Lab Manager | Run Your Lab Like a Business

2015 Cold Storage Survey Results

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

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.

Maintaining samples at an optimal temperature while in storage is vital for many lab professionals and this makes choosing the right freezer or refrigerator a crucial task. While the average kitchen freezer operates at about -20°C, laboratory variants have a much wider range of options depending on the storage conditions needed.

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 73%
Upright ultra-low temperature freezers 56%
Low temperature upright lab freezers 45%
Under-counter general purpose lab freezers 39%
Low temperature chest lab freezers 19%
Flammable materials storage 16%
Chest ultra-low temperature freezers 16%
Blood bank and plasma 15%
Explosion-proof 13%
Other 15%

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

In-house service department 44%
Third-party contract 30%
Third-party time/material 21%
Instrument manufacturer time/material 18%
Instrument manufacturer service contract 10%
Our department 8%
Multi-vendor service provider 8%
Don't know 5%
Other 3%

Nearly 30% 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:

Durability of product 84%
Reliability of product 83%
Price 64%
Sensitivity and accuracy of temperature controls 63%
Warranties 56%
Reputation of vendor 48%
Service and support 47%
Energy efficient 45%
Audible and visual hi/lo alarm for each controller 40%
Quiet operation 40%

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

See the latest survey results