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Purchasing Guide: Baths and Chillers

One consideration to keep in mind when purchasing a bath or chiller is whether you need a unit with extra features like circulation, ultrasonic cleaning, or shaking

by Lab Manager
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When scientists need to heat or cool liquid samples and keep them at a specific temperature, they use water baths and chillers. If you’re looking to purchase a water bath or chiller, it’s important to consider the space available in your lab and the capacity and temperature range you need. You should also consider whether you need a unit with extra features like circulation, ultrasonic cleaning, or shaking. For a list of bath and chiller manufacturers, see our online directory:

7 Questions to Ask When Buying a Bath or Chiller:

  1. What capacity do you need and how much space do you have in your lab?
  2. What temperature range do you need?
  3. How long does it take for the unit to cool down or heat up to the set temperature?
  4. How much temperature fluctuation is acceptable?
  5. How easy to clean is the unit?
  6. Does the bath or chiller have alarms to warn you of temperature deviations?
  7. What material is it made of? Some materials, like stainless steel, are more durable than others.

The Benefits of a Bead Bath

While water baths are cheaper up front, a bead bath may be a better choice as it will reach the temperature set point more efficiently than a water bath, saving you energy costs in the long run. Additionally, bead baths can be cleaned with ethanol, which is more environmentally friendly than the germicide solutions used to clean water baths.

Analog or Digital Control?

Water baths come with either analog or digital control heads, and the type best suited for your application depends on a few factors. In addition to being cheaper, analog control systems are easier to use and are well-suited for fixed set-point applications. Digital control systems offer better temperature uniformity, more stable temperature consistency, and more precise control.