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2017 Glove Box Survey Results

Glove boxes go by many different names and are used for many purposes. However, their essential attribute is the ability to maintain a completely separate environment from ambient.

Erica Tennenhouse, PhD

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

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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 55%
Quality Control 22%
Clinical 16%
Production 13%
Other 14%

Glove box applications as reported by survey respondents:

Manipulating dangerous, toxic, or moisture-sensitive subjects 37%
Cell culture 30%
Anaerobic bacterial growth 17%
Air or moisture sensitive analyses 15%
Storage and processing of chemicals, metals, calcium, etc... 12%
Maintaining cleanliness for microchips or fabricated parts, sensor calibration 11%
Virus production 7%
Compounding pharmacy, vaccines 5%
Controlled-atmosphere welding 3%
Other 25%

Nearly 33% of respondents are engaged in purchasing a new glove box. The reasons for these purchases are as follows:

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

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

Safety 74%
Ease of use 72%
Price 60%
Low maintenance/operating costs 57%
Ergonomic design 53%
Service and support 42%
Ease of installation 39%
Availability of accessories/options 38%
Energy efficiency 27%
Small footprint 24%

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

See most recent survey results