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Purchasing Guide: Glove Boxes

Gloves boxes are completely closed compartments ranging in size from a few cubic feet to several hundred cubic feet

by Lab Manager
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Gloves boxes are completely closed compartments ranging in size from a few cubic feet to several hundred cubic feet and differ from other safety enclosures in two respects: (1) users can introduce articles into glove boxes and manipulate them inside the unit through ports fitted with gloves, and (2) glove boxes typically use a specialized atmosphere. For a list of glove box manufacturers, see our online directory:

5 Questions to Ask When Buying a Glove Box:

  1. What applications are you using the glove box for? This will determine exactly what you will need in a glove box, such as oxygen-free atmosphere, etc.
  2. Are the incubation and processing separated to prevent contamination? This is important if you will be using the glove box for cell culture.
  3. How much will the glove box cost to acquire and maintain? Are warranties offered? Custom glove boxes are the most expensive, so determine if a standard model can fit your needs. Making small customizations to an off-the-shelf model is less costly than a fully custom unit.
  4. What are your future needs? This will help determine if the smallest unit is really the best option or if a larger option that can accommodate future expansion would make more sense.
  5. What sort of safety features does the glove box have? These are especially important if you are working with very hazardous materials.

Ensure Operator Safety with Leak Testing

To minimize risk, it’s good to periodically examine the gloves and gaskets of your glove box. However, a visual inspection may not be enough. Glove leak testing systems allow you to test a glove for any leaks, even pinhole leaks invisible to the naked eye. Some systems can find leaks as small as 100 μm in size.

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Maximize Flexibility with Custom Modules

Many glove boxes are outfitted with modular components that accommodate different types of experiments. Depending on your application, you may want to invest in a customized glove box. Learn more here: