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2017 CO2 Incubator Survey Results

Learn what our readers are using CO2 incubators for in their labs, and much more in our 2017 survey results

Erica Tennenhouse, PhD

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

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CO2 incubators are designed to copy a cell’s natural environment with a relative humidity of around 95 percent, a temperature of 37°C and a pH of 7.2 to 7.5. They are most common in biology labs performing tissue or cell culture and are used in any process where cells need to be cultured for a few hours or many weeks or where cells need to be expanded or maintained.

Top 6 Questions You Should Ask When Buying a CO2 Incubator

  1. What measures have been taken in the design to avoid contamination and what features are included to remove contamination?
  2. How does the CO2 sensor contribute to optimal cell growth?
  3. How does the humidity contribute to optimal cell growth?
  4. Ask for the uniformity and accuracy data versus asking for a water jacket or air jacket.
  5. Do you need O2 control to simulate the environment for your experiment accurately?
  6. Calculate the total cost of ownership on the product over one year including product price, install, regular cleaning labor, material like HEPA filters, etc.

Types of CO2 incubators used by survey respondents:

Water Jacketed 64%
Air Jacketed 35%
Direct Heat 21%
Gel Jacketed 1%
Other 1%

Primary purpose of CO2 incubators as reported by survey respondents:

Research 68%
Clinical 22%
Quality Control 9%
Other 8%
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) 3%

Nearly 51% of respondents are engaged in purchasing a new CO2 incubator. The reasons for these purchases are as follows:

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

Top 10 features/factors respondents look for when purchasing a CO2 incubator:

Performance of product 85%
Stable CO2 control 80%
Low maintenance / easy to clean 74%
Value for price paid 73%
Ease of use 67%
Low operating costs 64%
Service and support 61%
Warranties 60%
Safety and health features 59%
Fast recovery times 58%

For more information on CO2 incubators, including useful articles and a list of manufacturers, visit

See the latest survey results here