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Purchasing Guide: Supplies and Consumables

Supplies and consumables are all the materials that the lab needs to execute its work

by Lab Manager
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Supplies and consumables are all the materials that the lab needs to execute its work. This category encompasses a hugely diverse set of materials, ranging from pipette tips to specialty gasses. Supplies and consumables are often paper, plastic, glass-based materials, or chemicals and reagents that are used during experiments. Once the experiment is complete, they are either preserved and stored as an experimental product or disposed of through the lab’s waste stream. Many instruments have specific compatibility requirements for supplies and consumables. For a list of laboratory supplies and consumables manufacturers, see our online directory:

8 Questions to Ask When Buying Supplies and Consumables:

  1. What quantity will be needed for your experiments?
  2. Are there more cost-effective alternatives than previously used consumables?
  3. Who else can source the materials?
  4. How much will the consumables cost?
  5. Should you buy in bulk at a lower cost and then store the rest?
  6. How frequently should you reorder? Can you use up the consumables before the expiration date?
  7. How should you safely and sustainably dispose of these materials after the experiments are complete?
  8. Does your laboratory have inventory management software currently in use?

Chemical Inventory Management

Forgoing a dedicated chemical inventory management program will increase risk and waste money. Conversely, investing in one will allow you to identify problems preemptively, protect data integrity, ensure regulatory compliance, and minimize the chance of safety incidents. Learn more about why you need a chemical inventory management system at

Sustainable Science

Laboratories are infamous for the amount of plastic waste they generate. Luckily, there are numerous options to decrease your lab’s plastic waste output, such as reusable labware. Learn more about fostering a culture of sustainability in your lab at