Your ultra-low temperature freezer is one piece of lab equipment whose value is beyond comprehension.
After personnel, making the right ultra-low temperature freezer choice is probably the most critical decision any PI needs to make.
Putting aside questions of energy efficiency and brand preferences, there are several factors that will influence which ULT you decide to purchase.
We’ve compiled our top ten list of things to consider before starting to hunt for an ultra-low temperature freezer. Short explanations are provided to give more context.
1. Where will the freezer be kept?
Ultra-Low Temperature freezers can be noisy to operate (43db is considered “quiet”) and produce a lot of heat. The location must be climate controlled to allow the compressor to work efficiently and prolong its life.
Will you store your freezer in the lab? In a hallway? In a dedicated equipment room?
2. What is the maximum clearance available to access that location?
Is access to this location difficult or restricted in any way? A narrow doorway will affect your capacity options.
Sure, you can remove the doors to make it fit, but it will cost you!
3. What voltage options exist in that location?
Voltage will typically be 115V, 208V or 220V. Facilities maintenance or your favorite electrician can often install the outlet needed to operate your freezer post-purchase, for a cost.
4. Is there a dedicated outlet to plug in the freezer?
For the best performance and to protect the longevity of the compressor, do not plug your ULT freezer into the same outlet as other appliances.
Just don’t do it.
5. Will you need a CO2 or LN2 back-up system?
We don’t like saying “power-outage”, but what does your disaster plan look like when nature strikes?
6. What sort of remote monitoring system does your facility offer? Will you need a third-party solution?
Some of today’s newest and most exciting ULT freezers have cloud capabilities built in to communicate the freezer status via mobile devices.
Third-party monitoring carries a monthly charge that is not included in the purchase price.
7. What are you going to store in your ULT freezer?
Will samples be stored in very common sized tubes and boxes? The most efficient and organized freezers are completely filled with neat racking that maximizes storage capacity.
8.How frequently will you be accessing your ULT freezer?
Will you be visiting the freezer daily or is this your biorepository? Constantly opening the door taxes the compressor and requires a freezer with very reliable recovery times to protect samples from degradation.
9. Does your facility have any special delivery requirements?
Your ULT freezer vendor is going to need to know if the building doesn’t have an elevator or if your institution mandates inside (also called white-glove) delivery for large items.
White-glove delivery will add several hundred dollars to your total cost.
10. Will you be purchasing this ULT freezer alone or sharing the costs with other PIs in your department or floor?
Sharing the cost can get you more freezer capacity with less out of pocket dollars.
Plus, sharing is caring!