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Ultra-Low Freezer Survey 2012 Results

Low-temperature (or ultra low) laboratory freezers will achieve temperatures of -40°C to -85°C — much lower than their kitchen-based counterparts.

by Lab Manager

When selecting a freezer for your lab, it is important to know what specific storage requirements you’ll need, such as the temperature range or space available.

6 Questions You Should Ask When Buying a Low-Temp Freezer

  1. How long does it take to get to -80°C after set-up / install (cool down time)?
  2. If there is a power failure, how long will it take to get to -60°C (holdover time)?
  3. How often do the compressors have to run (compressor run time)?
  4. What is the max and min temp variation from set-point across the chamber (temperature variation)?
  5. What is the capacity, how many racks and 2” / 3” boxes can it store (sample storage)?
  6. What are the optimal voltage/wiring conditions for running the ULT? If your building is older will low voltage or voltage fluctuations affect the performance of the freezer?


Top ten features/factors our readers look for when buying an ultra-low freezer:
Price 99%
Sensitivity and accuracy of temperature controls 99%
Warranties 99%
Faster temperature recovery after door openings 98%
Rapid access to samples 98%
Service and support 96%
Audible and visual Hi/Lo alarm for each controller 94%
Reputation of vendor 93%
High energy efficiency operations 92%
Maximum storage capacity in small footprint 92%


Types of ultra-low freezers respondents are currently using:
Upright ultra-low temperature freezers 78%
Chest ultra-low temperature freezers 28%
Other 1%


Temperature range of the ultra-low freezers currently in use by survey respondents:
-45° to -85°C 92%
Over -85°C 17%
Other 3%


Types of ultra-low freezers respondents are currently using:
In the lab 42%
In the hallway 13%
In a separate room with other freezers 37%
Other 8%


Type(s) of service used by respondents for the repair/service of their ultra-low freezers:
In-house service department 38%
Third-party contract 27%
Instrument manufacturer time/material 21%
Third-party time/material 19%
Instrument manufacturer service contract 13%
Our department 7%
Multi-vendor service provider 7%
Don’t know 5%
Other 2%


The number of ultra-low freezers in respondents’ labs:
1 34%
2-4 40%
5-7 9%
8-10 3%
10 or more 14%

Completed Surveys: 241

For more information on ultra-low freezers, including useful articles and a list of manufacturers, visit

See the latest survey results