This review provides a broad overview of recent patents and developments in the field of small scale bioreactors. The scope of the work will focus on vessels from about 500 ml down to the submilliliter scale. This field of research is of acknowledged relevance, since the rational use of these devices is contributing to speeding up several areas of bioprocessing, in particular due to their intrinsic capability for high throughput. Within such framework, small scale bioreactors are currently used for a wide array of applications, from cell screening to process optimization. Small scale bioreactors are available in different working volumes, configurations and architectures, each of those presenting advantages and limitations. These issues will be tackled in the present work, which will thus address both shaken vessels, such as Erlenmeyer and microtiter plates, as well as miniature bioreactors, which are literally scaled down versions of bench/pilot scale reactors. Reference will be made to commercially available platforms that allow for parallel operation. Considerations will also be made on the necessary requirements for the effective use of the data gathered using these devices in bioprocess development.