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Buying a Fume Hood

Before you buy a fume hood, it's important to know what fume hoods are and what they are not. Fume hoods are a primary means of safety from hazardous fumes and vapors. Fume hoods are not storage cabinets.

by Lab Manager
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Starting with Safety

Before you buy a fume hood, it’s important to know what fume hoods are and what they are not. Fume hoods are a primary means of safety from hazardous fumes and vapors. Fume hoods are not storage cabinets.

Peter Burke of Flow Sciences concurs. “Use a fume hood as a workstation and not as a storage area. Operators should be trained on the proper use of the fume hood or vented enclosure and encouraged to use it properly.”

A fume hood is just one part of a whole system that includes a base cabinet (for benchtop hoods), a work surface, ductwork, and exhaust blower. When purchasing a fume hood, Trinda Wheeler, Product Specialist at Labconco, suggests that “the first thing you need to know is what size fume hood you need. The questions to ask yourself include: How much space do I have? Am I putting the fume hood on an existing countertop? If so, how deep is it? It’s important to know that all work done inside a fume hood needs to be at least six inches behind the sash and that there needs to be some clearance underneath any equipment in the fume hood.”

Compatibility also comes into play when looking at a fume hood purchase. This includes knowing the types of chemicals you’ll be working with. “Do your homework,” recommends Terry Thompson of NuAire. “Find out if you need personnel protection only or product protection also. If you are working with perchloric acid, you will need an exhaust wash-down feature. If you are working with delicate instruments or powders, you may need a constant volume air movement hood, versus a variable air volume hood.”

Burke narrows the initial considerations in a fume hood purchase to four main areas, “space, function, location, and air supply.” Since there are many different styles of fume hoods available, knowing these parameters will allow you to get the most out of your hood.


NuAire’s FumeGard NU162/164 Fume Hoods provide quality personnel protection, meeting both SEFA and ASHRAE Standards. NuAire’s Fume Hoods, when used with proper laboratory techniques, are an effective laboratory aid in reducing the potential for exposure of gases, fumes, vapors, and/or particulates generated as a result of work-in-progress operations. Designed for the corrosive, semi-conductor, or metal-free laboratory, NuAire offers solutions to meet the needs of professionals in chemical engineering, electrical engineering, environmental toxic analysis, toxicology, analytical chemistry, and trace metal analysis fields.


Protector XStream Laboratory Hoods from Labconco overcome airflow’s tendencies for turbulence. The innovative and aerodynamic designs of the sash handle, air foil, upper dilution air supply, and rear downflow baffle work in concert to produce horizontal airflow patterns that significantly reduce concentrations of chemical contaminants throughout the work area, particularly near the face of the hood, operator breathing zone, and at the work surface. Because containment is enhanced, the Protector XStream Hood can operate at a broad range of face velocities: from 60 to 100 fpm. When operated at OSHA-approved 60 fpm face velocity, the energy savings realized provide economic payback.


Flow Sciences’ Top Mount Balance Enclosure with Bag-in/Bag-out Filtration provides maximum containment with minimal energy and air requirements, operating effectively with significantly less air than fume hoods. They are engineered to provide a safe, stable working environment in laboratory settings. The deep base accommodates larger micro and analytical balances and the gentle, non-turbulent airflow limits balance fluctuation and loss of materials. Internal plenums and mounted aerodynamic airfoils around the face opening ensure a smooth, horizontal airflow pattern across the work surface. In the “Filter First” design, the fan is positioned to remain contaminant-free even when working with potent powders.


The GreenFumeHood from Erlab is user and environmentally friendly. It is designed to allow laboratories to cut energy costs by 96% and operating costs by 70% while maintaining a face velocity of 100 fpm to ensure operator safety. GreenFumeHood features Neutrodine® filtration technology. It also enables labs to simultaneously perform multidisciplinary tasks involving acids, solvents, liquids, or powders and can handle 99.9% of chemicals traditionally used in laboratories today. GreenFumeHood also features a remote communication software to provide management capabilities for a network up to 250 fume hoods.