In response to increasingly complex demands in terms of productivity and budgets, there is a critical need to avoid mistakes during instrument selection that will be financially costly, and adversely affect customers, staff, productivity and test turnaround time. As there is no "one size fits all", guidelines must be appropriate to permit informed decision making. A Medline search was conducted to assess background knowledge in this area, using the terms "laboratory instrument selection" and "laboratory instrument evaluation". Searches returned over 800 articles, of which only seven were directly related to the topic of the search, with most outdated, and suggesting a paucity of appropriate information. Additional resources used included the American Association of Clinical Chemistry (AACC) website and the Internet. Appropriate criteria for instrument selection were established in the current report based on subjective and objective (technical) evaluations. Additionally, a sound and simple financial approach is also suggested to help in making informed decisions and avoid costly mistakes. We propose that such a process as outlined in our report will protect laboratories from making costly and avoidable mistakes in the acquisition of major equipment.