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6 Questions You Should Ask When Buying a Vacuum Pump

Vacuum pumps are an essential piece of equipment and are used in a wide variety of processes in most laboratories.

by Lab Manager

Vacuum pumps are an essential piece of equipment and are used in a wide variety of processes in most laboratories. Over the past 25 years, vendors have made significant innovative improvements to vacuum pumps, with important developments in high vacuum technology, corrosion resistance, vacuum control, and improvements in the efficiency and ecological impact of vacuum pumps.

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Top 6 Questions You Should Ask When Buying a lab vacuum pump

1. What will you be using the vacuum for? Filtration needs modest vacuum. Evaporation requires deeper vacuum. Molecular distillation requires even more. Match the pump to the use.

2. Can you use a dry (oil-free) vacuum pump? Oil-free vacuum pumps can support most lab applications. For the service advantages, choose a dry pump where possible.

3. What is the pumping capacity at the intended vacuum level? Actual pumping speed declines from the nominal speed as depth of vacuum increases. The rate of decline differs among pumps.

4. Do you work with corrosive media? Standard duty pumps have lower purchase costs, but corrosion-resistant pumps will have lower lifetime costs if working with corrosives.

5. Should you invest in vacuum control? Electronics can improve reproducibility, protect samples and shorten process times when specific vacuum conditions need to be maintained.

6. What is the lifetime cost of operation? Include purchase cost, service intervals, servicing cost, pump protection (e.g., filters, cold traps), and staff time for operation.

Types of vacuum pumps our readers are using in their labs:

Rotary vane pump 16%
Dry diaphragm vacuum pump 37%
Water or air aspirator 36%
Deep vacuum pump 28%
Filtration pump 26%
Turbo Pump 2%
Other 3%

Vacuum pumps are suited for a wide variety of laboratory applications. Below are some of the applications the respondents use their vacuum pumps for in their labs:

Vacuum or pressure filtration 48%
Dry diaphragm vacuum pump 29%
Degassing 29%
Mass spectrometry 28%
Rotary evaporator 26%
Freeze drying 18%
Gel dryer 10%
Liquid aspiration 3%
Other 5%

The top 10 factors/features for our readers when they are buying a vacuum pump:

  Most Important/Important Not Important Don’t Know
Durability/performance 96% 3% 1%
Price 92% 4% 4%
Ease of Use 91% 7% 2%
Leak-tightness 89% 8% 3%
Pump speed 85% 9% 6%
Warranties 85% 12% 3%
Safety and health features 82% 12% 6%
Low maintenance costs 81% 14% 5%
Availability of supplies
and accessories
80% 16% 4%
Noise level—quiet 80% 17% 3%

Recently Released Vacuum Pumps

PC 3001 VARIO pro Pumping System
• Offers a pumping speed nearly 20% higher than the PC 3001 VARIO model it replaces, and supports processes with higher vapor loads than before
• The 1.5 Torr, 2 m3/h pumping unit optimizes vacuum conditions automatically without programming, shortens process times and reduces energy consumption by 90% compared with continuously running vacuum pumps


N950.50 Series
• Can simultaneously achieve high flow rates and deep vacuums for the quick and automatic transfer or evacuation of air and gases
• Realize maximum flow rates up to 50 l/m and maximum vacuum • A liquid-tolerant pump design mitigates any potentially adverse effects from handling condensable media

KNF Neuberger, Inc.

HiCube™ Pro Turbo Pumping Station
• Suited for applications that require fast pump-down times
• Features HiPace turbopumps and the dry ACP multi-stage backing pump
• Pumping speeds range from 35 I/s - 685 I/s
• Offer flexibility, high performance, long service life, and modular design for easy integration into the user’s process

Pfeiffer Vacuum

IDP-2 and IDP-3
• Provide affordable, oil-free vacuum
• Can be easily integrated into existing systems, and is suitable for a broad range of both research and industrial applications
• Creates a vacuum using a simple dual scroll mechanism
• Suited as primary pumps for many demanding applications– delivering durability, reliability and easy maintenance

Agilent Vacuum Technologies

Vacuum Pump Manufacturers

Agilent Vacuum
Cole Parmer
Gast Manufacturing
KNF Neuberger, Inc. 
Myers Vacuum
New Star
Pfeiffer Vacuum
Precision Scientific