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CO2 Incubators and the Hidden Costs of Cell Culture

Intelligent design reduces the total cost of ownership for CO2 incubator

by Eppendorf

Biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies face mounting economical pressure to attain greater productivity with finite resources. As a result, purchasing decisions must consider not only the upfront cost of new equipment, but the total cost of ownership as well. Carbon dioxide (CO2) incubators are ubiquitous in cell culture laboratories, and operate 24/7 to maintain a stable environment for cells and prevent contamination and sample loss. There are several key factors that contribute to the cost of continuous operation, which can eventually exceed the original purchase price. CellXpert® CO2 incubators from Eppendorf are designed with these factors in mind, delivering reliable results and significant cost savings— up to $9,000 USD over five years.

Figure 1.


In any laboratory, benchtop space is at a premium, and must be optimized to ensure productive workflows. CellXpert CO2 incubators rely on direct heating, which creates more usable space with a minimal footprint. Unlike fan-assisted heating technology, which requires numerous internal parts, and air-jacketed designs which require chamber-in-chamber construction, CellXpert CO2incubators contain only an internal racking system and water tray. This creates up to 25% more usable space within the same footprint (Fig.1).


Consumables quickly add to the total cost of ownership. Fan-assisted HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters for example, require replacement twice per year to ensure unobstructed airflow, and can cost thousands of dollars over the lifespan of the incubator. Ultraviolet lamps and hydrogen peroxide reagents required for disinfection also create recurring costs. The CellXpert’s fanless design, and 180 °C sterilization cycle provide contamination protection without costly consumables.

Gas consumption

Figure 2

The combination of smart, precise design and innovative features can significantly reduce CO2incubator gas consumption. The CellXpert features regulated gas control, tight seals, and precise door fit (clearance) to lower gas consumption and maintain stable atmosphere within the incubator when the door is closed. CellXpert also reduces the consumption of expensive nitrogen gas required for hypoxic experiments, and can save laboratories up to $8,000 USD over five years (Fig.2). This efficient design also reduces the frequency of gas cylinder changes, and the inner door designed with four individual segments can further reduce gas consumption up to 25% (Fig.3).


Companies grow and evolve, and require flexible instruments that can support new experiments and applications. CellXpert CO2 incubators can be customized as needed, with various upgrades and accessories to support a range of applications. Rather than paying for unnecessary features, laboratories can add accessories as needed. For example, oxygen control can be added to expand into hypoxia research, and the door handle position is changeable in-field to adapt to changes in the laboratory setup.

Figure 3.

Cell culture research necessitates stable, contaminant-free incubator conditions to ensure reproducible results and prevent costly sample loss. Unfortunately, the high operating cost associated with maintaining optimal incubator conditions can often exceed the purchase price over time. CellXpert CO2 incubators from Eppendorf feature smart, innovative design, to maximize capacity and flexibility, minimize gas consumption, and eliminate consumables to provide a reliable and cost-effective solution.

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