Glove 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 significant respects—users can introduce articles into glove boxes and manipulate them inside the unit through ports fitted with gloves, and glove boxes typically use a specialized atmosphere. For a list of glove box manufacturers, see our online directory: LabManager.com/glove-box-manufacturers
5 Questions You Should Ask When Buying a Glove Box:
- What applications are you using the glove box for? This will determine exactly what you will need in a glove box, such as an oxygen-free atmosphere, etc.
- Are the incubation and processing separated to prevent contamination? This is important if you will be using the glove box for cell culture.
- 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 another less costly option than a fully-custom unit.
- 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.
- What sort of safety features does the glove box have? These are especially important if you are working with very hazardous materials.
According to Lab Manager’s 2021 Purchasing Trends Survey, about 22 percent of readers are interested in buying glove boxes ASAP, while about 25 percent expect to purchase in the next six months. The growing demand for glove boxes is likely due to the strong shift toward research on vaccines and viral diseases within the last year. LabManager.com/PRG-2022-purchasing-trends
Glove box gloves are not intended to be used until they fail. Instead, they should be changed according to the glove box manufacturer’s recommendations. Users should always document when gloves are changed, and records of glove changes and other maintenance should be kept in the lab.