Midmark M11 Chamber

Manual vs Automatic Autoclaves (The Easy Explanation)

Tuttnauer 3870EA Autoclave
Automatic, push button.

Benchtop autoclaves are used by millions of different offices across the world for sterilization.  In general, they can be broken into two main categories: manual and automatic.

Many times, companies like Tuttnauer or Midmark will have one series of sterilizer that is in the automatic variety and one that is a manual model.  This post is going to cover the differences between automatic and manual autoclaves to help you in the buying process.

Different Ways the Autoclaves are Run

An automatic table top autoclave is one that is controlled and monitored with its internal computer.  They usually have pre-programmed cycles for different needs.  You just hit the button to choose the cycle, then the start button.  The computer automated aspect takes care of the vacuum air system, injecting the right steam, keeping the right pressure and the right temperature throughout the sterilization process.

Tuttnauer 2340M manual autoclave
Manually operated dials on the right.

On the other hand, manual autoclaves are controlled using dials on the front.  They are NOT computer automated.  It is up to the  user to turn the correct dials for cycle, time, temperature, etc.  Certainly, different steam sterilizers from different companies are run in different ways.  It is always vital to read through your specific user manual.

The computer automation in automatic autoclaves comes with a higher price tag usually.  Mainly, it’s from the more complex and expensive electronic parts.

This is the trade off for the precision of temperature and pressure regulation.  The higher price is also from the increase in speed and ease.  If you are looking to buy an autoclave, the automatic vs manual decision is a big one for sure.

Choosing Between a Manual and Automatic Autoclave

You can ask yourself some questions to nail down this choice better.  One is, “Can I (we) keep up with a manually run, dial turned sterilizer machine?”  “Can we keep our attention on it throughout the day?”

Another one for starting a business would be, “Can we afford to go for an automatic autoclave at the start of our business run?”

So, to close this article, please pay attention to all of the details among autoclaves.  Similar model numbers might have an automatic version AND a manual one.  I hope this helps you in choosing one.

There are a lot of other things to consider, too.  This is just one small aspect.  You need to ask yourself a lot more questions if you are in the buying process.  Check out my article: 10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying an Autoclave to get a full picture of the sterilizer purchasing process.

Leave a comment with more questions if you have them, about anything related to sterilization or autoclaves.  Thanks!

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