Are You in the Market for a Fume Hood?

By Lab Manager

One of the primary safety devices in laboratories where chemicals are used is the laboratory fume hood. It allows a researcher to work with—but not be exposed to— materials that create toxic fumes or particles when it is properly installed and maintained.

Top 6 Questions You Should Ask When Buying a Fume Hood

1. Can your lab go ductless? Ductless hoods are a viable solution for most routine laboratory applications.

2. What is the hood constructed from and how is it constructed? Will the chemicals you use attack, degrade or physically alter the material of the hood?

3. What types of safety controls are included in the base cost of the unit?

4. Has the manufacturer/distributor gone through a thorough application review process? Does the suggested filtration make sense?

5. How hard is installation? Will there be a future/potential need to move the hood after initial installation? Should the hood be portable?

6. What are the capital, installation and operational costs? From the lab manager’s perspective, capital costs are but a fraction of the overall budget.

Top ten features/factors survey respondents look for when buying a fume hood:

Durability of product 97%
Performance of product 94%
Ease of use; ergonomic operation 93%
Safety and health features 92%
Low operating costs 91%
Low maintenance / easy to clean 91%
Value for price paid 89%
Total cost of ownership 86%
Service and support 86%
Warranties 84%

Fume hood type(s) currently being used in readers’ labs:

Conventional ducted fume hood 76%
Laminar flow hood 36%
Benchtop ductless fume hood 19%
Canopy ducted fume hood 18%
Variable air volume ducted fume hood 12%
Down flow workstation 7%
Portable ductless fume hood 6%

Survey respondents are also using the following fume hood-related components:

Airflow monitor 54%
Base storage cabinet 48%
Work surface 38%
Blowers 28%
Digital monitor 19%
Fume extractor arms 10%
Transport support cart 8%
Other 2%

Percentage of respondents who agree with the following fume hood safety statements:

All lab fume hoods have been tested within the past year 90%
Workers using biohazards, toxins and regulated carcinogens have received the proper training 87%
Test labels are properly affixed to all fume hoods tested 87%
Storage in fume hoods is kept to a minimum and doesn’t impede proper airflow 87%
Fume hoods containing regulated carcinogens, biohazards and radioactive materials are properly labelled 83%
Samples/specimens/cultures are protected from environment particulars 77%

The frequency of fume hood inspections in respondents’ labs:

Monthly 11%
Quarterly 15%
Every six months 15%
Annually 49%
Every two years or more 4%
Not applicable 2%
Don’t know 6%

Completed Surveys: 236

For more information on fume hoods, including useful articles and a list of manufacturers, visit

Categories: Surveys

Published In

Going Greener Magazine Issue Cover
Going Greener

Published: April 1, 2013

Cover Story

Going Greener

Equipment vendors continue making strides to reduce energy use and consumables.

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