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Lab Trends

2016 CO2 Incubator Survey Results

Learn which applications are most common and more from our latest incubator survey results.

by Ryan Ackerman

CO2 incubators are designed to copy a cell’s natural environment with a relative humidity of around 95 percent, a temperature of 37°C, and a pH of 7.2 to 7.5. They are most common in biology labs performing tissue or cell culture and are used in any process where cells need to be cultured for a few hours or up to many weeks, as well as where cells need to be expanded or maintained.

Top 6 Questions You Should Ask When Buying an CO2 Incubator

  1. What measures have been taken in the design to avoid contamination and what features are included to remove 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 like HEPA filters, etc.

Types of CO2 incubators used by survey respondents:

Water Jacketed 62%
Air Jacketed 37%
Direct Heat 20%
Gel Jacketed 1%
Other 1%

Primary purpose of CO2 incubators as reported by survey respondents:

Research 67%
Clinical 22%
Quality control 7%
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) 2%
Other 6%

Nearly 57% of respondents are engaged in purchasing a new CO2 incubator. The reasons for these purchases are as follows:

Replacement of an aging system
Addition to existing systems, increase capacity
Upgrading existing equipment
Setting up a new lab
First time purchase

Top 10 features/factors respondents look for when purchasing CO2 Incubator:

Performance of product 80%
Stable CO2 control 79%
Value for price paid 75%
Low maintenance / easy to clean 73%
Ease of use 68%
Audible and visible temperature alarms 62%
Fast recovery times 60%
Low operating costs 58%
Warranties 57%
Service and support 55%

For more information on CO2 incubators, including useful articles and a list of manufacturers, visit

See the latest survey results here