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What Features Do Scientists Look For In Fridges and Freezers?

By Carlton Hoyt, 05 July 2016

You might think that buying a fridge or a freezer for your lab is a simple decision, but there are actually a lot of features to choose from. Do you want an alarm or warning system? What kind of defrost do you need - auto or manual? Do you want digital controls? Do you want the capability to controls or monitor your refrigerator remotely? What about energy efficiency?

When determining what is important, it's helpful to know what other scientists look for as well and use them as a guide. Your needs may be different, but they may have thought of something you didn't, or you may rethink something which you don't view as important but many others do.

That's why we recently sponsored Lab Manager's recent cold storage equipment survey. They asked 98 scientists looking to purchase a refrigerator or freezer for their lab what they're looking for. These are the top 10 features and factors they listed:

Reliability of product
83%
Durability of product
75%
Price
68%
Sensitivity and accuracy of temperature controls
67%
Warranties
60%
Audible and visual hi/lo alarm for each controller
51%
Service and support
50%
Energy efficient
47%
Reputation of vendor
43%
Ergonomics and safety controls
42%

 

As with many products, especially non-analytical products, reliability and durability trump everything. If you're looking for a very durable and reliable fridge or freezer, I have two pieces of advice for you:

  1. Look at the warranty duration. Warranty duration is something of an industry standard so it doesn't vary that much, but when a company is willing to offer a longer warranty duration that's because they're not expecting to have to service it. It's a mark of the manufacturer's faith in their own products. The same can be said for service contracts or optional extended warranties. The more expensive the warranty or service contract, the more likely you are to need it.
  2. You get what you pay for. We've been in the business of selling equipment for many, many years and this is true perhaps 98% of the time. Sure, there are some good values out there, but if a product is much less expensive than its competitors, they need to make up for that by reducing their costs. Perhaps they outsource their manufacturing to a low-cost area. Perhaps their components are cheaper. Perhaps their service isn't as good. Unless the manufacturer has an amazing proprietary technology that allows them to give you more for less, you will get exactly what you pay for. No more, no less.

Sci-Cool Microprocessor Controlled Enzyme Storage Freezer

The Sci-Cool Microprocessor Controlled Enzyme Storage Freezer. Most freezer manufacturers offer 1 year warranties, but Sci-Cool freezers come with 2 year warranties.

Service and support as well as manufacturer reputation also made it into the top 10. These intangibles can be difficult to discern, but that's why we're here! Feel free to drop us a line and ask! We sell a lot of different brands and work with a lot of different companies so you can trust us to be neutral in our assessments. We don't play favorites. We want you to pick the refrigerator or freezer that best fits your labs needs. We're just here to help you figure out what that is.

FYI, you can view the full survey results here.

No matter what your criteria are, if you're in the market for laboratory refrigeration give us a call! We're cold storage experts and we have the one of the largest ranges of refrigerators and freezers in North America.