So You Want to Buy a Glove Box? Here's What You Should Know

Find out readers’ reasons for purchasing and more from the latest survey results

Shane Downie

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.

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 43%
Quality Control 18%
Clinical 17%
Production 10%
Other 12%

Glove box applications as reported by survey respondents:

Manipulating dangerous, toxic, or moisture-sensitive subjects 30%
Cell culture 23%
Air or moisture sensitive analyses 6%
Anaerobic bacterial growth 5%
Compounding pharmacy, vaccines 5%
Virus production 4%
Storage and processing of chemicals, metals, calcium, etc... 2%
Maintaining cleanliness for microchips or fabricated parts, sensor calibration 2%
Controlled-atmosphere welding 1%
Other 23%

Nearly 36% of respondents are engaged in purchasing a new glove box. The reasons for these purchases are as follows:

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

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

Safety 75%
Price 67%
Ease of use 49%
Product performance for intended application 35%
Availability of accessories/options 31%
Low maintenance/operating costs 27%
Ease of installation 27%
Ergonomic design 18%
Service and support 9%
Small footprint 4%

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

See previous survey results: