Biodiesel production from microalgae is being widely developed at different scales as a potential source of renewable energy with both economic and environmental benefits. Although many microalgae species have been identified and isolated for lipid production, there is currently no consensus as to which species provide the highest productivity. Different species are expected to function best at different aquatic, geographical and climatic conditions. In addition, other value-added products are now being considered for commercial production which necessitates the selection of the most capable algae strains suitable for multiple-product algae biorefineries. Here we present and review practical issues of several simple and robust methods for microalgae isolation and selection for traits that maybe most relevant for commercial biodiesel production. A combination of conventional and modern techniques is likely to be the most efficient route from isolation to large-scale cultivation.