Lab Manager | Run Your Lab Like a Business

2015 Vacuum Pumps Survey Results

Vacuum pumps are an essential piece of equipment and are used in a wide variety of processes in most laboratories. Over the past 25 years, it has become 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.

Trevor Henderson, PhD

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...

ViewFull Profile.
Learn about ourEditorial Policies.

vacuum pumps survey saysTop 6 Questions You Should Ask When Buying a Vacuum Pump

  1. What will you be using the vacuum for? Filtration needs modest vacuum. Evaporation requires deeper vacuum. Molecular distillation requires even more. Match the pump to the use.
  2. Can you use a dry (oil-free) vacuum pump? Oil-free vacuum pumps can support most lab applications. For the service advantages, choose a dry pump where possible.
  3. What is the pumping capacity at the intended vacuum level? Actual pumping speed declines from the nominal speed as depth of vacuum increases. The rate of decline differs among pumps.
  4. Do you work with corrosive media? Standard duty pumps have lower purchase costs, but corrosion-resistant pumps will have lower lifetime costs if working with corrosives.
  5. Should you invest in vacuum control? Electronics can improve reproducibility, protect samples, and shorten process times when specific vacuum conditions need to be maintained.
  6. What is the lifetime cost of operation? Include purchase cost, service intervals, servicing cost, pump protection (e.g., filters, cold traps), and staff time for operation.

Types of vacuum pump used by survey respondents:

Oil-free diaphragm pump 46%
Oil-sealed direct drive pump 44%
Oil-sealed belt-drive pump 25%
Central vacuum to bench turrets 20%
Water jet aspirator vacuum 17%
Compressed air systems 17%
Oil-free scroll pump 13%
Other 4%

Vacuum pump applications as reported by survey respondents:

Vacuum or pressure filtration 62%
Degassing 33%
Mass spectrometry 27%
Rotary evaporator 27%
Liquid aspiration 23%
Freeze drying 21%
Vacuum oven 13%
Gel dryer 8%
Other 13%

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

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

Top 10 Features/Factors Respondents Look for When Purchasing a Vacuum Pump:

Durability of product 89%
Value for price paid 72%
Ease of use 72%
Leak tightness 71%
High suction 59%
Oil-fee/contamination-free pumping 53%
Maintenance costs 50%
On-site maintenance/cleaning 50%
Safety and health features 45%
Warranties 45%

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

See the most recent survey results