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2016 Glove Box Survey Results

Glove boxes go by many different names and are used for many purposes. However, their essential attribute is the ability to maintain a completely separate environment from ambient. 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 through ports fitted with gloves, and glove boxes typically use a specialized atmosphere.

Trevor Henderson, PhD

2016 Glove Boxes Survey Results

Top 5 Questions You Should 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 an oxygen-free atmosphere, etc.
  2. Are the incubation and processing separated in order 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 if a standard model can fit your needs that is probably the better way to go. Making small customizations to an off-the-shelf model is also another less costly option 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 which 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.


Primary use of glove boxes as reported by survey respondents:

Research 59%
Clinical 22%
Quality Control 20%
Production 8%
Other 10%

Glove box applications as reported by survey respondents:

Manipulating dangerous, toxic, or moisture-sensitive subjects 40%
Cell culture 29%
Storage and processing of chemicals, metals, calcium, etc... 22%
Air or moisture sensitive analyses 17%
Anaerobic bacterial growth 15%
Maintaining cleanliness for microchips or fabricated parts, sensor calibration 12%
Virus production 9%
Controlled-atmosphere welding 4%
Compounding pharmacy, vaccines 2%
Other 23%

Nearly 30% of respondents are engaged in purchasing a new glove box. The reasons for these purchases are as follows:

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

Top 10 features/factors respondents look for when purchasing a glove box:

Ease of use 80%
Safety 79%
Product performance for intended application 67%
Low maintenance/operating costs 56%
Ergonomic design 54%
Price 51%
Ease of installation 46%
Availability of accessories/options 40%
Service and support 38%
Small footprint 32%

For more information on laboratory glove boxes, including useful articles and a list of manufacturers, visit

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