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Lab Manager General Lab Product Survey

2018 Cold Storage Industry Survey Results

Learn which options our readers use and more from our latest survey results

by Jason Kerkhof

Maintaining samples at an optimal temperature while in storage is vital for many lab professionals and this makes choosing the right freezer or refrigerator a crucial task. While the average kitchen freezer operates at about -20°C, laboratory variants have a much wider range of options depending on the storage conditions needed.

Top 5 Questions You Should Ask When Buying Cold Storage Equipment

  1. How is the product manufactured? Ask about the quality of the materials used and the product life.
  2. What is the warranty? What does it include and for how long? Will anything void the warranty?
  3. How green is the product? Ask the company to provide details on energy efficiency and have them relate it to your return on investment (e.g. in four years will you save enough money in energy costs to pay for your freezer/fridge?).
  4. How much sample capacity are you getting for your space?
  5. What are the optimal voltage/wiring conditions for running the fridge/freezer? If the building is older, will low voltage or voltage fluctuations affect the performance of the freezer/fridge?

Types of cold storage equipment used by survey respondents:

Upright general-purpose lab freezers76%
Low temperature upright lab freezers46%
Upright ultra-low temperature freezers43%
Under-counter general purpose lab freezers27%
Low temperature chest lab freezers26%
Chest ultra-low temperature freezers19%
Flammable materials storage17%
Blood bank and plasma7%

Service and repair methods for cold storage equipment as reported by survey respondents:

In-house service department40%
Third-party contract26%
Instrument manufacturer time/material14%
Third-party time/material13%
Instrument manufacturer service contract11%
Multi-vendor service provider11%
Our department11%
Don't know4%

Nearly 65% of respondents are engaged in purchasing new cold storage equipment. The reasons for these purchases are as follows:

Replacing obsolete equipment
Addition to existing systems, increase capacity
Upgrading existing cold storage equipment
Setting up a new lab

Top 10 Features/Factors Respondents Look for When Purchasing Cold Storage Equipment:

Reliability of product83%
Durability of product82%
Sensitivity and accuracy of temperature controls70%
Audible and visual hi/lo alarm for each controller49%
Energy efficient48%
Reputation of vendor42%
Quiet operation42%
Service and support40%

For more information on cold storage equipment, including useful articles and a list of manufacturers, visit

View previous years survey results: