Lab glassware washing machines – Buying guide & Comparison
If you don’t have the time to look through our complete guide and just want to find out what we consider to be one of the best lab glassware washers out there, then the following paragraph should prove helpful. Most reviewers we’ve consulted were very impressed with the Labconco 458021 both because of its innovative design and the good convenience it offers. Unlike other products in the same category, this one’s made of Borosilicate glass, which gives it good thermal resistant properties while greatly preventing the risk of contamination. The flexible cycle options will give you a lot of freedom to plan the washing schedule around hours that provide for the cheapest water and electricity rates or that just suit you the best. If the 4578021 isn’t available in your area, you’ll find great use and convenience from the Labconco/Buchler 4400320, a somewhat less advanced but more affordable model.
Depending on the angle you’re examining the issue from, lab glassware washing machines might differ quite a lot from their domestic counterparts, but some of the criteria you use when shopping for a regular dishwasher might still apply. Others, however, are specific to the lab setting.
A common problem for any lab is the possibility of cross contamination. Whether it is two chemicals that really shouldn’t mix or potentially harmful bacteria cultures, it’s always required to keep the samples separated, and this could be difficult in environments where multiple recently used pieces of glassware are kept close together and sprayed with water.
Some special measures must be taken to prevent that the glassware washing machine does not become a risk for any type of contamination. First, all items worthy of the name must have two water pumps, one to handle clean water going in and the other one to drain out used water. This prevents contaminated water from being re-sprayed on the glassware.
The best lab glassware machine should work under extremely high water temperature, up to or even more than 200 F. At this ranges, we’re basically talking about a high-pressure steam washing, which provides the added benefit of being safer on fragile glassware.
Of course, the water leaving the machine should be filtered in accordance with all EPA regulations. You should definitely inquire about the specific environmental norms in your area and confirm that the product conforms before purchase. A water conductivity sensor, integrated into the machine, is generally used to measure its purity.
Due to the sensible task it is required to fulfill, a lab glassware washer has many and quite extensive cycles. Usually, a change of water will be required for each one, and this could potentially amount to an unreasonably large water bill when high capacity units are concerned. Always make sure that you only buy a washer just large enough for your needs, since a bigger water load will mean more money down the drain.
Since you will have to wash vessels of various shapes and sizes, always make sure that the internal rack is well outfitted to handle as many of them at a time. Check that the washer has both spindle racks for glassware with a narrow neck and open racks with baskets for bowl or saucer shaped vessels.
Multiple cycle time and temperature options are a must since your washer will have to handle both glassware that requires a high water temperature and heat sensitive plastic. Also check that the display offers all the relevant information, such as water purity, flow, temperature, etc., as well as if it prompts the user to various problems that might appear during the washing cycle.
A unit with a time delay function might prove extremely helpful if you want the washing process to take place overnight (recommended with noisy washers) or during off-peak hours in areas with dual rates, such as California.
Another thing to look at is overall size and construction. Undercounter models seem to offer the best convenience because they can fit underneath the countertop, leaving the surface above free to work from.
Some units also feature wheels for easy transportation, and they might be worth checking into if you know that you will have to often move the washer from place to place a lot. Otherwise, consider that wheels might very well make themselves into additional points of failure.
Noise can be an important issue with some models, although somewhat less so in units that allow for time delayed washing. Regardless, check that the washer isn’t excessively noisy before buying since some manufacturers don’t really consider this factor.
5 Best Lab Glassware Washing Machines (Reviews) in 2020
If you’re still unsure what lab glassware washing machine is right for you, we’ve compiled a short list of our favorite five products after consulting multiple online reviews.
1. Labconco 4595400 Base Stand for SteamScrubber and FlaskScrubber
Within a high tech borosilicate glass compact frame, which ensures for both good heat resistance and easy self-cleaning without the worry of scratches and dents, this Labconco model seems to have it all.
A high number of flexible cycle options give it good versatility and ensure for adequate washing whether it is handling soft rubber and plastic or fragile glass covered in hard to scrub stains from various chemical material.
Three rotating spray arms, with an upper, middle and lower placement will get scolding hot 199 F water within every nook and cranny of its multifunctional racks.
The top section is basically a tray which will accommodate every type of lab vessel imaginable while the bottom rack is divided into two specialized sections, one that features holders for wide-mouthed items such as beakers and another which acts as a small basket to accommodate larger items. It also features specialized inserts for Petri dishes, BOD bottles, culture tubes, etc.
This Labconco model offers a great degree of convenience thanks to its well-outfitted racks. Besides a general-purpose tray, a metal basket and holders for beakers of various sizes, it also features specialized inserts for the most commonly used types of glassware.
It has multiple rotating arms which give it more freedom to employ multiple washing programs while ensuring for adequate high steam pressure cleaning.
A high maximum working temperature of 199 F ensures that even the most stubborn substances are removed or dissolved and the unit keeps itself bacteria-free.
It’s small enough to be accommodated under ADA approved standard lab countertops, and it’s borosilicate glass construction gives it good scratch and denting resistance.
Conforms to all international environment and work safety regulations: CAN/CAS C22.2, CE, ETL, UL
Due to its motor’s high voltage and low amperage working specs it requires a 20 amp circuit breaker to operate.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($8410)
2. Labconco Buchler 4400320 Undercounter SteamScrubber Glassware Washer
This Labconco /Buchler model offers similar functionality to the 4578021 with an all stainless steel body and a less energy demanding electrical motor. Like all good models, it comes with two separate pumps to prevent cross contamination and the 115 V, 60Hz version can heat water up to 180 F and fill its tank at a rate of 96 gal/min.
