What is the Importance of an Automated Cell Counter?

lab petri dish

Cell counting is a broad term, which may refer to counting of colony forming units (CFU), bacteria, or yeast. Cell counters may automate any of the above processes. They can also help to distinguish between various kinds of microorganisms and simplify the counting process, without differentiating them. For the industries that have been manually counting cells for many years, this opportunity of using automated cell counters is a game-changer.

What’s an Automated Cell Counter?

Generally, automated systems depend on impedance-based methods or imaging-based approaches. An imaging-based system uses a camera or microscope that captures images and use a particular algorithm to count cells. On the other hand, an impedance-based system measures electrical resistance so as to determine the cells’ number. A cell counter, which uses an image-based method can further be categorized into either brightfield imaging or fluorescent. Other approaches may include the following:

Stereological cell counters – In this approach, you will count cells in histological sections. The method uses a random and systematic sampling strategy to count cell numbers or know the frequency of an object. But the method isn’t completely automated, because it often involves a manual decision to sample or include cells for analysis and counting procedure.

Flow Cytometry – In this approach, cells move in a very narrow stream in front of a laser beam, which when hit, reflects cells on detectors that keep cell count. You can use the method to analyze the shape of cells, including their external and internal structures, and then determine certain biochemical and number of proteins.

Coulter counter – Apart from determining cell count, this approach helps to measure volume of cells in electrolytes. Compared to flow cytometer, it’s cheaper, and its applications mainly includes hematology, particle characterization, and counting different cells, like stem cell embryoid bodies, bacteria, fat cells, and plant cell aggregates.


Today, researchers and scientists depend on an automated cell counter to do their experiments. The precision and accuracy that this counter provides are unparalleled. Plus, it helps to eliminate human mistakes, which are very common with manual cell counters. Not yet convinced? Here are more reasons for using an automated cell counter:

Efficiency and Speed

The best thing about an automated cell counter is that it counts cells quickly. Since the counter works faster than a manual cell counter, the whole workflow, which the machine is part of, becomes efficient. This way, you will free up resources because you will not find it necessary to physically manage all the steps of counting cells.

Saves Effort and Time

The process of counting cells manually is a time-consuming and tedious task. It requires a lot of concentration or focus, which may result in errors and mental fatigue. Unlike a manual cell counter, an automated machine is capable of counting cells within a short period of time, freeing up invaluable resources that you may use for other tasks.

The bottom line is that manual cell counters are prone to human errors. However, automated cell counters are superior to manual cell counters in terms of speed efficiency and data accuracy.