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Getting Value for Money: What to look for when shopping for laboratory casework and cabinets

As someone responsible for lab design, construction, and operations, you’ll know the importance that cabinets and laboratory casework play, in the efficient functioning of your lab. This is where the bulk of your tests, experiments and research work occurs. Because these are heavily-used pieces of lab furnishing, it’s important to know what you are looking for before placing an order for them. As a long-term asset, your casework and cabinets should provide you many years of exceptional service. They will, if you consider the features discussed below.

Materials

Your choice of material is the most significant aspect of the decision-making process.

Stainless Steel

When it comes to top-of-the-line laboratory cabinets, there’s no comparison to stainless steel casework, tabletops, and furnishing.  Tough, durable, and stylish, stainless steel laboratory furnishings are the most sought-after pieces of equipment for most lab operators.  When you buy even gently used or refurbished items, they’re a long-term investment.

Low-carbon composition means they’re corrosion resistant in a wet lab, and come with higher bacterial resistance than other materials. They’re also easy to clean. Sure, when you buy used equipment, you should expect minor scratches and dents. However, because these cabinets are made from Stainless steel, they offer great value for money, without compromising functionality.

Steel

In a wet lab environment, steel laboratory casework is a very popular choice.  The steel composition makes them highly resistant to moisture, water, and other liquids but, compared to stainless steel, they have a moderate bacterial resistance profile. To provide added durability, many steel lab casework and cabinet manufacturers apply a chemical resistant coat – typically in power form – to finish the furnishing.

Laminates, Woods, and Composite Materials

Although these cabinets, tables and casework pieces come in more designs and varieties than Steel or stainless steel, before buying them, it’s important to understand the types of application your laboratory cabinets will have, and the environment they are in. Wood and other composites absorb moisture quickly – even in vapor form.   This makes them more corrosive to some chemicals, and less resistant to bacteria. Some wooden surfaces are also harder to clean and, as they absorb moisture and water, they’ll welt and bend out of shape.  In a dry lab setting, wood and laminates may work well.

Making Your Decision

Armed with your checklist, it’s time to go shopping for your lab furnishings. While brand new laboratory cabinets will have a steep price tag, you can also find slightly used and refurbished brand name options online. Though pre-used, these cabinets and casework items are in exceptional condition and, when acquired from reputed sources online, offer excellent value for the money. They also enable lab operators the opportunity to get up-and-running faster because of reduced procurement, manufacturing, shipment and delivery lead-times.

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