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2014 CO2 Incubator Survey Results

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 many weeks or where cells need to be expanded or maintained.

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Trevor Henderson BSc (HK), MSc, PhD (c), is the creative services director at Lab Manager.  He has more than two decades of experience in the fields of scientific...

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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 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 filter, etc.

Types of CO2 incubators used by survey respondents:

Water Jacketed 54%
Air Jacketed 30%
Direct Heat 14%
Other 1%

Primary purpose for CO2 incubators as indicated by survey respondents:

Research  68%
Clinical 22%
In Vitro Fertilization 4%
Quality Control 3%
Other 3%

Nearly 27% of respondents plan on purchasing a CO2 incubator in the next year. The reasons for these purchases are as follows:

Replacement of aging model  
Addition to existing systems, increase capacity
Setting up a new lab
First time purchase of a CO2 incubator

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

Performance of product 100%
Audible and visible temperature alarms 99%
Stable CO2 control 99%
Value for price paid 97%
Warranties 97%
Ease of use 96%
Low maintenance/easy to clean 96%
Service and support 96%
Availability of supplies and accessories 93%
Low operating costs 93%

Completed Surveys: 222

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

See the latest survey results here