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A 101 Guide to Buying a Laboratory Refrigerator

test-tubes-in-fridge-lab refrigerator

Introduction to Laboratory Refrigerators

Looking for a laboratory refrigerator? You’re not alone. Cold storage is essential for most labs. From storing testing samples to lab chemicals, laboratory refrigerators have an essential role to play. The wrong kind of refrigerator can result in spoiled substances and huge financial losses.


A high risk.


This article will eliminate the guesswork and highlight exactly what you need to consider when purchasing a refrigerator for laboratory use.


Start with Features

First, examine the features of each potential laboratory refrigerator. Ask yourself what would work best for your daily needs. Not sure where to start? Consider the features below:


Superior Temperature Control

Investigate the temperature control mechanism in each prospective unit. A purpose built laboratory refrigerator should come with a microprocessor temperature controller. A microprocessor temperature controller is an impressively fast piece of technology used to monitor and regulate temperature. Microprocessors are highly preferred over other options because of their digital accuracy and strict temperature control.


Temperature uniformity is especially critical in vaccine storage. Carefully select a refrigerator or freezer temperature range that matches the storage requirements for vaccines. You may also want to invest in a temperature data logging device to ensure your unit meets the demanding requirements of scientific and medical applications.


Healthcare facilities should be particularly vigilant when it comes to temperature monitoring. Clinical samples and supplies are often more sensitive to temperature and more is at stake if a temperature range fluctuates from its setpoint. Whatever your industry, scientific or clinical, superior temperature control is crucial for lab refrigerators and freezers.


This all-important feature should come first.


What Size?

What space do you have available? Remember, purpose built lab refrigerators and freezers don’t have to be big to deliver high performance. If your setting is cramped, consider undercounter freezers or refrigerators, or even counter top models. ADA compliant models are a good choice if you want to meet ADA regulations in a space saving design.


What if you have a large facility? Some healthcare, scientific, and research laboratories need vast amounts of storage. If this is you, consider spacious, multi-door models. 


Doors, Shelving, and Storage

Open each prospective refrigerator or freezer and look at the shelving and storage space inside. Which models offer enough shelving for your samples and supplies? Are adjustable shelves important to your application or will fixed shelves work better?


Each of these features are important to consider when evaluating your storage needs. Also consider whether you would benefit from a glass door or a solid door design. A glass door will enhance the visibility of stored contents, and a solid door can increase security measures.


Self closing doors are also highly recommended to keep inner cabinet temperatures stable. Self closing doors can also minimize waste caused by accidents or carelessness when doors are left open. Considering your application will help you determine what internal storage layout best suits your needs.


Refrigerator Locks and Temperature Alarms

Check for a security system or keyed door locks. These measures prevent unauthorized personnel from accessing the refrigerator and its contents.


In addition, check to see if the refrigerator has integrated temperature alarms and remote alarm contacts. Remote alarm contacts can be connected to your laboratory’s central alarm system. These alarms alert you when temperatures rise or fall outside programed settings. A great safeguard.


General purpose applications may not require equipment with temperature alarms or remote alarm contacts, but both options offer further protection in laboratory settings.

Male Industrial Worker Refrigeration

Air Circulation and Temperature Stability

Investigate the unit’s air circulation system. Forced draft air circulation is recommended for its effective circulation of cool air, ensuring uniform cooling throughout. This helps keep all samples and stored contents within the correct temperature range. It also prevents uneven temperature pockets that can cause damage.


A forced draft air circulation system also minimizes large swings outside the recommended temperature range every time the door is opened. Laboratories may overlook air circulation features in cold storage models. But forced draft air circulation along with a microprocessor temperature controller can make all the difference to ensuring reliable storage and high performance results.


Laboratory Applications

Consider your application and what substances your lab refrigerators will store. Do you store life science cultures? Chemicals? Vaccines? Critical samples? The equipment you use should adapt to your specific scientific and medical applications.


For example, some labs require specialized cold storage for hazardous locations or flammable substances. Each stored substance has a different required temperature range that must be maintained for proper storage.


Quality cold storage will provide precise temperature control, preserve sample integrity, and provide reliable performance that lasts.


Price and Budget

When making any purchase, consider your budget. The pricing of laboratory refrigerators is influenced by many factors including size, temperature control systems, certifications, and more.


Look for energy efficient taglines or energy star certifications. Energy efficiency will save you money in the long run, not to mention the positive environmental impact.


Choose a unit that contains your desired features but is not excessive with additions you don’t need. This should lead you to a refrigerator and a price point that you’re happy with.


Choose Safety and Professionalism

Safety in laboratory refrigeration is key. If your lab stores flammable or volatile substances, it is vital to purchase cold storage units made specifically for these substances.


Once safety is established, consider your professional image. Dorm and household refrigerators are often unreliable and unprofessional. So take care to choose a unit that safeguards your facility and supports your professional image.



By now you should have a solid foundation on what to look for when buying a laboratory refrigerator. So take these principles with you in your quest. American Biotech Supply (ABS) supplies premium laboratory refrigeration for ultimate accuracy and untouched efficiency.


Explore today. ABS | American Biotech Supply


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