2012 CO2 Incubator Survey Results

By Lab Manager

Cell culture incubators, or carbon dioxide (CO2) incubators, are designed to mimic a cell’s natural environment with a relative humidity around 95 percent and temperature of 37°C. The CO2 concentration, about 5%, is controlled to match physiologic conditions and maintain a constant pH of 7.2 to 7.5.

Top 6 Questions You Should Ask When Buying a CO2 Incubator:

  1. What measures have been taken in the design to avoid contamination and what feature are included to remove (sterilize versus decon) contamination?
  2. How does the CO2 sensor contribute to optimal cell growth?
  3. How does the humidity contribute to optimal cell growth?
  4. Ask for the uniformity and accuracy data versus asking for a water jacket or air jacket.
  5. Do you need O2 control to simulate the environment for your experiment accurately?
  6. Calculate the total cost of ownership on the product over one year including product price, install, regular cleaning labor, material like HEPA filter, etc.


Top ten factors/features that influence our readers when buying a CO2 incubator:
Low maintenance/easy to clean 98%
Stable CO2 control 98%
Value for price paid 98%
Performance of product 96%
Warranties 96%
Ease of use 94%
Audible & visible temperature alarms 93%
Service and support 93%
Minimal temperature control 91%
Safety and health features 91%


Types of CO2 incubators being used in our readers’ labs:
Water jacketed 63%
Air jacketed 41%
Stacked units 41%
HEPA filtered 38%
Passively humidified 35%
Benchtop 24%
Thermistor-controlled CO2 23%
Actively humidified 17%
Infrared-controlled CO2 17%
Auto-decontaminating 16%
O2 Controlled 12%
Other 15%


Incubator components currently being used by our respondents:
High temperature disinfection 20%
Infrared CO2 control 17%
O2 control 14%
RH control 12%
Data logger 11%
Other 7%


Most common incubator operation issues being experienced by our readers:
Presence of contamination in the unit 23%
CO2 level is unstable 21%
Condensation 18%
Unstable temperature 12%
Humidity display 6%


Most common maintenance checks being performed by our respondents:
CO2 tank regulator pressure gauge inspection 72%
Humidity pan/pan level check 71%
Temperature display check with internal thermometer 71%
Interior disinfection and removable parts autoclaved 62%
CO2 inspection with an independent analyzer 52%
CO2 regulator and gas lines leak check 50%
CO2 and temperature calibrated using factory procedures 35%
Filter discoloration/replacement check 28%
Power cord wear inspection 27%
Proper CO2 tank switcher operation inspection 25%
Air flow and fan blade rotation/discoloration inspection 18%


For more information on CO2 Incubators, including useful articles and a list of manufacturers, visit www.labmanager.com/incubators

See the latest survey results here

Categories: Surveys

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