for more information.

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