Need a Lab Bath or Chiller? Here's What to Look For...

Learn readers’ bath and chiller purchasing plans and more from our 2016 survey results

By Ryan Ackerman

Water baths and circulators are used in a variety of settings including industrial and clinical laboratories, academic institutions, government research laboratories, environmental research applications, and food technology. Despite their maturity as a product category, laboratory baths continue their slow evolution, particularly in the areas of controls and user interface.

Top 7 Questions You Should Ask When Buying a Bath or Chiller

  1.  Does the product have any exclusive features? What sets it apart from other vendors’ chillers or baths?
  2. Is it important for your lab that the vendor have ISO 9001 certification?
  3. What is the warranty period? What does it cover?
  4. Are service plans available? If so, is there an on-site option?
  5. Does the unit have the appropriate cooling or heating capacity for the application? Is there enough reserve capacity to account for environmental cooling or heating losses?
  6. Does the manufacturer offer the necessary accessories for the application? (Tubing, fluid, adapters, electronic interfaces, etc.)
  7. Does the manufacturer understand the application and provide a thorough explanation of calculations to recommend the proper instrument?

Types of water bath or chiller used by survey respondents:

Standard (general purpose) water baths 64%
Circulating water baths 53%
Shaking water baths 17%
Boiling water baths 14%
Cooled water baths 8%
Stirred water baths 6%
Waterless bead baths 3%
Steaming water baths 2%
Other 2%

Operating temperature ranges of water baths or chillers as reported by survey respondents:

Less than -100 C 1%
-50 C to -100 C 1%
-50 C to 0 C 12%
0 C to +50 C 88%
+50 C to +100 C 27%
More than +100 C 3%

Nearly 42% of respondents are engaged in purchasing a new bath or chiller. The reasons for these purchases are as follows:

Replacement of aging systems
Addition to existing systems, increase capacity
Setting up a new lab
First time purchase

Top 10 Features/Factors Respondents Look for When Purchasing a Bath or Chiller:

Durability of product 87%
Performance of product 85%
Greater temperature uniformity, stability, and control 79%
Low maintenance/easy to clean 68%
Ease of use; ergonomic design 65%
Value for price paid 65%
Warranties 60%
Safety and health features 56%
Service and support 54%
Digital temperature control 54%

For more information on baths and chillers, including useful articles and a list of manufacturers, visit

See the most recent survey results:

Categories: Surveys

Published In

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Published: October 13, 2016

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