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Cold Storage Survey 2014 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...

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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 a 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 used by survey respondents

Blood bank and plasma 6%
Explosion-proof 7%
Flammable materials storage 6%
Upright general purpose lab freezers 26%
Under-counter general purpose lab freezers 10%
Low temperature chest lab freezers 6%
Low temperature upright lab freezers 14%
Upright ultra-low temperature freezers 17%
Chest ultra-low temperature freezers 5%
Other 3%

For service and repair, survey respondents report using the following:

In-house service department 28%
Third-party contract 19%
Third-party time/material 16%
Instrument manufacturer time/material 16%
Instrument manufacturer service contract 8%
Multi-vendor service provider 6%
Don't know 6%
Our department 5%
Other 1%

Nearly 44% of respondents plan on purchasing cold storage equipment in the next year. The budget ranges for these purchases are as follows:

Less than $5,000  

Top 10 features/factors respondents look for when purchasing cold storage equipment

Reliability of product 79%
Durability 70%
Price 66%
Sensitivity and Accuracy of Temperature Controls 55%
Warranties 48%
Energy Efficient 43%
Reputation of Vendor 39%
Service and Support 39%
Audible and Visual Hi/Lo Alarm for Each Controller 36%
Quiet operation 35%

Completed Surveys: 340

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

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