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Lab Manager Life Science Product Surveys

Are You in the Market for a Biological Safety Cabinet?

Learn readers’ most desired features and more from our latest bioloigcal safety cabinet survey results

by Andrea Cole

Biological safety cabinets (BSCs) are enclosures that protect users and the environment from biohazards by removing particulates and aerosolized pathogens from the work area through HEPA filtration, then recirculate or exhaust the purified air, hence cleansing the workspace air.

Top 5 Questions You Should Ask When Buying a Biological Safety Cabinet

  1. Do the samples/specimens/cultures need to be protected from environmental particulates? Answering this question determines what type of BSC you require.
  2. Are chemicals involved in your application? Hazardous (toxic or volatile) vapors are not filtered by the HEPA/ ULPA filters found in BSCs. Different BSC designs are available.
  3. What are your size limits? Know what the maximum space allotment is so that you don’t end up with equipment that is too big for your lab, or so small that you can’t work.
  4. Does your procedure require modifications to the equipment that are uncommon? BSCs should be built to an appropriate standard and listed by a testing agency. Some modifications can lead to the equipment being unsafe; reputable manufacturers will not provide such alterations.
  5. Cost is always a concern. Avoid looking at the sticker price of a BSC; inquire instead about the lifetime cost of each BSC. This includes energy savings, service life, and a proven product track record.

Biological safety cabinet types used by survey respondents:

Class II biological safety cabinet78%
Class I biological safety cabinet23%
Class III biological safety cabinet8%

Application conducted in biological safety cabinets as reported by survey respondents:

Cell / tissue culture52%
Microbiology plating / specimens52%
Sample and reagent storage19%
Pathogen handling35%
Gross dissection10%
Laboratory animal handling10%

Of those respondents interested in purchasing a new biological safety cabinet, the reasons for these purchases are as follows:

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

Top 10 features/factors respondents look for when purchasing a biological safety cabinet:

Safety and health features89%
Performance of product89%
Controlled air flow82%
Service and support74%
Value for price paid68%
Total cost of ownership63%
Vendor reputation53%
Past experience with product44%
Availability of supplies and accessories47%

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