Lab Manager | Run Your Lab Like a Business

2014-15 Product Resource Guide: CO2 Incubators/Incubators

Get fun facts about incubators, a list of questions to ask when buying incubators, the most recent incubator releases, and an updated incubator manufacturer's list in this section.

Top 6 Things You May Not Know About Incubators

1. In the 1800s, researchers began searching for the ideal in vitro environment in which to maintain cell culture stocks. The first CO2 incubator developed consisted of a simple bell jar containing a lit candle. Cultures were placed under the lid of the jar alongside the lit candle, before the jar was moved to a dry, heated oven. This system may be considered the first “air-jacketed” CO2 incubator.

2. Laboratory incubators were first properly introduced during the second half of the twentieth century, when doctors realized that they could be used to identify pathogens from the bodily fluids of patients.

3. During the late 1960s, the first dedicated, commercial CO2 incubators were developed.

4. In 2001, a patent was granted for an ambient-temperature stabilization control system for laboratory incubators. This device was able to effectively maintain the incubator temperature within a desired range and to accurately control the rate of heat loss from the incubator as the ambient temperature rose.

5. In 2003, a patent was issued for a high-efficiency microplate incubator. This incubator offered superior temperature uniformity and stability through a simple construction in which multiple incubation chambers were stacked to conserve laboratory space. The multiple incubation chambers could be electronically controlled by a single temperature control assembly in a master incubator. A water reservoir that could be filled externally was provided inside the chamber.

6. Many manufacturers now offer environmentally friendly models using Peltier technology that save energy and reduce room air conditioning loads.

Top 6 Questions You Should Ask When Buying a CO2 Incubator

1. What measures have been taken in the design to avoid contamination and what features are included to remove (sterilize versus decon) contamination?

2. How does the CO2 sensor contribute to optimal cell growth?

3. How does the humidity contribute to optimal cell growth?

4. Ask for the uniformity and accuracy data versus asking for a water jacket or air jacket.

5. Do you need O2 control to simulate the environment for your experiment accurately?

6. Calculate the total cost of ownership on the product over one year including product price, install, regular cleaning labor, material such as HEPA filter, etc.

Need more help in finding the right CO2 incubator for you? Check out our CO2 Incubators Product Finder.

Recently Released CO2 Incubators/Incubators

AccuTherm Microtube Shaking Incubator

  • Uses Peltier technology to rapidly heat and cool precious samples
  • Intuitive control panel with large color display allows users to easily program and view temperature, time and speed settings
  • Eight interchangeable aluminum blocks accommodate PCR plates and tube sizes from 0.2mL to 15mL
  • Features a temperature setting range of 0-105°C and mixing speed range of 300-1,500 rpm

Labnet International

SRI3P B.O.D. Thermoelectric Cooled Incubator

  • Thermoelectric cooling technology eliminates the need for a refrigeration compressor
  • Uses 71% less power than alternative models and reduces room air conditioning loads by 75%
  • Includes 35 pound capacity shelves, which eliminates sagging
  • Meets APHA specifications for Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) and include a mechanical convection system
  • Features a 3 cu. ft. capacity

Sheldon Manufacturing

C and B Series CO2 Incubators

  • Provide temperature uniformity and stable pH, optimal growth conditions for cultures
  • Also offer high humidity without condensation
  • Include hot Air Self-Sterilization at 180°C
  • ANTI.PLENUM™ “less is more” minimized surface area reduces contamination
  • Stainless steel construction makes cleaning easy
  • Also include gas mixing head for even CO2/O2 distribution and sterilizable CO2 sensor


Incubator Manufacturers



Boekel Scientific

CARON Products






Labnet International


PHC Corporation of North America


Thermo Fisher Scientific

Torrey Pines Scientific