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Types of Lab Freezers, Qualities, and Recommended Use

One of the major requirements for the successful operation of various laboratories and medical institutions is freezers. The reason is that freezers provide safe and dependable storage conditions for materials and valuable samples requiring a low-temperature environment. There are various lab freezer options to choose from, depending on the needs of a specific lab.

That implies that just as there are multiple laboratories with varying requirements, there are specific lab freezers for addressing particular needs within the medical and laboratory environments. Therefore, opting for a lab freezer that fits the bill depending on the specimens and supplies your facility handles is paramount.

Additionally, failure to hold critical biological samples at steady temperatures can compromise a timely study in research laboratories. For that reason, navigating the industry of scientific, medical, and laboratory storage can be tricky if you do not have the necessary knowledge. In that case, purchasing any freezer off the floor of a chain store may be an easy solution, but such a decision is dangerous and expensive as well.

Investing in a quality freezer engineered for the specific requirements of your lab or medical facility is not an option.

Should Your Lab Opt for A Refrigerator-Freezer?

The freezer is part of the significant differences between medical or laboratory storage and household refrigeration. Most residential refrigerators indeed include a freezer compartment, but CDC strongly discourages the use of refrigerator-freezers for any form of vaccine storage. That applies to laboratory storage requirements as well.

The reason is that refrigerator-freezers do not prioritize temperature stability, whether they are compact dorm-style models or full-sized frost-free units. Also, refrigerator-freezers with single compressor units have much broader temperature gradients in the interior. That implies that they are not the best option for keeping sensitive lab samples safe.

Independent control of the temperature of each compartment is also a challenge in the case of household refrigerator-freezers. That is the other reason why they are not ideal for medical institutions. Manufacturers specializing in the storage of vaccines offer all-refrigerators or freezerless refrigerators and all-freezers instead of refrigerator-freezer units.

Refrigerator-freezer units are suitable for medical professionals who want to store ice packs, staff items, and beverages, but not vaccine storage. Additionally, storing such staff items like lunch and snacks in the same unit with vaccines is not advisable because community refrigerators experience increased traffic on various occasions.

As such, exposure to ambient temperature is high in the case of refrigerator-freezers. That can harm interior contents over time, which makes refrigerator-freezers inappropriate for labs and medical establishments. These are some of the unique lab storage requirements you cannot afford to overlook if you are focusing on successful operations.

Below are some details on various types of lab freezers that can address your requirements in the best way possible.

1. Ultra-Low Temperature Freezers


If your lab handles materials that require an environment with low temperatures, you need to acquire ultra-low temperature freezers. That allows you to store such materials in temperatures below -40°C. Attaining temperatures as low as -86°C is possible through some ultra-low freezers thanks to two independent evaporator circuits surrounding the interior chamber.

You also need to note that ultra-low freezers typically use a substantial amount of energy to maintain the lowest temperatures.

Recommended Use

Ultra-low temperature freezers are ideal for the storage of materials demanding low temperatures in labs and medical establishments.

2. Chest Freezers


Sufficient storage space is a priority for some labs and medical institutions. Chest freezers are larger pieces of equipment that offer substantial storage space, and they open from the top rather than the front. As is the case of most laboratory freezers, chest freezers come with alarm systems for providing alerts on locks, changes in temperature, and they display digital temperature readings too.

Chest freezers do not have shelving. So, if your laboratory requires a high level of storage organization, opting for chest freezers will not be a wise idea.

Recommended Use

Labs that must store large items within a single device should invest in chest freezers because they will serve this purpose best.

3. Under-Counter Freezers


There are various designs of under-counter freezers, including general-purpose, explosion-proof, and the flammable material storage option. You can also pick the right size and temperature range from the varieties of under-counter freezers available, and they include leveling feet too. Also, ventilation is through forced air in the case of under-counter freezers, and you do not need additional clearance space if you opt for the general-purpose model.

Provision for controlling the defrost frequency is also available, which suggests that you do not expect unplanned thaws and dehydration of samples.

Recommended Use

The ability to save on space is one of the most significant advantages of under-counter freezers because they fit comfortably under lab benches and counters. If saving on space is part of the concerns within your lab or medical facility, then, under-counter freezers will prove ideal.

4. Upright Freezers


Upright freezers are probably the most common variety in various laboratories and medical institutions. These freezers open from the front, and that is why they resemble a traditional home freezer for storing groceries. The sizes of upright freezers range from the small counter-top option to large designs for storing high quantities of lab samples.

In most cases, upright freezers come with shelving units in their interior, which allow you to maximize space and organize samples without difficulties. Apart from organizational capabilities, upright freezers are also quite popular in the medical sector because of their spatial efficiency. On the other hand, upright freezers do not take up much floor space, yet, they store maximum quantities of materials due to their vertical design.

Recommended Use

If you need a freezer that maximizes temperature uniformity to promote exposure of all lab samples to the same conditions, look no further than upright freezers. That also ensures a reduction in the recovery time after opening the freezer’s door.


Improper storage conditions in laboratories and medical facilities can result in costly losses. For that reason, you need to understand your lab storage needs before opting for a particular freezer for storing expensive and potentially life-saving materials.


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