What Makes a Laboratory Autoclave a Laboratory Autoclave?

Different offices and settings require different sterilization capabilities.  The biggest one that pops in to my mind is in the laboratory autoclave category.  Labs do weird stuff!  Often they need to decon and sterilize liquids and hazardous wastes, for example.  This requires a specialized autoclave.

laboratory autoclave

A laboratory autoclave needs to sterilize different items compared to a medical or dental autoclave.  Because of these special needs, a lab autoclave usually looks different from a medical one, too.  But, I’ll get to that…

Labs work with a lot of liquids throughout the day.  For their experiments and tests sterile fluids are vital.  Any contamination can throw off numbers or completely waste the results.  That leads to a shit ton of wasted time!

A lab autoclave must be ready to sterilize liquids.  A special fluid cycle is usually needed on the machine.

Many laboratory settings produce a lot of bio-hazard waste as a by product of tests and experiments.  It can be expensive to pay a company to process bio waste.  It may be possible (and necessary) to use an autoclave to decontaminate this waste in house.  Please look up the laws and rules regarding this decontamination for your location, company, and industry.

Since liquids and hazardous wastes need to go into the sterilizer, lab autoclaves are often vertical.  The door opens at the top instead of the side, which is common for most benchtop autoclaves.  This gives clearance and width for large fluid containers or biohazard bags.

An example of a vertical lab autoclave for you to check out is the Tuttnauer 3870elv (covered here).  The “L” and “V” stand for lab and vertical.

As a last tip about lab autoclaves, make sure that you choose the correct size.  It must be large enough to handle all of your sterilization and decon needs.  But, you don’t want to waste your lab space and money on one that is too big.

OK, those are the main aspects that make up a laboratory autoclave.  I hope this helps you in the education and buying process.  Leave a comment with any more questions or experiences you’ve had.  I will keep expanding this guide based on your input.  Thanks for reading!