Protein Electrophoresis Equipment

Electrophoresis equipment includes cells and power supplies. This section gives a selection of cells and power supplies available from Bio-Rad and provides guidelines for their usage

Related Topics: Protein Electrophoresis Methods, Protein Electrophoresis Reagent Selection and Preparation and Performing Protein Electrophoresis.

Page Contents
Electrophoresis Cells

Components of a vertical electrophoresis cell

Components of a vertical electrophoresis cell.

Vertical electrophoresis cells are manufactured in different size formats to accommodate different gels sizes. Cell selection is dependent on the requirements for speed, resolution, and throughput (both number of samples and number of gels) as well as the volume of sample available (see Table below).

Vertical Electrophoresis System Selection Guide

Mini-PROTEAN System Criterion System PROTEAN II System PROTEAN Plus System
Run 1–4 precast or handcast gels in the Mini-PROTEAN Tetra cell up to 12 gels in the Mini-PROTEAN Dodeca cell in mini format

Wing clamp assembly allows faster setup and leak-free operation


Fast setup with drop-in gel and cell design (precast or handcast)

Run 1–2 Criterion Precast or handcast gels

Integrated upper buffer chamber allows leak-free operation
Large format gel system offers greater resolution over smaller formats and can be used with handcast or precast gels

Can accommodate up to 4 gels and is available in xi or XL format for running a variety of gel sizes

Multi-cell is available for running up to 6 gels
Offers maximum resolution in a single gel and the longest range of separation (with the ability to run up to 12 gels)

Specifically for the second dimension of 2-d electrophoresis
Compatible Gel Formats
Precast Mini-PROTEAN Precast Gels

Ready Gel Precast Gels
Criterion Precast Gels    
Handcast Mini-PROTEAN Empty Cassettes and Casting Plates Criterion Empty Cassettes PROTEAN II Casting Plates PROTEAN Plus casting equipment
Electrophoresis Cells
Mini-PROTEAN Tetra Cell 

Mini-PROTEAN 3 Dodeca Cell
Criterion Cell

Criterion Dodeca Cell


PROTEAN II xi/XL Multi-Cells
PROTEAN Plus Dodeca
Precast Gel Dimensions
(W x L x
Mini-PROTEAN Precast Gels:
8.6 x 6.7 x 0.1 cm

Ready Gel Precast Gels:
8.3 x 6.4 x 0.1 cm
Criterion Precast Gels:
13.3 x 8.7 x 0.1 cm
Cassette Dimensions (for Handcasting Gels)
10.0 x 8.0 cm 15.0 x 10.6 cm 20.0 x 18.3 cm 18.5 x 20.5 cm
20.0 x 20.5 cm
20.0 x 20.5 cm
Compatible Transfer Systems
Mini Trans-Blot Cell

Criterion Blotter

Trans-Blot Cell
Criterion Blotter

Trans-Blot Cell

Trans-Blot Plus Cell
Trans-Blot Cell

Trans-Blot Plus Cell
Trans-Blot Plus Cell
Trans-Blot SD Cell

Trans-Blot Turbo Transfer System
Trans-Blot SD Cell

Trans-Blot Turbo Transfer System
Trans-Blot SD Cell  

Vertical Electrophoresis System Selection Guide

  • Mini-format systems — accommodate small gels (up to 8.6 x 6.7 cm). The short separation distance maximizes the electrical field strength (V/cm) to yield rapid separations with moderate resolution. Use these systems for rapid analysis, method development, or when sample volumes are limited. The Mini-PROTEAN System includes the Mini-PROTEAN Tetra cell (with a capacity of up to four gels) and the high-throughput Mini-PROTEAN 3 Dodeca cell (for running up to 12 gels)
  • Midi-format systems — accommodate 13.3 x 8.7 cm gels and offer rapid runs with higher sample capacity and enhanced separation over mini-format gels. The Criterion System includes the Criterion Cell (for 1–2 gels) and high-throughput Criterion Dodeca cell (for 1–12 gels); both cells are compatible with Criterion precast gels
  • Large-format systems — accommodate large gels (up to 20.0 x 18.3 cm for the PROTEAN II system, designed for one-dimensional PAGE) and so offer maximum resolution. The PROTEAN II system provides a choice of glass plates, spacer, and sandwich clamps to cast two gel lengths/ 10 or 20 cm. The PROTEAN Plus Dodeca Cell allows maximum throughput with the capability to run up to 12 2-D gels at a time

Power Supplies for PAGE Applications

Power supplies are available to meet the power requirements of numerous applications (see below). The choice of power supply for PAGE applications usually depends on the size and number of gels being run. The following Table compares the Bio-Rad PowerPac™ power supplies recommended for vertical electrophoresis applications.

