Nearly all laboratories require a laboratory fridge or freezer to store temperature-sensitive samples. However, the type of fridge or freezer that each lab needs can vary significantly. From the size of the appliance to its temperature range, laboratory technicians should carefully deliberate a variety of factors before making their decision. By keeping these considerations when choosing a laboratory fridge or freezer in mind during the selection process, you can improve your chances of finding the ideal appliance for your application.
The Capacity of the Fridge or Freezer
One of the most important considerations to keep in mind when choosing a laboratory refrigerator or freezer is the storage capacity that your lab will require. Before making a purchase, determine how many samples you will typically need to store inside the fridge or freezer at one time. If you run a larger research institute or hospital, you may have more advanced storage needs that necessitate a fridge or freezer with a considerable capacity.
In addition to considering how many samples you wish to store, you should also consider operating costs when determining your ideal capacity. Keep in mind that while a larger appliance will allow you to store more samples at a given time, it may also incur higher running costs.
As such, while choosing a system that has enough space to store all of your samples is important, you’ll want to avoid purchasing a system that is too large. If you invest in a fridge or freezer that has a capacity far larger than the volume of samples and materials that need storage in your lab, you will end up spending more money than necessary on operating costs.
The Size of Your Laboratory
Before spending a significant sum of money on a new laboratory fridge or freezer, laboratory technicians should ensure that the appliance they have their eye on will fit in their lab. Many laboratories consist of a large amount of equipment and don’t necessarily have a lot of elbow room. While you may want a large fridge or freezer that has a significant amount of storage capacity, such a system may not fit in your space. In addition to measuring the size of space that you have available in your lab, make sure to measure the doorways. Just because there is enough space inside the laboratory, that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to actually get the appliance inside in the first place.
If you require more storage capacity but don’t have the room for a large system, consider investing in two smaller fridges or freezers instead. You will likely have an easier time fitting two small appliances into your lab than a single large one.
The Desired Temperature Range
Another one of the most important considerations when choosing a laboratory fridge or freezer is the temperature range that your samples will require. Choosing the wrong temperature range can shorten the lifespan of your samples, throw off experiment results, and cause a host of other negative impacts on your lab’s operations. Depending on the temperature range that you require, there are several different types of cooling systems to choose from.
For example, a general-purpose refrigerator typically has a temperature range between 32 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit, while a cryogenic freezer can reach temperatures as low as -238 degrees Fahrenheit. To determine the ideal temperature range for your cooling system, carefully consider the unique needs of your laboratory and double-check your specific requirements before making a purchase.
The Ventilation Requirements and Restrictions
When choosing a laboratory cooling system, you will need to ensure that it can properly ventilate in your laboratory without restrictions. The ventilation requirements of a laboratory cooling system can vary significantly depending on the model. Prior to purchasing the device, you should ask the supplier about the ventilation requirements of the system to ensure your lab can satisfy them.
If you purchase a system and place it in a location that doesn’t suit its ventilation needs, the efficiency and lifespan of the cooling unit will likely decline. On most cooling systems, the air comes in through the back and top of the appliance. Such areas should remain unobstructed for optimal performance and energy efficiency. If there are ventilation restrictions in your laboratory, consider asking the system’s supplier about custom ventilation options. For example, some suppliers can configure systems to have the air inlet and outlet at the front of the unit to eliminate the need for additional clearance space.
The Need for a Monitoring System
Before purchasing a laboratory fridge or freezer, you should also consider whether you want your unit to have a monitoring system or not. Monitoring systems for laboratory cooling systems generally include features such as data tracking screens and temperature alarms. The need for a monitoring system generally depends on the temperature-sensitivity of the samples you plan on storing in the cooling unit.
If your samples have a high sensitivity to temperature changes and need to remain at a precise temperature, investing some extra money in a cooling unit with a monitoring system will likely prove advantageous. After all, having a system that will monitor your samples and set off alarms in the event of any unplanned temperature fluctuations could ultimately save you a lot of time and money by preventing your samples from being compromised.
The Desire for Additional Features
Many modern laboratory refrigerators and freezers come with a variety of additional features and advanced capabilities. For example, certain lab cooling units may include features such as digital locks, backup battery systems, and chart recorders. Before purchasing a system, lab technicians should look into the advanced features available and consider whether the benefits of such capabilities are worth the additional cost.
USA Lab Equipment is a leading provider of high-quality new and used laboratory equipment. If you’re in the market for a new lab fridge or freezer, we offer a wide selection of competitively-priced options to choose from. To find a cooling unit that suits the needs of your lab and its applications, shop our extensive online collection or contact us for more information today.