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Lab Trends

2016 Cold Storage Survey Results

Learn readers’ cold storage purchasing plans and more from our latest survey results.

by Ryan Ackerman

Freezers and refrigerators are an integral part of any laboratory that requires temperature controlled storage.

Top 5 Questions You Should Ask When Buying Cold Storage Equipment

  1. How is the product manufactured? Ask about the quality of the materials used and the product life.
  2. What is the warranty? What does it include and for how long? Will anything void the warranty?
  3. How green is the product? Ask the company to provide details on energy efficiency and have them relate it to your return on investment (e.g. in four years will you save enough money in energy costs to pay for your freezer/fridge?).
  4. How much sample capacity are you getting for your space?
  5. What are the optimal voltage/wiring conditions for running the fridge/ freezer? If the building is older, will low voltage or voltage fluctuations affect the performance of the freezer/fridge?

Types of cold storage equipment used by survey respondents:

Upright general-purpose lab freezers 75%
Upright ultra-low temperature freezers 58%
Low temperature upright lab freezers 51%
Under-counter general purpose lab freezers 39%
Chest ultra-low temperature freezers 20%
Flammable materials storage 19%
Low temperature chest lab freezers 18%
Blood bank and plasma 17%
Explosion-proof 12%
Other 10%

Service and repair methods for cold storage equipment as reported by survey respondents:

In-house service department 46%
Instrument manufacturer time/material 29%
Third-party contract 26%
Instrument manufacturer service contract 18%
Third-party time/material 14%
Our department 9%
Multi-vendor service provider 7%
Other 1%
Don't know 9%

Nearly 62% of respondents are engaged in purchasing new cold storage equipment. The reasons for these purchases are as follows:

Upgrading existing cold storage equipment
Replacing obsolete equipment
Addition to existing systems, increase capacity
Setting up a new lab

Top 10 Features/Factors Respondents Look for When Purchasing Cold Storage Equipment:

Reliability of product 83%
Durability of product 75%
Price 68%
Sensitivity and accuracy of temperature controls 67%
Warranties 60%
Audible and visual hi/lo alarm for each controller 51%
Service and support 50%
Energy efficient 47%
Reputation of vendor 43%
Ergonomics and safety controls 42%

For more information on cold storage equipment, including useful articles and a list of manufacturers, visit

See the most recent survey results