How to Choose the Right CO2 Incubator for Your Lab

A CO2 incubator is an integral piece of equipment for applications ranging from stem cell research to in-vitro fertilization to tissue engineering. Here are the top factors in choosing a CO2 incubator to discuss with your lab equipment supplier.

1. Heating Profile

  • Direct heat air jacketed incubators are easy to set up and quick to reach set temperature. They also have a faster temperature recovery time.
  • Water jacketed incubators take a while to set up and the water must be drained before moving, making them cumbersome to handle.

2. Type of Sensor

Thermal conductivity sensors are economic, but opening and closing the inner door interferes with maintenance of the correct percentage of relative humidity (RH). Infrared sensors are generally more accurate.

3. Type of Convection System

  • Forced-air systems use fitted fans for gentle air distribution, which minimizes recovery times for temperature, CO2 and %RH.
  • Natural convection runs more smoothly with no vibrations, but recovery times are longer while homogeneity and stability are less accurate.

4. Control System

User-friendly programming menus and system parameters let your staff operate more efficiently. With validation becoming a bigger part of the lab environment, data-logging is another valuable feature.

5. Type of Sterilization/Decontamination Cycle

A CO2 incubator must be cleaned thoroughly between batch runs to prevent cross-contamination that would affect results. 

However, newer models are available with either a wet or dry high-heat decontamination cycle that significantly cuts down interruptions of service. We recommend the dry heat system from Shel Labs which sports a total down-time of just nine hours from start to finish. 

Stellar Scientific is your preferred lab equipment supplier for CO2 incubators and other necessary items, big or small!