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Vacuum Pumps Buyer's Guide

6 Questions to Ask When Buying a Vacuum Pump

by Lab Manager
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6 Questions to Ask When Buying a 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.

Safety Tip

Mechanical vacuum pumps used in laboratories pose common hazards. Ensure that pumps have belt guards in place during operation and that service cords and switches are free from defects. Do not place pumps in an enclosed, unventilated cabinet and do not operate pumps near containers of flammable chemicals. If your pump uses oil, place a pan under it to catch oil drips. Used pump oil must be disposed as hazardous waste. Conduct all vacuum operations behind a table shield or in a fume hood and always wear safety glasses.

Helpful Links

For all you need to know about vacuum pumps, see 


Learn some of the features to look for when buying a vacuum pump in our video:
To learn about the costs of using a water aspirator for vacuum production in the lab, see: