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What to Know About Your Cold Storage Service Agreement

Learn readers’ most common service and repair methods and more from our latest results.

Erica Tennenhouse, PhD

Erica Tennenhouse, PhD, is the managing editor of Clinical Lab Manager.

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Maintaining samples at an optimal temperature while in storage is vital for many lab professionals and this makes choosing the right freezer or refrigerator a crucial task. While the average kitchen freezer operates at about -20°C, laboratory variants have a much wider range of options depending on the storage conditions needed.

Top 5 Questions You Should Ask When Buying Cold Storage Equipment

  1. How is the product manufactured? Ask about the quality of the materials used and the product life.
  2. What is the warranty? What does it include and for how long? Will anything void the warranty?
  3. How green is the product? Ask the company to provide details on energy efficiency and have them relate it to your return on investment (e.g. in four years will you save enough money in energy costs to pay for your freezer/fridge?).
  4. How much sample capacity are you getting for your space?
  5. What are the optimal voltage/wiring conditions for running the fridge/ freezer? If the building is older, will low voltage or voltage fluctuations affect the performance of the freezer/fridge?

Types of cold storage equipment used by survey respondents:

Upright general-purpose lab freezers 73%
Upright ultra-low temperature freezers 50%
Low temperature upright lab freezers 45%
Under-counter general purpose lab freezers 35%
Flammable materials storage 20%
Explosion-proof 17%
Low temperature chest lab freezers 17%
Blood bank and plasma 10%
Chest ultra-low temperature freezers 9%
Other 10%

Service and repair methods for cold storage equipment as reported by survey respondents:

In-house service department 39%
Third-party contract 32%
Third-party time/material 21%
Instrument manufacturer time/material 14%
Instrument manufacturer service contract 11%
Multi-vendor service provider 9%
Our department 7%
Don't know 5%
Other 1%

Nearly 65% of respondents are engaged in purchasing new cold storage equipment. The reasons for these purchases are as follows:

Replacing obsolete equipment
Upgrading existing cold storage equipment
Addition to existing systems, increase capacity
Setting up a new lab

Top 10 Features/Factors Respondents Look for When Purchasing Cold Storage Equipment:

Reliability of product 83%
Durability of product 82%
Sensitivity and accuracy of temperature controls 70%
Price 65%
Warranties 62%
Audible and visual hi/lo alarm for each controller 49%
Energy efficient 48%
Reputation of vendor 42%
Quiet operation 42%
Service and support 40%

For more information on cold storage equipment, including useful articles and a list of manufacturers, visit

See most recent survey results here