Buying Lab Equipment? Ask These Questions
If you work in a lab, you already know how vital it is to have high-quality lab equipment. The integrity of your work is supported by the quality of the equipment you work with every day; shoddy equipment can affect experiments and lead to faulty results if you're not careful. For that reason, if you've now become the person in charge of ordering beakers, you need to be careful. Ask these questions before dipping into your budget to buy lab equipment.
Where Can You Get Parts?
It's only natural that if you buy lab equipment, wear and tear will start to happen over time. If you purchase Bunsen burners, for instance, you may need to replace gas valve knobs. This can take days or even weeks depending on who you order the parts from, but you might not want to wait that long.
Before purchasing any equipment, do the work and find out how you can replace parts if it becomes necessary. For example, if you're buying Hamilton Company lab equipment, you should contact the company directly to see how quickly they can replace parts for you. You can also seek out local suppliers. Ensure that if you get equipment from a certain manufacturer, that you'll have easy access to parts over time.
What Is the Temperature Range of the Equipment?
Working in a lab, you're likely already aware that many experiments are conducted with substances that could be very hot or extremely cold. Using a beaker that should only be used for room temperature or cool temperatures could be a mistake if those in your lab work with materials that require higher temperatures. Make sure you're getting equipment that will serve the needs of everyone working in your laboratory.
What Do Others Think?
Even if you're the person who must order the equipment for your department or facility, you don't have to be alone in your decision-making activities. Don't depend solely on your own instincts; crowdsource opinions and check out others' opinions. Do an informal survey of those in your lab to gauge which equipment your co-workers prefer, for instance. Venture online for customer reviews and pay special attention to complaints so you can avoid the same problems after you buy equipment.
Good laboratory equipment is crucial for your work and the work of everyone using your lab. Ask these questions before you select pieces so that you're confident your lab will be stocked with equipment that will last and serve your facility well.