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2012 Vacuum Pumps Survey Results

Vacuum pumps are an essential piece of equipment and are used in a wide variety of processes in most laboratories.

Vacuum pumps are an essential piece of equipment and are used in a wide variety of processes in most laboratories. However, despite numerous advances over the past 70 years, many lab professionals still believe that vacuum technology has not progressed and that there is no benefit from updating a laboratory pump. However, over the past 25 years, it becomes apparent that vendors have made significant innovative improvements to vacuum pumps, with important developments in high vacuum technology, corrosion resistance, vacuum control, and improvements in the efficiency and ecological impact of vacuum pumps.

Vacuum pump performance curves map a pump’s performance between the free air displacement (flow rate) specification and the ultimate vacuum. Depending on the pump engineering, the actual pumping speed falls off at a greater or lesser rate as the pressure approaches the ultimate vacuum. The better the pump, the more the specified pumping speed is preserved closer to the ultimate vacuum. This is why pumps that have identical specifications for ultimate vacuum and flow rate perform very differently— and are priced very differently as well.

Types of vacuum pumps our readers are using in their labs:

Rotary vane pump 45%
Dry diaphragm vacuum pump 37%
Water or air aspirator 36%
Deep vacuum pump 28%
Filtration pump 26%
Turbo Pump 2%
Other 3%

Vacuum pumps are suited for a wide variety of laboratory applications. Below are some of the applications the respondents use their vacuum pumps for in their labs:

Vacuum or pressure filtration 48%
Dry diaphragm vacuum pump 29%
Degassing 29%
Mass spectrometry 28%
Rotary evaporator 26%
Freeze drying 18%%
Gel dryer 10%
Liquid aspiration 3%
Other 15%

The most important factor selected by respondents in their decision to buy a vacuum pump is performance. There are two ways to determine pump performance at the vacuum pressure you need. One is to ask your vacuum pump vendor. Your vendor is used to thinking in these terms and can advise you. The other is to rely on vacuum pump performance curves that all reputable vendors will provide on request

The top 10 factors/features for our readers when they are buying a vacuum pump:

  Most Important/Important Not Important Don’t Know
Durability/performance 96% 3% 1%
Price 92% 4% 4%
Ease of Use 91% 7% 2%
Leak-tightness 89% 8% 3%
Pump speed 85% 9% 6%
Warranties 85% 12% 3%
Safety and health features 82% 12% 6%
Low maintenance costs 81% 14% 5%
Availability of supplies and accessories 80% 16% 4%
Noise level—quiet 80% 17% 3%

For more information on vacuum pumps, including useful articles and a list of manufacturers, visit

See the most recent survey results