  • For mini-format vertical PAGE applications, the PowerPac Basic and PowerPac HC power supply are both suitable
  • For large-format vertical PAGE applications, the PowerPac HV and PowerPac Universal power supply are both suitable
  • For applications that require high currents, such as PAGE with the high-throughput Dodeca cells, the PowerPac HC power supply is the appropriate model

PowerPac power supplies selection guide

Technique and Recommended Apparatus Typical Conditions* (Initial) Typical Conditions* (Final) Run Time PowerPac™ Power Supply
V mA V mA
Laemmli (SDS), O'Farrell Second Dimension (SDS)
PROTEAN® II xi cell 100 35(C) 350 35(C) 5 hr HV or Universal
PROTEAN II XL cell 100 35(C) 350 35(C) 5 hr HV or Universal
Criterion™ cell 200(C) 200 200(C) 80 55 min Basic or HC
Mini-PROTEAN® Tetra cell 200(C) 240 200(C) 120 35–45 min Basic or HC
High-Throughput Electrophoresis
PROTEAN Plus 200(C) 1,000 200(C) 350 6 hr HC or Universal
Dodeca™ cell 200(C) 1,000 200(C) 350 6 hr HC or Universal
150(C) 1,200 150(C) 300 18–20 hr HC or Universal
PROTEAN II xi/XL multi-cell 150 480(C) 500 480(C) 5 hr Universal
Criterion™ Dodeca™ cell 200(C) 1,000–1,400 200(C) 400–500 55 min HC or Universal
Mini-PROTEAN® 3 Dodeca™ cell 200(C) 600 200(C) 360 45 min HC or Universal
Western Blotting
Mini Trans-Blot® cell 100(C) 250 100(C) 450 1 hr HC
Criterion™ blotter
  Wire electrodes 100(C) 250 100(C) 450 1 hr HC
  Plate electrodes 100(C) 650 100(C) 1,600 30 min HC
Trans-Blot® cell
  Wire electrodes 60(C) 210–250 60(C) 210—250 5 hr HC
  Plate electrodes 100–150(C) 1,000–1,600 100–150(C) 1,000–1,600 1–5 hr HC
  High-intensity transfer 50–100(C) 1,600 50–100(C) 1,600 30 min HC
Trans-Blot® Plus cell 100(C) 3,000 100(C) 3,000 30 min–1 hr HC
Trans-Blot® SD cell
  Protein 15(C) 500 15(C) 200 15–30 min HC
  DNA/RNA 15 650(C) 25 650(C) 10–30 min HC

*(C) = constant. Typical conditions are listed as guidelines only and can vary based on sample, buffers, etc.

PowerPac power supplies

PowerPac power supplies.


Andrews AT (1986). Electrophoresis: Theory, Techniques and Biochemical and Clinical Applications (New York: Oxford University Press).


Mini-PROTEAN® Tetra Cell: Features, Parts, and Assembly
This tutorial highlights the main features and components of the Mini-PROTEAN Tetra cell and shows you how to assemble the unit and its handcasting accessories. Information about the compatibility of its components with the Mini-PROTEAN 3 and Mini Trans-Blot® cells is also provided.
Bio-Rad's PowerPac™ Family of Power Supplies
This tutorial describes the features of Bio-Rad's PowerPac family of power supplies and compares their specifications. It also offers information about parameter selection, common error messages, and available PowerPac accessories. Important safety information is also provided.


Number Description Options
Electrophoresis Guide, Interactive PDF, Rev C
Criterion Precast Gel System Brochure, Rev C
PROTEAN® II xi and XL Cells PIS, Rev F
PowerPac Basic 300 V Power Supply Flier, Rev B
PowerPac HC High-Current Power Supply Flier, Rev A
PowerPac Universal Power Supply Brochure, Rev B
PowerPac™ HV Power Supply Brochure