Lab Manager | Run Your Lab Like a Business
Illustration of a lab freezer
Credit: Lab Manager

Purchasing Guide: Cold Storage

Lab cold storage solutions are critical to keeping valuable reagents and priceless samples safe

by Lab Manager
Register for free to listen to this article
Listen with Speechify

Laboratory cold storage solutions including freezers, refrigerators, and cryogenic storage tanks are critical to keeping valuable reagents and priceless samples safe. With increased environmental regulations and requirements in many labs, energy efficiency is an important factor to consider when buying cold storage equipment. Reliability is also a must-have, given the importance of the materials stored in most cold storage units. For a list of laboratory cold storage manufacturers, see our online directory:

6 Questions to Ask When Buying Cold Storage

  1. How stable is the chamber temperature? Temperature fluctuations will reduce the integrity of your stored materials, negatively impacting future experiments.
  2. What storage capacity will you need now and in the future? This should also be specific to the temperature required, differentiating between liquid nitrogen, ultra-low temperature freezers, standard freezers, and fridges, as a general rule. 
  3. Is there a backup power source in the case of power failure so the samples do not thaw?
  4. How long does it take for the temperature to recover after a door opening? Does the door lock for a period of time to recover the temperature, and how does this impact efficiency in the laboratory?
  5. What data logging features are available with the unit?
  6. Is your facility equipped to accommodate products with 220V power draw?

Protecting Critical Samples

If your lab houses particularly critical or valuable samples, consider investing in a ULT freezer that has a dual-compressor system designed for redundancy. If one compressor system fails, the other will maintain the freezer’s internal temperature until you’re able to replace the malfunctioning compressor. Before investing in this type of model, always check manufacturer specifications to ensure a full understanding of how your ULT freezer is set up and functions. 

Effective Sample Organization

It’s all too easy to put tubes in a cardboard box and into a freezer with no overall plan. But future applications of stored cell stocks or other samples require cataloging and labeling of freezer boxes and tubes so they can be easily found later. There are tools available to keep your fridges and freezers organized and at-the-ready for future experiments. Learn more about effective cold storage organization at