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.


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.

eDNA monitoring

Dr Cheryl Ames is exploring ocean biodiversity using remote sensing and deep-sea submersibles.

Case study

Genomic Epidemiology

Prof Pohl Milón led the development of an open-source COVID-19 toolkit for resource-limited settings.

Case study

Educational Field Trip

Dr Elizabeth Duncan and her colleagues took a group of 40 students on an ecology field trip.

Case study

Species conservation

The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew ran workshops with field mycologists to catalog fungal biodiversity.

Case study

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 102 °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

Wireless connectivity for software updates

Marine biodiversity analysis in situ in Singapore

Jia Jin Marc Chang and his colleagues in Singapore demonstrated a portable sequencing workflow for barcoding marine specimens off the coast, using BentoLab and MinION. They evaluated the R10.3 nanopore flow cell, finding it produced ~99.9% accurate DNA barcodes with improved homopolymer resolution, suggesting its suitability for DNA barcoding applications. This work expands portable DNA barcoding capacity, demonstrating the utility of a portable set-up for efficient in situ species identification and contributing to biodiversity databases.

“To date, our field collection of 31 specimens represents one of the largest sets of samples processed in situ.”

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

Frequently Asked Questions

How does Bento Lab compare to traditional thermocyclers?

Bento Lab is designed to match or exceed the performance of traditional thermocyclers. Our users have achieved equivalent results on Bento Lab compared to Bio-rad thermal cyclers.

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.

Is Bento Lab compatible with my country’s electricity grid and electricity sockets?

Bento Lab comes with a universal power adapter. You can use the lab internationally, with any national power supply grid, with a travel plug adaptor or by exchanging the plug cable for a standard plug cable.

We offer several options of plug types: A (USA and others), G (UK and others), F (Europe), and I (Oceania). Standard travel plug adaptors can be used with other plug socket types. You can find your local standard plug type here:

Which DNA stains are compatible with Bento Lab?

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

Our favourite DNA stain is GelGreen® because of its sensitivity and safety features.

Bento Lab is also compatible with a wide range of dyes including GreenView, SYBR Green, and SYBR Safe.

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 easier sample prep and PCR. Smaller PCR microplates (12–well, 24–well, or 32–well) should also be compatible.

Can I get a demo unit or a trial?

We are not able to do easily do trial units, as we ship internationally. We offer demo calls, and you can see a quick 60 second video introducing Bento Lab here.

We do have a 30 day returns policy, so if you change your mind, you are welcome to return your order.

What is the Bento Lab warranty? How long is the warranty period?

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. You can also buy an extended warranty of two or four years at the point of purchase. Check our Terms and Conditions for more information.

Do I need the Biotechnology 101 Starter Kit?

The Biotechnology 101 Starter Kit is our educational genetics kit. If you have a background in molecular biology then you will be familiar with most of what it covers, so just get started with Bento Lab and its manual.

For first-timers looking for an introduction to genetics, you can add a Biotechnology 101 Starter Kit to your Bento Lab, which provides everything you need to start learning about molecular biology and genetics hands-on. Beginners may find it useful to read through its introductory sections on core lab skills even if they do not buy the kit.

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.

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