Together with the high-temperature air drying system, this makes for a very fast washing cycle, with the most complex and time-consuming program only taking a couple of hours to complete. This makes for great convenience for today’s busy lab worker.
The fastest cycle can take as little as 30 minutes, and there are a lot of washing options to choose from, from high-pressure steam to handle dry stains on fragile glass, to low-temperature water for plastics.
The two highly versatile racks are bound to easily accommodate all commonly used pieces of lab equipment.
Comes with two standard stainless steel racks that offer both plenty of flat space for bowl-shaped objects and specialized holders for Petri dishes, vials or wide-mouthed beakers. More can be purchased separately.
It has the standard Labconco filtration system which means it conforms to all current EPA and work safety regulations without the need for any adjustment.
A water conductivity probe tests for residual waste and there are up to six water rinsing options, both pressured and unpressured at various temperatures.
An easy to read LCD information center and its compact construction which makes it fit well under every laboratory table offer great convenience when using this steam scrubber.
Like other Labconco models, it does require the special facility of a 20 amps circuit breaker in order for it to work properly.
It doesn’t heat up the water quite to the same temperature as other high-end models, but the more affordable price makes up for this small difference.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($8148.93)
3. Labconco 4420320 Glassware Washer Undercounter
The 4420320 seems to belong to Labconco’s higher end series. All three versions from 115V to 270V have very good functionality and convenience features but also come at a hefty price.
The 115V model heats the water up to 180 F, which can be monitored from the LCD information center. You can also use this to customize the washing cycle and to get valuable data on water conductivity and other parameters, including warnings for overflow or hot glass. There are up to 7 different cycles to choose from including rinse only, dry only an option for extra-fragile glass and two options for general scientific equipment.
These all make for great convenience, to which the delay function adds a whole deal more. You can program the unit to start the washing cycle up to eight hours in advance so that you can profit from differential water rates without being bothered by the noise the machine might make.
The 4420320 is highly programmable, with up to seven different washing cycles: rinse only; dry only; glassware; glassware plus; science; science plus and plastic.
Like all Labconco models, it comes outfitted with two highly adjustable racks and options to buy more. The lower rack has 36 large detachable spindles for holding to narrow neck glass. There are also 18 holders for beakers, 10 interchangeable small spindles, and 26 clips.
The highly adjustable delay function can give great convenience since it allows you to pre-program the time at which the machine starts its cycle with up to 8 hours in advance.
Very good monitoring features, including water and glass temperature, water conductivity (to ensure purity), water low; water high and overflow.
With only 180 F of maximum water heating temperature, it doesn’t have the highest specs on the market, despite its cost. However, there aren’t that many things you can do with 200 F that you can’t with 180 F.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($10463.14)
4. SteamScrubber Undercounter Laboratory Glassware Washer
Although manufactured by the same company as the Labconco models, this unit can also be found under the parent brand name of CBSC (Carolina Biological Supply Company). It offers the same good convenience and functionality as other Labconco models, with 7 washing cycles to choose from, a time delay to help you profit from legislation in dual water tariff areas, a good deal of information and warnings to be read on its LCD screen and a stainless steel body, to keep it from rusting and getting scratched.
It has two labware racks with special fittings for vials, beakers and other assorted lab equipment, a small metal box to hold larger instruments in place and a large tray area for bowl-shaped containers.
For extra convenience, the machine comes already fitted with a ⅜” female NPT inlet for hot water connection as well as a drain hose and band clamp.
The North Carolina based CBSC has good brand recognition as a supplier of labware, they offer good customer service on a multitude of media including live internet chat for expert advice and the two-year warranty stands as a testament to the faith they put in their products.
This product has a built-in ⅜ inch female inlet to provide easier connection to the water supply, it comes together with a drain hose and band clamp to facilitate installation.
Good functionality features, including seven cycle programs that include special modes for handling fragile equipment, heat sensitive plastic, and high-temperature air drying.
Thanks to the fact that it lacks a central water distribution tower, this unit can accommodate a wide variety of lab glassware and other lab equipment in racks which allow for a high degree of customization.
Most special fittings for the two stainless steel racks need to be bought separately, but this can also be seen as a good thing since it allows for more customer choice in the matter.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($10400)
5. Sp Industries Nlw 1285 Washer U CTR Hi/p Act Sp Rack
The NLW – 1285 stand-out feature is its good water economy, with wash and rinse cycles requiring a maximum of 3.9 gallons of water at a time. Drainage is handled with a separate pump and waste products are trapped by three dedicated filters to ensure that the model keeps within official environmental and work protection regulations.
Furthermore, a cycle delay function can help users from dual rate areas reduce their water bill by taking advantage of off-peak hours.
Depending on customer option, it comes with either one or two spindle racks which despite the unit’s overall compact size provide adequate room for a wide range of lab glassware equipment. Sadly, the NLW – 1285 function is only limited to glass or otherwise heat resistant equipment — the manufacturer warns against using this washer with plastic.
This item has an excellent environmental and safety rating thanks to its three debris filters.
A dual pump system, one for drainage and one inlet pump greatly decreases the risk of cross contamination.
Although not particularly cheap, this unit can make for great economy thanks to its limited water requirement which does not exceed 4 gallons and to the convenient delayed cycle function.
This washer is particularly easy to install, being outfitted with most things needed for hooking up to the water and electricity networks straight from the factory. Its working ranges of 230V at 60Hz and 20 amps are compatible with most outlets without requiring a specific adaptor.
Besides being surprisingly compact and light, it also features wheels, which makes it even more convenient!
Lacking any warm water functions means this unit cannot safely be used with any heat-sensitive plastic material.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($11652.02)