Lab Manager

Considerations for Buying a Gas Generator

Find out the most common types, and more, in our 2016 survey results

By Ryan Ackerman

In many laboratories, gas generators are quickly replacing traditional tanks, offering greater flexibility, convenience, safety, and cost-effectiveness. Gas generators offer the ability to produce on-demand supply and specialty blends of highly pure gases for various applications.

Top 6 Questions You Should Ask When Buying a Gas Generator

  1. What is your application? As the range of available gas generators continues to expand, consider what it will be used for. For example, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy operates best in the absence of carbon dioxide so users will require a generator that creates CO2 -free gas.
  2. Do you require high quality gas? In many cases gas generators can produce a superior product both in purity and consistency without the risk of contamination during gas-line changing.
  3. What volume of gas do you require? Many instruments now require higher volumes of gas. If your space is small, or you expect your needs to increase over time, you may wish to consider a gas generator which will take up much less space than storing tanks of gas.
  4. Are long-term cost savings important to your project? Beyond convenience, gas generators save on shipping costs, time-related costs for changing tanks, and managerial costs for managing the safety and supply of tanks.
  5. Is noise a factor in your lab? Noise can be both bothersome and present a real health concern for those exposed. If low-noise is desirable, consider a gas generator with detachable or low-noise compressors.
  6. What sorts of service agreements are available? Is training in self-maintenance sufficient, or are service representatives available?

Gas generator types used by survey respondents:

Hydrogen 56.3%
Nitrogen 56.3%
Zero air 21.9%
Calibration 15.6%
Purge 3.1%
Other 3.1%

Applications using laboratory gas generators as reported by survey respondents:

Gas chromatography with flame ionization detection 62%
Gas chromatography with mass spectrometric detection 31%
High-performance liquid chromatography 28%
Inductively coupled plasma systems 12%
TOC analysis 9%
Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy 9%
Nuclear resonance spectroscopy 6%
Other 25%

Nearly 37% of respondents are engaged in purchasing a new gas generator. The reasons for these purchases are as follows:

Upgrading old system
Cheaper than gas cylinders
Increase safety
Starting a new lab process
Switching from helium to hydrogen
Building/Renovating lab

Top 10 Features/Factors Respondents Look for When Purchasing a Gas Generator:

Low maintenance/easy to clean 74%
Low operating costs 72%
Performance of product 71%
Total cost of ownership 65%
Value for price paid 61%
Availability of supplies and accessories 60%
Safety and health features 60%
Service and support 52%
Warranties 51%
Vendor reputation 44%

For more information on gas generators, including useful articles and a list of manufacturers, visit

See the most recent survey results:

Categories: Surveys

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Published: October 13, 2016

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